If you were to walk into my 4-year-old daughter’s room any given morning, around 7am, you would find a partially dressed little girl, and two or three rejected articles of clothing puddled around her ankles, or tossed, inside out, over her bed. Black leggings with pink kitty cats that are “too stretchy,” striped cotton pants that are “not stretchy enough.” Jeans that are scratchy. T-shirts that are “too hot,” “too summery” or tight. My child is the Goldilocks of fashion!
This sad scene usually takes place after I have exited her room in utter frustration, desperate for the soothing powers of my cup of coffee. What happens is I wake her up, we have sweet moments of cuddling in her bed, then she asks me to help her find something to wear. “Is it hot or cold today,” she asks. My answer bears no relevance to her choice of outfit, by the way. I may say “it’s chilly today,” and she will show up to breakfast wearing a skort and tank top. I have tried offering her a couple of options that are seasonally appropriate and match, to give her some level of control. She will reject my suggestions and declare: “I want to pick the options!”
This is where I can either fight, or walk away. In the past, we fought. We fought because I held fast to the notion that striped pants did not go with polka-dot T-shirts, or that skirts looked ridiculous over sweat pants. The more I tried to explain with reason, the harder she held to her fashion choice. Ultimately, there would be tears, breakfast would be delayed, and I would be late for work. Why did I care? I am not the one who drives her to school, so I don’t even have to face the public with my awkwardly dressed child. She, clearly, does not care. Maybe it was important to me that she show up put together especially because I am never there? Visual proof that I am a caring and involved parent?
Clearly, this is my issue, and It’s not worth the war. I have limited hours a day with my husband and children, and it’s a giant waste of everyone’s time to argue with a 4-year-old over fashion (or anything, really). This is not the Oscar’s. As long as she is comfortable (not too warm, not too cold), and dressed to play, I just don’t care what goes on her body. Not anymore.
My new goal is to get her to “pick her options” without unfolding half her closet every morning.