Today is the coldest day in New York City in the last two years.
How cold is it?
It’s so cold that I told Maggie she had to wear pants.
Maggie doesn’t wear pants. Leggings? Absolutely. Jeggings? As long as the rear pockets are non-functional, which in Maggie’s estimation, would make them jeans. But never, ever, pants on a lady. It’s a fashion absolute that has served my daughter well- and since I wore the same Mickey Mouse dress every single day in kindergarten, I am not really in a position to argue for gender-neutral clothing.
One day back in October, the skies opened up briefly. Maggie allowed me to pick her outfit for the day and accepted without comment the hand-me-down cargo pants (with floral embroidery) that I offered. She entered her pre-K classroom with her usual swagger. A male classmate paused from his work laying wooden train tracks to look her up and down.
MALE CLASSMATE: Hi Maggie. You look like a boy today.
It was all I could do to keep her from hysterically running the mile home to change. Who could live with the shame?
In the three months since, Maggie has had no talk of trousers.So it was with some expectation of conflict that I told Maggie this morning that the temperature might require more protection than milady’s footless tights could provide.
“You have jeans, you know,” I said. (Bought at Lands’ End clearance a year ago, and going by the tag, a size too small for her. But a lady’s maid knows when to hold her tongue.)
Maggie eyed their jaunty patch pockets warily. But even inside our apartment, it was freezing. So she put them on, then stood back to admire herself.
MAGGIE: I think they look good, actually.
ME: Me too! You look just like Mommy!
Maggie raised an eyebrow at me.
MAGGIE: Mommy. I don’t want to look like YOU. I want to look like a teenager.
Thinks she’s a teenager, does she? In her jeans, does she?
And when does it stop being cool to look like Mommy? I missed that memo.
(Even if I look much more like O’Brien than I’d care to admit.)