At first, I was simply proud that my 3-year-old knows the word "mannequin." Then it became clear that we had a problem.
Suddenly, my faithful shopping companion is developing shopping fears, and they have nothing to do with anything rational, like being watched in the fitting room or store mirrors that disguise fat so you mistakenly think you look good in those jeans. Suddenly, my child fears mannequins. To the point that he couldn't eat lunch at Macy's Marketplace - an entire floor away from the nearest headless plastic figure. What's so scary?
He cowered behind my leg during our entire visit to American Apparel (oh yea, it's open in Uptown, and I'm not so impressed). He zeroed in on the one mannequin at Duetta when we stopped by the new South Minneapolis shop. I've tried telling him mannequins are just pretend, like toys or stuffed animals. That they are nothing more than hangers to show clothes. That they can't hurt him. (I suppose they could, if he pulled one down on him, but since he'll no longer step anywhere near a mannequin, that seems an unnecessary scenario to broach at this sensitive juncture.)
There's no chapter on this particular issue in my parenting books.
So, I've become adept at holding bags and the now hefty child while browsing. I can take notes at the same time. Call me insensitive, but it's my job. So I tell him to power through the fear. Mama's got to shop.