Fashion Police: A case for child labor

***For the sake of good form, the visions being referred to in this post will not be pictured. Your eyes will thank me. Really.***

There comes a time in every mother’s life when she decides she is in favor of child labor. I’ll never forget one friend lamenting that she was one person trying to do the laundry of 5 people and it just wasn’t mathematically possible. (Her husband then tried to make her a color-coded schedule. He forgot that little people who do NOT respect schedules lived there- but I digress.)
I’ve decided there are a few jobs children are uniquely qualified for…my favorite one is to be the fashion police.

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Many mothers have felt the shame of a ‘teachable moment’ in public when the children blurt out something observant and embarrassing.
Y’all, I say forget shushing and telling kids gently what isn’t nice to say. There is a time and a place for that and Wal-Mart isn’t it.
I’ve seen it happen. A two year old is minding her own business in a shopping cart when she sees a fashion violation that defies gravity and all reason. Her eyes get big, her cheeks fill with air and like glorious word-spewing comes, “Mommy! I see that man’s butt crack!
Not the time for shushing! This is a life lesson waiting to happen. Don’t deny this poor child! Sweetie, LET IT GO.
let it go
It’s not shaming. It’s not bullying. It isn’t even mean. It’s stating a fact. “That woman’s boobs are hanging out.” “That guy smells really bad.” “You shouldn’t spit in the store.”

These are important social issues being pointed out by future generations. Teaching to soften the blow, whisper, or modify is fine…but someone has to call it like they see it. Your son might be the greatest professional umpire the world has ever known; don’t crush the dream because your kid said out loud what you were keeping to yourself. (Although props for self control.)

Or the ever popular singing of, “I see London, I see France. I can see your underpants!”
Don’t make that child swallow those words of truth. No. EVERYONE else is thinking it. Saying it might cause an issue and NO ONE wants to confront store security. It’s the perfect out, I tell you. Who is going to get in the face of a toddler who yells, “Mommy! That lady’s skirt is so short I can see her butt crack”?
No one. Let me tell you a few gems I’ve heard:

A toddler once asked a man I love dearly if he was Santa. Upon hearing he was not and realizing his future gift receiving wouldn’t be affected by commentary, he said, “You’re fat.” The mother was embarrassed. ‘Santa’ wasn’t. He smiled and said, “Yep. I am.” When there are songs describing your rotund shape and live at the North Pole, you grow thick skin. He’s fairly self-aware.

Mommy, those boys don’t know how to pull up their pants.
Is that a boy or a girl? (It was a bearded gent wearing a full bra.)
Why is that man wearing pajamas and I can’t?
Can I swim in the pool? (What pool? We’re in a store.) Well, all those girls are wearing bathing suits!
The list goes on.

Now, I’ve been on the receiving end of these comments before. From “Why are those white people here?” to people searching out the common physical traits of Down Syndrome in my child’s face when they see my Buddy Walk shirt, I’m fielded some comments. (Lest we forget the Catwoman costume incident of 2001.)
Then something horrible happened last Friday. I had to go to the 5th Circle of Dante’s Inferno…the “scary Wal-Mart.” It was still daylight thanks to the summer time change, so the chances of being shot were greatly decreased. As my husband pulled the man-van into a spot, I saw a woman in animal-skin spandex that were stretches so thinly that the material became transparent. Next to her was a woman in a bikini and a towel-wrap. It was only 60 degrees.
Imagine my surprise when I was standing in the check-out line and a man leaned over the cart and asked my man, “Is this your wife?” We were startled but he answered in the affirmative.
He glanced at me with a half-smile. “Did you let her out of the house in that shirt on purpose?”

I was wearing a CLEAN, pink shirt with a cute black and white polka-dot print shirt that said, “We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we”… oh. It was an Aggie comment.

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We laughed. My man said, “Oh, we planned it!” I asked if he was a longhorn fan or an Alabama fan. He became immediately offended. Texas all the way, apparently. With my sweetest smile I said, “Well, I see your Dallas basketball shirt. I guess we’re both brave around here. Have a good night!”
With that we wheeled our youngin’s out and I reveled in the fact that I was just called out for my attire in a Wal-Mart. ME. In clean jeans and a CUTE Aggie shirt.

Still, I chose to wear it. I can take the heat. I am sure the other “People of Wal-Mart” can do the same.
I say we let the little ones speak their minds. Out of the mouth of babes comes the truth, right?
Give them sirens and bull-horns. Your kid just might be the truth-telling hero that this society needs.

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