I love this outfit!!...So I bought one for each of you...

I just uploaded pictures from this past weekend. When I was revisiting the pictures of my kids in the typical "stand in front of the fireplace" holiday picture pose, I couldn't help but recognize their expressions. Not that I have seen it before on their faces, but I recognized the expression from my youth....on my face and on those of my siblings. It is unmistakable. And that familiar expression usually only shows itself on holidays in early adolescence. It is the expression that states...no, wait...SCREAMS "I can't believe she f-cking made me wear this, I can't believe that THEY are wearing the same thing, and now she is documenting it forever with a f-cking picture. Shit." Does this sound familiar? And I swore once I had kids, I would never put them through the same pain and shame. Look at me now.
Can it be considered child abuse to force your children to wear matching clothes? A point that I think is definitely debatable. When solving crimes, maybe psychologists should look at old family photos. Was Charles Manson required to wear matching lederhosen with his brother at Christmas? Did Jeffery Dahmer's brother have the same sweater vest at Easter?....this philosophy may not be too far off. Most of us buck up and move on much better than that. There were so many pictures of my 5 siblings and I dressed damn near identical on every holiday from Easter, 4th of July through Christmas. We looked like the damn Von Trapp family from Sound of Music....except we can't sing. Sorry mom. I clearly recall the Easter where we all....yes, all 8 of us wore black and white polka-dots. I had thought dad to be a stronger man. He was smart. Chose his battles. And we all looked like damn dalmatians filing into church. And mom's master fashion plan was vindicated by all of the other moms, grandma's and color-blind attendees with their approving "Aren't they cute?" comments...while the 7 of us sunk further down into our seats. But what a great photo op. And now, here I sit, admiring the image of my three little ones in a similar state. And I am the proud mom.
Let me clarify that the outfits were not EXACTLY matching. That would be torture. It is bad enough, or so says my 11 year old, that he has to even somewhat resemble his 7 year old brother. So my kids COORDINATE. There is a big difference. I have gotten past buying the same sweater in different sizes. Especially now that there is a female in the mix. I don't like a hodge podge of "this and that outfits" that look like a random group of shoppers at WalMart. But I understand how the super matchy-matchy staged Scrapbookers dream photo could conjure up cold sweats for some, the need for therapy in others.

As a child, the pending holidays made me nervous with anticipation as the smoke came from the furry that mom's sewing machine created. As a mom, I plan for days (ok...weeks) beforehand so that my kids don't clash in their pictures. And it is cute...for the snippet in time that the camera captures. The bitching and moaning as they get dressed, the forced fake smile in front of the fireplace and as they beg to get undressed afterwards is somewhat daunting. And I get it. I have been there. Cute only to a certain age I think. My mom has a whole photo book of those images. And I have a painfully vivid memory of that feeling....that sickened, heavy-chested feeling when in my peripheral vision I caught a glimpse of....my fashion clone. And GOD WILLING PLEASE DON'T LET ME RUN INTO SOMEONE I KNOW!!! Does this look familiar to you? If so, I am sorry. Truly, truly sorry.

11 comments:

redfraggle37 said...
April 7, 2010 at 4:20 PM

ahhh, don't feel bad. THose serial killers didn't even have family photos I bet (part of the problem, i'm sure), so really, your HELPING your kids :).
And one day my husband and I got dressed separately and I dressed my daughter and we all were wearing denim, a white t-shirt and a Norcal (surfshop) sweatshirts...TOTALLY UNPLANNED. We had to change.

a.rungee said...
April 7, 2010 at 4:20 PM

I was one of the few lucky ones where we didn't have to wear matching outfits. We just had to wear similar colors. I have to regert I am starting to do that with family pictures where we all slightly coordianted and where are colors don't clash.

Natasha said...
April 7, 2010 at 4:42 PM

I have so many pictures of my siblings and I matching ... in fact, my younger sister is five years younger than me and we were always mistaken for twins because of our matching dresses. WHAT IS THAT? Scary times ....

K.W. said...
April 7, 2010 at 5:17 PM

As a "matchy matchy" mom of all boys.I used to dress my kids alike on NON holidays, im sure your gasping in horror ;)In my defense I started dressing them alike so when my toddler would run off I didnt have to think real hard about what the hell he was wearing, so it was being efficient in my book.
Oh well, I was forced to do the matching pjs and holiday outfits when I was a kid so its my duty as a mom to pass the "tradition" along.

Meg said...
April 7, 2010 at 6:46 PM

hehehee too funny! I never had to deal with that since I was 15 by the time my only sister was born, but that first picture is HILARIOUS!

Marci said...
April 7, 2010 at 8:14 PM

I liked copying my sister so as the younger one I didn't mind. Now with my boy and girl it's kinda easy to avoid the complete matchy matchy look. I just make sure they "kinda go together" :P

DeeDee said...
April 7, 2010 at 9:55 PM

I can't believe you weren't digging through drawers, looking for one of those infamous photos! But then we all have the pic from last Xmas where all 24 of us are in the same color family! I'm still sweating over that difficult project! But we sure did look great even if I do say so myself!

Anne and Carrie said...
April 8, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Yes mom....I get so many comments on that Christmas picture and how great we all look in our coordinating outfits. We would be getting different comments however had we all been wearing matching Christmas sweaters. We would have looked like a Nordic ski team...

Chantel said...
April 8, 2010 at 2:10 PM

My mother loved to do the matchy matchy thing! My all time "favorite" matching photo op of my brother and I had to be when we were wearing matching E.T. (yes as in Extra Terrestial..E.T. phone home) sweatshirts, topped off by the family dog wearing a E.T. scarf!

I find myself leaning towards my mothers crazed matching photo operations! I too had the kids always either matching or color coordinated until my husband pointed out that we didn't "NEED" to be all matching. I managed to let it go that one time only...but yes my mother and I both know that photo would have been SO much nicer had we all coordinated! Needless to say this past Christmas all of the children did have color coordinating outfits! And yes I have already begun the hunt for the perfecting matching outfits for our summer photo!

steph-an-ie said...
April 12, 2010 at 8:41 AM

Great photos, haha! My mother would put my sister and I in the same outfit but a different color (purple and pink, etc.) or coordinate us. I hated it so much but this last Christmas I found myself trying so hard to coordinate myself, the husband, my daughter and even a matching collar for our puppy. Oh the things you never think you will do until you become a mom...

Baedke Family said...
April 12, 2010 at 8:43 AM

My mom never really matched my all of us. I have 2 sisters and a brother. The only time I remember us matching is when we went to Disneyworld one year and we all wore matching shirts and shorts. They were not exciting by any means, but it made my mom feel better about going to one of the busiest places on earth.

I on the other hand LOVE matching. God bless my husband for when it was my daughter's first 4th of July i went to Old Navy to get us all matching shirts! Love it! Now I have a boy so it is hard for me to find anything matching for my daughter who is 3 and my son who is only 2 months. I don't know how long the matching will last, but I think to an extent it is okay.

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