Yesterday I took 7 girls to the mall. My daughter recently turned 13 and that was her birthday wish. She actually wanted to bring one more girl but we ran out of seats. I try to keep my mouth shut whenever I drive a carload of kids. You can get some good intel if you’re quiet. My problem is I want to sing along to the songs on the radio. Car karaoke is one of my favorite pastimes and I’m quite passionate about it. I lose all restraint if something by Queen, Journey or Pat Benatar graces the waves. I get a lot of side eye from my daughter who rides shotgun on these excursions.
The mall is a solid 40 minute drive away so I got to hear a few things. At one point they were discussing whether they want to have boys or girls later in life. There were mixed views, most stated that girls would bring a lot more drama than boys. I felt a little sad over that and realized this is a message they are receiving from all of us. I also recognized that indeed there is more drama in my daughter’s life then my son’s. He also is less apt to discuss his social issues with me (perhaps a classic closed off male?). So there were two stereotypes tapping me on the shoulder. Try harder mom.
Last year when I did a similar trip to the mall, I trailed behind letting the girls lead the way. This time I was asked to sit in the food court. I agreed to that as long as there were consistent texts and they met me at an agreed upon time. They had an hour and a half off the leash. I got texts from my daughter letting me know which stores they were in. Then something awkward happened.
While I was doing time in the food court, I was texting a good friend telling her my daughter wanted to get a second piercing in her ears and how I told her to ask her dad if it was OK. I also mentioned that I had never been more certain of a “no”. That text was meant for a friend but I accidentally sent it to my daughter. I got a hmmmm….response on that and I’m sure that will boomerang it’s way back to me. She forgets things all the time (gym uniform, socks, hats) this is something she will remember. I didn’t say anything bad just gave away that I talk to friends about this stuff and she gathered some intel of her own for how I attend to some parental issues. Quid pro quo.
Eventually we made our way to dinner at a chain restaurant. They seated us at a table that would have been considered Al fresco if we weren’t still indoors. The table was outside of the main seating area and in a corridor with a low metal fence creating a boundary between diners and shoppers. The girls looked at the kids menu and the regular menu and they all settled on some variation of pizza from the kids side. I didn’t ask them to order from there they just did it on their own. This is a considerate group.
At one point they asked for crayons to use on the kids menus and that was a pleasant surprise. A bunch of 12 and 13 year old girls comfortable enough with their friends to still be kids. I know that will change in the months to come so I soaked it in. At one point they realized our table could be seen from the security monitor that is displayed near the mall entrance so frantic waving ensued.
They also spent time making pretend promos for shows that exist only in their imaginations. They tried duplicating the Disney promos where the promoter draws a heart. Then a sad discussion about the end of the K.C. Undercover show. Everyone at the table is a huge Zendaya fan. I was happy to have some understanding of the topic. I suspect at some point in the near future I won’t have any idea what they’re talking about or I simply won’t be at the table. For now, I’m keeping my seat.