Dress Codes Optional

I remember a day (it seems so long ago now) when Micah was probably two years old, that he put his pants on all by himself. It was quite a feat for someone who had limited fine motor skills. I was so proud of him that even though they were on backwards (hello, elastic waist jeans!) I let him wear them backwards all that day.

There was a day that I wasn't that parent. I was the parent who would praise a child for a wonderful effort, then proceed to change those pants around the right way. But that day Micah changed me. That day I realized that sometimes small things like backwards pants don't matter. What matters is that a child of mine did something so grand, all by himself, that I would just revel in his glow rather than extinguish his light.

That day Micah's OT was at the house for a therapy session, and she complimented me for my wisdom in allowing Micah to wear his jeans backwards. Because I had come a hundred miles in my thinking in the space of a morning, I was surprised at her statement. But it did reinforce in me the lesson that I'd learned.

Don't sweat the small stuff. If it's not a moral or a safety issue, it's not really a big deal. And when your kid does something praise worthy, celebrate.

That is why Micah went to church this weekend with his shorts on backwards. (We are still fans of elastic waist pants. It's just so much easier with potty training.) And why he wore white knee socks with his backwards shorts. And why his shoes were on the wrong feet. And why I walked into church right behind him, beaming with pride. I was well aware of what my son looked like, and was just as glad that he walked out of church the same way he walked into it. His teachers rock.

My boy. He's growing up. I am so proud of him.

7 comments:

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

He is getting so big! I wish I had the same capacity to look at the bigger picture and not sweat the things that should really be celebrated. You, my dear, are an inspiration!

Trisha said...

Stressing about that is not worth it. Especially when Micah is learning so much . . .

Viv said...

Karen, looking back on my childhood, I can't ever remember my own mother giving me praise, or thanking me for doing anything, without either A.) redoing it the 'right' way or B.) offering 'constructive criticism.'

What you did, and the kind of mother you are...it makes you shine, and it makes for children who aren't afraid to try, because they don't expect to be shot down.

Talk about food for thought. ;)

ModernMom said...

Oh such a great post!! I could feel the pride:)

JennyH said...

WTG Micah! I do the same thing. Max once wore his T shirt not only backwards but wrong side out as well! He was probably 2 years old. The cashier at the grocery store said something to the effect.. "did you dress yourself?" I just go with the flow.

Ike seems to have his shoes on the wrong feet about half the time. And Sam... Oh my word... has her own sense of style that I think she is proud of. Joe is following in her footsteps. Joe is just now learning to gather his clothes up and put them on. It's interesting to say the least. But as least he tries!

Big WTG on the undies! Hope you didn't jinx yourself.

caramama said...

I've been working on this too with my 3 yo! So what if the shirt and pants and socks don't match just right? She picked them out all by herself. She was so proud and thought they looked good together. And because of that, I thought she looked adorable and was so proud.

Amazing how kids make us grow as people, isn't it?

HalfAsstic.com said...

You are totally right and I know I remember having the hardest time not fixing little things that were wrong with my children's attempts at different projects.
I love that picture of him.