The Power of Parenting

by Chelsea Hughes

I’m the mother of a three year-old child. As each day passes, she grows more and more independent. She insists on putting her own shoes on (the wrong feet). She insists on microwaving her own hot chocolate (for 30 minutes). She insists on dressing herself (in no shirt, a tiara and three pairs of pants).

Of course I know it’s important for children to grow up and develop their own sense of self whateverblahblahblah, but I’m absolutely terrified. Terrified that this new independence will also breed independent thought and opinion on one issue of great importance to me: silly costumes.

Exhibit A: Baby Santa!

As the parents of young children will testify, dressing children in ridiculous costumes is our only way to experience complete and total control/exhilaration at the expense of our beautiful offspring. Some people say it’s humiliating. I think it’s therapeutic. Dressing them like a tiny lobster makes us forget they smeared their own feces all over the bathroom floor.

The window of time that I can get away with this is very small. Sooner or later my child’s tiny human brain will create the neuro-pathways required to fully understand how insane I am. One day she’ll simply refuse to play along and say something far too mature for her age about how I’m exploiting her for my own personal amusement. I expect this will happen by the time she turns four.

I’ll then have to decide whether to give in to my child’s silly demands for humane treatment. If the answer is no, then I have two options:

1. Transform myself into a fully-fledged psychotic pageant mother and force her to dress like a sexy Elvis for money and giant tiaras. (I was born and raised in Texas, so I am genetically predisposed to this option)

2. Find a cunning way to trick her into thinking it’s her idea.

For now, I’ve chosen option 2. I will instill in her a love and respect of history and culture. I will show her that the past is full of people who took risks, forged difficult lives in new worlds, and became the strong, resilient, admired people they were by wearing ridiculous costumes. My daughter will be so intensely appreciative of those people that she’ll insist on paying homage to them by emulating them. She’ll refuse to spend Halloween celebrating dead people from Mexico dressed as Minnie Mouse. Instead she’ll do historical re-enactments of the brave people who walked this earth before her, dressed as tubes of toothpaste.

May the following costumes inspire her.

Colgate toothpaste

Ian Crane, dressed up as a tube of Colgate toothpaste

Ian Crane, dressed up as a tube of Colgate toothpaste. James, Frances M (Mrs), fl 1988: Slides of family, friends, holidays and world trips. Ref: PA12-2551-6. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Mountaineer (with functioning pick ax)

Noel Ross as a child, dressed as a mountaineer - Photograph probably taken by Malcolm Ross

Noel Ross as a child, dressed as a mountaineer – Photograph probably taken by Malcolm Ross. Pascoe, John Dobree, 1908-1972: Photographic albums, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/2-054916-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Oh Christmas Tree

Studio portrait of unidentified girl dressed as Christmas tree with ornaments, probably Christchurch

Studio portrait of unidentified girl dressed as Christmas tree with ornaments, probably Christchurch. Maclay, Adam Henry Pearson, 1873-1955: Negatives. Ref: 1/2-185181-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Biscuit Tin Robot

Outdoors portrait in front of a dark sheet, an unidentified teenaged boy, head covered, in fancy dress 'Aulsebrook & Co' biscuit boxes costume, probably Christchurch region

Outdoors portrait in front of a dark sheet, an unidentified teenaged boy, head covered, in fancy dress ‘Aulsebrook & Co’ biscuit boxes costume, probably Christchurch region. Maclay, Adam Henry Pearson, 1873-1955: Negatives. Ref: 1/2-184401-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Letter Box

Studio portrait of an unidentified boy in fancy dress as a GR Post Office Letterbox, showing the boy standing next to a wooden high chair and resting his right arm on it, possibly Christchurch district

Studio portrait of an unidentified boy in fancy dress as a GR Post Office Letterbox, showing the boy standing next to a wooden high chair and resting his right arm on it, possibly Christchurch district. Maclay, Adam Henry Pearson, 1873-1955: Negatives. Ref: 1/2-163510-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

 

(Cover Image: Purim Costume – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licensed photo by Avital Pinnick)

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1 comment

Lobby Lud
Lobby Lud December 19, 2013 - 9:02 am

We plan to make this a key part of our parenting approach. My wife has already purchased a shark costume for shark week:

http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Shark-Costume-12-18-Months/dp/B00998YMLW

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