Practically every parent has had to go through it at least once, and dreaded the battle that follows: asking your child to dress up nicely for a special occasion. With some girls, it’s usually not so much of a battle, because they enjoy dressing up. Our daughter, so unlike me at her age, will put on a dressy dress with nice shoes and tights, all ready for a special occasion, without an argument. (I, on the other hand, can still remember fighting with my mother, and have photos of a particularly awful light-pink dress with a lacy collar, matched with uncomfortable white tights and Mary Janes. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I could start to wear stockings and tights again without discomfort.)
But boys, they’re a different matter—most, like our Boy, won’t put up with a nice button-down shirt and dress pants unless they’re too young to fight it. A friend recently mentioned that the Boy seems smartly dressed most of the time, but that’s only if I can get my hands on him; if my little guy had his druthers, he’d be in sweatpants and a mismatched knit shirt most of the time. Yes, he does like the few ties that he has, but only because they’re novel in that they zip up, and only to wear for 15 minutes.
So what a lovely surprise it was for me to come down to breakfast to see two children all dressed up for Thanksgiving, on their own, and colour-coordinated, to boot. There was the Girl, in a sleeveless red velvet dress with a ribbon tie at the waist, and her brother in white dress pants, a long-sleeve white dress shirt, and a satin red tie (I can’t even remember where he got that, but yes, he has a satin red tie!). How she managed to convince him to get dressed up, and colour-coordinate with her at the same time, I’ll never know. And to top it all off, they both managed to play in their outfits all day without complaining, or getting their outfits dirty, before showtime suppertime.
Getting your kids to dress up formally, without being asked: a nice battle won without any casualties.