Seven years ago, when I found out I was carrying my daughter (after birthing 4 boys), I was beside myself excited at the prospect of girly dresses, frilly tights, and hair bows. I’d spent the previous eighteen years admiring the baby girl section of Kohls Department Store while diligently purchasing and handing down OshKosh B’Gosh, Levis, and Carters play sets for my sons.
I had the time of my life during Mia’s first two years when I could dress her any way I wanted to. She donned Baby Gap, Gymboree, and even an occasional Janie & Jack ensemble. It was heaven.
Then one day, just after her second birthday, we were at Children’s Place in the mall and I picked up a super cute dress. I said to Mia, “What do you think of this dress Mia?” Her response, “I haat daat” (translated it means “I hate that”.) I actually laughed out loud and found something else to ask her about to which I received the same response. I truly thought this was hysterical…the fact that my two year old daughter would have an opinion about fashion when I was still picking out the school clothes for each one of my sons, including the eldest who was in high school at the time! I thought this was so amusing I dragged my husband to the store to show him. I’d pick out a dress or an outfit that I thought was super cute, girly, and would buy her in a heartbeat, I would ask her opinion and she’d say, “I haat daat!” We were both highly amused until I realized that behind the words were actions which had the potential to drive me insane!
I know what you’re thinking, she’s TWO, right?! Dress her and move on already lady! If only it had been that easy! So, as they say, you pick your battles. And slowly, but surely, Mia began to choose her own clothes. Everyday. And if you hadn’t already guessed, she NEVER chose the cute, frilly, super girly stuff in her closet…she chose only the bland, cotton, unmatched crap I wouldn’t dream of ever putting on her.
Fast forward nearly five years…Mia’s grandma sent her a gift card to “Justice for Girls” this year for Christmas. Mia and I had never shopped there. After my initial baby couture binge, we were back at Kohls (and occasionally Target) for all of her clothing needs. Much as I loved the higher end stuff, life with five kids does not allow this family the luxury of anything but practicality. Needless to say, we were both excited.
When we arrived at the door, I was even more excited to see the “75% off” sign in the window! “Mia”, I said, “we are gonna bring home a whole new wardrobe today!” (Insert squeals of delight). We walked in and WOW! super cute, not too girly, clothes! Lots of bling (which she tolerates and even sometimes chooses on her own) and lots of cotton (which is the only thing she will wear since she is what I call “tactically challenged” (meaning she HATES the feel of denim, wool, or anything other than cotton on her skin). We both thought we’d hit the jackpot!
Mia and I began to peruse the store, picking up all sorts of cute (matching) outfits. By the time we were done she had at least 25 combinations to try on. Heading to the dressing room I get a reality check from the saleswoman who tells me only the summer clearance items are 75% off…and only SOME of the winter merchandise is 40% off. I let it fly over my head since I am overjoyed Mia has found several items she wants to wear that aren’t bland and uncoordinated.
The process begins…one outfit after the next, admittedly some of them cuter and better suited to her figure than others, for one reason or another she balks at each one. Then, miraculously, she finds a top she LOVES! But, that is it. Which quite frankly is good thing since it was $32 and we promised dad we wouldn’t outspend the gift card. So on the way to the register she spots a matching headband…OF COURSE you can have it! (As long as you promise to actually wear it.) AND the hair feathers?!?! Sure, what the hell, let’s live a little!
This is typical of our shopping endeavors, and sad to say, I have a feeling there will come a point (like by the time she hits the age of 10) where I will look back on these days and wish for this kind of mediocre success. I am thinking about starting a program called “Daughter Swap’n Shop” wherein you take someone else’s flesh and blood to the store and help wardrobe them. Surely I cannot be the only mother on earth that has this problem, right? If not this then maybe I’ll just put dad in charge of shopping with her, I’ll take the boys shopping any day!