BK (before kids) I had dreams of what my family would look like. Me and the husband would have 2 kids (boy/girl). The boy would be blond with blue eyes and the girl would have dark, curly hair. They would be THE most adorable children on the planet and ALWAYS be impeccably dressed.
I swore to NEVER allow my child to dress in mismatched outfits, have a dirty face or hands or wear ratty t-shirts with pictures on them. As if!!
I remember glaring at other moms in the mall and shaking my head in disgust at the way they let their children dress in public. To paraphrase Taylor Swift that would never, ever, ever, ever be me!
When the twins were born (my firsts) I would carefully pick out matching outfits for them daily. They never repeated an outfit (even if we were sitting in the house) and if, God forbid, they spilled ANYTHING on themselves, that item was quickly removed, stain-treated and replaced with an equally cute one.
I would spend money like it grew on trees in Baby Gap, Gymboree, Lord & Taylor etc. scrounging the racks for that “perfect” onsie. I took the twins for professional pictures every 3 months (duh, that is what a good mom does) and would plan their outfits for weeks right down to the socks.
J came along 2 years later and I still tried to continue with my obsessive behavior. I remember leaving for the hospital (J was a c-section) and picking out a week’s worth of outfits for the twins to wear while I was gone. After all, I wanted them to look their best when they came to visit my in the hospital.
Once J came home and I was dealing with 3 boys I became a little lax. The twins were starting to become interested in things like Toy Story, Cars and trucks and wanted to wear shirts with those pictures. I grimaced but decided to pick my battles. I was running on no sleep so what did it matter if M wore a shirt with Buzz Lightyear to Target??
By the time L came along (18 months later) I could care less what the kids wore as long as they were dressed. It became easier to let the twins pick out their own clothes rather than fight with them and their wardrobes started consisting of shirts with either Monster Trucks, superheros or race cars.
Gone were the jeans and matching buttown downs. Now I am lucky if they even match a shirt to their track pants and try arguing with a 6yo that his “favorite” Star Wars Lego shirt is too small to wear out in public.
Anyway, today is picture day at my youngest’s pre-k. L hasn’t had professional photos done since he was 3 months old so this is a big deal for me.
After getting the picture form, I ran to the mall to find him the “perfect” picture outfit (on sale of course). I patted myself on the back, as I admired the outfit on the hanger. Damn, he will look SO cute, I thought to myself.
This morning I carefully ironed the shirt and pirate pants (khakis with pirate skulls on them) and button down (I only iron kids’ clothes for photo ops and holidays) and called
screamed for him to come upstairs to get dressed.
No Mommy, I watching tv…you come here and dress me was the response I received. I yelled 2 more times before conceding (a mom has got to pick her battles when she is running late for work) and bringing the outfit to the living room.
Look L, look at the handsome pirate pants and shirt Mommy got you I said a little too excitedly. Those my pirate pants? Argh Matey L replied.
I quickly put the pants and button down on him and told me he looked VERY handsome. One more thing and then you can go play, I said as I attempted to pull the coordinating, v-neck sweater over his head. Which resulted in the following exchange.
NO!! I NO WANT DIS SHIRT…I WEAR DIS SHIRT! L yelled pulling at his button-down.
L, honey, come on, you HAVE to wear the sweater Mommy got you. You will look so handsome.
NO I NOT WEARING IT – umph!
L please, it’s getting late and Mommy has to go to work I pleaded trying to pry his right arm through the sweater hole.
I became desperate, I should have been halfway to work and instead I was on the living room floor pleading with an almost 3yo.
L if you wear the sweater….Mommy will give you a cookie.
NO, I no want cookie.
Crap, cookies always work, now what. I could hear the voices of Hot Mrs. Jeter (she has asked to be referred to as “hot” from now on) and my Mom and the husband telling me to “let it go”. “The button-down looks fine, who cares?” “Don’t drive yourself nuts over a sweater.”
They are right, I thought as I looked at L half-dressed running away from me. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if he is wearing a pull over and a shirt??
Hell yes it matters! and I used the last card in my deck…L do you want candy? If you wear the sweater Mommy will give you candy???
Candy? He said in his sweetest voice. Yes, candy. Just put on the sweater.
And that my friends is how I got L dressed for his school pictures.
No, I am not 100% proud of my behavior. I did, after all, allow myself to be manipulated by a toddler. However, the bribe actually worked and helped me get my way.
I am sure in 20 years I will look back (or rather he will) and ask what the hell I was thinking dressing him like that. Heck, I don’t even know if L will smile for the photographer today (although he better since it’s $45) but at least I know he looked cute when he left the house.