The kids have certainly inherited my genes in one respect (metaphorically speaking, of course): They like to dress sloppy. Some would of course turn that around and say it’s nothing of the sort, that I like to dress them sloppy. That may be partly true, but the fact remains that even when I get them pretty stuff, or try to get them to wear it, they aren’t really interested. Getting them to look like pretty little girls is quite an uphill task. Naturally, I don’t try often. At home and at daycare, they wear a tiny subset of very stained T-shirts and very short jeans or pants (and not in a fashionable way, either). The stains on the T-shirts are due in equal measure to spilling food and sprawling on the floor. The length (or deficit thereof) of the pants is due to the kids growing up faster than their wardrobe is replaced.
Although the kids are now convinced that they have lovely hair (because we audibly admire it so often) and although they now know that this lovely hair must be combed and tied up regularly, they still are happiest with it flying all over the face, theoretically (but not factually) restricted only by a hapless hairband. They occasionally go so far as to admire each other’s silken tresses. But apart from that, as far as their personal appearance goes, they couldn’t care less. They still do sometimes ask me if a particular shirt and pant is a “good combination” – but they are usually unaffected by my answer. Even when Tara regularly combines a pea green shirt with a light blue trouser (to very visually disturbing effect) she is unmoved by our desperate appeals to her to improve her sense of colour and fashion. The only thing that excites them about their appearance is when they get new clothes – and even then, the items they find most exciting are “Dora panties”, shoes, and socks, in increasing order. I kid you not!
Then, it must be said that I’m not the preening sort of person either. Amit does a lot more preening than me. (He may violently disagree in the comments section, but it’s true – he does.) I’m the throw-on-some-clothes-and-make-sure-nothing-is-too-badly-stained-or-torn-and-let’s-go sort of person. On week days, I get ready in 10 minutes flat. On weekends, 12 minutes. For weddings and other rare occasions requiring a sari, it takes a good half an hour or more, but that’s mostly logistics and very little preening.
So it was completely inexplicable and a total shock when Tara asked in the car today, “Mummy, how do I look? Am I looking nice?”
What? WHAT!? When did Tara – Tara! Of all people – acquire a sense of social propriety or self consciousness or even a hint of vanity? My girls are growing up! Can this be true?