Dress-Up: Embracing The Cape & Cowboy Boots

I imagine some folks might call our parenting methods a little indulgent when it comes to our high tolerance for pretend play and public appearances.

We let our kids dress-up, fantasize, and imagine at will.  This might mean that we eat dinner with a Star Wars Clone Trooper for a month.

Which we did.

It might also mean that we take long family walks around the park with Spider Man.

Or that we help Batman in and out of his costume every hour on the hour for six months until he can figure out which holes are for the legs and which ones are for the arms….

It means being seen in public with a scuba-diving-on-dry-land Spidey-swim-goggle-wearing Super Man wearing flippers on more than one occasion.

 And, it can also mean other forms of Super Hero identity crisis- depending on which characters are being selectively marketed at the moment.

There will be a time when our son no longer wants to wear “Super Man Pajamas With the Red Cape With Cowboy Boots!” for the 13th day in a row.

It will mean that this sweet imaginative phase has passed.

…And, when that growing-up time comes,  I will remember my son standing on the sidewalk, looking over his shoulder at the wisp of  his Super-Cape waving in the Spring Breeze- and I will remember how he wildly laughed because he was flying with his feet on the ground….

Childhood Dress-up is a magical thing, full of imagination.

These are the times to celebrate.

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48 Responses to Dress-Up: Embracing The Cape & Cowboy Boots

  1. This isn’t indulgent. It is wonderful! Fantastic! Look at the joy on his little face. This made my morning, I love it.

    My son and his friends walk around the mall in those clone trooper helmets (the ones with the voice changers built in) and greet people. They are all 17 and over 6″4, forming an imposing but friendly and wonderful geek/nerd unit.

    What a great mom you are. :)

    • Julie- Thank you so much! I am cracking up imagining your towering kids doing the clone trooper walk through the mall! haha!

      • This prompted me to pull out the albums and see all the silly fun of my babies younger years. Great shot of my daughter in a princess gown dancing with her younger ‘prince charming’ brother, back when she was the tall one. Thanks, for a much needed dip into the past.

        • Julie- Your comment made my day! I so enjoy blogging about life’s lessons and it means a great deal to know that it affects someone else in a positive way! Your comment will be on my mind when I look through decade old photos of my son in his cape. :)

  2. I personally think that you are amazing parents. I love this. I love it so much. I am always saddened when I see the signs of imagination and creativity sucked from childhood. He will grow up to believe anything is possible, and that is wonderful. If I had a cape right now, I’d put it on.

    • i love how you phrased that kids can grow up to believe anything is possible….that is probably the best thing we can do for them is to encourage that, Lisa- Thanks so much for your awesome comment!

  3. What a sweet post! It’s so true that we will miss all their crazy costume changes when they are older. For some reason, my daughter hasn’t wanted to wear costumes out, but that may be because she believes she is already a cat complete with tail and claws. It would actually be a lot easier on me if she would wear her cat ears and tail because it would explain to strangers why she was meowing in reply to their questions. LOL!

    • Rebekah- Our daughter spent a lot of time meowing when she was younger, too! Miss E might surprise you one day and will venture out a la Fancy Nancy or Belle! :) It’s so cute-

      • I think your daughter isn’t much older than mine, right. She has been steadfast in her love of everything cat (and dog and Backyardigans) but maybe she will someday venture into the world of human characters. ;) Miss E reminds me of the cat from Mr. Rogers world of make believe. I remember getting so annoyed by that character and now I live with her. LOL! We have to remind her we don’t speak cat and if she wants us to comply with her request she has to speak in human words. ;)

  4. I can’t adequately express how much I love this post. My son doesn’t ask to go out dressed up and I’m sure I’m missing out. Haha. I love that you let your son be himself and really enjoy this stage for yourself. The very last picture and sentence are my favorites. Absolutely beautiful post!

