One of the more amusing aspects of parenthood, in my opinion, is witnessing your child’s unique sense of style as illustrated by his or her choice of clothing combinations and hairstyles. While I expect this amusement may turn into something closer to terror as they approach their teen years, for the time being, it’s still just cute.
Case in point: When my 6-year-old son finally got dressed Saturday in order for us to go out, I bit my tongue and resisted the urge to grab the camera and capture his get-up for posterity. He wore a white, sleeveless athletic sort of shirt that would’ve been unremarkable if he hadn’t tucked it in to a pair of very purple shorts that appeared to be two sizes too small. Around his neck he wore a most colorful necklace fashioned of plastic beads in the shape of stars, hearts, ponies and the like. All this he paired with the only shoes he ever wears, which are purple Crocs with more, or at least bigger, holes than they had to start with. He looked like a miniature version of a Saturday Night Live character circa 1976, but there was absolutely nothing unacceptable about his ensemble. All crucial parts were adequately covered (though just barely in those short shorts), and while he turned the necklace into a headband periodically, I found no good argument for making him change into anything different. When his wonderful father caught a glimpse of him, he merely commented on how long and muscular his legs were looking.
While out and about, I saw a few raised eyebrows and quite a lot of subtle smiles as my boy passed by. Only one person actually said anything directly to Billy about his attire – someone I know and who has a penchant for unbridled humor. For him to say as little as he did showed great tact. It would’ve crushed me, probably more so than my son, for anyone to suggest that he should feel at all self-conscious about what he had on. For isn’t the utter ignorance of fitting in and disregard of social mores what we all miss most about childhood? (That and the ability to play all day without so much as a hint of a sore muscle the morning afterwards?)
My son has the world’s greatest role model for being one’s self in his older sister. Though she’ll soon be 10, she continues to take the label "weird" as a compliment. Last week, she spent roughly two hours braiding multiple strands of braids (38, to be exact) into still more braids on one side of her head. She was so very proud of this accomplishment, and pleased beyond words by her bizarre appearance. While there are, at times, instances when the hair goes a little bit too wild (so as to obstruct her and others’ vision) and I must put my foot down, all in all, I’m relieved to have a girl who takes pride in her individuality. I can only hope this trait stays the course, with the exception of the purple hair phase . . .
. . . and any lip or tongue piercings.