Say yes to the dress!


Quick, call the Vatican– a miracle has occurred!

The Maiden has actually agreed to wear pants.

Let’s backtrack a moment.  I am not saying my daughter goes around the house wearing only her underpants.  (Actually, she sometimes does.  And I let her.  But only so that I can use it as blackmail fodder for when she’s 16).

No.  Over the past year she has developed an unhealthy aversion to any sort of pants.  Cute shorts sets and jeans with butterflies, hearts, and flowers– all have spent summer and spring languishing unloved in her dresser.  Every morning, the Maiden has walked past them, and reached for a sundress or top and skirt.

In vain I’d attempt to direct her attention towards the still-sales-tagged pink shorts in the dresser.  ‘Oh, no, Mummy,” she’d explain, bursting with the fashion wisdom of a preschooler.  “Only boys wear pants and shorts.”

Item: I was wearing shorts.  Item 2: I often wear shorts.  Item 3: I AM NOT A BOY.

It went downhill from there.  Only dresses, dresses, dresses– all day, all the time, and sometimes at night, too.  Shirts had to be labeled “dresses”, or they stayed on the shelf.  Leggings to go under said shirts had to be referred to as tights (and even then, she’d only wear them under threat of removal of legs).

At one point during the summer, she even refused to go outside and play on her jungle gym because she couldn’t climb the ladder with her dress on.  “So pull on a pair of shorts,” I said unsympathetically.  “Only boys wear shorts,” she reminded me.  “Then stay inside and be miserable,” I said.  So she did, and consequently we both were.

When school time rolled around, she wouldn’t allow me to buy her uniform pants, just the skirts and jumpers.  “Only boys…” she’d say, ignoring the twenty pants-clad girls frolicking in the school playground behind her.

I’m not sure who’s to blame for the Maiden’s pants-loathing.  I’m a parent, so the media is a convenient scapegoat.  Can’t those darn movie princesses wear jeans like the rest of us?  But I decided to roll with it.  If she wanted to wear dresses all the time, I could work with that.  At least she was over her swimsuit obsession from last winter.  I packed away the shorts and ensured that her next summer’s wardrobe was boy-clothes-free.

Yesterday, it was chilly enough to start taking out the Maiden’s cooler-weather clothes.  In the bin was your typical winter fare– including, of course, a ridiculous number of jeans with flowers, little white corduroys with bows on the pocket, and pink track pants.  You know, boy clothes.

The Maiden dove into her mall-in-a-box with gusto, trying on shirts and stockings and dresses left and right. Then she spotted a pair of purple pants.  She picked them up gingerly to avoid cooties, or whatever they call them now, and cast furtive glances around to ensure that the fashion police weren’t watching her try on boy clothes.

She put them on.  A light went on.

“Um…these are kind of cute, Mummy,” she admitted.

I froze.

She then proceeded to approve several pairs of pants, jeans, and corduroys– including a pair of grey skinny jeans with no girly embellishments at all.  And at no point did she utter the phrase “boy clothes,” not even once.

I think I can see the end of the Princess Era far off on the horizon.  It’s bittersweet.  My baby girl is growing up!  Maybe I’d better put the brakes on this new interest in pants, though– and not just out of nostalgia. For one thing, there are some pretty cute little dresses out in stores right now.  And more to the point, I have a hundred dollars’ worth of clearance-priced dresses stored away for next summer.  We’ll revisit the pants subject in the fall of 2010.

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