It’s a Girl! But Does it Have to Dress Like One?

Yesterday I was reminded, not for the first time, what a profound act of narcissism raising a child can be. After finally managing to get myself and my two-year-old daughter, Sam, dressed and ready to go outside, I noticed that we were both wearing jeans and brown turtleneck sweaters. “One of us has got to change,” I told her. I elected myself, since it takes me a fraction of the time to put clothes on my own body as it does to put them on hers.

It was not, I admit, unusual for us to leave the house in danger of looking a little too prepared to enter a mother/daughter beauty pageant.

I guess it’s not too surprising, considering that I buy all her clothes and dress her most mornings.

Because you asked, my husband, does, on occasion, do the dressing, but it never seems to turn out well. Consider the time over the summer when I went away for the weekend and my husband mentioned that he and Sam had gone to the playground but had to return home immediately because Sam was too cold. “What was she wearing?” I asked. “Her blue short shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt.”

Now, because, as I’ve mentioned, I buy all her clothes, I know no two-year-old daughter of mine owns short shorts. After further questioning, I realized that he had dressed her in the bloomers designed to go under little girls’ skirts and dresses, and a white undershirt. Basically, he took her out in underwear and a wife beater. Classy.

I know all parents impose their own tastes on their children, particularly when their children are too young to protest or know better, but sometimes think I am a little too controlling. I almost always end up buying things for Sam that I would like for myself, avoiding anything too cutesy, colorful, beribboned or berhinestoned—nothing too girly, despite the fact that she’s a little girl.

In other words, my daughter wears a lot of jeans and monochromatic sweaters. Perhaps she deserves more pink, more patterns, more butterfly appliques, lace and ruffles. I guess that’s what grandparents are for.