Joan Rivers has nothing on my kids. Seriously. Jacob and Emma are the REAL fashion police.
This is a problem. Because I am not exactly the most fashion conscious. I grew up in Hippie Dippie USA. It’s a great town and a great place to grow up. But I still have no idea how to apply mascara. (And I only pretend I know what pumps are.) Full confession: unless Burt’s Bees tinted lip moisturizer counts, I don’t own make up. I try to look put together when I leave the house in the morning. But let’s just say, I don’t obsess over it. Or go to any great lengths to get rid of what stuck to my pants when I had to army crawl across the living room to get shoes on my one-year-old (Emma). Or even notice the drool-and-cracker-crumb designs she left on my shoulder. (This usually comes to my attention about five minutes AFTER finishing an important meeting at work). Truthfully, most of my work days are spent in front of a computer. A computer that is remarkably forgiving about my appearance.
My children are not.
For Emma it’s all about hair. This is ironic. BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T HAVE ANY. (Hair envy?) I have long hair and I am NOT allowed to put it up in a pony tail or bun or any sort of up-do. If I put even some of my hair back in a scrunchy, Emma pouts and her bottom lip starts to quiver. So I try to talk her down. “It’s okay, Emma . . . I’m still the same Mommy. And, yes, this is a perfectly acceptable hair-do for someone my age . . . There, there, I’m sure you will be far more stylish when you’re as geriatric as I am . . . It’s not all genetic, you know.”
Nothing helps. She refuses to acknowledge me. And then cries piteously because her Mommy has suddenly disappeared. And left her with a bad knock off. In a lame, half-up do. NOT ACCEPTABLE, MOMMY. Wherever you are. WAAAAAAANNNNNH.
So I cave. And take the scrunchy out. Not a big deal in January. It was SUPER fun back in August. (No, we do not have central air.)
Oh, and did I mention that she also does not approve of any of my winter gloves . . . ?
Jacob, my four-year-old, is strict about colors. He has made it clear that pink and purple and silver and gold are attractive. Anything else is a waste of perfectly good material. A few nights ago he had a moment of Mommy Love and was (briefly) willing to forgive my fashion transgressions. He sang me this love song:
Mommy, I love your everything,
Even this black sweater,
Which I think is really ugly.
Jacob sang me this song at the dinner table. What kills me is that I knew where he was going at “black sweater”. I did. But still had the bad judgment to take a swig of juice. And then spent the next two minutes trying not to spray it all over the table.
And then there is my husband, Dan. Dan is an engineer. A computer programmer. This means that, each day he trots off to work in his uniform: jeans and a sweatshirt. When he needs to be dressed up for an important meeting of course, he wears a button down shirt. Under the sweatshirt. And still with the jeans. Once again: He’s. An. Engineer. He was not hired for his fashion sense. Or because anyone thought that he might so much as own a suit. Engineers are hired for their magical ability to turn a bunch of 0’s and 1’s into websites and smartphone apps and robots. Clearly, this is best done while wearing denim.
So what do my children think of Dan’s wardrobe? I decided to ask.
Me: Jacob, as you can see, Daddy is wearing a sweatshirt and jeans. As usual. What do you think of it?
Jacob: I think we should just throw it in the trash.
Jacob: Because I don’t like it.
Okay, maybe it was a leading question. Still: tough crowd.
And while we’re discussing fashion, a related issue. Hangers. Let me be perfectly honest. I don’t know where hangers come from. But I’m pretty sure they just grow in the closet. My closet produces hangers of all different colors (mostly plastic ones) and a few nice wooden ones. Dan’s closet produces LOTS of hangers. HUGE numbers of white ones with a few purples thrown in. They are all the exact same size. Dan claims that this is because he . . . What was it again? Oh, right . . . BUYS THEM. (Whatever.) Dan also claims that I steal them. This is completely unfair. (To me and the hangers.) Okay, maybe one time I borrowed a few hangers and forgot to return them. ONCE. But when this was (rather rudely) pointed out to me, I brought them right back. Nonetheless, the accusations have continued. Now let me just step back for a moment and give you some background information. The reason Dan needs all these hangers is that he HANGS UP HIS T-SHIRTS. (I am not making this up.)
Me: Why do you need to hang up t-shirts?
Dan (eyeroll): So they don’t get wrinkled.
Right. So, let’s just at least consider the possibility that Dan’s hangers are not being taken out of his closet by me, but rather are leaving of their own accord. Seeking asylum. From the mortification of having to HANG UP A T-SHIRT. It’s okay, little hangers. Come to me. My closet door is always open. I may not have fancy clothes in there. But at least there are a few bright colors. And even a business suit or two . . . Not that I ever wear them.
Nota bene: When I went to photograph Dan’s closet for this post, I discovered that he also hangs up his sweatshirts. And jeans. OH LORD. Six of his hangers begged to be smuggled out.
I am not at liberty to discuss their current whereabouts.