I didn't exactly inherit a fashion gene. I can dress for an occasion, generally match and not look like my seamstress had a hangover, but that's about the extent of it. I'm neither unique nor creative nor trend-setting.
So, it's a pretty good bet that my daughters won't have inherited a flair for fashion (I compensated for this early on by enlisting the assistance of my stepmother who is unique, creative and trendsetting. She will be accompanying us on all shopping trips once we approach the teen years.)
The thing is, both my girls think they do have the gene, and I have to admit, they are unique.
Nikki, winning the struggle to pull on her lime green one-piece bathing suit on over her one-piece pink and blue jumper, decided once that feat was accomplished, her ensemble wasn't complete. To it, she added one black and purple snow boot, put on the wrong foot (in her defense, at least, it was facing forward this time). I have a picture now that will be available to her grandchildren. I'm sure she'll see it in about 12 years and say "how could my mother dress me like this?" I know exactly the tone she'll say it in, too. I've said the exact same thing when I look at my pre-teen (and some teen) pictures. It's only now that I realize mom probably wasn't thrilled with the outfit I chose, but it was much easier to let it ride than to go through the fight that accompanied any attempt, or even suggestion, that I change.
Nikki enjoyed her chosen look so much, that she remained in it for most of the day, and at diaper-changing time she threw a fit until the frilly swimsuit was back in place.
The swimsuit now has a few drops of bright red nail polish that are the result of my girls' second fashion faux pas of the day.
I'm going to tell this story despite the fact that it will make my aunt, who just sent me an article on the ills of nail polish, gasp for air and likely prescribe a vitamin regimen that combats the effects of toxicity.
It was my day off -- not as relaxing as I had hoped, but still filled with precious minutes of alone time. Those came when, miraculously, Katie and Nikki fell asleep at the same time. I used the time to paint my nails. As they were drying, I disappeared into my room to read. About 10 minutes later, ready for a second coat, I reappeared and decided to check on the girls. I walked into their bedroom and saw red -- literally. At that time, Nikki was in control of the brush and was painting the inside of the Snoopy sno-cone maker.
Dang they're fast.
Katie, red streaks on from the tip of her nails to her wrists and a few spots on her nose (there was a little in her hair, but I didn't find that till about two days later), stood up, held out her hands, smiled and said, "look, mom, I purty."
She was so proud.
Nikki, mimicking her sister, stood up, too, and said "pitty," with the same mile-wide smile Katie had.
Nikki evidently had more time with the polish than Katie did. Her legs were coated from knee to upper thigh with a solid sheet of red and her palms looked liked she'd dipped them in blood.
What was left of the nail polish remover was used to save the carpet. The girls, I figured by then could just stay "purty."
I called their father and gave him two options: Pick up several bottles of nail polish remover or some red paint to finish the job.
See, I told you they had a skewed sense of fashion.
Katie just reiterated it the next day when, on the pretense of coloring a picture, she got a purple crayon, used it to paint her lips and again said, "I purty."
"Your gorgeous," I told her, as I took the crayon away.
And she is, even coated in red.
The beautiful thing about children is that they call things as they see them and they see things with a wonderfully uninfluenced perspective. They don't see thin, fat, old, young, bad hair, crooked teeth or mismatched clothes.
Case in point. We cleaned out the box of fruit snacks, so I stretched it out and put it on my head like a hat to amuse the girls and then crossed my eyes, stuck out my tongue and smiled at them.
To which Katie said, "Oh! You purty, mom."
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.