Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Listen to your inner child, or my outer child

I used to think one of the main responsibilities of being a mom was to teach your children how to survive and thrive in this world. Now that my daughter is 1, I realize it is her main job to teach me.

Being a mom has taught me a lot, such as how to decipher the fine line between OxiClean and Dumpster; between overturned milk and upchucked milk; and between "ba-ba," "bay-bay," "buh-buh" and "beh-beh" (respectively, that would be bottle, baby, bye-bye and encyclopedia).

But even beyond improved stain-removal, Bettie Anne has also taught me a lot about fashion.

Here are six of her Rules of Excellent Style:

1. Be adventurous with hair products.

Why limit yourself to Burt's Bees shampoo and spray-on conditioner? (In fact, any kind of soap should be avoided by employing such high-pitched, hysterical screaming that the dogs start whining. More on bath time below.)

Don't be limited by societal norms. Apple sauce makes a great mousse. Vanilla yogurt can craft a strong Mohawk. Tip: Be careful not to get any of these styling products in your ear canal, or it will completely destroy your mood and thereby your parents' day.

2. Shoes are the most important thing in the world.

The absolute first thing you should do when you wake up every morning is look for all of the shoes in your bedroom and point them out. Then, before you get out of your pajamas or eat or do anything, make sure at least one pair of shoes is on your feet. Even better if you can succeed in putting two pairs of shoes on each foot. Tip: The way to put shoes on is to simply lie them on top of the foot and clap proudly.

The remainder of the morning should be spent taking all of your shoes out of their cubbyholes and then replacing them in a different order. This inventory-stocking and reorganizing method will help keep your shoe supply at the forefront of your mind.

At the end of the day, make sure you bring all of your shoes and at least three pairs of socks into the bathtub with you to make sure the water does not eat you alive. Which brings us to point three.

3. Enjoy your beauty regimen; avoid that which doesn't delight.

In my case, that means bathe sparingly. Water is liquid Satan and will probably melt your face off if it touches it. Plus, it removes the pureed pears from your hair and will destroy your updo (and any yam-mush mascara you may have applied earlier). If you hear the evil hiss of bath water, hide under your purple unicorn pillow and look cute.

Tip for surviving bath time: Make sure your tub is filled with enough shoes to ward off the bubbles, which actually erase your feet, which means you have nothing to put shoes on, which is why you need to fill the tub with shoes and socks. It's obvious and very logical.

4. Twirl until you fall down.


5. It's OK to indulge.

When you think you're wearing enough jewelry, put on three more necklaces. Wear bracelets from wrist to shoulder. There are never "too many bows." Bettie Anne's favorite outfit involves 17 different ruffles. Tip for boosting your ruffle ratio: Beautiful socks can pack at least three more layers.

6. Remember: Your clothes are only as versatile as your imagination.

Drape your leggings around your neck like a scarf. Sit on your hat. Put your pants on your head.
In fact, almost everything looks wonderful on top of the head: underwear, wash clothes, books, cups. Warning: Sometimes cups are filled with (shudder) water. This is why it's always good to have at least four pairs of shoes within screaming distance. For protection.

Highly advanced tip: Look for cups filled with applesauce. Then you can style your hair with your hat. It's like hat hair. Only sticky. And totally food-based and organic, in honor of Earth Day.

Photo by Iman Woods.

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