3.30.2011

Letting Go... (Just A Little)




Audrey wearing outfits I picked out for her...

I had a bit of a "break-through" mothering moment a few days ago, and it felt sort of well...epic.

It occurred when Audrey and I were at the store exchanging a couple of dresses that didn't fit her quite right for some new summer clothes. My normal M.O. when we shop together is to grab some things I think she'll like (but are really things that I like) and send her into the dressing room to try them on. She has the illusion of control, as she's picking her favorites from my pre-approved selection. It's a pretty fool-proof system.

But this time, things were different the minute we walked into the store. She immediately started browsing, caressing fabrics, pondering skirts. There was no acting nutty or darting between the racks. It was serious, all business. She was shopping. And upon seeing her shopping around like a totally mature young lady, I was thrown-off my game (or I could have been hungry, as when I'm hungry I get all low-blood sugarish and light-headed, resulting in all sorts of ill-advised decisions), and before I knew it, I was suggesting she pick out a few things to try on -- on her own.

There was no going back. She was flush with power. She started handing me things in rapid succession -- a pair of pastel/metallic madras shorts, a bright turquoise skirt emblazoned with hot pink and orange peace signs and hearts, a t-shirt sporting a picture of a dog.

Holy crap.

Seriously if you had asked me to pick out the three things in that particular store that I would never buy for her, I would have selected the exact three items that she was about to try on.

I knew this was one of those defining moments (like my response would somehow set the stage for every future mother/daughter shopping trip and clothing negotiation -- remember I was hungry), so I bit my tongue (hard) and let her roll with it.

There was also the fact that she seemed to really have an opinion about the clothes in question. Up to this point, Audrey has been pretty mellow in the fashion department (Millie is a whole different story...let's just say that kid knows what she likes sartorially), her only requirement being that she doesn't look "crazy" (her words) and that it's comfortable. In fact, 99% of the time, she just asks me to pick out something for her to wear. My disdain for her selections were tempered a bit by her learning to suss out what she liked -- an important process that I didn't want to squash. I'm building confidence here friends, fostering creativity...right? right?

That's what I'm going with the first day she wears those madras shorts. Wish me luck.

22 comments:

Ann said...

i hope you post pictures of audrey in her new outfit

Asher Seveland said...

you did the right thing. she is growing into a young lady who has opinions and thinks for herself. (and a young lady who wears metallic madras shorts.) ;) i certainly struggle with wanting indepent boys and my urge to control everything. take a deep breathe and carry snacks next time you go shopping!

Kelly and Kelly said...

good for you! it's so hard. My mother thinks I should dress my girls in what I want. I think it's not a battle I'm willing to fight. They are super opinionated.

saltandpine said...

Yay! I'm learning that it is so important for me to let go--I'm totally going through the same thing with my 8-year-old daughter. She is so much more confident and happy...and I'm learning how to bite my tongue (which is a major life lesson for me)!

Lucia said...

Oh, you know I hear you on this one! Eva's two favorite shirts, both gifts from both grandmas, are both emblazoned with horses in some fashion. I kind of hate those shirts, but love how much she loves them, how much she thinks they describe her somehow. It's a serious dose of humility for me every time she wears them, and in a way I'm grateful for the chance to feel a little out of control and her a little in control. It definately is "letting go," as you say.

carolyn said...

oh this story is so cute and has me smiling and laughing. i love that she picked items that you would have never picked too. she is developing her own personal style. so cute!

Tracy said...

right! (at least that's what I tell myself!)

Cassie said...

You did the right thing. Think about how confident she'll feel strutting around in those metallic madras shorts.

Stephanie said...

have to tell you got lucky that it took 7 years! =) my six year old will still let me pick out her clothes but they all have to be BRIGHTLY colored and very LOUD. only skirts/dresses. absolutely no neutral colors. (those are for BOYS only don't ya know?!) and jeans? it's like i've killed her spirit when i even suggest she put them on. oy!

i also recently took her with me shopping for the first time to pick out a dress for a "fancy" mother daughter luncheon we attended on saturday. even though she picked a dress i would never have picked, it was quite something to see her twirling around in the mirror "workin' it." And she picked a dress that definitely said something about HER personality.

loved reading this. thanks for sharing.

Heather Peterson said...

My kids threw down the gauntlet and started picking their own clothes when they were 2. Both of them! Apparently, I did the same when I was 2, and like them, I created many a crazy outfit. (Flowers match flowers, right?) I actually love their sense of style, and I hope you will feel the same.

Letting go is good. Good for you!

Heather
loveyourspace.blogspot.com

dCc said...

she really could not be more adorable!

xx

Kay said...

I can't believe I'm admitting this, but-- My favorite piece of clothing at that age was a tie-dyed *skort.*

So don't worry, she'll grow out of that phase, but you were an awesome mom! Brava!

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

what a great piece of parenting on your part.

la la Lovely said...

This is so hard for me. Especially since El (8) seems to think dressing like a pop star is super fashionable (thank you Disney). I try to avoid walking by Justice at all costs. And if somehow we do end up in there (thank you relatives for gift cards) I try to let her go with a piece rather than an outfit. One time it was a sequined skirt. I envisioned J-crew and wearing a cute t-shirt with it or something. It was a good idea, I thought. But once we got home she paired it with an over the top shirt. I'm trying to find the balance and trade off's too. This is def a hard one, though!
xo Trina

The littlest said...

you are doing the right thing but, yes, holy crap!! i know that day is coming for me and i will be thinking of you when it does!!

Joslyn said...

kay -- i don't know, a tie dyed skort sounds sort of cool ;-)

but you raise a good point...as a kid i LIVED for Hawiian print shirts.

Yikes.

About Last Weekend said...

A revelation! That makes shopping so easy. My nine year old daughter is the most decisive shopper I know and she even helps me. (A lot!) To the extent where she now says: "Mum I don't know, remember I'm a kid"

Lauri said...

It was all Joslyn's fault. Sophie wanted to cut the sleeves off a shirt I love for an anime convention (don't ask) and I had just read this blog post and, well, what choice did I have? I'm blaming Joslyn. (Joslyn, want me to email you a picture of her in her costume?)

Joslyn said...

Lauri
I TOTALLY want you to email me a photo of S in her costume. Stat!!

Jennifer said...

I love this story. You definitely did the right thing. As much as you may cringe, it's so cute to see a little girl developing her own style.

Landis Carey said...

Oh, Joslyn, this made my morning. Thank you! Because I don't have kids yet, this actually made me think back to the moment when my mom must have gone through the same thing with me. I can't imagine what she thought :)

Good parenting, lady!

Nomadic D. said...

what a hilarious and touchingly honest post! I loved it, and could just picture the whole scene. The clothes she picked out sound really beyond hideous, but I think it's wonderful you went with it. Lord knows I wore some hideous things in my life (and probably continue to do so!) and have survived just fine. All part of creating our identities as individuals. Anyway, just wanted to give you props. Do post a pic when she debuts the new garments!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/