It’s Paris Fashion Week in France and it’s Preschool Fashion Day each morning in my three-year-old’s closet.
I am not a cookie cutter Mommy – it should come as no suprise to those who know and love me best when they encounter my children in all combinations of clothes, accessories and combinations.
As an elementary student, I designed and sewed clothes for my Barbies. But, it wasn’t until high school I sewed thrift store vintage fabrics into just the right bit of Pearl Jam plaid and Grateful Dead flow to call them my own. I love how my parents never batted an eye, but instead praised my creativity. Their respect in character design must have come from my summers on a big wheel wearing my uniform: Wonder Woman Underroos, pipe cleaner bracelets and snow boots.
I’m fortunate to live amonst families who deeply value the creativity and expression of children and never toss a judgemental look. On the tiny island we call home, most mommies value hand-me-downs and clothes cut responsibly from companies we value and stalk for clearance sales. The booties my babe wore yesterday belonged to two other island babes, and will be seen on the feet of today’s yet-to-be-conceived islander of tomorrow.
My four year old clings to fleece. She says wearing fleece head to toe is like wearing a hug all day long. I’ve found myself from time to time scavenging in her dresser drawers for just the right pair of jeans, sweater or button down shirt to lead her in a new style direction. She stops me in tears, pouts and pleas, “Please, Mama, noooo.”
Somewhere I read clothing choices can be a coping mechanism, a declaration of independence and a badge of creativity. My four year old pairs fleece with any and all things animal print, fairy wings and second-hand pink cowgirl boots. She has excema; fleece soothes itchy skin. Her choice clearly has reason and merit.
Choice, ownership and respect within a space gives way to confidence. Three-year-olds want their voices heard. My three- year-old wants to show her own clever, unique personality.
Mama and Daddy choose their own clothing-parts, why can’t I?
Before morning’s 8:00 chime, I’d rather strive for an empty bowl of oatmeal, brushed teeth and clean hands. When I send her out into the world of Preschool and playdates in something akin to this:
I’m sending her in confidence, wrapped in the security blanket of our home. This familiar outfit might just be the final, soothing piece resulting in new concept’s risk taking, patterns spun new at preschool.
Preschool is a fun, messy space. Afterall, shouldn’t her wardrobe mimic her zest and zeal for life?