Friday, April 18, 2008

Pink Dresses

Yesterday I found myself explaining to strangers why my daughter was wearing such a fancy pink dress. Some mornings Sarah wants to pick her own clothes (and she's only 22 months old!) She lets me know by saying "No" to the clothes I pick out. Some days when we go into the bedroom to get dressed she goes straight to the closet and says "dress". That's what she did yesterday. I picked her up and prepared to go through the routine. I pull out a dress and ask "this one?" She says no. To every dress. EXCEPT the really nice church ones. I usually say no to those and make her pick something else. Yesterday she wanted a pink dress and we only have two of those -they are the really fancy church dresses. It only took me a second to think and say yes. You see, I decided that sometimes it's okay to let your children wear, or do, things that we adults are so prone to say no to. Like letting Benjamin blow bubbles in his chocolate milk until they poured over the side. No harm done and he was totally willing to clean the mess up himself. Or letting Sarah eat spoonfuls (albeit babyspoon-fuls) of pudding I had left on the counter 1/2 an hour before dinner. Each bite was accompanied with "ummm, tasty". She was finished after only a few bites and I really don't think that can have affected her appetite for dinner. Or pulling Ben's sleeping bag out of the closet because that's what he wanted to take his nap on. In each instance a "NO" would have been met with "why"s and probably tears. My yes's avoided a lot of hurt feelings and didn't hurt them in any way. That's not to say they don't hear their share of no's, too. But, it really is all about picking your battles. And in each instance, as soon as I said yes, I no longer worried about that answer and just enjoyed the moment - even got out the camera. I know I'm not a perfect mother and more often than not I question if I'm raising my children right - if I'm worthy of this calling of mother. Since that question can't really be answered until they've grown I will have to have faith that they appreciate what I do for them now. So, yesterday Sarah wore one of her pretty, beaded, chiffon-like dresses. She ran errands with me in the morning; we went to the nursery to look at plants where she tripped and skinned her knee; she played in the yard with her brother and helped dad in the greasy garage. She had a great day and today I sprayed it with Spray'n'Wash and threw it in a gentle cycle. The dress looks exactly the same as it did when I took it out of the closet yesterday morning when my only daughter wanted to wear a pink dress. And even if the stains hadn't come out I would have no regrets about that decision. I want to be able to look back on my time as a mother and remember these moments. I hope they will too. That I wasn't too busy or lazy to spend some fun times with them or laugh with them as they do silly things.

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