Early morning. Saturday morning. Birds are singing outside the window.
Oh no! Birds are singing outside the window. Sure enough, after a few trial warbles, they break into a song just loud enough to wake up the smallest member of our family. She wakes up her older brother. He sits up, jumps out of bed and trills “Breakfast time!” at the top of his cheery voice. The day begins.
Once upon a time… well actually it was probably only a few weeks ago, but it feels like longer… getting dressed in the morning used to be a simple affair. I would lovingly lay out two adorable outfits after the children were asleep in the evening. In winter time, I’d lay all the clothes over the radiator, so that they’d be toasty warm to put on in the morning. In summer time, I’d lay all the clothes out on the toy chest in front of the window.
Jumper, trousers, top, vest, socks and pants for my boy. Skirt, cardigan, t-shirt, vest, tights and pants for my girl (she’s always been a fan of skirts rather than dresses for some reason). There was a pleasing sense of neatness in laying out the clothes in the order that they’d need to be put on. All the clothes matched, in colour, style and pattern.
I should have known that when you have children, order never lasts.
Well, not in our household anyway. Silly to generalise. Perhaps there are households out there where the children all talk like an Enid Blyton book and wear pinafores. Ours isn’t one of them.
OCD clothes organising tendencies aside, I’m too much of a softy to enforce any real order or control. As long as there are pleases and thank yous in all the right places, I’m contented that the children are turning out alright.
Several weeks ago, my youngest announced that she would like to choose her own clothes.
I sighed. I mentally braced myself and said a silent farewell to the sweet matching outfits. The moment had arrived. I’d escaped it longer than some of my mummy friends.
That first morning, the result was a fashion statement worthy of Vivienne Westwood. Spotty tights, stripey skirt, flowery top (worn back to front). It looked like an explosion in a sweetie factory.
Mental note to self: buy children’s clothes in only two colours.
I keep telling myself that I’m fine with it. I’m going to embrace it as a sign that she’s moving happily and healthily towards independence. But seriously, purple and orange? Purple tights, okay, but how did she even come to own an orange T-shirt? I don’t remember buying that.
In the last couple of weeks, the rebellion has spread. My oldest is an amenable sort of chap. Much more inclined to go with the flow than his fiery younger sister. However he’s spotted the way the wind is blowing and decided to make his own little stand.
He doesn’t want to choose all his own clothes. He’s still happy to find his clothes laid out for him in the morning. But he’ll only wear one top.
It’s his favourite top. It’s a lovely green, organic cotton long sleeved T-shirt that I bought him to celebrate the amount of gardening he’s been doing with me.
Get off my allotment! I found the print on the front of the T-shirt very funny. My boy doesn’t really get the joke, but he loves the colour and he knows that the T-shirt has something to do with his gardening skills. Unfortunately, he’s now decided that he doesn’t want to wear anything else.
He wants to wear his favourite organic T-shirt all the time. Even when it’s dirty. Even when it doesn’t match his trousers. Even when we’re not actually going out in the garden, we’re going to a family wedding.
Thinking about it now, I suspect that there are grown men with a similar approach to clothes. In fact I’m certain of it. I lived with one or two of them when I was at university.
Still… It’s too early to worry. I’m holding my patience and hoping it’s just a phase.
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