Monday, March 08, 2010

My Little Fashionista -- by Jamie

Before becoming a mother, I suspect I sometimes looked judgmentally at little girls in completely mismatched outfits…never really understanding why their moms let them leave their houses looking that way. But now I understand that often the way a child dresses really isn’t under the mother’s control. Sometimes it’s not worth battling with your daughter over outrageous fashion choices when you’re already battling to leave the house on time.

Jayda was fighting with me over her outfit selections earlier than I ever imagined she would—probably by the time she turned two. The blissful baby-dressing years—when I’d been able to dress Jayda in whatever I wanted without consulting anyone else’s opinion—ended abruptly, and she was soon pulling clothes out of her drawers, rejecting many of my choices, and throwing fits when I insisted that her clothing selections didn’t match, were out of season, or, simply no longer fit her.

To appease Jayda and foster her creativity, I gave my daughter carte blanche over her pajama choices; I filled the bottom drawer of her dresser with all sorts of tops and bottoms, and let her pick out whatever she wanted to wear at night. Often that meant polka dots on top and stripes on the bottom. Or pink velour pants with a green cotton shirt. And that was fine with me. Jayda’s wacky outfits were confined to the bedroom and I was content. But of course that wasn’t enough for Jayda; it wasn’t long before she wanted control 24/7.

Now, every morning, Jayda is in charge of picking out her clothes for school; I do get to supervise and offer opinions, but Jayda gets the final say (unless my daughter is insisting on wearing a sundress in 30 degree weather, in which case I put my foot down). Fortunately, I don’t have it as bad as some moms at daycare—who are forced to send their kids to school every day in swirly dresses, or swathed in pink from head to toe. But I do have to make sure that I do laundry constantly, because Jayda is obsessed with her Tinkerbell underwear (and asks for it constantly…throwing fits if I inform her that it’s dirty), and goes through phases where she likes to wear the same things over and over again. And lately, she gets very upset if I don’t listen to her fashion advice while dressing myself, as well.

A few weeks ago, I put on a tailored burgundy shirt I hadn’t worn in ages and Jayda snarled at me: “I don’t like dat, Mommy! Throw it in the garbage!” When I told her that wasn’t going to happen, she got very upset: “What?! You’re not taking it off, Mommy?” I was forced to placate her with fruit snacks and a Max and Ruby video, to make up for my “defiance” of her request. But alternatively, I scored points by purchasing a new “pokie”-dotted bra that Jayda thinks I look “bootiful” in…and believes I should wear “every day!” She even likes to check to see if I am following her advice (and, as I mentioned before, it’s a good thing I do my laundry very often!).

Fortunately, along with the bra, there are plenty of things in my closet Jayda does like—especially shirts that are pink or purple. And when she looks through my clothes, my daughter likes to remind me, “when I get bigger and bigger, I’ll wear these, too, ok?” Sounds fine to me…it would sure save us shopping time…and a heck of a lot of money!

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