When packing for vacation, we bought several sets of matching shorts and t-shirts for Eleanor. Most of her clothes are hand-me-downs, purchased second-hand, or bought by doting grandparents. T-shirts and shorts must suffer significant wear and tear at the hands (and knees) of toddlers, because for the past two years, when I get out the latest crop of used clothing, there's a dearth of these items in the pile. Add that to the fact that most of the grandparent-given clothes are adorable dresses, and you can understand why we had almost no shorts/t-shirts on hand.
What I failed to appreciate during this shopping spree is Eleanor's total disdain for shorts. This girl adores dresses and absolutely refuses to wear shorts. I thought she might be swayed while on vacation—everyone dressed down on vacation, right?—but that was not the case. Even her bathing suit had to resemble a ballerina's tutu instead of simply a bathing suit.
Here's just a few pictures of the dresses she wore throughout the week. By the end of the week, it was very clear what her main souvenir must be: a brand new beach dress. She loves it.
Since returning from vacation, we have convinced her (with much cajoling) to wear shorts on a few occasions, when we were hiking and camping. It's the opposite of my adult life, when I need a really good reason to bother with wearing a dress.
Why does it matter to me so much that she be willing to wear shorts? I don't really know. Most of the time, I don't care. Last week she wore her entire ballet outfit (tutu, tights, and ballet slippers) to music class with my blessing. Coincidentally, that's also the outfit she wore to meet Grandma Helen and Grandpa Chuck at an Art Museum outing a few months ago. She wears her two fancy Easter dresses to go to the playground or to the store.
I can't speak for Keith, but I think I pushed for shorts so much while on vacation because I want Eleanor to be better than I am at going with the flow. I am awful at wanting/needing to stick to my original plans or else. Many of you may already have noticed this tendency. I embrace Eleanor's love of dresses, and I hope she holds onto this preference; she really does look adorable in all of them. But I also would like her to realize that shorts are not the enemy, and if her five favorite dresses are all dirty at the same time (which is more likely than someone who is not the parent of a toddler might think, due to the various viscous substances of our days such as spilled milk, pee, mud, paint, and more), I want her to be able to throw on a pair of shorts without it ruining her whole day. And then she can go back to the dresses tomorrow ... as long as doing a load of laundry was part of Mommy's plan for the day.