The Cutest Nudist: A Lesson in Fashion
Hazel has reached the age at which what she's wearing is of maximum importance to her. Just look at her in that photo, so proud of the jim-jam shirt she's wearing with size 12 month shorts, Mickey Mouse socks and sandals. When she's not insisting on wearing her birthday suit, she has some pretty strong opinions about her clothing options, and voices them as such. She wanted to pick just the right thing to wear to help her Dada mow the lawn. I'm sure it goes without saying that, most of the time (again, take a look at the photo), she looks like a total dork. Super cute, but a dork nonetheless.
Why? Well, for one thing, she likes to wear Violet's clothes. Who knew that size 0-3 months pants could double as bike shorts for an almost 3 year old? Or that a size 3-6 months onesie could look so... interesting, layered over a bathing suit and paired with two different rainboots? Haze gets supremely pissed off when she can't wedge herself into Vi's newborn-sized dresses and tiny socks, yelling, wiggling and exhibiting distressing, supermodel-like behavior; suddenly I'm the mother of Naomi Campbell over here. She's much happier now that Violet's getting so chunky that she's moved up a couple sizes. The seasons are of little importance to Haze, so naturally, she has no sense of seasonal style, and doesn't understand why it's unwise to wear her 2 pound, fuzzy Winnie The Pooh costume on a 90 degree afternoon. Or why socks and sandals don't go really go together. She's cool with that, though - she thinks she's blazing a trail, and she grinned appreciatively when Patti complimented (wink, wink) her on her socks/sandals/sundress ensemble at the pool last week.
Pretty typical for Hazel's age group, I think, is the hard-edged insistance to have things a certain way that she's developed. There are some non-negotiable points of wardrobe etiquette that must be adhered to at all times, which are:
1. Socks must be worn with sandals, otherwise sandals are "sticky." Socks must also be worn at bedtime, no exceptions.
2. Socks must be kneesocks, no exceptions. If ankle socks are presented, they will be stretched way the hell up to her knees, so you better just give her the kneesocks, despite what the weather and common sense dictate.
3. Pants and/or shorts must be worn commando. Pants/shorts will be hiked up high and tight, past the bellybutton, ensuring lots of complaining about pants/shorts being in Hazel's crack. When underwear are suggested as a solution to the problem, Hazel will remind you of non-negotiable point number four:
4. Underwear are only for under dresses.
5. Above all else, except at bedtime/naptime, is the preference to be naked as the day she was born.
I estimate that Hazel is naked about 95% of the day, rain or shine, and 100% of the day if we aren't going anywhere. I think she thinks that clothes are just one big game and not, I don't know, things you actually need, like, in everyday life. Mike and I joke about sending her to a hippie nudist preschool in Santa Cruz, but being naked makes her so happy and puts her in such a good mood, that if such a thing existed, I'd really, honestly consider it. She is such a lovely shade of golden brown thanks to our vacation, and our two trips to the toddler pool last week. It would be such a shame to mar her lovely complexion with bathing suit lines or an icky farmer's tan. It really would.
Most of the time, I don't really care one way or the other - if Hazel wants to dress herself, fine. If she just wants to skip the clothes all together - fine. Of course there are those times when I must insist that she wear clothes. She likes to choose them, naturally, and I enjoy the completely crazy combinations she comes up with. To her credit, she does let me choose the outfits sometimes, too, and is really very congenial about it. She seems to instinctivly know that sometimes, a tutu over PJ pants, paired with Violet's cardigan and orange Mary Janes just isn't going to fly. But she also knows that when we get to our destination (if we're on a playdate that day), or when we get home (if we're just running errands), she can strip it all off and relax, as is her custom, au natural.
I wonder what age Hazel will be when this becomes faux pas? I can't even imagine a time when Hazel, the Cutest Nudist, will accept the fact that clothing can be a good, if not necessary, thing. Or any of the little girls in Hazel's group of best friends, for that matter. Will there really, truly, come a day when these girls outgrow running around naked, coloring on each other with markers and squealing with joy and mischief? Or when they'll want to go shopping for clothes that they 'have to have' because 'everyone has a (insert brand name article of clothing here)but me!'?? Are these girls going to be those girls?