Friday, 16 March 2012

On being a reluctant wardrobe mistress

This evening, it is the school disco. Oh Joy. However, it is not the fact that I will be spending the early part of my Friday night selling glow sticks to 250 over-sugared pre-teens (in 2 bite sized helpings, of course – Key Stage 1 6p.m.-7p.m., KS2 from 7.15 to 8.15 – or thereabouts, timing can be fluid) to the delightful sounds of Crazy Frog, Nelly the Elephant and The Locomotion. Nor is the worst of it that my own children, Pink in particular, are already suffering from end of term exhaustion with 2 weeks to go, which means that as well as selling glow sticks, I will be dealing with a near-hysterical Pink who will undoubtedly lose her sweet money, have her toes trodden on and lose the hoop game resulting in meltdown of meteoric proportions (believe me – I know the drill). 

The worst of it is acting as Pink’s wardrobe mistress in preparation for the big event.

Pink is very particular about what she will wear. Fortunately, in spite of that, she is still happy to pick and choose from the amazing and wonderfully generous hand- me-downs I receive from a number of sources. Occasionally I feel a bit sad that I get very little handed down for Blue, thus requiring me to spend money on variations on the same theme of sludge coloured combat trousers/jeans and T-Shirts, and hardly ever spend money on clothes for the Pink one, but I feel that this is probably a good thing given the experience I had with her in Monsoon last year when I said I would buy her a dress for her 5th birthday. I can’t even begin to repeat it – let’s just say that we had a disagreement over accessories.
The donated clothes range from mini-Boden and Captain Tortue through to Next and George at ASDA. I usually do a quick triage ( and yes, I get rid of anything smacking of High School Musical and the like, before she gets her hands on them – but you knew I would), and then I can usually do another sweep about 3 weeks later when it has become clear what she actually likes and will wear. But she still has far more than she ever would if I bought clothes for her. If she wants to wear a party dress to make mud pies in, I usually let her because otherwise it wouldn’t get worn, but the downside comes when she has to make choices for an event such as this.

While Blue will wear his favourite pair of jeans (“Mummy, these won’t do at all – someone has cut them up!” “No darling, it’s called the ‘distressed look – they are meant to be like that” “Oh”) and a Mario Bros T Shirt, I have already been called upon this morning to assist in Pink’s ensemble. While I am in the shower, hoping that she is getting dressed for school, she has emptied the entire contents of her chest of drawers out on the floor. She comes leaping into the shower, naked, bearing 2 items (I can’t quite see because I don’t yet have my lenses in and am in the middle of washing my hair) “Mummy, what if I wear this dress and this skirt underneath it?” (she has picked out one of her favourite cord skirts and a long sundress) “Hmm. Tell you what why don’t you just go and GET YOUR SCHOOL UNIFORM ON, and I’ll come and help after I’ve had my shower?”.

Ten minutes later, we are in top level negotiations. “Well, why don’t you just wear the dress with a cardi over the top – it might get quite hot?” “But I like them BOTH”. “Well that’s fine, love, but just remember that it does get quite sweaty and with all that dancing...” You see it has to be her choice – I can only plant ideas in her head. Eventually we get somewhere. “Actually I want to wear THIS T-shirt” – the lilac one that says “Too Cool” across the front in sparkly letters. This is progress – with a firm decision on one item for one part of the body, we then manage to pick out a skirt and the tights or leggings she might want to wear, and an embroidered denim jacket that will enhance that item to the max.
Then the shoe debate. Under some duress, I purchased a pair of sparkly silver party shoes for Pink before Christmas. Actually, there wasn't much duress. I like shoes as much as next woman, and I could totally see why she wanted them.

sparkly silver party shoes. I want some too!
Also, I never had a pair of sparkly silver party shoes, and I feel sure it has scarred me for life. "So. Party shoes?" I enquire. "Well, mummy, I know you're going to say 'no' - I just know it". "No you don't (she does) - what did you want to wear?" I respond, trying to keep the edge out of my voice - I am expecting flipflops to be the footwear of choice. Oh foul flip flops, how you trip my child up and cause many a banged knee... But I know of old that if she senses  irritation, the 'debate' will intensify. But no, it's not flipflops. She is intending to go barefoot.

I feel that on the whole I handled the suggestion rather well. I did, I admit, use the inflammatory words "No you can't" thus ramping up the tantrums and tiaras factor, but on the whole, common sense won out. I majored on opportunity that going barefoot would give for the stubbed and jumped on toes.
"o-KAY" she eventually huffed. "Party shoes".
And all this before 8.30. Now I can only hope that she won’t have changed her mind during the course of the day, leaving me only with the dilemma of how to handle ‘the MAKEUP question’. Having worn me out on the clothes question, I confidently predict that I will be too tired to challenge the 'Barbara Cartland does Alice Cooper' look. She’ll learn.


  1. Bloody Hell, kids eh? Demanding Beggars.
    In my day, you'd have been made to wear Granny's Piss-Slippers and been done with it.

    disclaimer: I have no kids and am unfamiliar with their requirements.

  2. LOL - I'm very much of the 'do what you want with clothes, hair and shoes, but leave the tattoos out of it' frame of mind when it comes the girls' (now teenagers) styling!

  3. Our school discos are just like that - that Crazy Frog thing drives me mental!! Makes me glad I have boys - and that we're avoiding the Easter Disco this year by going away that weekend - result!


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