The Day My Child Outgrew the Disney Store (And I Lost My Innocence)

By Heidi Hamm

It’s happened. If I am being completely honest, I suppose I knew, on some level, deep down, that this day was coming. Someday. But now that it has, oh, the horror.

Up until this point I was able to ignore the subtle changes. Opting out of the Frozen backpack for back to school, going to the bathroom during the toy commercials, even a trip to ToysRUs that left her empty handed. I was hoping it was just a phase.

But then the changes kept coming. She got money for Christmas. Four hours, two blisters and three toy stores later and she still had it. All of it. Even the beloved stuffed animals, whose existence I have cursed for years and forbidden all family members to buy, had lost their appeal. There was no more playing dress-up, no more tea parties and no more Barbies. I remember playing Barbies when I was 12, or was it 10? Whatever, this isn’t about me. It was becoming more and more difficult to remain in denial. There is something to be said for denial. Sometimes it sure beats reality.

In hindsight, her Christmas wish list was a dead giveaway. An iPod, an iPhone, an iPad. Really, Apple? Is it not enough that you have global domination over adults? Now not even 8-year-olds are immune to your shiny new gadgets?

The day began innocently enough. A mother-daughter trip to the mall. A little shopping. A little lunch. A stop outside the Disney Store.

“Mom,” she said, sighing as though she was talking to the dumbest person on the planet. “This is a baby store.”

I was horrified.

“First of all, it’s Mommy, not Mom. Secondly, what is this blasphemy of which you speak? It’s the Disney Store for crying out loud. Who doesn’t love the Disney store? All of the cool toys, the beautiful costumes, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too.”

“Seriously? I don’t want to go in.”

And that was it. I was shattered.

I called an emergency meeting with my husband. At first he thought I was overreacting. But soon even he realized the severity of the situation. We tried to come up with strategies to fix this. Ways that we could squish her back down into her little girl body with her little girl pigtails. We tried to figure out how to stop her from growing. How to stop time. But that’s the thing with time. It can’t be stopped, no matter how much you want it to. Believe me, I’ve tried. I remember thinking, before we had kids, that eighteen years was such a long time to have to raise a child. Fool. It’s not nearly long enough. We had to accept the cold, hard truth. Our little girl was growing up.

The Disney Store was just the beginning. It didn’t end there. She no longer wants to shop in little kids clothing stores. It’s Justice, Ivivva or bust. She spends countless minutes in the morning, searching for the perfect outfit. Since when did it matter whether her clothes matched or not? She paints her nails. She does her hair. Seriously, who is this child? How did this happen? Have I created this? Was it too many trips with me to Starbucks? Was her hot chocolate laced with mental age growth hormones? Is there something in the food we eat? The water we drink? The air we breathe?

I have heard rumors. Of girls getting their periods in grade 3. Of puberty starting younger and younger. But that is not my child. I repeat. Not.My.Child.

This adulting needs to stop. Next, there will be bras and makeup. And boys. Oh, the boys. Lord help us. Especially her daddy who is in no way prepared for any of this. Neither am I, for that matter.

Please, someone tell me this is just a phase. Someone? Anyone? That someday soon she will go back to being my little girl. In the meantime, I can’t help wishing that she’ll fall down a magic rabbit hole and find her wonder again.


About the Author

Heidi Hamm is a writer, wife and mom of 6-year-old twin boys with the alter egos of the Hulk and SpiderMan and their 8-year-old sister who is in training to rule a small (or large) country someday. She has been published on Sammiches and Psych Meds, Scary Mommy and Mamalode and can be found on Facebook