I picked up the girls after school. I asked them about their day, but P. only wanted to know one thing.
"Mommy, did you wash the clothes?"
I know exactly what clothes she is talking about. The hand-me-down clothes the girls picked out from friends from our old church. They generously shared two large boxes of clothes in just-the-right-size for the girls. The other night, after the girls were in bed, I dumped out the boxes and scanned the possibilities.
Most of the articles of clothing were not my style for the girls. In addition, my girls are currently on a "let's dress alike" kick. I wasn't buying two of everything. I wanted them to have some choice. In our house, we said, "similar, but different." Perhaps the same shirt, but one in pink and one in purple. That's what I was going for, and then mornings came with tears. Now, every morning (for more than two years), P. picks out her clothes and M. picks exactly the same thing.
There were no duplicates in the boxes. So I picked out a couple items that I kind of liked or I thought were perfect to add to the dress up box and set them to the side. Our friends mentioned that we could donate the clothes that we did not want.
The next day, the box was set to go for donation. Until two little curious pairs of hands opened up the boxes. The girls did their own shopping. P. loved a colorful dress while M. picked out a cute skirt with sparkles. The girls continued to pull out shirts, skirts, dresses, sandals until they filled a laundry basket with choices of their own liking.
And they were okay with different. Maybe this is what I needed to help them be their own little person. I was pleasantly surprised with the old hand-me-downs.
Today she wanted those "new" clothes.
"Oh, honey. I was at school all day too. I wasn't home to wash any laundry," I explained when M. jumped into the conversation.
"What do you think that Mommy's an octopus?"
I laughed out loud at her very smart comment. And yes, some days I wish that I was an octopus!
"We can wash your new clothes tonight," I told them, imagining what I'd look like as an octopus and all that could get accomplished ...