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March 06, 2007

What's so Wrong with Getting Dressed?

Every Tuesday when I drop off D at his preschool, I notice how well dressed the children are there.  Little girls in Hannah Andersson dresses with coordinating tights.  Little boys with trendy shirts and matching shoes.  And then there is my son: hair unbrushed, wearing a blue shirt under an orange shirt, black sweatpants, red socks, purple hat, and brown boots.  Gotta love it. 

Starting this year, I agreed with D to let him pick out his own clothes and dress himself.  Morning was turning into a battle where D would be upset that I picked out the dinasour shirt instead of the Thomas shirt.  He clearly had is own opinion about what he wanted to put on his body.  And since I wasn't the one who had to wear it, I figured why battle.  Now, this often means that he picks out a striped shirt to go with camoflauge pants.  Or that he chooses one blue sock and one gray one.  He's not even 3 yrs old, so I figure he has plenty of time to learn the fashion rules.  On the bright side, he doesn't discriminate against any color.  In fact, all colors are welcome and will be worn in the same ensemble.

Often times I get strange looks when we are out in public.  I'm can read the look on their faces.  The judgemental look that says "I can't believe she let her kid wear that."  I'll admit that when we first started this, I was trying to steer D into choosing clothes that I wanted him to wear.  I was my own worst critic, internalizing the "you suck" propoganda.  You know, the lame innervoice that tells you crap like: "If my son isn't dressed cute, then somehow I am a BAD mother."  Or "If he is not wearing matching socks, then he is a FAILURE and will never amount to anything."  All crap. 

I think that I have a great kid.  In fact, I know he is pretty awesome.  His independent spirit is not one that I will squelch.  I will not try to change him.  Instead I will praise him when he gets his shoes on the right foot, puts the tag in the back before stepping into his pants, or when he can get dressed in under 15 minutes (why did nobody warn me about how slow children can move sometimes).  I will not buy him designer clothes.  My child is not a status symbol.  He is a little boy that wants to play trains, and build forts, and get "yucky."

When I get those strange looks from people, I am going to look them in the eye and say "D dressed himself today, isn't that GREAT!"

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