Tiny, adorable, clever and independent Emily was also strong-willed, high maintenance and high-strung. My fifth child, Emily was a beautiful little package of contradictions who gave me strife and hilarious joy, sometimes at the very same time. Most arguments were about clothes. Although her fashion sense has developed into a wonderful gift now that she is in her mid twenties, at three and four-years old this “gift” was a pain.
Emily changed her clothes often throughout the day, from the age of two. Watching one of the few videos of our family, one of my older daughters pointed at the screen and laughed,
Sure enough, the pip squeak had another outfit on.
Emily was always aware of what she was wearing as well as those around her, which often led to disagreements about what she could and could not wear. Although she was a mature, articulate, fashion conscious three-year old, I was still concerned that Emily was too young to start four-year old kindergarten. When she stomped into the house after the first morning, ranting about a little girl who had worn a “jean skirt with a MATCHING jean jacket”, I realized that it was the school which was not quite ready for EMILY
Alas, Emily’s attention soon turned to her busy mother. I sometimes pulled on stockings, brushed my hair and applied a touch of make-up once I had climbed into our huge 13 seat mini-bus. I barely had enough time to make sure that I had on a clean dress and had brushed my teeth before I hustled everyone out the door. This changed when my daughters were in their late teens because they organized an all out assault to bring me into the 21st century. They took me to a hair salon for a cut and dye make-over, plucked my eyebrows, bought me clothes and make-up and forced me to throw out decade old comfy clothes. Emily has been the most persistent fashion advisor, however.
One evening as I tried to rush out of the house, Emily looked up from her homework and asked,
“Are you going out?”
I answered in the affirmative.
Emily continued, “And you’re wearing THAT?”
I nodded slowly. I knew where she was going with THIS converation.
“I don’t think so”, she added, “Remember the navy pants that Melissa bought you for Christmas and the top that Rachel gave you on Mother’s Day? That would look really sharp with my light blue scarf and my little black belt. Could you PLEASE try it on?”
I sighed and trudged back upstairs because it was easier just to comply. I must admit that she was right. Of course, once I came down, Emily had to jump up to adjust the belt and re-tie the scarf but as a result of listening to my daughter’s fashion advice, she was pleased and Michael, my husband, was pleasantly surprised.
Really though, Emily is an expert at changing outfits. She has been practicing since she was two-years old.