seriously somewhat serious

The bag lady dress that wasn’t

Kirsten came home one day and asked “Mom, can you bring me to H&M? I’d like to get a butterfly dress. My friend has it and it’s very nice.”

“Sure, sweetheart.” It was a very specific request and she hardly ever does this so I was happy to oblige. I was also curious to see this special dress that caught her eye.

That weekend, we went down to H&M like I told her we would. The butterfly dress was out of stock but she found a pink strawberry dress in the same range that she immediately fell in love with. Frankly, it was kind of meh. It looked like strawberries exploded all over it and also, nothing should be this pink. There were a couple of other designs that were a lot nicer but she really wanted the strawberry one so in the spirit of compromise, I got her to try them all out to see how they looked.

She started beaming once she put on the unbelievably pink dress covered in strawberries.

I tried to be diplomatic, like “Mmm, not bad but it looks a bit like a bag lady dress.”

“What’s a bag lady?” she asked.

“Like an auntie. Who’s homeless.”

She considered for a moment but she did a little twirl and said, “I like this one. Can we get it please?”

Looking at her enthusiasm, it was hard to refuse so we walked out with the strawberry dress and another cooler parrot one. She brought it to school the next day so she could change into it after her shower and I could tell that she was really looking forward to wearing it.

When I picked her up from school, she was in her favourite dress but she looked sad.

“Everything ok, princess?”

“My friend said I look like an auntie,” she mumbled, her eyes welling up with tears.

I was outraged. “What??!! Should mommy have a word with her?”

“It’s ok. Anyway, you said I look like an auntie the other day too, remember?”

I did remember. And suddenly I felt really terrible. It was a careless, thoughtless remark that I thought didn’t bother her but clearly, it did. Possibly way more than when her friend said it.

I held her real tight for a moment before looking into her teary eyes. “I’m so sorry I called you a bag lady. It was super mean and I’ll never do it again. Will you forgive mommy?”

“Ok,” she said softly.

“And you look beautiful. Really, you do,” I told her. I’ve grown to like the strawberry dress. Maybe not as much as she does but it does sort of grow on you. Or maybe I’m learning to look at things through her eyes.

I’m gonna file this as one of those important life lessons I learn from this journey called motherhood. I realise that all these wisecracks that I make sometimes aren’t funny, especially when my kids take what I say seriously.

I should take my own advice and just stop it.

kirsten finn-2


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  • Reply Elizabeth June 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Awww, that’s like the sweetest make – restitution gesture and so humbling! So much to learn huh… when it comes to talking to our kids!
    Elizabeth´s last post ..Of sunsets and beautiful moments

    • Reply Daphne June 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Thankfully she’s big hearted enough to get over it quickly! She was ok right after that and she’s been wearing THE DRESS a lot ever since. :)

  • Reply sihui June 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    But even if you hadn’t said it, her friend would have said the dress looked auntie and she would be confused? Like whose comment is true – mum or friend? And if more friends made the same comment, would it make her lose confidence in her mum’s comment in future? Hmmm…set me thinking.

    • Reply Youtalkingwhat June 23, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      You speak engrish?

      • Reply Andrew June 24, 2014 at 12:59 am

        But isn’t it a legit concern? And If you have objections about her point, it’s healthier to just counter-argue her idea instead of insulting / trolling / giving snide remarks.

    • Reply Daphne June 24, 2014 at 9:55 am

      I guess it’s a lesson she’ll have to learn as she grows up – how to deal with hurtful comments her friends make.

      On my part, it’s about the treatment more than the message. I still disagree with her fashion choices but instead of making fun of her, we try to talk about it.

      • Reply sihui June 24, 2014 at 10:23 am

        Was thinking how I would handle this situation too. No mother would choose to make fun of our kids and I know u didn’t mean it. Sometimes the truth hurts and yes she gotta learn how to deal with it and hope this situation has helped build her trust in u to want e best for them. We just have to learn how to speak the truth wrapped in love. Keep on sharing so we can all learn! :)

  • Reply Mikenmei June 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Is that the dress in the picture? It’s quite nice what! Where got auntie?

    • Reply Daphne June 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Yes it is! Hahahaha when I first saw it, I thought it looked like something those landladies with curlers in their hair would wear.

  • Reply Elaine June 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    The dress isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In any case, I am impressed with the way you were willing to humble yourself and apologise.
    Elaine´s last post ..What’s this uproar about CPF?

    • Reply Daphne June 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Ya it’s really not so bad, I’m growing to like it more these days. :)

      I think the kids know that we’re not perfect. And we’re also teaching them that it’s ok to man up and say you’re sorry when you make a mistake.

  • Reply Rin Chan June 25, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    I think she look so cute in it!
    And I’m so glad to be following ur blog. Always take back alot of life lesson ^^

  • Reply Anonymous December 17, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Your daughter liked something and wanted it despite others’ comments- this is even more commendable – Being able to express her preferences even when her peers put her down for it.

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