When we arrived and I presented her with a small bag of Penney’s sandals and sundresses for her Sophie, I could see that she was none too impressed. Plastic Penney’s sandals and two euro sundresses were not where Sophie was at, not while there was an Okaidi and Pumpkin Patch in Doha.
The last straw was perhaps when I gifted her the water bottle with S O P H I E brandished across it in bright pink letters, I thought cool, her name on a water bottle however once again, it was pointed out to me that Thermos make the better water bottles and that my offering was probably full of BPA’s and a myriad of other toxic and fatal chemicals, still, I thought it was cute and surely the sugar in the juice would kill half those toxins anyway.
I remained stoic, my little boy was delighted with his Eu.7.99 Turtle Power bag from Dunnes, along with matching water bottle, lunch bag, lunch bag, pencil, ruler the lot. He would be seen coming, unmissable, my little hero in a half shell, togged out from head to toe in Dunnes and Penney’s and proud of it, for that is what being Irish means when you’re four, having a world of tat with your name and your favourite characters plastered all over it.
Not for Sophie, one day whilst we were out having lunch, my son had just two more nuggets to go and Sophie had scooped up the last of her cottage cheese and quinoa salad when her mum mentioned that she was treating Sophie to a brand new school bag which she was allowed to choose herself in the shop…….Samsonite.
Sophie’s mum had vowed that there would be no Frozen tat coming into the house and thus the visit to Samsonite for Sophie’s choice. I totally empathise with parents of girls who are ad nauseam looking at Anna and Elsa. Grating lilac and purple merchandise with glitter that falls off too easily would surely wreck anyone’s head. But Samsonite…….was there ever a shop less suitable for a four and a half year old Frozen fan.
In we went and poor Sophie pored over the bags, carbon fibre and brushed aluminium reflected in her little eyes as her mum re-iterated, ‘like mommy promised, you can have any bag you like Sophie, any bag in this shop’. Minutes passed and still nothing was jumping out at Sophie, but like the good girl she was she hesitated over a cherry red hard shell laptop case, the closest thing to girly pink that was there. Her mum had just suggested a dull purple backpack with a 100 year guarantee on the zips and handles, when the smiley Filipino assistant came to her rescue. ‘hey lil’ girl, you no like?, maybe you like some new stock, we have inside, maybe something special for you’. Sophie nodded, it was worth the risk after all there was nothing on the shop floor that she had taken a shine too. ‘Remember sweetheart, anything you like, you choose’, her mum said, tousling Sophie’s hair.
Out from the back came the smiling Filipino assistant with her hands behind her back, ta da, she said, revealing the new stock, a Samsonite Frozen schoolbag with a 10,000 year guarantee and a price tag equivalent to eighty five euro. Sophie’s mums face dropped and Sophie skipped from the shop with her new bag that would outlast, Frozen, Defrosted and any other sequels in years to come…..a true classic.