Thursday, February 28, 2013

My daughter's clothes

A huge issue.

A way too big of an issue, IMO.

One similarity with Skadi and I is that when I was 5, I wore only dresses too. I had some weird and irrational thought that if I wore pants, someone might think I was a boy. I had long hair. I didn't look like a boy. But I was POSITIVE that someone would think me a boy.

When I was very little - probably around three - my dad's mom bought me a pair of cowboy boots. But she poisoned them. She poisoned them because she said "cowboy boots!" Not cowgirl boots. I still remember screaming my head off and my mom hissing through her teeth at me that I WOULD try them on for her one way or another. It was horrible. My feet were poisoned by boy shoes.

Skadi has these same delusions, sort of, at least. With footwear, she is all about comfort and one of her recent favorite pairs of shoes was a pair of brown hand me down Keens from her brother. I have no idea.

But not only does she want to wear a dress daily, but she adds her own flair to her style.

And it is the flair that she and her kindergarten teacher may come to blows over.

I am pretty sure her kindergarten teacher has labelled me as one of *those* parents. At Skadi's fall conference she mentioned one instance regarding the "class t-shirt" and it not being her issue.

The Class T-Shirt. So the deal is that at the beginning of the year the teacher requested we send in a white t-shirt for our kids that would be decorated in all the same way to give the class a consistent and fun look for field trips, group pictures, assemblies, etc. "The kids are just so cute in them!" She proclaimed!


Except Skadi HATES hers. Despises it.

So Skadi came home last fall with a sticker instructing the kids to wear the t-shirt the next day. And she refused. Wanted nothing to do with it. Since Skadi goes to morning care and I feared it being taken off and left somewhere (since a pink t-shirt underneath is mandatory in Skadi world) - I don't know, stuffed into some drawer or down the toilet at her morning care? I put it in her backpack and sent an e-mail to her teacher explaining that Skadi didn't want to wear it, it is in the backpack, hopefully when she sees the other kids wearing theirs, there will be positive peer pressure and she will want to put it on.

Well at conferences I was told that was out of line and not a teacher issue, not for them to deal with, it was up to me to get her in the t-shirt, her job is to teach.

Actually I disagree a bit. The Class T-Shirt is not part of a uniform that I agreed to. It was a request by the teacher that she wear this t-shirt. Therefore, your request, your problem. Not to be a complete bitch about it or anything, really. But I was rather annoyed.

That hasn't been the end of The Class T-Shirt. Skadi still despises it and on the days before she is supposed to wear it the teacher puts a sticker on the kids' shirt on their way out the door for the day reminding parents.

Any guesses where those stickers go?

I have no flipping idea because I don't see them! So instead Skadi ends up being the only child not in a matching t-shirt on a regular basis. I do have a secret weapon - friends. I have enlisted a parent friend from the class to let me know when her son comes home with a sticker to wear the special shirt.

But seriously, a battle where I am left shaking my head "why?!"

As I mentioned earlier Skadi has her own flair. She loves wearing a tiara daily. She loves pink. She loves dresses. And she prides herself on her clothing "creations". She argues about what matches and what doesn't. She is a clothing centric child. I was not. I like nice clothing and like shopping for clothes (this she got from me), but I don't push the syle boundries.

One day I got an e-mail home citing a school dress code violation. I was perplexed. I looked at my daughter. She was wearing a dress that she has owned for two years, wore to her grandfather's wedding and wears nearly once a week. And now... out of the blue... a dress code violation? Despite the fact that she had a sweater on covering the bare shoulders each day, it was cited that she wore sleeveless dresses two days in a row. (The previous day she did have a halter dress on, but wore a jean shirt/cardigan/light jacket over it.) If this was a problem, why wasn't it brought to my attention when she wore it first and not after 25 times? How do I explain to my daughter that I know it was ok last week when  you wore the dress, but now it isn't?

Skadi gets it I think - and it may sound awful - but I blame her teacher. "Remember Mrs. W said you can't wear dresses without sleeves?" But you know? It works. And there is no battle. And she willingly changes to abide by Mrs. W's rules.

The other day Skadi wore a long flowing maxi-style skirt that she loves. Apparently when running on the playground she tripped on the dress and it ripped. Badly. Skadi came home in a pair of humongous sweat pants. I e-mailed her teacher acknowledging the rip and thanking her for loaning her a pair of sweat pants.

I kind of expected an e-mail back saying, "you're welcome".

Not surprisingly the e-mail back to me was not a "you're welcome" but instead said that she wouldn't need the pants if she would quit wearing long dresses and skirts and recommended that maybe if I let Skadi pick out a pair of sparkley pants that she wouldn't feel so compelled to wear dresses all the time.

I didn't respond. Because if you don't have anything nice to say...

I thought pretty strongly about snapping a picture of my daughter's pants collection - the pink jeans, the cheetah print jeggings, the pink cheetah print jeans, the yoga pants, pink fleece pants... - and sending that off.

But I resisted. I may have cursed a bit, felt as though I was being judged as a mom, wondering if she had even MET my daughter... oh wait, those e-mails about my daughter's stubborn nature recently... maybe she had met her once.

I came to a conclusion the other day... I continually get notes about Skadi's lack of progress when tested linked to her refusal to do simple tasks... apparently she only knows 5 letters, for example. (Yet she can write her and her brother's full names and most of her sight words...)

Maybe if the teacher quit worrying about and focusing on my daughter's clothing, she could focus on teaching my daughter?

1 comment:

Jay said...

How very odd that the children are expected to wear the class t-shirt because the teacher thinks they look cute in them, but she doesn't show respect for what Skadi things she looks cute in. What Skadi wears is irrelevant to what she learns and quite clearly, the teachers need to focus on what is relevant to teaching your child skills and to be respectful of her differences. Making all the kids look the same won't make them learn any better or learn at the same rate! just as children need to learn tolerance,respect and acceptance of differences teachers need to model these behaviours to their students in the early years so school is a place where students can be free to reach their highest potential in an accepting environment without fear of judgement or criticism for things unrelated to their academic performance.
Your daughter has been stubborn since she was born. She has been socialized in care since she was a tiny girl and yet in spite of all this socialization she is as independent and individual as the day is long and the night time too surely this teacher has to realize that this is not the kid to sweat the small stuff with! Maybe if Skadi had been cosseted and sheltered at home and Kindergarten was her first foray into the outside world, the teacher might have a hope of bending her to her will and making her conform to what the teacher sees as the classroom norm but truly it has no relevance in teaching your little miss to read.But from your accounts Skadi is a pretty sophisticated little girl with a mind of her own that should be celebrated and encouraged!

P.S it is just plain stupid in my less than humble opinion that little girls can't wear sleeveless dresses. The moderators of public modesty are whacko!