I let my kids dress themselves, within reason.
When it really counts, I resort to the faux-democracy of preselected acceptable choices (“Would you like to wear this, or this?”) because any semblance of a choice, however manufactured, tends to appease deep toddler yearnings for some control while under their current dictatorship.
But usually, I just let them pick. I figure it’s a harmless way for them to express themselves, even if I have to occasionally suffer sideways glances and condescending questions about whether or not their father dressed them today.
Plus, we’ll be spending most of our lives NOT dressed like our favorite princesses, so why deny them now?
And my older daughter Brontë definitely went through a phase of going practically everywhere dressed like a wedding cake, flouncing about every mundane errand while glittering fluffy pink tulle in her wake…
Yet after getting enough princessing out of her system, she eventually developed a far more sophisticated fashion sense than you’d expect from a five-year-old. In fact, I once had a fun idea about writing a blog post where I let my toddler pick out my outfits for a week that I later abandoned after she kept constructing truly tasteful outfits with well-coordinated accessories.
Well lately, her 3-year-old sister Bridget has also been expressing an interest in her clothing: YES, to the cats-with-glasses dress and DEFINITELY NO to the turquoise shirt.
I was a little surprised to find my Viking daughter suddenly demonstrating fashion sensitivity, but decided it must be time to let her pick her own outfits too.
So, after I told her to get dressed for the park, she came out wearing this:
And it was AWESOME.
In case it isn’t clear from the blurry picture, she’s wearing a pirate outfit with a sword and a knight’s helmet.
She’s pretty proud of it, too. Absolutely no kid is going to mess with her when she’s looking like that and she knows it.
She also made sure to grab her pirate musket water gun on the way out, because you can never be too armed for the playground.
Nor was it the last time this week she’s incorporated the helmet into her wardrobe. Yesterday, she got ready for the library like this:
You may be wondering why, at this point, we have a toddler-sized medieval helmet. Well, Bidgie saw it in the store and absolutely fell in love. She slapped that piece of armor on her head and blissfully rode around in the grocery cart like it had finally completed her.
Maybe YOU can deny your child medieval accouterments while looking into their innocent eyes, but I, for one, felt that watching a toddler stumble around in aggressive, Monty Python-esque head accessories was something my life desperately needed.
And it’s definitely been improving my day.
Tell me that didn’t just make you feel better.