although they have the requisite button nose, the rosy cheeks, the chubby arms and legs, do not be fooled.
long before i had kids, once in a while, when i would feel those biological pangs about having kids that i have written about that are like kryptonite to a woman’s psyche, i used to get flashes of short scenes. of me, leading a small person by the hand into the house to apply a band aid, say. or of me picking up and throwing a toddler into the air to catch them again. you know, the idealistic stuff you deceive yourself into thinking will be what having kids is all about. not that i’m not living these little fantasy snip-its in some way. i’m often occupied in boo-boo kissing and care and, and although ruth is getting heavier these days, and i don’t really do it lately due to my delicate condition, i have been known to chuck a few toddlers into the air in my day, and, i might add, i get pretty good air time. these things are such a tiny portion of what i spend the majority of my time doing, though. one other thing i used to think about, daydream about, and even talk with greg about was that i couldn’t wait to be able to dress my kids, pick out their clothes and have them looking damn cute.
you may not know this about me, and you’d certainly never guess by looking at me, but i actually love fashion. i love color combinations and textures, and combining looks to create a new feel. i feel that a look, a certain way of dress, can express a person’s outlook on life. ok, maybe i’m getting a little carried away. in high school, my signature shoe was adidas sambas, untied, that was important. that says, “hey, i play sports. yeah right.” you see, my style was much like my writing. self-deprecating and sarcastic, a hat tip to comedy as a way of life. i would then wear some pastel shirt with like horses on it or something that you might see a five year old wearing paired with wide-legged corduroys or faded, torn jeans and, always, an old man sweater, preferably one that had not been washed in a good week.
i looked forward, long before having ruth, to being able to dress my future children in such a fashion. cute but ironic and clashy. my fingers ached to pick out tiny shirts and pants from thrift store racks, and my mouth watered at the deliciousness of the prospects.
flash forward and here we are. ah, we’ll let her pick out her own clothes, we said. it will encourage self expression, creativity, independence. or obsessive compulsive behavior. you see, ruth has about three pairs of pants out of an entire drawer, that she will wear. all too short. all faded, looking about a decade old each. to go with said pants, a hand full of shirts in a similar state. four, to be exact. and i hate all of them. she is not to be argued with. her mind is set. to use coercion, bribery, threats, would be a waste of valuable breath.
sometimes i look at her, and allow myself to envision what i might dress her like, if i had the choice. god, she would look so effin’ cute, if only…some tights. god, i’d love to see her in tights with a skirt over top and some mismatched t shirt with a sweater over it, the whole thing clashing wonderfully. then, in her hair. two pigtails. oh, my god, just thinking it makes me weak in the knees.
but, ruth won’t wear anything in her hair, and, unfortunately for her, she inherited my hair, thin and brittle as a bird bone, perfectly straight. not so much as a whisper of a curl. terrible, terrible misfortune. in the back, it is all broken off and sticks out as though something sticky is stuck in it. no amount of combing will get it to lie flat. she only wears it down. no pony tails, pig tails, barrettes of any kind. she would tear out her own hair before she would let something stay in it. trust me.
she picks out socks that don’t match. that’s fine, that part is great, but add it to the rest and it is just icing on the ugly outfit cake.
sometimes, i will utter a faint disclaimer, “she dresses herself.” people nod with polite tight-lipped smiles, as if to say, “so sorry for your loss” (of control in the clothes dept.).
still, my own personal sorrows aside, it is good that she feels powerful and in control in the clothes department, i guess. i am proud of her even though she dresses like a homeless bum. she’s my homeless bum.
ah, well. maybe this next one will let me dress him/her for longer. prolly not, seeing as it will be a taurus just like ruth. although if it is born early….c’mon, aries!
so, despite appearances, kids are not dolls. they are people, and just like us, want to feel in control of their lives. this includes what they eat, wear, and do all day long. much to my disappointment. that’s parenthood for you. keeps you on your toes, if nothing else. keeps shattering all of those nice neat little preconceived notions. at every turn.
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