Be forewarned, reader, that the following editorial is one of an extremely shallow and secular nature. My husband’s rolling eyes when I told him my latest theme for writing should indicate exactly how meaningless the following drivel really is in the greater scheme of things. And yet, it is without hesitation that I delve into this all-encompassing topic: toddler fashion, for it is one, which—sadly—has become an obsession!
When our identical twins were born, we dressed them differently out of indifference. In the sleep-deprived apathy of our early days, we really didn’t care one way or another what the boys looked like, and simply threw on whatever hand-me-down sleeper we pulled out of our friends’ kids’ bags of previously-loved clothing. Occasionally, Alex and Simon would turn up in matching outfits, as the typical twins shower gifts also found their way into the nursery closet. But in general, the boys were as individually dressed as two children from completely different families.
Eventually we came out of our coma, and found we actually liked our babies. This manifested itself in various ways, among other things, in a renewed interest in their wardrobe. At least on my end.
Now that we were actually enjoying our children (as opposed to dreading every waking, screaming moment), and looking forward to public appearances with them, we began to more carefully consider how we dressed them. Of course the big question with multiples, especially identicals, is “Alike or Different?” I have since read lots of research to suggest that dressing identical twins, well, identically, is actually not great for their cognitive/emotional development (and no wonder: I mean, figuring out that you exist as an individual separate from your mother is a difficult enough life transition for a singleton—imagine having someone who looks just like you everywhere you go, 24/7!) So, apart from a few special occasions when we want to celebrate their twin-ness, or if we are in a very busy public place, where dressing the boys the same makes it easier to spot them quickly, we generally outfit Simon and Alex differently. Unfortunately for our pocketbooks, this does not prevent major fashion considerations from finding their way onto our shopping agenda.
The worst part is that I had never set foot inside a Gymboree store until the boys were well over a year old. I swore up and down when the babes were little that I would never buy designer kids’ clothing, especially not new. What a WASTE of money, I ranted! But as soon as I wandered for the first time into a Gymboree store (“just to look”), I had to have it—ALL of it, in all its perfectly coordinated glory!!!
The drama of which outfits to buy becomes further complicated by the following factor: Limited availability of clothing in the same size! Really, we have found that the odd time we get sucked into the whole identical outfit thing, we are hard-pressed to unearth two of the same size. This may not be a problem that everyone with multiples shares. Given the age of our boys—Alex and Simon are almost three—I attribute our troubles in this area to the black-out baby phenomenon. (Remember that warm summer night a few years ago when the lights went out, and people everywhere—not knowing what to do with themselves—whiled away the hours in the dark, engaged in nature’s most primitive activity, and nine months later, we had a whole bunch more babies in this part of the world? For the record, I was already one week pregnant by the time this occurred. Frustratingly, I am nevertheless forever sentenced to a lack of appropriately sized clothing by the proximity of this event to the innocent conception of my own two darlings.) Anyway, we often ponder if those with children six months older or younger than Alex and Simon are wonderfully relieved of this apparent shortage.
All things considered, though, we are lucky. We only havetwins. Triplets pose a major problem, as most clothing lines only carry two coordinating shirts. So, if you buy Triplet A the maroon stripes, and Triplet B gets the blue, what the heck does Triplet C wear without totally wrecking the whole look?! What a nightmare! (My heart really goes out to you parents of triplets—quads at least can do the whole “two and two” thing. Unless there’s an uneven number of boys and girls in the set—that’s a whole other fashion problem in itself.)
I am proud to say that both my children share my sense of fashion obsession, by the way; they know what they like, my boys: Whenever they come out of the bathtub and into their towels to be rubbed down, Simon always insists on “Da Pink, Da Pink!” And when I arrived home recently with the two new afore-mentioned Gymboree sweaters and layed them out on the couch, Alex exclaimed, “Ooooh, da new one!” These are my children, in whom I am well pleased!
Well, dear reader, I told you it would be a shallow piece of writing. And yet, are you not amazed at how much mileage I was able to squeeze out of this inconsequential topic?! Enjoy your clothes shopping years, dear reader, even if it breaks the bank. Soon enough will come the day when your little ones won’t wear anything you pick out for them!
Read the follow-up to this article here.
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