Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fashion Daddy

One of the hardest things about being a dad to two little girls is dressing them. I didn't grow up paying attention to whether patterns go with prints or what colors clash with each other. It is a little bit like fishing for me. When I am fishing, there are many times when I think I have a bite but it turns out to be a twig or something else, and afterwards I feel stupid because I should have known. Because when it really is a bite, there is no question that its a fish. The same thing goes for little girl's clothes--sometimes my logical mind tells me that it must match because the shirt and the pants both have pink in them and they are both from the same store, but I feel unsure. It is only when my wife comes home and sees the outfit that I am sure that I made the wrong choice. She comes in to the usual chorus of yelling "mommys home, mommys home" and she gets mauled and squeezed and there are yelps of pleasure and it is one of moments that all parents live for, but there is the inevitable calming and they give her enough space to breathe and I get the look of kind condescension. Sometimes her nice way of telling me that I screwed up is to ask the girls if they picked out their own clothes, but the message rings clear enough. I failed. Not only do they not go together, but they really don't go together--like she is pained by the idea that her beautiful little girls were out in public looking like a colorblind monkey dressed them. I know I had it right when there is no conversation about their clothes, and I usually know I was right anyway.

When my girls were still attending daycare, I had confirmation that my wife was not the only critic of my dressing skills. She had gone to the extreme measure of picking out their clothes the night before--I thought the move was unnecessary and hid behind the idea that they were little and it didn't matter what they wore. We feed them, shelter them, love them and nurture them--what does it matter what they wear at one and three years old. The first day with mommy picking clothes was a Monday and I happened to bump into the daycare director on the way in. She said, "The girls look really cute today." I cringed at the "today" qualifier. Don't they look really cute everyday? I also felt the twinge of a certain realization. So I said, "Their mom decided to pick out their outfits, because she doesn't think I can". To which she replied, "Smart choice. We can tell when you dress them." Thanks a lot.

Now my wife buys clothes with a clever little trick. They have a swatch of the pattern from the shorts in a cute little picture on the shirt--fool proof. Don't worry, I still put the occasional pattern with a print.

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