The secret to surviving the Terrible Twos and Threes, I've found, is to give this wonderful, sweet, and-turn-on-a-dime-tantrumming, seeming-adolescent-in-training as much control over her wee life as is safe and appropriate so that the absolute dealbreakers are minimal. Safety for herself and others, respect for others and respect for me are completely non-negotiable. Other stuff I am learning to select judiciously as Things That Warrant a Fuss. Because as you know if you've had kids at this age, ALL kinds of random things create a fuss beyond all sense of proportion.
One of those things is her clothing. The girl is now absolutely demanding creative control over her image, primarily as it relates to couture and haberdashery. For my approval she has to dress weather- and activity-appropriately, but beyond that, it's her call. However, I'm no dummy; so I give her a couple of things to choose from rather than saying, "What do you want to wear" on the one hand or "Here. Wear This" on the other. That worked for a little while but now she points to her closet and requests particular outfits.
I swear to you, we have left the house with a white and yellow dress over blue jeans, with yellow socks, pink shoes and a pink and white striped bowler hat on. We have also left the house lo these past many weeks in a puppydog costume. Not to mention the pink tutu over red pants with her favorite purple shirt underneath. I often feel compelled to yell to passersby, "She dressed herself! I swear! I know these colors don't match, okay?! I'm a good mother--and a halfway decent dresser! Believe me!" So we have kooky Betsey Johnson-style days most of the time. And then, as if by Project Runway/America's Next Top Model magic, Bambina selects something that's not my first choice but that has people complimenting me on my style, which I have to throw to her.
Yesterday was one such day. I was so proud:
"Future Rafter" baseball hat? Check.
Hand me down Ralph Lauren dress? Check.
Boston Red Sox socks? Double Check!
Ruby slippers? (To which she replied when asked about them: "No! They're MY slippers! No Ruby's slippers!") Check and Check.
I'm so proud that she dressed herself in something that is more Ralph Lauren than Bjork, but I'm most proud of the fact that she was workin' the Red Sox socks. Now THAT'S fashion worth the fuss.