I was very particular about what my oldest kids wore, partly because I was insecure and trying to prove that I was a good mother. Some days my fifth, who later became the fashion expert in the family, would refuse to get on the bus with her older siblings because she wanted to wear some outlandish, clashing combination to school.
By the time my youngest two came along, my philosophy about child rearing changed drastically. I was not as particular about what society thought and happy to let them dress themselves and learn while they did so.
Often they played in a striped cotton shirt with fuzzy, polyester, polka dot sweatpants. I eventually learned to let go of certain standards for what a little child should wear even in public. Again it was my younger children who dressed in outlandish clothes or costumes. I made sure that they were neat and clean with their hair and teeth brushed and their unusual attire was also spotless.
However, Anthony usually wore a purple batman sweatshirt, black rubber barn boots, a short black cape and an old grey felt fedora hat. This look was a salute to this four-year old’s heroes – Batman, Zorro and a Canadian Mountie.
One day, teenage Melissa went shopping in a large department store with her Dad and Anthony in tow. She had just realized that she couldn’t see her brother when a loud announcement was made,
”I have a lost little boy at the customer service desk. He is wearing a purple batman sweatshirt, black boots, a black cape and a large grey hat. Please come and pick him up.”
Of course, it was Melissa who had to pick up Anthony, much to her chagrin. She still mentions this teenage humiliation.
Oh yes, not to be outdone, my youngest daughter usually followed Anthony around sporting a pair of fairy wings attached to her back.