I Took 2 Tweens to the Mall and Lived to Tell the Tale

My shopaholic tween daughter
Let's say you agree to take your 10-year-old daughter and her best friend to the mall. You might expect her first response to be something along the lines of "Thanks, mom!" I don't know what I was expecting, but this is what I got: "Mom. Don't. Embarrass. Me."

"Do I ever embarrass you?" I asked Charlotte, genuinely perplexed. From the look on her face, clearly the answer was yes.

Huh. Who knew?

Driving to pick up Charlotte's BFF (who shall remain nameless because, frankly, I can only deal with one resentful adolescent at a time), I decided that the best way to avoid embarrassing my daughter would be to say as little as possible. No matter how tempting, I would resist the urge to join in their conversation. How hard could it possibly be?

Little did I know, ladies. Little did I know.

Here's just a tiny sample of the rapid-fire backseat banter I pretended not to overhear:


BFF: Oh my god, you know Giuliana Rancic?

Charlotte: Yeah.

BFF: She's totally pregnant. And her baby is gonna like, die. Cause she's so anorexic.

Charlotte: Who's she pregnant with?

BFF: I guess her husband. Oh my god. I was watching this show and this hairdresser was talking about Jessica Simpson and he was like, "She has gorgeous pregnant hair." It was so weird!

Charlotte: Weird! Pregnant hair?

BFF: I know. Oh my god, you know what I'm obsessed with? Red velvet cupcakes.

Charlotte: Me too.

BFF: I have a recipe bookmarked on my computer. You know what's weird? The recipe has vinegar in it.

Charlotte: Why? That's weird.

And so on. You get the idea. By the time we got to the mall, the word "weird" had been used approximately 875 times; the word "obsessed," 582.

Obsession #1? Makeup. This didn't come as a HUGE surprise; Charlotte's been, well, obsessed with makeup for a while now. Which I see as a harmless enough hobby -- it's not like I let her go to school with fake eyelashes and matte red lips. But I didn't realize her best friend was so cosmetically savvy until we'd been at Sephora (the mall's main attraction) for about an hour and a half.

I wonder if Benefit knows how popular their brand is with fifth-graders?

Charlotte: ChaCha Tint would look really good on you. I like it on my lips but it's kind of too much for the cheeks, you know?

BFF: Do you have Posietint and Benetint?

Charlotte: Yeah. I think they're in my mom's makeup bag. She borrows them all the time.

BFF: I don't know what I should get!

Charlotte: Look, new Urban Decay liquid eyeliners!

At this point, my head was spinning, and not just because the air was thick with perfume. Was this really happening? Was I really hiding out over by the anti-aging eye creams and skin-firming serums, playing the role of there-but-not-there chaperon as my child and her friend compared cheek/lip stains?

Then it occurred to me: At least Charlotte is still young enough for me to get away with skulking around the edges of her social life. In a few more years, the only way I'll know what she's really doing at the mall will be if I follow her around from a great distance wearing a wide-brimmed hat and dark glasses.

So I think I learned something valuable from my trip to the mall with two tweens: I'm going to milk this non-embarrassing, mom-in-the-shadows gig for as long as I possibly can, because it won't last forever.

Next time: I Took Two Tweens to See Breaking Dawn and Lived to Tell the Tale (I hope).

Is your daughter entering the tween/teen phase? How are you dealing?

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