My Daughter Is Growing Up: Double Digits and Crop Tops

February 8, 2016  |  

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Shutterstock

More than ten years ago, when a home pregnancy test schooled me to the direction of my next life chapter, I made a few promises to myself and my unborn. First, I would always have her back. Always. Second, we would build our own special relationship — there was a bit of a generational and cultural gap with my own parents and I’d always felt like I wanted to avoid those with my kids. And lastly, she would forever be fresh, as long as her manners and grades were in order. She came along and I’ve kept my promises — to an extent.

My oldest daughter is smart, beautiful and a pleasure to be around. Her teachers leave that last one as a comment on her report card every single year. Speaking of report cards, not a semester passes without that one on the honor roll. I’m beyond proud of her but I say all that to say this:

Regardless of the floor plans of stores at the mall, I will not be putting my 10-year-old in crop top tees. Absolutely not.

I mean, as the mother, even a young mother, you have to draw the line somewhere. My daughter is tall for her age. She’s slim with long legs and a stomach that pokes out in the cutest way only after eating dinner. So it’s not that she couldn’t pull a crop top off…but is it appropriate?

As previously stated, I’ve taken pride in keeping her presentable since birth without putting her in hokey outfits with obnoxious amounts of glitter and frills. Never will she wear a tee that says, ‘I’m too pretty for math homework’ or a crop top that reads ‘I’m the lead singer.’ No, those grades and her mild-mannered behavior deserve crisp, smart, classic (and sometimes funky) wears and dope sneakers that fit her age group but still keep her looking good. It’s a task I take pride in — buying her clothes. And I recognize the blessing. We don’t spend a ton, but we do look for deals that make sense.

As my stomach grew bigger back in 2005, her dad and I would revisit memories of our own time in elementary school — his in Atlanta and my own in NYC. The things that stuck out about certain kids was universal. Spoiled kids were bullies. They tended to be rude to adults and failing every class but got by on their looks. Dumb as rocks, but fresh to death.

Then there were the kids at the opposite end of the spectrum, in old, worn-out sneakers and ill-fitting clothes that were clear knockoffs of the brands that were ‘in.’ Those kids were either really smart and unconcerned with fashion anyway, or really smart but lacking self-esteem, so you’d never know of their brilliance — ‘Maybe if I don’t draw attention to myself today, no one will make fun of my shoes.’ It’s a sad situation, either way. So he and I made a pact after talking — she’ll be able to focus on her work while at school, not what she has on.

And of course, as with anything, that plan can go either way. Sometimes, the fly kid in class will be so caught up in their wardrobe, they’ll forget about their classwork. We had something for that too: Nothing fly until the grades/behavior improves. So far, it’s worked for us. She’s never even made us have to apply that ‘punishment.’ Our girl is just now understanding what labels are and that’s only because of what her classmates tell her. Her grades are still amazing, so on and so forth.

But here’s the issue at the heart of things currently.

I don’t want to stagnate my daughter. That’s a real fear for me. I don’t want to baby her beyond her age. The day she turned 10, I hugged and kissed on her every half-hour. That weekend, at her birthday party, I loved on her even more — in full view of her friends. Then her dad and I sat and stared at each other, breaking the silence once every few minutes with, ‘Can’t believe she’s already 10. What the hell man…?’

I know that fashion changes with every generation, I get that. But sometimes, it feels like my favorite new stores for my budding tween, they’re all making me move too fast. I’m not ready. I’m not prepared for my first baby to be in stylish jogging pants and tees with snooty quotes. And crop tops. I can’t deal. It’s not that I don’t want her to grow up, but maybe, just maybe she could stay right here for just a little while longer in a full-length tee.

Is your daughter wanting to dress like a teen?

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