Well, I do loves me some cheery spring pictures, and FOR FREE just makes it even more
And hey, you know what would be great for these cheery spring pictures? Matching sister dresses!
So I started trolling around online in February, eagerly anticipating the plethora of pastel floral poofy skirts that herald the arrival of spring more emphatically than the most determined tulip (mostly just because the tulips get snowed on a lot around here).
And then, they were here! Seemingly overnight the websites filled up with dress after dress after dress of adorableness.
And then... wait for it........ SALE!
I have learned a few things about these important matters over the years. Mostly, it's hard to judge what size kids wear in formal dresses based solely off their normal wear of tshirts and sweat pants. Oh, and they're persnickety about how stuff feels because they think sweat pants are the best things in the world and they like fancy dresses but fancy dresses should feel like sweet pants too. .
Even when the stuff in question of feel is really, really cute.
So I decided I would have to
I also may or may not still have the occasional brief moments of serious parental disillusionment. Like when I somehow thought the above mentioned idea could somehow magically be an enjoyable afternoon with my children.
(Oops, was that a spoiler?? Eh, it's on the blog in the first place, that probably tells you how things are going to go.....)
But back to my afternoon of disillusionment. We arrived at Gymboree, where I made a beeline straight to the top dresses I'd been drooling over online while Kristina attempted to cram her grade-school-sized behind into a comically small little plastic chair to watch the toddler program filled television and Adrianna set about undressing the nearest mannequin.
One of the oddities of this store that I have yet to wrap my brain about is it's complete lack of any sort of attempt at a changing room. Sure, it's not really a big deal for a toddler to get stripped in the middle of the store (although sometimes it's nice to have them in a confined space for it, since being naked is the universal sign to take off running), but they carry clothes up to kids size 12.
But, if you ask nicely, they'll totally let you make yourself at home in their backroom stripping your children to your hearts content.
Which is how come the girls spent the whole time that they weren't being put into/pulled out of dresses asking to buy stuff like random shoes that were hanging out in bins back there.
The first dress was too snug in the arm holes for Kristina. Adrianna didn't like the second dress because... she decided she didn't like it. The best I could get out of her for what specifically she didn't like about it was "everything" in the most lamenting morose voice you have ever heard. Which, you know, totally helps the helpful sales lady and I decide what to try on her next.
Dress after dress was nixed by one or the other of them. My happy anticipation had evaporated. And right about the time I was resigning myself to never being able to get matching sister dresses ever again (well, at least not with them along), Kristina spied a corner of pink hanging on the racks above us.
The sales lady dragged out a ladder, and pulled down some beautiful pink silky fluffy gowns.
The children ooohed and aaahed, Kristina even went so far as to clap excitedly.
And then, the part that came significantly closer to making me oooh and aaah and clap excitedly, they actually said they wanted them. Both of them. In the same, gorgeous little gown.
Admittedly, this was significantly more "fancy dress" and less "practical summer play garment" than I had been envisioning, but at that point, I probably would have been willing to pay up for matching burlap sacks if the two of them actually agreed upon the stupid things.
And then the helpful sales lady rung me up.
And I had a bit of sticker shock that was in no way connected to Kristina whining about not being able to find a sticker she liked in the Gymboree sticker jar.
As we got home and the children got into a particularly screamy row over who got to turn on the TV, I started brooding over the cost of the dresses.
It was a lot more money than I had planned on spending. Should I return them? Would the girls notice if they just never got to wear them for anything? I could always go with plan B of jean shorts and rainboots for equally cheery spring pictures. Or trade them in for more practical but still matching cotton play dresses instead. But would they feel betrayed? I would have been heartbroken as a child had my mother bought me a beautiful little gown and then returned it. Is it the part where they'd only wear them a few times that's really bothering me? I could always just embrace childhood fully and let them wear them to play in... to smear paint on, to sit in mud, to come home from preschool with half the sandbox tucked into those sweet bodice pleats.
Sometimes, parenthood is full of challenging decision.