11 April 2011

Swing and Other News

I did not get a single thing on my to-do list done yesterday and yet it was one of the most productive and relaxing Sundays I've had in ages.

After a trip to Home Depot, Steve fashioned this:


(the swing, not the girl; the girl we had already fashioned)

while I planted these:


and then we taught her:


how to ride her bike without training wheels.

I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that all of these things are good omens for the summer full of changes that is right around the corner.

01 April 2011

Fashionista: Matilda for One Year

Memory in general is flexible, and mine in particular is terrible. I swear if it wasn't for this blog I would have only the sketchiest recollection of my daughters' early childhoods, and even then I can't promise that I didn't "embellish" some of the more exciting adventures of the past few years. (I'm a fiction writer, it's not something I can - or would really want to - control.)

As far as I can remember the evolution of my own fashion sense went something like this:
  • Phase one, around when I started dressing myself: any and all combinations of patterns - plaids, stripes, polka dots, you name it.
  • Phase two, most of the rest of my childhood: things get a little vague here, I remember specific articles of clothing rather than any one general "look" - my Chuck E. Cheese t-shirt, striped pajamas, and a matching top and bottom outfit with fuchsia and orange stripes.
  • Phase three, the early awkward teenage years: plaid shirts, baggy blue jeans, turtlenecks. I remember in ninth grade being aware that the other girls had clothes from Gap and Express, but not really knowing what that meant, and despite a vague desire to be more like them (yes, even the hair-sprayed bangs), not caring enough to investigate further.
  • Phase four and five, the later teenage years (this one is two phases because more than any other time I feel like one led directly to the next): Manic Panic hair (pick a color, any color) and Converse with tie-dyed shirts, cutoff shorts, jeans with holes in them and possibly a few patches became Manic Panic and Converse with wild patterned tights (argyle, plaid, stars, the crazier the better) and super short mini skirts.
  • Phase six, the rest: jeans, sweaters, t-shirts, hoodies, black boots, sneakers, lots of black and blue and brown - pretty standard (read boring) stuff. Comfortable. Functional.
Given this unexciting history, including the late start to my teenage experimental phase, imagine my surprise when Matilda began to transform herself into a miniature fashion plate. The girl cares about fashion, and she pretty damn good at it. Every morning she composes her outfit for the day, often including accessories like a thin scarf tied around her neck and a pageboy cap or headband. Everything is color-coordinated in a subtle, but skillful way that would have made my nine-year-old self wrinkle up her nose and say, huh?

My favorite part about Matilda's newfound fashion sense is that it's all her. I mean, sure she lives in the world and has seen a bit of the good the bad and the hideous when it comes to fashion, but, as I'm sure you can tell by my current "look," I don't exactly follow the latest trends. And the best part is she's not pulling her look from the Disney channel or whatever tween magazines the kids are reading these days.

Because I want to remember this properly, Matilda has agreed to work with me on a project. Beginning on her ninth birthday (today!), I will take her picture every morning for a full year. I will post the pictures daily at yearofmatilda.tumblr.com. Since she is only nine, the blog will be password protected, but please email me at nell.meanwhile [at] gmail.com if you'd like to follow Matilda's fashion evolution over the course of the coming year. It should be good one, she's finishing up third grade, gearing up to move back to her native Berkshires for a joyous reunion with her once and always BFF Aurora and start fourth grade at a new/old school in the fall, and who knows what other adventures might be ahead! Follow our blog and find out - it's going to be fun year.