Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not Couture

This past weekend Elsa and I engaged in the first of what I'm certain will be many violent, bloody battles that are as old as the invention of mothers, daughters, and those sweatpants with words woven into the butt:

We fought over her outfit choice.

My friend gave me a huge box of clothes her 4-year-old daughter had grown out of, and inside was a nightgown with The Little Mermaid on it. When Elsa saw it, her eyes lit up and her chubby little hands reached out for it in plain, unadulterated desire. All other thoughts of babydolls, boogers and dumping water from the bathroom sink into a coffee table drawer vanished as a single, obsessive idea took root and began to grow: From now on, this will be my second skin.

At first it was cute. She pranced around in the polyester gown and proudly showed it off to whoever would indulge her. Which in this house is Jeff, Rollie, and me. And the dog, but he only pays attention to her if she's either purposely dropping entire chicken nuggets onto the floor, or is preparing to climb on top of him and ride him around the living room.

That night we went to look at Christmas lights at Rollie's school, and instead of making her change into a normal, non-institutional-looking outfit for the trip, I just threw some sweatpants and a coat on her, not bothering to coax her out of the nightgown and into something sane, like a sweater with doggies all over it. She also wore a bright pink, floppy Minnie Mouse hat, because hey, what evening outfit isn't complete without an obnoxious sun hat covered with cartoon mice? Sure she looked like a crazy old lady--all she needed were a bunch of cats following her around--but she was warm, happy, and...gotta put this out there...pretty darn adorable.

When we got home, Jeff and the kids slept in a tent in the backyard (yeah, I know...probably best saved for another blog), so I just stuffed her in her sleeping bag, Ariel nightgown and all, and fled to the house where I spent a luxuriously lonely night in my bed, by myself, completely devoid of any nighttime visits from whimpering trolls. Aaahhhhh.....

The next day, however, when it was time to peel that crusty, well-worn nightgown from Elsa's little body, I was met with some resistance. And by resistance, I mean a full-blown, top o' the lungs screaming temper tantrum.

I understand her unwillingness to relinquish what she believes to be the Absolute Coolest Thing She Will Ever Wear. I myself have been known to wear the same outfit for days on end, convinced that not only was I the envy of every person who saw my cowgirl shirt with the real yarn braids hanging from it, but I was also so cute (think Shirley Temple meets Cindy Brady....although I was actually more like Cousin Oliver meets that nerdy girl in Head of the Class), that soon a TV executive would snap me up and make me into the next Small Wonder.

The thing is, I don't ever remember my own mother stopping me from fantasizing, and therefore wearing whatever the hell I wanted to achieve my dream of being a robot on a deliciously cheesy 80's sitcom. The only time my mother actually forced me to wearing something against my will, it was a green checkered pantsuit when I was in kindergarten...which may or may not have acquired a mysterious hole in the knee and was henceforth unwearable. Perhaps she learned her lesson, and from then on did not give a rat's ass what I wore, as long as I was clothed (although as I got older, I was never clothed enough for my dad's liking...he would have preferred I shop at Hoop Skirts R Us and The Turtleneck Emporium).

So maybe I shouldn't be so insistent that Elsa wear regular clothes all the time. Perhaps I should encourage her own individual style, and applaud her the next time chooses and outfit that says, Hey, I may barely be two years old, but screw the establishment! I'm gonna wear this Little Mermaid nightgown until it gets so tattered you can blow it from my defiant little body like dandelion fluff.

Besides...there's plenty of time to fight with her over much more important issues. Like not playing in her brother's pee-pee stream. This is a battle she will thank me for winning down the road....

Elsa wearing this Spring's collection

Elsa's Summer line


  1. What a cutie! Clothing wars and girls. Probably since the beginning of mankind. I'm sure it was Eve who picked out the outfits... We have four girls and this battle in one form or another has played out with all of them. Two tomboys, two girly girls and all four with their wardrobe pet peeves. Go Elsa!!!

  2. Choose your battles carefully and the war is yours. (maybe)