Tuesday, June 26, 2007

fashion is hard

Nowhere in the parenting books are instructions for handling an almost 7-year old (who thinks she's an almost 17-year old) who occasionally makes, let's say ill-advised fashion choices. I started with putting away unseasonal clothing, which solved such problems as wearing a bathing suit with snow boots. Then I got used to biting my tongue because, really, why battle over an orange shirt with green pants when I need to go to the mat for the sugar-free gum policy?

But now, there are fancy pink sparkly sandals that neeeeed to be worn with knee-high socks. Striped knee-high socks. And a short skort. One recent morning, my darling daughter - who will probably become the next Betsey Johnson and boy, won't I be sorry - presented herself in my room with just such an outfit. I immediately thought Jodi Foster in Taxi Driver. It was unpleasant. As gently as possible, framing it as a generally accepted societal rule, I explained that fancy sandals are worn without socks. She immediately began The Pout, so I added "Because they want to show themselves off, and they can't do that when these striped socks are taking everyone's attention!" She wasn't buying it. I had to keep the focus on Fashion Rules and not Mom's Mean Opinion, so I offered a choice. Choices are good, that's in all the books. Either show off the cool socks with plain sneakers, or show off the sparkly shoes with bare feet. Grouchy face. To avoid having to start a discussion about clothing choices and prostitution with my second grader, I lovingly banished her to her room until she changed.

This girl returned to me twice, unchanged, to lament her objections. I stood my ground. When we were approaching the time to leave, I went to collect whatever was left of her. She was in her bed, under the blankets, sobbing. With the socks and sandals still on. Gotta love this kind of determination. I said we had to get going and since she hadn't made a choice on her own, I would make it for her. I took off the sandals, rolled off the socks, and started rubbing lotion into her legs. Suddenly, there was divine intervention. "Would you like me to paint your toenails?" Brilliance! Thank you, God, for letting this situation be a memory of Fun Stuff Mom Did For Me rather than one of My Mom the Tyrannical Bitch Who Mercilessly Criticizes My Style. Let there be more, please. I promise not to wear my sandals with socks, ever.