My husband and I had a rare day together today. The girls were with our babysitter, and we decided to go shopping and to a movie. One of our missions was to find a holiday outfit for Chloe. Her father was particularly attentive to the task, and we spent quite a bit of time looking for the perfect celebratory attire for our big girl.
We tried lots of different stores, with lots of ugly dressy clothes. We finally struck gold with a trendy tartan taffeta (Chloe is learning about alliteration) skirt with a pretty black velvety top and shrug.
Proud of our purchase (especially my husband), we made our way to the movies and saw “Michael Clayton.” Loved the film (I am a recovering lawyer, after all) and I love George Clooney. But that’s neither here nor there.
When we finally made it home, Chloe was a bit disappointed that we came bearing clothes and not toys. But I was very excited to show her what her papa (and I) had chosen for her to wear to upcoming holiday festivities. We had even asked the store to wrap it up for her.
Chloe untied the red ribbon and opened the box. And then I noticed the tears in her eyes (her emotions still run so close to the surface – I thought she would have outgrown that at age 4). “Mommy, I really wanted a dress. I don’t like this skirt.” I told her that it wasn’t a problem, we would simply return it. I then proposed that the two of us go shopping on Saturday, so that she’d be able to make her own selections and try on dresses in the store.
Tears continued. In her usual penetrating manner, she explained, “But when I choose something I want to buy, you never like it and you never let me get it.” I didn’t have much of a response to that, since it’s basically true. Chloe’s fashion sense is still a little underdeveloped, to put it as diplomatically as possible. Mind you, my reluctance to allow her to discover her style is completely ironic, since I used to comb the aisles at Urban Outfitters in Greenwich Village for the funkiest outfits I could find – but hell, I was in high school by then.
I’m looking forward to Saturday. My first girl is growing up. And if I want to treat her as I was treated when I was a kid, then I think I need to let her start making some fashion decisions on her own. Within limits, of course. Some of the dresses we saw today for 7-year olds were plain old slutty, and I refuse to allow my dearest Chloe to dress like a 7-year old slut (can 7-year olds even be sluts? Perish the thought).