Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Letting Go

To start, a couple of pictures:How I dress my child

How my child dresses himself

Recently (like the past 2-3 weeks) Joshua has requested to pick out his own clothes. I've held my breath each time he opens the drawer, wondering what will come out. So far it's been pretty OK, maybe not what I would have put together, but nothing scandalous either. I've been wondering when we'd come up with something that just absolutely did not work. Well, today's the day. This is currently his favorite shirt, because it has a fuzzy "pori-pine" on it. I have to admit it is a very cute shirt. He and I both like the pants as well, they're comfy and still don't look sloppy. The fact that one item is orange and the other is red, however, is completely lost on him. Rather, he realizes that they are red and orange, he just doesn't think that's prohibitive in wearing them at the same time.
Our conversation this morning went something like this:
Me: It's time to get dressed honey. Do you want mommy to pick out your clothes?
Joshua: I do it!
Me: OK, go ahead and pick something out, but hurry, we need to leave very soon.
Quickly opens pants drawer and immediately pulls out bright red pants. (This is the part where I start to get nervous, if jeans/khakis come out, I figure it can't be too bad.)
: Ok, what shirt are you going to wear?
(He first chose an all-in-one shirt/shorts outfit that was white with red/blue stripes and I had to explain that he'd wouldn't be able to wear the red pants since it already was pants and shirt together. He quickly vetoed this and moved on. That's when the porcupine shirt was chosen.)
Joshua: Pori-pine shirt!!!
I tried my best to suggest that maybe it would be nice to wear jeans, and even managed to get them happily on him until he realized that would mean no red pants. I tried to suggest a different shirt, but no, he really, really wanted to wear the porcupine.
It was at this point that I realized I had only two choices. Unfortunately, it was not one of those days we could spend at home where no one would see us. So, I could swallow my pride and hope everyone thinks I'm really color-blind all day long (hey, it's better than having absolutely no idea what colors clash) or I could have a matching child, but crush his independence and pride in himself.
You can see from the picture what I chose--but I really do have a bigger point. I'm finding already that confidence is fragile, especially in a two-year-old who badly wants mommy and daddy's approval. I'm also realizing that many times I'm going to have to swallow my own pride in order to let him learn on his own. In the grand scheme of things, it's not really important whether my child matches everyday--it is important that he knows I am proud of him and believe that he does a good job.
I've never been in a situation where everything was such a delicate balance of holding on and letting go. My mom tells me this will never end, even as my kids become adults and make decisions completely independent of mine. I understand what she means just a little bit more after today. So, if you see us out and about, you'll know why my 2 year old is sporting a very non-matching combo, and you can smile. At least I can still control what goes in Joshua's dresser so at least I like all the pieces individually! And, I'm definitely going to enjoy the remaining time I have to dress Lydia anyway I want to. ;-)

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

beautiful post. i know how you feel! being a mama is like nothing else in this world!