For the most part–other than when we’re going to church or the odd wedding, of course–David and I let the kids wear what they want. Granted, this might often mean that my kids roll out of the house looking like they stepped out of a hole in the ground rather than a turquoise-and-butterfly decorated bedroom, but it’s just the one part of child-raising I’ve never felt like I need to control. My mom will tell you that this is backlash against my incredibly–how do you say?–tidy upbringing (who was the only kid in 7th grade wearing gym shorts that were ironed to a crease? THIS GIRL), but I think it’s just who I am. For the most part, our kids pick out clothes that actually match (and I do veto the ones that are painful to see), so it’s really no big deal. To tell you the truth, I’m too busy struggling to brush the birds’ nests of knots out of their hair before we go anywhere to care about much else.
So when Quinlan chose to pair her new running shoes with the cute skirt-and-top combo I’d picked up during a Hanna Andersson sale last fall–okay, this did hurt a bit–I said I was fine with it. I’ve volunteered in her classroom before. I know for a fact that she’s not the only one who sometimes looks like we dress her out of the bargain fabric bin of the local A.C. Moore. And you know? My kid wants to look cute while maintaining the ability to hurtle herself across a gym floor at recess. I kind of dig that attitude. It’s like when you see pictures of Misty Copeland doing ballet while wearing gross, threadbare sweatpants (I just watched her documentary while slouching on an unmade bed stuffing a Larabar in my face. I shouldn’t have told you that last part). There’s something just a bit kick-ass about the confidence it takes to pair kicks with a tiered, flowered, frilly skirt. Also, it’s Quinlan. That girl is a fairy sprite mixed with a future kickboxing champion. None of this surprises any of us.
But when Saoirse looked at Quinlan in the kitchen this morning–at this point hats and gloves were on and we were nudging the girls out the door–and said, “Uh, Mom? Are you supposed to wear sneakers with skirts?” I had to laugh. But I had to laugh even harder when Quinlan responded.
“I’m allowed to!” she chirped. “It’s kindergarten.” And then she skipped (and I do mean skipped) toward the garage. Saoirse just looked at me and shook her head.
It’s kindergarten, man. The rest of us suckers don’t know what we’re missing.