Saturday, June 21, 2008

What To Wear

When it comes to dressing the kids there are several things to take into account. Does this shirt go with those pants? Is it too cold for a skirt? Should I dress them in layers in case it gets warmer later? Does this outfit go well with her sister's? Is what they're wearing appropriate for where we're going today? And how cute do they look? It's enough to drive a dad nuts.

That's why when I dress the kids I ask the same two questions I ask when I dress myself. Is it clean? Does it fit? And just so we're clear, these are not yes and no questions. There's a wide of spectrum of answers that can lead to follow up questions. Questions like, can this stain pass as a pattern, should I cover it up, and it's a bit small but is anyone going to see anything they shouldn't? Using this system, it takes me about 4 minutes to get ready in the morning, 5 if I brush my hair. It hasn't made dressing the girls that efficient yet but it helps.

Generally, when I'm getting them dressed it's because we're in a hurry to go somewhere. The big one is freaking out about what she wants to wear and the little one has decided now is the right time to poop. The dog is jumping around because he thinks he's coming with us while I scramble trying to find their clothes, which I contend have the ability to move about the house under its own power. Heaven forbid they should need socks. Those things are so small there's no way I'm going to find them, let alone two that match. In the middle of this whirlwind I consider the fact they have anything on when we leave the house a victory.

When they're babies it's all so simple. People give you all sorts of baby clothes so there's plenty of choice. Even better is the fact that most of the clothes is one piece, whoever invented the onesy is a friggin' genius. But that doesn't last long because they grow quick. Those blessed onesies become obsolete and you're left trying to find something for them to wear. And heaven forbid you make some bad choices, you'll never hear the end of it. You take the little Velcro strap you used to attach the garland to the banister at Christmas and thread it through the belt loops of your daughter's pants so they won't fall down and you get labelled. Everyone at playgroup thinks they're so smart because they can tell whether I was the one who dressed the kids that morning.

So what's the solution? Personally, I think this is one the Amish have gotten right. You know how an Amish parent dresses their kids in the morning? "Let's see, you have a penis? Nope, ok here's your gingham dress and bonnet. Now we can get on with our day." How beautifully simple is that? If they can just come up with a good video game system I'll seriously think about joining. Until then, I think I'll abdicate the responsibility of dressing them and let them pick out their own clothes. You want to wear a pajama shirt, poofy skirt, rubber boots, cowboy hat and feather boa? Fine with me, let's go pick your mom up from work.

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