Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Today, Gianna and I went to JC Penney to try to use a gift card. I say "try," only because the last time I was in there, it looked like they were trying to "flash up" the place.

Fashion this season is virtually unwearable, unless you are preparing to march in Brazil during Carnaval. Bright colors and large prints abound, and most of the shirts I looked at had extra ruffles and even just extra triangles and rectangles of fabric sewn in fluttery disarray. For a brief moment, I glanced through the Junior section, where I last visited during the crazy clubbing days of college.

Then, I felt really old and had to race to the shoe section and beat myself senseless with a pair of Clark's that came really close to the "perfect pair," that Lola ate while I was pregnant. That little brown pair of slides was too beautiful for earth- an angst-ridden dog became convinced that I would never EVER return from the grocery store, and demolished them.

I examined the pair a little closer- Clark's used to be made in England. Now? Where else- China. I reluctantly put it back.

I did manage to find some basic tops and jeans that fit, thanks to St. John's Bay. I feel like I may as well just have "Little Old Lady" custom embroidered onto them, but they were the closest thing I could find to real clothing.

Gianna, in the meantime, did NOT want to be held. This was a first. She wanted, instead, to hold my hand and lead me around to the store. "Train, train," she chanted. Then- the jewelry department. "Neck-a-lace! Neck-a-lace!" she screeched. Rather than pry this season's wacky blobs of enamel out of her very strong and determined hands, I grabbed her and made a dash to the cashier.

Ahead of us in line was a woman and a small, elfin-looking girl. "Oh what a cute baby- say, 'Oh what a cute baby!'" the woman yelled to the little girl in an Eastern European accent. The little girl ducked her head and repeated the affirmation.

I thanked her, and then the woman prodded the girl, "Ask her, 'What is her name?'" The girl dutifully complied, and I told her, "Gianna. What's yours?" The little girl said her name, which I wish I remember- it was truly wonderful. Un-prompted, the girl then said, "I'm four!" Gianna stared at her with her fingers in her mouth. Then, she started picking her upper lip- a move that seems to happen when she's nervous. Or plotting revenge.

"Oh, look at her pick her lip! You're older than her, you better tell her to stop," boomed the woman. The four year old squirmed, and seemed instantly to realize that this was a social faux-pas, even though her mother (?) did not. To help the little girl save face, I looked at Gianna, who was picking a good sized flap of skin from her lip, and said, "Ouch! That's going to hurt pretty soon."

Gianna solemnly considered this, and then pulled the bit of skin from her lip and shoved it into my lips. The crowd went wild. "Ahhhh! Oh my goodness, did you see that? Did you see that?" the woman shrieked at the four year old. I removed the little skin bit from my mouth and mentally thought of all of the other disgusting things I've managed to get into my mouth since becoming a mother.

Fortune smiled upon us and a voice called out, "Next in line, please!"

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