What fascinated me during this forty-five minute visit was Matthew! My dear son, so excited about the prospect of having siblings, said as we entered the store: "Mom, we need to look at some girl clothing for Lizzie Senait." Having intended to have a peek anyway, I was fine heading towards the back of the store to see what there was to see. This was my first ever foray into a little girl's clothing store to look for clothes specifically for my daughter (I don't think a few purchases at Costco count!).
"What size do you think she is, Mom?" Matthew asked, entirely undaunted by the selection in front of him. Clearly, he differs from his mother in this respect.
"Well, there's a great question," I answered. "I'm not entirely sure. She's the size of a 24-month old, but she's also grown a few inches and gained a few pounds in the past few months, so I'm thinking that we should look for things in a 3T size and hope that she sort of fits them when we go to Ethiopia."
Matthew instantly headed to the nearest clothing rack and started flipping through clothes...something he has never done in his entire life. While I stood there, dumbfounded, he went through article after article of clothing, until suddenly stopping.
"Oooo-ooooo-oooooohhhhhhhhh," he said, in that three-syllable, three-note way that denotes someone seeing the cutest thing ever! "Looooook, Mom, it's so cuuuuute." The only time I've heard him talk like that was when he was trying to woo the cat over to him..."oh, who's the cutest cat ever - it's you, oh yes it is, oh yes it is..."
He showed me a tiny, size 3T, pair of leggings (I think that's what they're called) in a corally pink colour; a second later, he pulled out a 3T matching shirt, with a big embroidered flower on one side of the shirt. Again, he practically drooled over this item. "Mom, loook, it's so cuuuuuute. Oooo-ooooo-oooooohhhhhhhhh. We have to buy this for Lizzie Senait; it's so comfy-looking and pretty, and the colour will look great with her skin colour." Huh?? Where was my child?? Had he been abducted by aliens?? I was reminded of Stephanie Meyer's intended-for-adults book, The Host - someone had invaded my son's body and taken over.
For more than half an hour, I watched as my barely-seven-year-old boy worked his way around the girls' clothing department, hitting every rack and every shelf with his eagle eye. He pulled out about fifteen different things (skirts, pants, shirts, dresses, you name it), and each item seemed worthy of being pulled out only if it merited one of those delightful Oooo-ooooo-oooooohhhhhhhhh sounds. There was no way that I could deny him some of those clothes, given how lovingly and pure-heartedly they were chosen by a little girl's big brother. Matthew insisted on carrying all of the items through the store by himself, even when his arm began feeling weighted down by all of the clothes. He even wanted to have a hand in choosing the colours of the little underthings that we picked out for her in a couple of different sizes. And when he had gone through every rack of clothing, we went into a change room and talked over every single item again, deciding which few we would purchase. Not once in our three-quarters of an hour in the store did he mention buying anything for himself (or even for his brother!) - it was all about Lizzie Senait on Monday. I was mesmerized by his devotion and focus.
As we left the store, holding hands (Matthew carrying the clothing bag), I looked down at him and he looked up at me and we shared a joyous moment. We were both beaming. I said to him that I had never, ever imagined that shopping for girls' clothes could be so much fun and that I had loved being there with him and doing it together with him. His returning smile was beatific!
Postscript: Though Geoff rarely reads my blog posts until, oh, about a month after I've written them, he happened (because I forced him) to read this one just after I finished drafting it. In his opinion, my use of words such as "underthings" and "beatific" make me sound too high-falutin (to quote Anne of Green Gables), and he thinks I should simplify things to 'normal' terms. I, however, a woman possessed of an English literature degree and being a lover of Victorian novels, maintain that such words surely contribute to my charm! Besides, it's my blog!!