Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Why a Spider-Man T-shirt Matters

About two weeks ago I gave PJ a Spider-Man t-shirt that Watcher's mom had picked up for us. Since then he has worn the t-shirt every single day.


Look at that face. He loves his t-shirt. For some reason this t-shirt makes him proud. It hasn't been too warm the past couple of days, so he has worn it over - not under, never under - a series of long-sleeve shirt. They tell me at the daycare that he leaps up to get a wet wipe to clean his shirt if anything falls on it and he takes care that none of the other children pull on it. I've washed it by hand a few times and I've also done an extra load of laundry on evenings I really didn't want to be doing laundry to make sure he could wear it clean the next day. And, yes, he has worn it even when it was really dirty and he had 15 other, clean t-shirts in his drawer.

I'm sure there are some raised eyebrows when my kid shows up at kindergarten in the same shirt for two weeks. I know that there have been some rude comments about his outfits on other days when he chose his creative outfits himself, mostly from people who thought they were being "funny". Just this afternoon a lovely person tried to tell him - right after he proudly showed her his "pretty clip" in his hair - that wearing an adorable little clip in his hair was "only for girls." (Spoiler alert: clips are not just for girls.)

My child can chose what he wants to wear. If he wants to wear the Spider-Man t-shirt every day because it makes him proud, I'm going to do what I can to make that happen. If he wants to wear clips in his hair, I will buy him some. If he wants to wear cowboy boots with football pants and a striped shirt because he thinks he looks "chic" (his word) than I'm going to tell him he is right, he does look chic.

I do not identify with what my child wears. I identify with his dancing ideas and his happy posture. I am joyful that he is learning that his opinions and his tastes matter; that he can express himself in lots of ways, including clothing; and that he has a sense of agency in choosing what he wears on days that he cares about what he wears.

We aren't going to be here forever. He isn't going to be a child forever. Today I can help him build the skills he will need and that will - I hope - support him through challenging times by giving him the space and the backing to proudly wear his Spider-Man t-shirt for yet another day. If he pairs it with green and white plaid pants and an orange long-sleeve shirt and a sparkly bow tie in his hair and then tells me, proudly, with dancing eyes, that he looks "chic", I'm going to say, "Honey, you look amazing."



Sham Monk said...
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MrsJ said...

BE WEIRD LITTLE BOO!!!! It means that you have an opinion and yep, your mom is right, it matters =]

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