Yesterday I saw a family of five in the mall. They were two parents and three daughters, and they brought me up short. I don't know if they had come from having a picture taken or from a special family event or what, but they were clearly dressed up in their best. I was transported back to times when my girls and I were all dressed up. But I was a bit stunned by the differences I saw. When my girls were young, dressed up meant Polly Flinders smocked dressed with "Peter Pan" collars and fully fluffed bows in the back. Hair was pulled, tugged and cajoled into braids or ponytails.
Even older girls of middle school age wore "children's" styles, although the hair styles began to have more era-reflected variations. They still wore clothes distinctly different from the grown women or high school/college girls.
Now I know that styles change, but my point is that there was a difference in the style of girl's clothes and mom's clothes. No mothers wore Polly Flinders smocking or big bows in back [although there was an occasional Peter Pan collar on a blouse or dress.]. There were distinct style differences between kids clothing and adults clothing.
It seems now that the only difference is size and proportion.
Little girls clothes now more often wear clothes that are just like their mother's clothes only miniaturized. It makes me a bit sad. There is so little that is left to be special and distinct about childhood for children now.
It also makes me worried. If we dress them as mini-adults from toddler years why are we surprised when they attempt/affect other adult styles and behaviors at a too-early age?
I won't rant on about this... just pose that question. But, I am going to spend a few posts over the next few weeks celebrating the fun of childhood activities and moments, of considering rediscovering some of the old pasttimes for children... before iPods and iPads and DVDs and more. Come along... try a few.
Let's bring back childhood!
Image credits and thanks to: photomeanderings.com, kidsfashion.about.com, blogs.babble.com, flickr.com
I am a lifelong educator, writer and author, a foster, bio, and adoptive parent, happy mom of five daughters, Grandma to six, Nana to four, and church and theater musician. Oh yes, and all-round optimistic, crazy lady.