On Monday, I took the kids up to the mall, where we met mommy and daddy for a picture with Santa. They were absolutely adorable; an older lady stopped at one point to tell me that she loved seeing the old jumper dresses, as "opposed to these crazy things little kids are wearing these days." Lilly was indeed in a red corduroy jumper dress, white tights, and black mary janes, with her hair pulled back. Patrick was in blue cords, a red turtleneck, and a cream sweater vest with trains on it.
At breakfast, though, he broke my heart. "I want to wear a dress like Sissy!" he protested when I got their outfits ready. I thought fast; I didn't want to tell him he couldn't, except that, well, he couldn't. I quickly pointed out that she was wearing the only dress like that we had, and tried to redirect him to the trains on his vest. He wasn't thrilled, but didn't fuss too much.
What made the whole episode memorable, though, was the fact that I texted their mom about it. I told her his comment, and my response, knowing she's sympathetic. I loved her text back to me: "Reinforce that he's too big for it, too - but if he wants, he can try it on when you get back."
I know too many parents who would scoff at him, or talk about how ridiculous that is - including, at times, his father. But I appreciate her sincerity and willingness to let him be his own person. As I've mentioned before, he wears a bow frequently when we're out. We've gotten comments ranging from "isn't that a strange bow" (no, it's a normal one, actually) to "look how cute!" I've learned to smile, comment that life's tough when you have a sister, and move on. Most people seem to appreciate it; I suppose he's still young enough, though his mom said an older boy asked him why on earth he had it, one day.
It fascinates me, watching his interests grow. Monday was the first time I've heard him voice clothing desires. I'm willing to follow this as far as he wants, and it seems like his mom feels similarly. All I know is that he's darn cute with a bright blue bow in his short brown hair.