The itchy ruffles

I spent all night last night writing my previous post, and getting myself psyched up about my son wearing a princess dress for Halloween.  I prepared myself mentally.  If Joshua chooses to wear the dress, so be it.  I am going to stand next to him, look every mom in the eye, and proudly say that my handsome little man wants to wear a dress.

Half an hour before we headed out to the Spook Fest, I put out his choices–the monkey suit, or the princess dress–and asked Joshua, “Which one do you want to wear?”

Without much of a pause, he said, “The monkey.”

Wait, what?

“The monkey.”

“Are you sure?  I thought you wanted to be a princess!”

“Um, I want the monkey.”

“Uh, ok.  But are you sure???”  I was starting to sound a little desperate.  Come on, I was all ready to be the mom who lets her son wear a dress!

Joshua was done with my questions.  He wanted the monkey suit.  Damned kiddo, sending me on an emotional roller coaster.

I put Joshua in the monkey suit, put Savanna in her cow costume, and put both kids in the stroller and we headed out.  We went to the event, saw a ton of his preschool friends, neighborhood kids, and their parents.  It was a fun event with cookie decorating, bouncy castle, crafts and activities.

On our way home, I asked Joshua, “Why didn’t you want to wear the princess dress?  You looked so cute in it.”

Joshua said, “Um, coz it’s itchy.”

It turned out that the ruffles on the dress bothers his neck, his wrists, and his legs.  This guy is a creature of comfort…just like his mama.  He’ll probably wear his PJs all day if he could.

After dinner tonight, I proposed that we all get dressed up and go play at the park for a bit.  I suggested to Joshua he could wear something underneath the dress to prevent the itchiness.  He was then very willing to put on the dress.

We played at the park for about half an hour.  It was after dinner and getting a bit chilli, so there were very few kids there.  Nobody said anything.  All the adults who walked by looked at Joshua and Savanna and smiled.

Well, that was that.  He was a monkey this morning, and a princess this evening.  Looking back, I am not so sure why it was such a big deal in my head about the princess thing.  I am constantly learning how to be a mom.  This has been one big lesson for me to allow my child to make his own choices, and stand by him no matter what.

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A princess dress

On Tuesday, I picked up Joshua from preschool and took him to dance class.  While sitting in the circle warming up, the dance teacher asked everyone what they are going to be for Halloween.  We have already bought Joshua a cute monkey costume, and he has already worn it to the pumpkin patch a week ago.  He knew he was going to be a monkey.  I fully expected him to say, “Monkey.”

But when it was Joshua’s turn to tell everyone what he is going to be, he said, “I’m going to be a princess.”

I thought I heard him wrong.  I asked him, “What are you going to be?”  He said, “A princess.”

I was truly surprised.  I searched in my little bank of memories of when we ever mentioned a princess to him.  Nothing.  Natta.  Zip.  I’m a total tomboy, and would have nothing to do with princesses if it’s up to me.  I highly doubt the subject of a princess would come up between Cliff and Joshua either.  So I have no idea where he got the idea from.

I avoided the gaze of other dance moms and the teacher.  I acted like I was surprised (and I was, but I exaggerated my surprise and shrugged like I have nothing to with this silly idea).  Immediately, I felt ashamed of myself for even feeling this way.  If my son wanted to be a princess, why can’t he?

When Cliff came home that night, I told him about the event.  So we asked Joshua again, and the answer was the same.  He wanted to be a princess.  I got some advice from some very wise friends, discussed with Cliff, and we thought we should let Joshua make his own decision.  We won’t try to influence him either way.

Do you want to know what’s really going through my head?  I will be brutally honest with you.

I am scared.  I’m scared that some kid is going to make a comment about Joshua and it would hurt his feelings.  I’m scared that other moms are going to look at me and wonder what the hell is wrong with me, allowing my son to dress up as a princess.  I desperately want to shield Joshua from the outside world.  I don’t want people to point their fingers at him and snicker, hey, that’s the little boy who wore a dress for Halloween.

But you know what the real problem is?  It’s me.  I am the judgemental one.  I’m more judgemental than anyone I know.  If I saw a little boy dressed up as a princess, I would think, how weird.  Why would his mom let him wear girls’ clothes?  THAT, my friend, is the heart of the problem.

So this afternoon, I took Josh and Savanna to the store to buy a dress.  All the pink and light color princess dresses were sold out in his size.  I found a dark purple color dress with gold trims on the rack.  I have no idea what princess this dress belonged to.  The store clerk told me it’s actually a girl pirate dress.  Whatever.  It’ll do.  It’s a dress.  THIS mommy doesn’t know all the princesses.  I brought it to Joshua, and asked, “Hey, what do you think about this dress?” He looked up from the cars he was playing with, and asked, “Is that a princess dress?”  I said, “Yes it is.  Do you like it?”  He said, “Yes.”  I said, “Are you sure?  This is the one you want?”  He went back to playing with the cars, and answered, “Yup”, like he is done with this discussion.

So it was settled.  We bought a dress.  Joshua tried it on at home, and I genuinely thought it was very cute.  He looked in the mirror and just beamed! It made me so happy to see him happy.

Tomorrow morning, we’re going to bring out both the monkey suit and the dress, and Joshua can choose what he’ll wear.  Whatever he chooses, he’s wearing it to the community centre Halloween event.  You’ll have to check back later this weekend to see an update on how it all goes down tomorrow.