Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Mama, I need my wings."

Daughter: "Mama, I need my wings."
Me, pointing to the wings right next to me: "They're right there."
Daughter: "No.  My OTHER wings."
Me: "Oh.  Those are in your bin under your Darth Vader mask."

the girls in their favorite outfits

Ah, yes.  Time to get dressed.  While one has a fit if I give her a skirt, the other is having a fit if I don’t.  On days like this, days when I know the farthest we will be going from our house is the backyard, I admit I give up the battle.  You want to be a fairy today?  Fine.  You want to wear the same t shirt you wore yesterday because it is your new most favorite-est shirt you have ever owned in the entire history of owning shirts?  Fine.

Dress? Not likely.
One thing I love about talking to new parents is their optimistic belief that they will be able to control what their kids wear.  Trying to hold in the laughs, I listen to them explain to me how their little perfect child will never wear pink or glittery jeans or tomboy clothes or mismatched socks or whatever they have decided is just unacceptable.  Even the tiny baby in their arms looks at them like, “ha!  Sure, Mom.  Just wait until I decide I will love monster trucks and sequins!”

Here’s the reality.  Kids will be exposed to way more than just their parents.  They will meet other kids, will walk past displays of random items, will get hand-me-downs from kids with different tastes.  Sure, we’re the primary agents of socialization, we do the most to define normal for them, we buy the majority of their clothes, and we have access to the dumpster if we really hate something.  But we also are the ones who will be tired in the mornings, decide it is more important to get to the doctor’s office on time than wrestle a screaming kid into an outfit she hates, and most importantly, we are the ones who – hopefully – love our children for who they are.  That means loving them when they have the Darth Vader mask on or the fairy wings or the nasty jean shorts with ugly t shirt.

Spock ears match everything.
I still buy for my girls outfits I like and think are cute and that MATCH (really match . . . not “stripes match stripes, right?”), but I have accepted that my girls have their own identities and opinions, and some day soon I won’t get to play dress up with them any more.  We have a system for outfits to keep mornings smoother.  As I fold the laundry, I grab seven complete outfits with underwear and socks and put them in a hanging cubby thing in the closet.  Theoretically, everyday they pick one of the preassembled outfits.  "Theoretically" I say as I smile while folding the adorable Gymboree outfit (with matching hair bows, of course), and watch my daughters run out the door wearing the shorts from the resale shop with a hand-me-down White Sox tee and a torn fairy princess costume.  In the end, having my kids know who they are and feel comfortable in their own skins is way more important to me than what the neighbor might think about their fashion sense.

I said, "Get dressed and play outside."  This is what they put on.