Monday, November 8, 2010

House of Madeline

Move over Chanel. Madeline is developing her own style, and it's all kinds of fabulous....if only she were still 18 months old.

About six months ago, Madeline discovered that many of her baby clothes are still in her closet. Once, they were neatly packed and labeled in bags and hung on hangers, organized by size. Ah, memories. Now, she has figured out if she pushes her padded rocking chair over to her open closet, she can pull down anything she wants. So she disappears into her room and emerges sometime later in sweatshirts that stop at her elbows, skirts that just barely cover her tiny rear end and mismatched infant socks that don't extend past her heels. There's often some random bikini top or bottom involved. Or a hat so small it looks like a polka-dotted yamika.

Soon after she discovered her baby clothes, she discovered Charlie's. A whole new closet brimming with possibilities.... So now there are little boy onesies covered in baseballs or fish, underneath sundresses that fit two years ago.

Notice Charlie's aquatic-themed onesie...
We made a deal. She can wear whatever she wants in the house. But when we go in public, she has to wear clothes that fit her (and I do use "fit" loosely. She still looks pretty wack-a-doodle sometimes). She'll happily comply, but minutes after we're home again, she's usually back up in her room piecing together a new ensemble -- a corduroy jumper that stops at her hips and baby tights with the crotch at her knees. The laundry is staggering, since the outfit changes are nonstop throughout the day and she has a deep love for yogurt and red sauce. And I know that I could stow the clothes away, but it feels cruel to take away something that makes her so completely and innocently happy. Today, she discovered the bracelets she received at her baptism when she was three months old, and don't think for a second that we didn't work for five whole minutes to get the clasp to shut around her 3 1/2 year old wrist.

Rivaling DVF's wrap dress in my tank top!
I have childhood picture after picture as evidence that my mom let my sisters and me dress ourselves growing up. She was an abstract artist, after all. It's such a small way to let Madeline feel like she's in control and help build her budding confidence. So on a superficial level, while I sometimes (desperately) wish Madeline would wear the outfits she has in her drawers (the ones that coordinate and actually fit her), I'm also proud of her for the choices she makes on her own. I suppose this is just the beginning. Once day, she might come home from college with a crazy major or a silly boy or blue hair, and I'll want to steer her the "right" way. But unconditional love is accepting her for exactly who she is, and these early fashion choices are a great way for me to practice the love and support that I expect will be easier to talk about than it is to exercise.

So I say, Go Girl. Rock those purple wellingtons with your pajama pants and velvet sparkly Christmas dress (from two holiday seasons ago). You got it going on.

4 comments:

Mollie said...

Could this be the basis for our childrens book?????

Erica said...

Love all the updates! Miss you guys!!! Lots of love...

Johanna said...

Fantastic!

The Brown Family said...

Madeline is a smart cookie to come up with her own sense of style at age 3! Love it. And you are the best mom ever, Meg, for letting her dig into your organized closet and do her thing. I will remember this the next time Cassidy is messing with my organization, it's all in the spirit of letting them be kids! I am always learning from you Megs.