    • Joyce- Thank you so much for sharing the post on your page! I so appreciate it! I can’t lie- there have been times I wanted to throw the costumes away! haha! After the millionth costume change, it can get old- but I try to remind myself that I’ll miss this phase so much when he’s past it! :)

  5. Love this post. My son does the exact same thing. I think it started because it helped him cope being around others outside, now its just for fun!

    • Lori- How astute! I hadn’t considered that dress-up might be anything other than simple fun- but it makes sense that it could help kids integrate into unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations. We adults put on facades when we need to- and kids can just do it in a more literal way! Thank you for that insight!

  6. Love, love, love this one.

    Nothing better than feeding the imagination.

    “… because he was flying with his feet on the ground…” What a superb line, Tricia.

    Bless those little ones!

    • Megan- Thank you! You and I need to not even think about the sad part yet- It takes away from the happiness now. haha!

  7. Cinderella, Rapunzel and snow white often join us for dinner! We love dress up play and encourage it so much that I just asked my mom for all the dress ups that we played with as kids. My girls now have all kinds of retro dress up props added to their options!

    • Abbie- That is a fabulous idea- Maybe we should reconsider getting rid of the costumes? It sounds amazing to mix the pieces from a parent’s childhood with modern things!

  8. I kid you not, I’ve seen this look on the runway at Fashion Week in Bryant Park. They weren’t savvy enough to think of the flippers, though. Chic. Very chic.

    • Nami- Crazily enough, I totally believe you! There are some crazy avante garde fashions out there! I’m so jealous you get to go to Bryant Park! :)

  9. I just LOVE that last photo. So wonderful. My daughter loves dressing up too and I think your words are very wise. This phase will not last and we’ll miss it when it’s gone. Time to let them live and enjoy! (and perhaps don a cape, wig or funny nose ourselves) :D

    • Thank you, Debs! Daughter dress-up is such a sweet thing to watch, too- I appreciate you stopping by to comment- Thank you!

    • The Monko- Love that name, by the way. :) We are- It is a fun thing to watch a child develop his own sense of self. :) Thanks for your comment!

  10. This is awesome Trish! Hahahaha! Love the imagenation put on all costume mixes! Hahaha! We have a sort of counterpart in our household, the first born have passed on the leggings obsession to her younger sister. Apparently, it is either genetic and or contagious. Oh well, let’s celebrate these moments indeed!

    • Thanks, Ava! I bet your girls are cute as a button! I can’t wait for your dress-up post! haha! Thanks for the comment, friend!

  11. I love that you let the kiddos dress up so much! Encouraging imagination and independence is so important. Thanks so much for stopping by famiglia&seoul to share! We enjoyed our trip to Seoul, but only wished we had more time to explore. Hopefully we can get back soon. Looking forward to following your blog! I love that your focus is to enjoy life wherever it happens! :)

    • Gina-
      I can’t imagine stifling the kids! We haven’t seen our kids out of costume or super hero pajamas with capes or webs or cowboy boots in months now. :) Really love your blog! :)

  12. I love this post. Imaginative play is so important, I can’t imagine stifling it just to look normal when you are out with your child. I remember a child in my preschool class who wouldn’t even respond to his real name when he was “in character.” These are definitely memories to cherish :)

    • Amy- Yes! I agree! I figure they’ll get a chance to obsess about normality soon enough. :) I think my son would have loved to play with the child in your pre-school class! Or, maybe- to be in your pre-school class!

  13. I love this. This reminds me of the time when my girls were younger. Sometimes we ate dinner under the stars, sometimes my girls would dressed like princess or wore the glasses with the cover on –toddler version of sunglasses … simply too cute!

    • Journey of Life- You know- we’ve never eaten dinner under the stars- I think we really need to try that! Our daughter is into princess dress-up mode, too- and it’s wonderful to watch. Your kids sound smart- I wouldn’t have thought to keep the covers on the glasses to make sunglasses! haha!

    • Chrissy- I agree- actually, when our son starts school in August, he won’t be able to wear it to school- so I figure I’ll just let him do it now while he can!

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