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Our daughter has insisted on dressing herself this summer, and since I’m a pick-your-battles kind of mom, I let her go for it. There was only one time, the time she put on see through tights with no underwear underneath, that I vetoed the outfit. Otherwise, I’ve let her express herself in clothing and accessories (accessories are very important to her), but rarely in shoes. The girl is anti-

footwear. I have to insist on the shoes. Sometimes she looks ridiculous. Other times she looks adorable, like a tiny blonde Punky Brewster. And once in a while she assembles a surprisingly stylish look. If she were going to school, I may have guided her choices a bit, but we spent this summer at the pool, at her grandparents’, playing with cousins, and doing nothing in particular; it was a great time to experiment with self expression.

I told my sister about the kiddo’s outfit choices the other day.

“She wore her shorts inside out all day long yesterday,” I said. “She insisted she wanted them that way.”

“What? Did people stare? Why did you let her go out that way?” my sister asked.

“She’s a 4-year-old in a goofy outfit. She has the rest of her life to feel self conscious. She doesn’t need to worry about what other people think about how she looks at this age.” I explained.

When school rolls around next week, I’ll be supervising the clothing choices a little more, and definitely making sure the pants are right side out. But I’ve enjoyed these three months of giving my free spirited daughter the freedom to dress herself with few limitations. When she would stand in front of her mirror, examining the finished product, and smile and nod proudly, I couldn’t help but hope that she would hold onto that for another 30 years or so.

And for your viewing pleasure…The Summer of the Kiddo’s Outfits, in Photos:

Frozen sweatshirt, leopard print scarf (from grandma) fashioned into some sort of turban, another scarf from grandma used as a sarong, leggings. No shoes.
Frozen sweatshirt, leopard print scarf (from grandma) fashioned into some sort of turban, another scarf from grandma used as a sarong, leggings. No shoes.
Shorty romper over pajama pants, Frozen purse, mommy's Betsey Johnson necklace. No shoes.
Shorty romper over Doc McStuffins pajama pants, Frozen purse, mommy’s Betsey Johnson necklace. No shoes.
Pink tank, bumble bee tights from an old Halloween costume, every accessory she owns. No shoes.
Pink tank, bumble bee tights from an old Halloween costume, every accessory she owns. No shoes.
The Wonder Woman
The Wonder Woman “dress” she loved so much she wore it for a week straight, even to Tae Kwon Do class. It was really a nightgown.
Peasant top, sunglasses, bracelets looped over ears to simulate earrings (unnecessary because she has pierced ears, but whatever.), purse around neck.
Peasant top, sunglasses, bracelets looped over ears to simulate earrings (unnecessary because she has pierced ears, but whatever), purse around neck.
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