All Dressed Up

“Cross your legs when you sit.”  I say it no less than three times, yet she doesn’t understand.  “But Dad, they already know I’m wearing underwear.”  “But when you wear a dress you’re supposed to cross your legs when you sit,” I reply as she strikes a karate pose and strikes me in the gut.  I can already tell she doesn’t get the idea.


Bows, ruffles, and dresses – never a favorite of Gracie.  Her least favorite color is pink, right after rust-bucket yellow.  No princesses, no flowers and no butterflies.  Blue, green and brown will do.  And no ornamentation.  She wants her shirts plain – or with a hint of rebel design.  She’s nothing like her sister.  For her it was all about ruffles, princesses and pink.  Brooke calls her “athletic”.  The truth is I don’t know what to think.  And right now I’m calling her stubborn.


“I don’t want to go outside,” she says with arms folded as she stands near the back door.  I persist.  “Just get the newspaper.  We don’t want to be late to church.”  “But they’ll see me…in…a…DRESS,” she mumbles.  I lie and tell her it’s too early for anyone else to be up.  It works.  Still she runs down the driveway, looking to the right and left making sure that no one catches a glance – at least anyone she knows.


She has precisely three dresses.  Each one has been worn once.  I doubt they’ll ever see a second time.  Instead, for Gracie it’s about jeans, t-shirts and a ponytail.  Even a headband is a battle.  And this morning it took both Brooke and I to win it.  “You look…cool,” I comment, quickly replacing the word pretty with cool, realizing the error of my ways.  She looks back, knowing I’m trying to win her favor.  Brooke’s more deliberate.  “You look so pretty,” she says, “like a pink little princess.”  Gracie growls and I get hit in the gut.  Once again her aggression is misplaced and I am the punching bag.  This time it’s my turn to growl at Mom.


Soon we’re at church and they call the children to the stage before hustling them off to Sunday school to do something far more interesting than what we’ll do in the pew.  I’m jealous.  Still, even from the rear pew I can see I didn’t remind her enough.  Sitting with the Pastor in front of the altar, she answers his question, legs wide open.  Oh well.  I guess they all know she’s wearing underwear, I just wish the 100 people this Sunday didn’t know they were green.  Maybe next time I’ll let her win the argument.  She can wear the pants.

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