Liz was about 4 years old when she discovered she actually had a say in the kinds of clothing she could wear. Not to say I didn’t dress her as cute as a button. I did. But, she realized at some point that all she had to do was simply say no and I’d move on to the next outfit, until we found something that made, not only me happy, but even more so, her excited.
One afternoon, I took her shopping for a dress. A fancy one. We were going to attend my brother’s wedding and I wanted her to fancy it up. Together, we scanned the racks, admiring extremely cute dresses. Yet, each time Liz would say no, no, and no.
I gathered a bundle of appropriate dresses and walked her into the well-lit dressing room. Arms up, dress on. Again and again. Over and over. Liz would look in the mirror, then down at the floor. No. she’d say.
Leaving behind a pile of dresses, we walked out, back into the children’s section, to give it one last go.
And there it was. A beautiful, lacy-collared, cloth buttons up the front, cream colored, flouncy dress. “No,” is all she said when I held it up for her to admire. “Let’s just try it,” I told her, as I slipped my hand into hers, and walked her back into the dressing room. Arms up, dress on. Liz looked at herself. Just looked. Not saying anything.
“Twirl,” I advised her.
That did it.
She twirled and twirled and twirled. Around and around. Watching in the mirror as the dress flew up, and out. So fun! A big smile on her face. “Yes!” she happily said.
From that moment forward, the twirl test was the determining factor for whether a dress was worthy or not. Depending on how far it would flare out. Not how it looked on the hanger. Dress shopping became a bit easier from then on. Just a bit.