The single life taught me a thing or two about getting ready to go out. So, I am no stranger to the following conversation:
“She can’t wear that. She’s worn that dress, like, four times already.”
“It’s the only thing that fits."
What’s new about this interchange is that it was about my daughter. And it wasn’t between two girlfriends getting ready for a party; it was between my husband and me. You may assume the first line to be mine, but, indeed, it was the masculine point of view. And believe me, my husband never cared whether I wore a dress four times or not.
I now spend much more time picking out clothes for Claire than I do for myself. There are reasons for this recent development. The circumstances are such that outfits look much cuter on her than me. That will probably always be the case, but is particularly true right now. Post-pregnancy, there’s this waistline bulge and rib spread thing, which makes me feel like invertebrate slinking along the sidewalk. Plus nothing fits, so I actually have about four outfits to be worn repeatedly. But, I digress. Beyond exigencies, it is clear that we are indulging our own vanity by dressing Claire to the nines. In fact, the nine dresses we had on her during the time of that conversation were clearly for our delight and her dismay. She is just as happy in a diaper or in flagrante, much to my dismay. So when do you cross the line between having a little fun and living through your child? When does my tummy spread and anemic wardrobe become a little matter called transference -- leading to a life on the psychiatrist’s couch for Claire? I’m not worried about crossing the border into the land of Toddlers and Tiaras, but it’s always a good thing to remember to keep oneself in check. My mom tells a story of me driving her mad and insisting on wearing the same orange dress over and over again. Hopefully, Claire will do the same thing and I will be able to keep any commentary to myself. Right now, Claire’s too little to really care one way or another, so I should just try to get it all out of my system while I can. When she’s a teenager, I’m sure she will wage her revenge anyway.