#ToddlerStreetStyle: Color and compromise 

My daughter used to be pretty compliant when it came to getting dressed. Now and then there’d be a revolt, of course, but for the most part she was game for whatever you wanted her to wear.

Those days are gone, my friends.

Lately, getting her dressed is at best a negotiation and at worst a brawl. Frequently there are tears involved. (Sometimes hers, sometimes mine.) She’s got an opinion about everything, and I don’t want to discourage her from making her own choices — but I also don’t want her to leave the house looking like a street urchin, which is what would happen if I let her have carte blanche over her sartorial choices (which, these days, tend toward no pants, already-worn shirts, and unbrushed hair). So we do a lot of compromising. I’ll offer her a choice between two outfits, between a dress or pants and a shirt, or the pants and shirt of her choice. I pick my battles. (If she doesn’t want to wear pajamas to bed, and lately she doesn’t, that’s not my hill to die on.) And I’ll give a little ground to assemble outfits on which we both can agree.

Take this ensemble, worn for a day out downtown with my parents and nephew.

R insisted on the metallic red spandex leggings, a Zulily purchase from last summer. She wore these pants for her second birthday party, nearly a year ago, and she loves them so much I can tell I’m going to have to get her a replacement pair, because her current pair is so tight that you can see the raised outlines of Band-Aids on her legs when she’s wearing them. (Update: They were back today, so I snagged more in red and blue.)

This outfit started out with the red leggings and a pink raglan sweatshirt with a deer on it. Cute shirt on its own, but when paired with the leggings, it comprised an ensemble that screamed “Hi, I’m two years old and my dad let me pick out my own clothes because my parents are too tired from taking care of a newborn to fight with me!” So I sent her father back to her closet to get a Hanna Andersson sweater with rainbow patches on the elbows, and he got R to agree to the switch.

I wanted R to wear her red patent Dr. Martens Brooklee boots, since it had been raining and there would be puddles around (plus, if you’re going to wear shiny red pants, you might as well double down with shiny red boots), but she wanted to wear these polka dot Mary Jane Docs instead. If I’d known that’s what we were going to end up with, I would have picked different socks, but when you’re already running twenty minutes late, you make sacrifices. I bought her Tucker & Tate unicorn socks during last year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

The accessorizing is all R. She is obsessed with this umbrella, a junky Chinatown purchase that her father and some friends bought on a night drinking their way through Anthony Bourdain’s favorite San Francisco spots. I was home, pregnant with R, and in addition to a series of increasingly incoherent texts, they thought I needed this exquisite souvenir. R discovered it in the garage and has been taking it just about everywhere for the last few weeks.

She has also developed something of a sunglasses obsession lately, and she rarely leaves the house without three to five pairs. Fortunately she’s more than happy to carry a backpack most of the time, so I make her carry them herself (and then I can sneak in a jacket, some snacks, and an extra pull-up, and I can travel light myself). She loves her SkipHop owl backpack, but on this particular day she carried this Kidorable frog backpack, a gift from her grandfather that seemed appropriate for a rainy day.

Fair warning: If you do not want to attract attention to yourself, definitely do not go out in public with a small child who is carrying a tiny adorable umbrella and a backpack full of sunglasses. You will be stopped by strangers on the sidewalk who want to compliment her.

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