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Jul 5, 201801:30 PM
Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

A Uniform Solution

With Ruby free of the constraints of a school uniform, I have no idea how I will manage.

There are many life problems and concerns on which you don’t necessarily want advice.

People feel compelled to give you advice, particularly, it seems, on issues relating to pregnancy and child-rearing, but often you don’t actually need or want it.

Struggling with infertility? People will tell you to try acupuncture, to track ovulation, and of course to just relax!

Pregnant and dying from morning sickness that is in no way limited to the morning? Have you tried ginger? Saltines? Lemonade and potato chips?

If breastfeeding is challenging, friends will offer up foods that might help (oatmeal), beverages that might help (dark beer), supplements that might help (fenugreek), or alternative solutions that might help (have you heard of formula?).

When you’re trying to wean a baby off of a pacifier, when you’re trying to get a toddler to brush her teeth, when you’re dealing with your son’s night terrors – many times all you want if for people to be sympathetic, not to try to solve your problems by suggesting solutions that you’ve clearly already Googled and tried and rejected.

That said, sometimes one really does want advice, and this is the case now.

Since she started pre-K, Ruby has had a school uniform, and it was a welcome blessing after years spent fighting with her about what she’d wear to daycare.

Back in the daycare era, even when she and I would carefully pick out an outfit the night before, she would reject it the next morning. Tags, seams, embroidery, and any kind of fabric perceived to be scratchy were all taken as personal affronts and mightily protested.

On one occasion, fed up and pushed to my limit, I brought Ruby to daycare in her underwear with clothes in her backpack; she acquiesced and agreed to get dressed outside the gate.

Now she’s not 3 anymore, and she has grown out of many of these quirks. She’s still bothered by some things, but she’s learned tactics like undershirts or wearing her socks inside out, and at age 11, she now cares enough about being fashionable that she’ll tolerate a shirt with a badly placed seam if she thinks it’s cute enough.

But as she starts sixth grade in the fall, she will no longer have to wear a school uniform. There’s a fairly strict dress code, but she’ll no longer be limited to khakis and a polo bearing the school logo.

I love that she’s celebrating this rite of passage, but I am baffled as to how to handle it. For years, she only wanted to wear dresses and shunned jeans because denim was Satan’s own fabric. This past year, however, she wears jeans almost every day. Who knows what next year will bring?

My gut instinct is to avoid turning this into a battle, to simply buy her a few pairs of jeans and a few colored polos and a handful of cute dresses with leggings to match and then let her pick her own outfits.

My past experience, though, leaves me wary, certain that if we don’t set some limits and plan in advance, we’ll end up late for school every morning.

I’ve seen aspirational posts about “outfit prep,” which is like meal prep, which something else I always want to do and never actually successfully execute.

Complicating everything, of course, is the once-a-month dress-up day, the Student Council-sponsored theme Fridays, the game days she has to wear her cheerleading uniform – I start to worry that we’re going to be back in the dark days of 2010, except that I can’t pick her up and strap her in her car seat in her Bubble Guppies panties anymore.

So this is a rare case in which I actually am presenting a problem and asking for advice, solutions, Pinterest-worthy flow charts to help me figure out how to navigate these choppy tween fashion waters.

 

How do you get your kid dressed on time without fighting and without the guidance of a uniform? HELP!

 

 

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Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

about

        Eve is further proof, if any is needed, that New Orleans girls can never escape the city. After living here since the age of 3 and graduating from Ben Franklin High School, Eve moved to Columbia, Mo., where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Missouri School of Journalism and became truly, unhealthily obsessed with grammar.She had originally intended to strike out to New York City and work in the cutthroat magazine industry there, but after Katrina, Eve felt a strong pull to return home, to her roots, her family, her waterlogged and struggling city – and a much more forgiving work atmosphere that would allow her to skip a routine of everyday makeup and size 0 designer label business suits and enjoy the occasional cocktail or three with an absurdly fattening lunch. She moved back home in January 2008 and lives in Mid-City with her two daughters, Ruby and Georgia; her stepson, Elliot; and her husband, Robert Peyton.Eve blogs about the joys and struggles of living in post-Katrina New Orleans, the unique problems and delights of raising a child in such a diverse and challenging city – including her experiences with the public education system – and her always entertaining and extremely colorful family.Eve has won numerous writing awards, including the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal, the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for column-writing and Press Club of New Orleans awards for her Editor’s Note in New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and for this blog, most recently winning the award for "Best Feature Affiliated Blog."She welcomes comments, advice, empty flattery, recipes, drink invitations and – most especially – grammatical or linguistic debates.

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