The six year old is on a kick where she prefers to pick her own outfit and do her own hair.
For the most part, I’m fine with this. Let’s face it–I’m no fashionista myself. And five weeks into parenting a newborn I’m just happy when everyone is wearing clothes.
That’s why the six year old rocks–she can dress herself. As you can see from the photo, she enjoys “matching” stripes with stripes, as well as following several other fashion”rules” that aren’t necessarily the same rules I have come to understand. She also appreciates pairing cowboy boots with capri pants and wearing tall socks on the outside of pants on occasion.
In addition to dressing herself, she has just recently started experimenting with doing her own hair. Because this is still a new adventure, ponytails and other hairstyles often err on the side of chaos.
To be honest, the instinct to step in and modify her outfit or fix her hair is almost always there. For better or worse, I can’t help but be conscious as a parent when my child shows up to school in head-to-toe chevron and fluffy snow boots with her hair looking like it was styled with a blender.
But here’s the thing–every time she comes down the stairs and makes her entrance for the day, she is beaming with so much pride at her own independence, her sweet brown eyes looking to me for approval.
And suddenly her outfit and hair don’t matter so much. Because nothing is worth squashing this hesitant pride.
So I tell her that she’s beautiful. And that I’m so incredibly proud of her independence. Because she is. And I am. And those messages matter so much more than matching outfits and perfect ponytails.
Obviously, as an imperfect parent, I don’t always execute this support as well as I wish I did. Just this morning she appeared in capris and snow boots and way too many stripes and color combinations and I cringed on the inside a little.
“Hmm,” I said. “I’m not sure those shoes will work today.” (I’ve learned to pick one battle at a time.)
To which she promptly responded, “IT’S NOT HOW YOU LOOK, IT’S HOW YOU LEARN, MOM.”
After I finished laughing, I hugged her and told her I loved her and that she was exactly right. Except that it was a P.E. day and she probably needed to wear tennis shoes.
She attempted to convince me with a display of how tight her boots were that they would be fine for P.E. but after I reminded her that it was also about the gym floor, she conceded and switched to tennis shoes.
It’s not always easy to find the line between celebrating her independence and intervening to teach her “rules” about P.E. shoes and stripes.
But the truth is, there will probably be all too many days where other people’s “rules” and opinions dictate what she wears and how she does her hair. For now she is still blissfully free to wear whatever her heart desires without fear of the negative opinions of others.
So for now, rather than being one of those negative opinions, I’m choosing to celebrate this freedom right alongside her.