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Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Reason for Daughters

Obviously, the reason every mother wants a daughter is to dress them up. Admit it! When any of you mothers out there found out you were pregnant, did you peruse the baby girl or baby boy sections in the stores? Sure, you might have glanced over to the blue section at Gymboree and politely smiled at the mother with two toddler boys. But then you immersed yourself in the pink and purple frills, the matching hats, and adorable sandals to complete the wardrobe you imagined building for your daughter -- even if you didn't know what you were having!

And it happens. You give birth to a beautiful little girl. You are flooded with gifts from Baby Gap, The Children's Place, etc. You retrieve all of those girly clothes you bought with your mom on clearance "just in case" you had a girl. Each day you get to pick out an outfit, not so unlike the days of playing with dolls when you were little.

"Alex, we're getting groceries today! I know just what you should wear. Let's do jeans, since it's a more casual day, with this pink baby doll (baby doll -- isn't that funny?) shirt. Your plaid floppy hat will be perfect -- even if it is cloudy! Now, what shoes do you suppose will stay on the best today and still complete the look?"

Sound familiar?

Then she turns three. It all goes downhill from there. Suddenly, she's developed an opinion and a unique fashion sense wanting to wear the same ugly t-shirt (that you can't remember why you bought) every day. Sometimes she finds bottoms to match. Sometimes not. You even hide the shirt in the deepest cove of the dirty laundry, but she still finds it. Then you argue with your toddler like you never thought you would.

"Alexandria Grace! You have so many beautiful clothes in your closet and you want to wear that stupid shirt every day!"

"Mom! You said stupid. That's a bad word."

"I know! But, why do you insist on wearing that shirt? Why don't you wear this outfit, with the little pink skirt?"

She cries. You cry. She wins and wears that same stupid shirt with the unicorn on it. You think to yourself, "Where did I go wrong?"

But all young mothers with daughters, take heed!

Alex turned eleven on June 6. We took a mother-daughter day to go shopping together -- and it was the best! I just love that girl. What made the day so great? Perhaps I've relaxed my stance on how I think she should be dressed all of the time. And somehow, she's come along way from corny unicorn shirts and has developed a trendy sense of style. (Maybe our weekly required viewing of What Not to Wear has rubbed off a little.) She also realizes who pays the bill. And like most girls, she has become an artist at getting what she wants. She no longer cries, but she knows how to turn on the charm with her sincere sweetness. (I'm not kidding. She is a sweetheart, especially when she's not around Cole.)

I've also discovered some tactics to help us to come together on clothing decisions. No longer do I barge into Limited Too and select the first thing I want her to try on. Now, I hover around a cute outfit and patiently for her to come back to me with a question.

"Mom, what would go with this?"

"Oh, that's cute!" (This is an important step, even if you don't think it's cute.) "Hmmm. Well, I don't know. What do you think of this, Alex?"

"I like it!" Then I help her to find her size and she's off in the dressing room. Before long, we have a stack of clothing that we both love. Shopping is fun again.

So, what's next for our mother-daughter relationship? My guess is that we embark on discussion about make-up practices. That should be an adventure.

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