Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On Why I don’t Intentionally Dress My Kids Goth

I admit to a certain satisfaction when my Mormon inlaws first beheld my then 2 month old son in skull and crossbones black feetie pajamas from Halloween when he was a few months old. I chose them because they were cute, they were on sale, and I knew they’d offend people who hated me and for whom I felt nearly equally about.

The occasional rocker style baby outfit (flaming guitars with skulls? Yes thanks!) or Halloween outfit suitable to year-round (like the skeleton hoodie that’s been used by each of my kids) is pretty much the extent of it. I should note we get most of their clothes secondhand- kids grow so fast, it’s usually not worth it to buy everything first hand. Unless it’s something really unique or in a print or style I (or my kid) can’t live without, then I’ll buy it firsthand. I re-donate most of my kids’ clothes when they grow out of them, either to thrift shops, the women’s shelter, or friends with kids smaller than mine. Most of the cool Halloween feetie pajamas and rocker style stuff was purchased firsthand- it seems when people find cool pieces suitable for year-round fashion they hold onto them!

When my kids were younger, I could put them in whatever I felt like. As they grow older, they make their preferences known, very known. Take for example my almost 3-year old son.

We had this green long-sleeved shirt with a Bigfoot body printed on the front. The idea is you put the shirt on and the kids head looks like the Bigfoot's head because it matches up with the body. My kid HATED that shirt. He cried when he wore it. My husband thought it was funny (but traumatizing) to chase him with it on occasion. Last month, I found it in the trash. I figured my son made his point clear, and I left it there. He does the same with his Viking warrior shirt. There’s just something about it he doesn’t like, so I don’t force him to wear it.

Even now, he picks his own shirts out. He always wants to wear shorts, but given its winter here that’s not an option. It doesn’t mean we don’t fight everyday about why we can’t wear shorts. He picks his own underpants. It’s always a tough choice between Ninja Turtles and the Robot Boxers. He’s currently begging for Jake and the Neverland Pirates underwear because dad vetoed MLP.

Usually though, he’s just running around naked. It is, apparently, extremely hard to keep clothes on a 3 year old. I turn my back for five seconds, turn back around, and like a reverse quick change artist he’s in the nude and flopped lazily across the couch watching cartoons. (Last month he had to have a lesson on public indecency. He tried to strip his clothes off in a McDonald's, because, according to him, he had to pee. I don't know why that necessitated stripping down to his skivvies, but that's a toddler for you. Thank the gods we were the only ones in the playland at that moment.)

My son has particular taste in clothing, and I like to watch him express himself. That is why I no longer dress him solely gothic attire. If he wants to wear the black tutu he found, he can wear it. If he wants to wear skulls, he can wear it. If he wants to wear dinosaurs or aliens or football shirts, he can wear them. I don’t want to push my particular views or styles on him, and I want him to explore and embrace all the different parts of himself and learn about his own likes and dislikes. I want to him confident and happy. Whatever he chooses as he gets older, I’m more than fine with that. We often joke his “rebellious” phase will be joining the football team and wearing polo shirts. We’ll tease him, but ultimately I like to think we will accept him.

My daughter will be a year old next month. I dress her, admittedly, like a baby doll. Vintage dresses, as many tutus and floofy layered skirts as I can, perfect little boots, bows on her head. She has a velvet jacket and the cutest little pea coat from Baby Gap (thrifted for $3 I might add). When she gets older and tells me what she’d rather wear, I’ll indulge. But for now she’s a little baby doll.

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