From Tami: Children’s Fashion

Chid in Fedora Hat: Fashion
Children’s fashion is a sight to behold. I’m not talking about Baby Gap, or Gymboree, or even high-end, designer gear. I’m talking about the fashion statements that kids make when they are given control of their wardrobes.

My kids had a bunch of fashion phases. We had tutus everywhere, for what seemed like forever (boys and girls). We had tap-shoes, which my daughter was sure were fancier than regular dress-shoes because of the sound. (I would like to take a moment to point out that not a single one of our kids ever actually took tap dancing lessons. I literally bought them because she thought they were fabulous.) We had a period where one boy only wore things emblazoned with Winnie-the-Pooh characters. We had plenty of princess dresses (Belle and Jasmine, mainly, to tell you how old my girls are—no Elsa here!), and we had a lot of winter-boots-with-diapers in the summer. One son found a ridiculous round bowl of a hat—a cross between a derby and a fez—which he wore for months, and adult friends of ours used to joke that he could turn it upside down whenever he needed a bowl. It was that bad. And lest you think that these outfits were all in the privacy of our own home, think again. These were worn everywhere—on errands, to school, in formal settings, and in muddy parks.

I actually had a bit of a reputation in my social circles. People looked forward to seeing what I would let my kids wear around town.

My eldest daughter loved strutting around in bathing suits. She loved bathing suits so much that one was simply not enough. She would take all of the bathing suits out of her drawer and put them all on at once. When it was time to actually get dressed, however, she would refuse to take them off. I was confronted with a dilemma—do I fight a determined toddler, or do I put her clothes on over three bathing suits? She was still in diapers, so I’m sure you can imagine how difficult diaper changes were. First, the clothes came off. Then, three layers of one-piece bathing suits. I changed the diaper, and then the bathing suits had to go back on. All of them. And then, finally, her clothes were back on and she was back to playing. Some people must have thought I was crazy for allowing it, but I really felt that it was good for her to feel in control of her fashion choices. Plus, I didn’t have the energy to pick that battle.

(Which are also the reasons that I let her run around nude a lot. I confess that a bunch my kids were serious nudists at heart, and I allowed them to express that even if it made me look nuts. Naked two-year-olds in January are very confusing for childless house-guests. I’m happy to report that they all wear clothes now.)

Another daughter was a serious fashionista. As a toddler, she wore lots of jewelry (mostly Mardi Gras style beaded necklaces), long dresses (usually fancy nightgowns), and high-heeled shoes (mine, of course). I used to drop her off at preschool with her sneakers in a bag, escorting my two-year-old princess as she carefully shuffled into class with the entirety of her baby feet swallowed by the toes of my shoes. Her teacher loved it!

girl with tiara[1]

Our youngest son was always very formal. He’s nine now, but he has loved clothes forever. When he was younger, he would take every opportunity to wear a suit and tie. The older kids would be hanging out in shorts and T-shirts, and he would make a grand entrance in a suit. With a handkerchief in the pocket. And sometimes a boutonnière. When he was five, we bought him a pocket watch. It was the best gift ever.

All of my kids dress (relatively) normally now, and I find myself missing those crazy days. There were definitely frustrations, but there was also tons of laughter. I loved watching my kids express themselves in unique and harmless ways, and they glowed with such pride in their choices of couture. And they were completely adorable.

I know it can be tough to bite the bullet and let your kids out of the house looking ridiculous. It can be even tougher when society considers their fashion choices to be gender bending. But I know that you recognize your child’s creative sparks, and you nurture them. If you smile, and accept the humor in your kids’ sartorial selections, other parents will smile with you. And your children will certainly smile, proud of their appearances. I know that you can and do weather every phase with grace.

And that’s why you’re a SuperMom.


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