I've spent a bit of time in, of all places, Liverpool, England, and one of my favorite Liverpool-isms is the pronounciation of the word "mall" as "ma-wull", with a short a, as in "cat". Mr. T, being the fuzzily cultured Anglo-American hybrid that he is, never heard it that way, but it was so distinct to me. They don't have malls there like we do in the States, and his family members that spent their holidays in Florida (very common for Brits; when we were in Disney World in April it was chockablock with British vacationers) made a point of visiting American malls to buy consumer goods for much cheaper than they could be had in the U.K.
"We love the ma-wulls there."
I always saw that written in my head as "maul", as in "Let's go to The Maul."
We don't often go to the mall, maul, ma-wull here, just because. It's not really our thing. The mall in our town is one of the worst ones I've ever been in; one of its anchor stores is a Forever 21. But a mall up north of us just opened an American Girl store, and we went this afternoon to check it out. It was the first weekend the store was open, and it was wild: they had tickets for time slots to enter the store, enormous lines to buy all of the fiddly little dolly things and scores of little girls with outfits to match their dolls'. Everyone seemed pleasant and happy, though. It was fun to just look. I liked the potty seat the best.
I let the big girl pick out something, so she made a nail-biting decision between ballet clothes for Addy and a little doll that goes with the other historical doll that she really likes. It's a little Nez Perce girl doll in a cradle board. Tiny and detailed. Kind of hard to resist.
We stopped into the children's shoe store to get the girls' feet measured (I need to do that more often) and confirmed my suspicion that the big girl was walking around in shoes one size too small. They were also falling apart, so it was time.
She picked out some Snow White shoes.
Really, literally Snow White shoes. My childhood self is insanely covetous of those pointy-toed, shiny red shoes with bows and little apple buckles. She says she wants to wear them forever, and I don't doubt it. They were a fantastic deal on clearance so I'm seriously considering buying a couple more pairs in bigger sizes for later.
We sat down as a family and ate mall food and meandered in and out of shops. I bought her new things but no one exploded or imploded. Want and need met amicably and walked along the strand together, chucking stones into the waves. There were warm cookies and half pints of milk with straws.
When I asked her what her favorite part of her crazy-dolly-store-and-new-shoes day was, she said it was visiting her Great Grandma's house afterward. There was the Great Grandma and enormous sweet dogs and a bigger cousin and everyone admired the shoes. What's not to love?
One the way home she spotted a cloud that looked "like a hummingbird with no wings."