A Makeover

Tiny, adorable, clever and independent Claire was always strong-willed, high maintenance and high-strung. My fifth child, Claire was a beautiful little package of contradictions who gave me strife and hilarious joy, sometimes at the very same time.  Although her fashion sense has developed into a wonderful gift now she is in her late twenties, at three and four-years-old this “gift” was a pain. Claire changed her clothes often throughout the day, from the age of two. Watching one of the few videos of our family, one of my older daughters pointed at the screen and laughed,

“Look at Claire. That is the third time she has changed clothes during this video!”

Sure enough, the pipsqueak had another outfit on.

Claire was always aware of what she was wearing as well as those around her, which often led to disagreements about what she could and could not wear. Although she was a mature, articulate, fashion-conscious three-year-old, I was still concerned Claire was too young to start half day four-year-old kindergarten. When she stomped into the house for lunch after her first morning, ranting about a little girl who had worn a “jean skirt with a matching jean jacket”, I realized it was the school which was not quite ready for Claire!

Claire was born with a gift for a sense of fashion; she sure did not learn it from me. This was a definite example of nature, not nurture and Claire has been my most persistent fashion advisor.

One evening as I tried to rush out of the house, Claire looked up from her homework, looked me up and down disapprovingly and asked, very slowly,

“Are you going out?”

I answered in the affirmative.

Claire continued, “And you’re wearing that?”

I nodded slowly. I knew the direction this conversation was headed.

“I don’t think so”, she stated with authority “Remember the navy pants that Melissa bought you for Christmas and the top that Rachel gave you on Mother’s Day? That would look really sharp with my light blue scarf and my little black belt. Could you please try it on?”

I sighed and trudged back upstairs because it was easier just to comply. I must admit that she was right. Of course, once I came down, Claire had to jump up to adjust the belt and re-tie the scarf but as a result of listening to my daughter’s fashion advice, Michael, my husband, was pleasantly surprised.

Really, though, Claire is an expert at changing outfits. She has been practicing since she was two-years-old, refining a gift from God.


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