I have vivid memories of being a little girl and fighting with my mother every morning before school. She would have an outfit laid out for me and I would moan, groan, whine, hiss, cry, plead, and basically rain down terror on anyone in my firing range. Why? All because I hated the clothes she would pick out for me.
I had to be the one who chose the clothes because I was the one who had to wear them all day.
And if I was uncomfortable, then my entire day would suck. So after a while, my mom would just let me pick out my own clothes. And everything was as it should be.
Fast forward about thirty years. I’m now a mother of six chil’rens. Six chil’rens that I have to dress. You know what they say ’bout karma?
Not that I believe in karma or anything, but lets just say I’m using it for theatrical purposes.
I always lay out clothes for my boys. They are cool with it. On occasion they will request to deviate from my “clothing suggestion”, and we will negotiate. Some are better at dressing themselves than others. The others will come out wearing that faded pair of Wrangler jeans (a hand-me-down that I couldn’t bear to throw out–“You can use these for when…you paint! Mow the lawn! Scrub my floorboards!”) in a size 10, belted tightly and pulled all the way up to their armpits. Paired with a giant t-shirt that resembles a girls nightgown. They would so come out looking like that. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. They just cannot be trusted to dress themselves yet.
Michael has said, they aren’t your own life-size Barbies dolls, you know.
And I usually respond, if they have passed through my aching, quivering loins and I have to be seen with them in public, then I have the right to dress them!!
Its all good in our hood.
But the female offspring…its not that easy.
I remember my mom–and my dad–telling me this often as a child, “I can’t wait until you have kids–then they will come out just like you!”
And I couldn’t understand what they meant. Who wouldn’t want a smart, witty, artistic, chubby bookworm for a daughter?! Apparently, that’s not what they meant.
Well, either way, I’m paying for it. Paying for it big time with these female offspring. Once, while my sister-in-law was babysitting the chil’rens, she said she was amused that Xixi sat with her for an hour on the sofa, flipping through an Instyle magazine. “Oh, I yike that dwess. That’s bootifuuul. Ew. That’s ugleee. Oh, that’s bootifuul.” And she also made her aunt choose from four different pairs of pj’s before she agreed to the pair she liked.
Oops. My bad.
Here is a little sample of what getting dressed in my home sounds like:
Me: Here. Put this on.
Them: Nooo! That’s ugly! I don’t want to wear long pants. I want to wear shorts.
Me: Its cold out. Put the pants on.
Them: Ugh! I’m gonna look ugly in that.
Them: They make me feel all itchy and scratchy!
Them: They make me feel all sweaty and stuff!
Them: I’m gonna look so ugly!
Them: People are going to laugh at me.
Them: Pleeeeease! Pleeeeeeasssse Mommy!
Them: Mommy! Why can’t I just wear the shorts??
Me: Are you kidding me? PUT IT ON.
Them: Nooooooooo!! waaaaaaaaaah! I can’t wear this! I can’t!
Me: Sigh. Ok. What about this dress? This dress is beautiful! You will look so pretty in this. Your cousin [resident fashion diva Selah] has a dress like this and she always looks pretty! Do you want to wear this dress?
Them: No. I want to wear these shorts.
Me: Ok. Put the shorts on. Freeze your butt off then.
Them: Yay! Shorts!
And they win. Just like that. I like to tell myself that I stand firm and force them to wear what I tell them but when it comes down to brass tacks, I don’t. I totally cave. Partly because I remember being that kid who wanted to wear what I wanted. And partly because I want to puncture my own eardrums so I won’t have to continue hearing whiny girl voices.
So my mom says, “They are horrible! You have created little monsters! They are just like you. I can’t believe they battle you on what they will wear! They are 3 and 5 years old, Denise!”
Yes, I am aware of that, mother.
I also discovered that I totally have to present their “clothing suggestions” in a certain manner, to sell them on the idea. “Oh, look at this cute dress I just bought for you! And look, matching flip flops! Aren’t they cute? Oh, oh and here is a matching barrette you can wear. And if it’s cold out, you can wear your jean jacket until the sun comes out. See, you will look totally cute!” All that said with a super sweet, upbeat voice.
This was totally the conversation we had when presenting their Easter dresses to them.
I hyped them outfits just like Flava Flav hyped Public Enemy back in the day.
Occasionally, I would take out the dresses so they could ooh and aaah over them cuz mama didn’t want no problems on Easter morning. So on Sunday, they were more than happy to wear the clothes I laid out for them.
But where do I go from here? Right now it’s shorts and long pants. Pretty soon its gonna be thong chonies, miniskirts and booty shorts. Oh dear Lord baby Jesus. I just have to resign myself. I have, in fact, created little monsters.
But those are some cute little monsters!