Imagine a world without DNA. A world in which there was no way to test for paternity or maternity. How would we tell our kids from those of other people? Thankfully, in Maddi’s case, it’d be no problem. Not only does she look a lot like Chris and me, there’s an even more telling indicator of her lineage — her unmitigated love for shopping.

While each of us has our different style — Chris loves to buy rather than browse, and I live to browse rather than buy — there’s no doubt that both of her parents are shopaholics. Many of our daughter’s formative days have been spent riding through the local mall in her stroller on one of Mommy’s mega-jaunts or perched in the seat of a grocery cart while Daddy fills the basket with goodies. And all this retail goodness hasn’t failed to rub off on Maddi.

While she’s not one to turn down a toy horse when we stop at her favorite mall shop, thankfully, she’s not some acquisitive “conspicuous consumer” who strives to amass all manner of earthly goods. But it’s obvious Maddi does share my love of window shopping.

Even last year, when she didn’t have all that many words, I could ask Maddi “Do you want to go shopping?” and she’d be beside herself with excitement. That went double for the magical words “Do you want to go shoe shopping?” Like her mom, two of Maddi’s great loves are footwear and basking in climate-controlled retail goodness.

Now that she’s got words to go with all those thoughts in her little head, Maddi has some definite favorites, and “shop” is one of them. All it takes is Daddy pulling on his “going out” clothes and grabbing the keys and Maddi runs for the door exclaiming, “Shop?! Shop?!” If she should see me tear the grocery list from the pad on the refrigerator, there’s no hiding the fact that we’ll be going to the store. Should she see a shopping cart or the logo for either one of the two groceries we frequent, Maddi begins squealing in paroxysmal glee.

She not only has finally begun to understand that when she gives her book or toy or frozen dinner to the cashier, she will, indeed, get it back; she actually insists now on handing it over or placing it on the belt herself. Thanks to the prospect of shiny dollar-store stickers, she no longer grabs random items off racks (much). And we’ve spent so much time in the mall’s parenting room that she now feels completely at home in it — to the point where she’s jumping off furniture and literally climbing the walls (not as difficult as you might think, since they’re decorated with plywood cutouts). Yeah, the feeling at home in the mall bit’s not such a good thing …

Luckily for Maddi, she has two parents who have no problem indulging her craving for shopping cart and stroller rides. Now, when she’s older and starts asking for more than two-for-a-dollar stickers, that’ll be another thing.

And here’s our little power shopper, purse in hand and ready to go:

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