Yesterday, a friend sent me an e-mail telling me about a great sale at an online store. I surfed and then I shopped. Did I buy for my husband, a man whose jeans are actually falling off his body due to recent weight loss? Did I buy for my son, who is finally outgrowing his 18 month clothes (at 30 months)? Did I buy for myself – a woman desperately in need of anything resembling grown-up attire?
I bought for my daughter, who at five has more clothes than the rest of the family, combined. If I only did her laundry once per month, the only thing she would run out of is tights. My daughter has more princess dresses than I have regular dresses. She has many pairs of shoes and they all mix and match to her outfits perfectly. She has so many pairs of pajamas that they fill three dresser drawers. She has a rack just for purses. My child has a perfectly organized closet that is divided by type of clothes then subdivided into style, color, and degree of warmth.
If you had told me that I would give birth to this type of child. I would have laughed until I wet myself.
Would you like to know the irony of this situation? I dress like a 12 year old tomboy struggling with the onset of boobs – during the grunge era. Plus, I could fit all of my clothes into one large suitcase. (You never know when you might have to jam.)
All my t-shirts have sayings or logos on them. All of my outerwear comes from the men’s department. I have one pair of shoes for winter and one pair of shoes for summer – both black. I prefer winter colors. I cannot remember the last time I wore makeup and for me, leaving my hair down, completely straight and without any styling whatsoever, is being “fancy.” This is all I can manage, not owning a single styling product or appliance. I only had an extensive maternity wardrobe because my husband bought it all for me – or I would have spent nine months (times two) bulging out of a pair of ill-fitting sweatpants and an old VT sweatshirt. My bathing suit (singular) consists of a full-coverage tankini and a pair of board shorts that hits my knees. I am a sad excuse for a woman with a set of natural DDs (and even in that department, I aim for practical over prostitute.)
How did I get a child who believes that a tiara is perfect for any occasion? Obviously, God has a wicked sense of humor. But on top of that, my daughter has dueling grandmothers who shop competitively. It is not uncommon for my mother to show up with a dozen outfits for my daughter. She finds it harder to shop for my son, so he only gets a half dozen. Along the same lines, I do not send clothes when I send my children to visit their paternal grandparents. Instead, at the end of every season, they return home with bags filled with barely worn outfits (usually a size too large) that will be perfect for the following year. Throw in a husband who has never passed a children’s bargain rack without stopping and a fashionista was born. (Not to say my son is a slacker in the clothing department, but he likes to choose outfits based on animals or sports. He will request to be a Hokie, a hippo, an Eagle, or a fireman. As long as his pants fit, he’s good to go.)
So what is a mother to do? In this case, I indulge her –it’s like dressing an oversized and overly appreciative Barbie. I never pay full price, I try to buy a size larger when possible, and in the case of outerwear, I try to go neutral to allow for the successful handing down to her brother. How much longer will she happily wear whatever she is bought? How much longer until the arguments over brand begin? Who knows, maybe one day, she’ll help me pick out clothes and we’ll enjoy shopping together. It’s as likely as Tim Gunn stopping by to perform an intervention, but it could happen. But until the inevitable fighting begins (and considering her father’s very conservative taste in clothing, those fights are going to be epic), I will continue to stock her closet while my own sits empty and forlorn. If only one woman in this house is going to have fashion sense and personal style, it might as well be her, because as anyone will tell you, it sure as hell isn’t me.