Every Day is Tacky Day!

24 07 2008

Ever since Neener and Roo were old enough to shriek ‘you’re not the boss of me’ about three years old, I have been too guilty and exhausted to fight with them about letting them pick out their own outfits. Apparently, this is good for them because it gives them a false sense of control over their lives, and helps curtail my obsessive nagging develop their decision making abilities. This was a very difficult thing for me to do because, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, I am a control freak a little particular about some things. When they were little, I relished my job as the boss of them Mom the Chief Wardrobe Consultant. Their clothes were not particularly fancy or expensive, but under my watch, they were at least well co-ordinated. Both individually, and as a pair. I will admit that on occasion, I couldn’t resist dressing Neener and Roo the same. What else can you do when people are suckers for the cloned baby look keep giving you gifts of identical outfits? Or when you need to make it blatantly obvious that you’re the mother of twins so that people might feel sorry for you cut you some slack, and not give you as many dirty looks when you your kids start screaming in the eye gougingly slow line up in Zellers. But most of the time, I tried to demonstrate that I was coherent enough to get them both decently dressed their individual personalities in the clothes I picked out for them. But once they started putting together their own great big fashion don’ts outfits, it became apparent that my selections had overlooked a huge part of their individual personalities : the insane circus clown creative part.

At first, it was just Neener who dressed like a big nut job embraced the chance to take creative liberties with her clothing. Long sleeved blue and yellow striped shirt? Check. Layered with red ‘Kids Belong in a Zoo’ t-shirt? Check. Pink and purple floral print pants? Check. Two pairs of underwear? One underneath and one over top of pink and and purple floral print pants? Oh hell yes! Meanwhile, Roo, who struggled with some sensory issues, making choices, and the gross motor control needed to get herself dressed, would still let me help her just go for whatever was easy. A plain t-shirt and plain leggings. A no-frills dress. Or a tutu from the costume box, over the pajamas she wore to bed on days when I didn’t have the ambition to attempt leaving the house. But now that she’s finally fed up with my vaguely tasteful influence able to do the whole dressing thing more independently, Roo is also happily letting her own freak flag fly sense of style emerge. With a red and black plaid skirt, rainbow striped tights, a hot pink t-shirt, and of course, a tiara. And these days, along with ensuring that they look anything but identical, it’s all about the accessories for both girls. Plastic crowns, copious beads, bracelets, butterfly wings, multiple pony tails, barettes, rubber boots and DIY crayola marker tattoos for Roo. Multiple headbands worn in multiple directions, capes, purses, a red fleece Elmer Fudd hat, and odd shoes on the wrong feet for Neener. Leave it to my kids to take the typical, and now apparently trendy clash fashion of the five year old set to a whole new level of weirdness.

So, I’ve bit my tongue so hard it bled, and cuffed my own hands behind my back learned to back off. Yes, my kids look downright silly sometimes. But here’s a newsflash: My kids are downright silly. They’re kids. They’re supposed to be. I put my serious reservations about mixing plaids and pokadots with Elmer Fudd hats pride aside, and let my kids dress however they feel happy and comfortable, even if it triggers seizures in anyone with a modicum of fashion sense who is sensitive to seeing 5 different patterns and 16 colours sharing the space on one butt waggling child. But since I’ve elected to let my kids get as creative as their little wacky little hearts desire, I now can’t help but notice parents who are clearly much bigger control freaks than me who just can’t quit being their child’s Chief Wardrobe Consultant. And honestly, I’m not sure how or why they continue do it once their kids are old enough to do it on their own. Maybe they give their kids a few tasteful outfit options rather than letting them loose in the closet. Maybe they only fill that closet with classic mix and match pieces in chic colours like Boring navy blue, Green’s Snooty Cousin khaki, Little Miss Prissy Pants pastel pink, and Don’t You Dare Get Dirty white. Or maybe they spend chunks of time with their child, probably right from infancy, instilling the importance and principles of dressing like a proper little adult, instead of doing utterly unimportant and childish things like drawing on their legs with markers. Or digging in the dirt. Or trying to figure out which tutu goes best with a pair of satin pajama pants and a frog toque.

Last year at school, Neener and Roo came home with a note from their junior kindergarten teacher announcing that they’d be dressing up for tacky day. Naturally, my kids needed to know that tacky had nothing to do with getting jabbed by tacks what tacky meant before they’d agree to go along with it, and so I explained that tacky meant wearing crazy clothes that didn’t match. To which Neener replied ” Oh. Well, every day is tacky day at our house.” And so it is. And I’m starting to be almost insanely proud of rather enjoy it. I know that in ten years time, I’ll long for the days when my biggest objection to their choice of outfit was that their striped shirt and flowered pants didn’t exactly go with the four head bands. And someday, Neener and Roo might each end up a lot like me: a plain, black clothes kind of girl, with little desire to draw much attention to wardrobe. But, like me, their closets may still harbour a secret stash of crazy, creative accessories. A blinged to the brim turquoise belt. Shiny silver tango shoes. A drawer full of odd socks. So for now, I’m content to let every day be tacky day for Neener and Roo. At least Squiggles will have no choice but to humour me need me to pick out her clothes for a couple more years. That is, until Neener and Roo’s start passing on their clashin’ fashion advice to their baby sister, and the red fleece Elmer Fudd hat and the rainbow striped tights become hand-me-downs. And until Squiggles figures out how to put on her own clothes and shriek ‘you’re not the boss of me.’




6 responses

24 07 2008

All I can say is remember the “prom” gown. Did you listen to mamma? No! but you did listen to aunt dookie, who by the by agreed with mamma. If it’s in the cat, it’s in the kittens, so you may as well enjoy their creativity before they cut their hair , shine their shoes and become different like everybody else!

24 07 2008

yeah yeah, i tried to wear a doily to the prom, and it was a good thing i didn’t because another girl showed up wearing the exact doily i wanted. and yes, i looked pretty fine in that very expensive burgundy velvet number.

25 07 2008

You’re so funny, Amy. I think your kids look adorable in that pic and not at all tacky.

25 07 2008

The outfits those two continue to put together never cease to amaze me. Like Neeners bday outfit of camo cargo pants, a red tshirt covered in images of dogs and a sliver glitter belt that would put even the biggest disco ball to shame…oh and don’t forget the multi coloured Cali-gear on her feet and the ever present baseball cap!!

Congrats to you for giving the Blister Sisters the freedom to imagine to their hearts content…I’m sure Squiggles will follow proudly in their footsteps!

26 07 2008

Z-boy has started choosing for himself recently too, generally from his little sister’s wardrobe… bring on the flowery pants with lace trim! (Which, incidentally, I almost prefer on him) He does get strange looks when he yanks his flowery pants down to his knees by the side of the road to water a curbside tree though: what? you were expecting a girl or something?? Of course, the shoulder-length blondish curly hair could also have something to do with that. Or the pink sparkley shirt that actually is from his own wardrobe.

26 07 2008

Dear Anika, please move back here so our children can hang out together.

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