Friday, March 19, 2010

When Bad Clothes Happen to Good Kids

When my kids were about one, my brother, who by then had four kids,three girls and a boy ranging in age from twelve to eighteen months, told me one of his parenting rules.

"I never fight about clothes. I remember you and mom fighting about what you'd wear (this started when I was two, my brother five) and I promised I'd never argue about it. If it's clean, and they're dressed appropriately enough for the weather, I'm good."

"What's clean?" I asked.

"Two times," he answered. "They can wear the same thing two days in a row, as long as it's not obviously dirty."

I took this advice to heart, and I don't fight with my kids about what they want to wear. When Helen chose a pink, maroon and gold outfit made in velour and cotton for her birthday present from her aunt, I said it was "Great!" When I had to get her a gymnastics leotard, I got one that looks like Wispride cheese spread on velvet. She loves it. When she wants to tuck a shirt in that would really look better out, I keep my mouth shut.

This morning, she wanted to wear her new leggings with a dress that was obviously dirty. When she couldn't wear the dress, she was upset, but soon enough she assembled a new outfit, this one with the leggings and a top. Only the thing is, the leggings really aren't leggings per se; they're footless tights and since I ordered them online, I'd forgotten this little detail until she put them on. When I saw them on her, I said, "Honey, don't youwant to put on a skirt?"
"But those are really footless tights."
"No they're not! They're leggings and L. wore leggings and a t-shirt the other day to school."
I contemplated insisting. I imagined what the Fug Girls would say, but in the end, perhaps because she was about to go and have a tooth pulled, or perhaps because I just didn't want to fight about clothes, I didn't say anything more. I let her prance and preen in her leggings and tried to ignore the telltale seams on her bottom. She's five and she's happy and when she's fifteen, she'll know the difference between leggings and tights. At least, one can only hope.


marjorie said...

ahaha, i too have had the TIGHTS ARE NOT LEGGINGS conversation.

you know you can buy a button that says "I DRESSED MYSELF TODAY!" (subtext: DO NOT BLAME MY MOTHER!)

Robin Aronson said...

i need that button.