At the risk of sounding snotty, I've never been a huge fan of character clothing. It just tends to be a bit cheesy and not necessarily "stylish". Or so says the old me. I'm here to testify that times...ohhh how they've changed.
It all started with potty training. Of course I bought Manny some Cars and Thomas undies, and he was thrilled. At that point, he was at the age where he was really starting to "have a voice", to put it delicately. And by "have a voice", I mean it was impossible to get him dressed without a wrestling match if it's not what he wanted to wear. So the characters began with the undies and some pj's, and then a new character shirt here or there. And suddenly, it seems the character shirts have taken over his closet. If given the choice, it's what he'll always choose to wear. And most days? I let him.
I dropped Manny off at Mother's Day Out the other day wearing the Cars shirt in this picture. When he walked in the room, 4 of the little boys stopped what they were doing and said, "Wow, look at Manny's shirt!" And Manny beamed from ear to ear, so proud of his "Dinoco McQueen" shirt, as he calls it. When I picked him up that afternoon, he was still talking about his shirt and how cool the boys thought it was. Who knew a little t-shirt could bring this much joy?!
We had to make a stop that afternoon at Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. As we were walking past the children's clothing, he spotted the swim trunks he's wearing in the picture above. When he saw them, I thought he was going to stroke out. He started stuttering, "Mama, mama, mama - look look look! Mama - look! Dinoco McQueen! Nemo! Buzz Right Here! Cowboy Movie! Mater! Mama loooook!! I wanna take back home. Come on. Let's get those shorts mama. Manny take back home! Thank you mama. I love you mama!" Please note - the thank you and I love you comments came before we'd even picked them up. This kid knows how to butter me up.
Of course the second we got home he had to put them on. Then he comes marching into the room and announces to me (and Bebe Sawyer), "Hey guys, look at me!!" He was giddy, to say the least.
The purchase of these shorts officially sealed the realization of: he's won. This is not a character shirt - this is a character explosion. And I really just don't care anymore.
So my kid might not always be the best dressed. But you know what? The joy on his face makes it all worth it. And that's not to say if you don't dress your kids in character clothes you're a bad parent. Not even close. I won't even get into the judgement I've seen fly around on how other parents choose to dress or not dress their kid. When did it become such a battle? Do what's right for you and don't let someone else's preferences make you feel any worse (or better!) because you do something different. We are talking children's clothes here people. Stop caring. Stop comparing. Just dress your kid. Preferably in some pants at least, as mine isn't wearing any 97% of the time.
My point in even posting this is I've had some people ask me if I was embarrassed to embrace character clothes given their "stigma", or just my thoughts on character clothing in general. So it prompted me to share my "evolution" on the matter.
Ultimately I decided - now that he's asking? And now that he has a voice? It's only fair to honor it at times. No, he doesn't wear character clothes everyday, despite how it might look at times. I draw boundaries when they are necessary. But for the most part, I figure - hey, he's little once. Let this be a reflection of who he is in this season. I figure it will be fun for him to look back on pictures and see some of the character shirts he's wearing, and recall those were his favorite things at the time.
And maybe it's just me, but it seems some of the character clothing is getting cuter? Old Navy and Target I think have the cutest options...but it could also just be that I'm seeing it through different eyes now. And those would be Manny's. :)