This morning, Aleita was in a good mood. As she came skipping into the bathroom after Chris got her dressed, she announced, “I am wearing a happy shirt.” Happy shirts are ones that make her happy to wear them (and I am sure that you can assume what the inverse of this statement is.) The “happy shirt” she is wearing today is a pink and red striped one with a picture of a cat on the front. She loves this shirt and would wear it every day if I would let her.
She definitely has developed her own taste in clothing. It is strange how different she and Maggie are. At seven, Maggie is still quite content to allow me to pick out her clothes everyday, so long as I don’t select anything with a constricting collar, such as a turtleneck. I will sometimes give Maggie a few options for clothing to wear that day, and frequently, she will look at me somewhat indifferently. Most of the time, she will tell me, “whatever you pick is fine.” She likes to wear nice clothes and likes to look pretty, but she is confident in my ability to help her achieve this, I suppose. Not so much her sister. . .
Many times, at the beginning of the week, I will set out five choices of outfits for the week (M –F). She can pick the order in which she wears them, but all five outfits will get worn as the course of the week goes on. Often times, knowing that those are her only choices, Aleita will try to rearrange the pants and shirts so that she can insert as much autonomy as the situation allows. She can never understand why I won’t let her wear the strange combination of mismatched shirts and pants that she comes up with. I know, I know, if I were one of those hip and with-it moms, I would wait patiently as my daughter selected her clothing choices each day, and honor those selections and celebrate what a “little individual” she is becoming.
I saw a mom in line the other day at the post office with her young daughter in tow - - she must celebrate her “little individual” quite frequently, because her daughter looked like she belonged at a circus for the colorblind and deranged. She wore green and yellow polka dot pants, a pink and blue striped shirt with stars, tap dance shoes, and what appeared to be the fairy wings from an old dance outfit or Halloween costume. The mom looked adoringly at her daughter as she tapped her way around those of us waiting in line, as if to say, “isn’t she precious?” All I could think to myself was that that little tap-dancing, mismatched whirling dervish was definitely the one who ran that household. Her parents will shake their heads once she is an out-of-control teenager and wonder just why they can’t influence their daughter to behave better.
Perhaps I lack sympathy for my young three year old because of the fact that 99% of what she wears is cotton and has an elastic waistband. My ironed button-down blouse and slacks definitely appear at the opposite end of the “happy” scale from cotton pullovers and elastic waistbands.