I was one of those kids who loved playing dress-up. I'd leave the house wearing a Snow White dress and cowboy boots and would spend a happy afternoon shopping with my mom or playing with my friends, oblivious to people's stares. Even as a teenager, I loved wearing my mom's old clothes from the 60's and 70's, and my style of dress was definitely a little...eccentric (think a short black dress, black-and-white striped tights and Doc Marten boots...in Puerto Rico!).
It should come as no surprise, then, that I absolutely love it when kids dress up in all sorts of crazy outfits. I loved the little boy who was recently walking up and down the Target aisles wearing a Superman outfit. I love Nina's daughter's obsession with everything pink and the pictures my friend Anne sends of the feathered-boas-and-princess-dress ensembles her little daughters absolutely MUST wear that day.
After we brought Dylan home, I couldn't wait for the day when he would start playing dress-up. I bought all sorts of outfits on clearance after last Halloween, thinking that he would have a ball playing doctor or astronaut or fire fighter or knight during the year. Turns out...not so much. He refused to wear a single one of those outfits, and has long ago outgrown them.
My kid is not a huge fan of dress-up. He will wear his Halloween costume and gets excited about the holiday, but I think it's mostly because he knows he won't get candy if he's not wearing a costume. Once Halloween is over, the costume is tossed aside and forgotten.
He is getting better, though. When I bought him a pirate hat and hook after watching him play with his friend Connor's, he was so excited he wore them in the car all the way home. Every so often, he puts them on during play, but most of the time he prefers to pretend he's a pirate without the use of props. Same goes for his Darth Vader costume. It sits there in the family room while he happily smacks everything in sight with his light-sabers and screams "I'm Dark Vay-dah!".
What does make Dylan happy is his everyday clothes, more so now that he has a ton of character T-shirts. For his birthday, my brother and his wife gave Dylan four shirts, each with an ironed-on Star Wars character - including his very favorite, the Rancor. Every day of the week, upon waking up, Dylan asks me if the Rancor shirt is clean. It invariably isn't, as he insists on putting it on almost the very moment it comes out of the dryer and Mami refuses to do more laundry than is absolutely necessary. If the Rancor shirt is not available, he will move on to other options: Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Bobba Fett, Spider-man, Buzz Lightyear, Lighting McQueen. He also loves a skulls and bones t-shirt and a pirate ship t-shirt I bought for him. If I try to get him into any other article of clothing, forget it. He will wear it for five minutes, then take it off and demand one of the aforementioned items.
Same goes for his shoes. I bought him a pair of Spider-man sneakers with light-up eyes for his birthday, and now he will wear nothing else. Not even for swimming lessons. The other day he headed to class with - what else? - his brown Rancor shirt, a pair of blue swim trunks with orange and green sharks on them, and his Spider-Man sneakers.
I couldn't help but cringe. If he had been wearing an actual Rancor costume, I probably would have been happier, but when I saw the huge smile on his face - so proud of the outfit he had just put together - I thought, what the heck? Let him leave the house looking like a homeless child. If happiness to this boy means a Rancor shirt and a pair of Spider-man shoes, then that is the most beautiful outfit I have ever seen in my life.