My Wardrobe War With My Toddler

girl dressMy daughter loves dresses. They don't have to be frilly or froo-froo or pinkified, and she wears them with pants underneath, but the top must be a dress. This whole dress thing mystifies me. When she was a baby, I rarely put her in dresses. Why? I could say it was because she was crawling and her knees would catch on the hem of the dress and she'd get all fuggemelled. But, really, I didn't put her in dresses because I don't like dresses.

You know how they say writers should write what they know? Well, I dressed my daughter with clothes that I know -- and that didn't include dresses.

And this decision is coming back to haunt me ... not in the way that you think.


I'm fine with her wearing dresses. Sure, it gets old (really old) when she wears a dress every day. But we make it work by not making it a big deal. I've introduced the concept of the "tunic," that it is a shirt that is kinda like a dress. And if she's going to soccer or if they have gymnastics day at preschool, she knows she can't wear a dress that day. We don't engage in the Wardrobe War -- we pick out two outfits and she selects one of them. She's also in charge of socks. It work for us.

But one day, as I was getting dressed, Kiddo asked me to wear a dress. I paused. I paused trying to think of the right reply. I paused because I hadn't had enough coffee yet, so the synapses were firing a tad slow. I paused too long. It gave her time to think. "Mama, you know what? I have nevereverever seen you wear a dress!" she said, decked out in a light blue, knee-length cotton number. "Why don't you wear dresses like me?"

I swallowed hard. I did not want to totally admit my dress aversion quite yet, did not want to make her doubt her love for dresses, did not want to go into the whole "I really don't like my knees" element to the situation. I dodged it and said, "Just like you love to wear dresses, I love to wear jeans and a top ... and sometimes I wear tunics just like you do."

That didn't stop her. Every day, she asked if I would wear a dress. Every day, she would pull out one of the two dresses I had in my closet (one is an old bridesmaid dress) and suggest I wear it. Every day, just like moms across America, trying to get their kid to wear a certain item, she would try to get me to wear a dress. All of a sudden, we were in a Wardrobe War -- but I was on the opposite end!

It was kinda cute ... for a while, but I put my Converse-clad foot down and reminded her it's a big enough job getting herself ready in the morning, that she needed to focus on that. Which she accepted. But later, with such infinite (almost) 4-year-old wisdom, she said, "I sometimes wear t-shirts like you. Why don't you just sometimes wear a dress like me, when you have to be dressy?"

You know, she had a point, a good point, a valid point. So I went out and bought a dress. There was a party at her preschool one night and, instead of my usual "black pants and a top" outfit, I wore the dress. I got 11 compliments, including a "You look hot" from my husband. So, maybe, just maybe, I'll buy another one. If anyone finds a jazzy, not-so-dress-like dress, send me the link.

Do you have Wardrobe Wars in your home?


Image via ms.margie/Flickr

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