I thank you for your kind invitation to introduce me to the president of the Republic. Since I have not been out of my atelier for two months, I have no appropriate costume for this circumstance.

Please excuse me.

~ Camille Claudel


Brooke Bo Peep and her Katie sheep

Brooke is all about costuming lately. I don’t mean simply that she is dressing up for particular occasions; I mean all-out, over-the-top costume design. At least two or three times a day, Brooke can be found digging through the dress-up box and emerging as something or someone entirely different – a princess or a ballerina, Dora or Boots, Tasha or a pirate, Little Bo Peep or whatever other creation her muse may dictate.

Katie has gotten into the act of late and the two of them have taken to dressing up together. Once satisfied with their costumes, they go ‘trick or treating’ around the house. Luau and I oblige by waiting behind bedroom doors for them to come by. They knock, we loudly ask who it could possibly be and they respond with an ear splitting ‘TRICK OR TREEEEEEEEAT!”

We answer and pretend to put a piece of candy into their treat bags. They both seem to be convinced that one of these days they’ll get some real candy, but we put a stop to that concept when we realized just how frequently we were playing the game.

And so it was, in a fit of costuming pique that little Miss disappeared into her room for a while on Sunday afternoon. A schoolmate of Katie’s had come to play and the two of them had made their way to the backyard. When Brooke decided to join them, I snuck out to the patio to make sure that, well –  aw, hell, you know, right?

The older girls had taken out a baseball bat and a ball and were taking turns tossing and hitting. Brooke suddenly turned and ran into the house as if her life depended on it. I assumed that nature had called and left her to her business, but I became concerned when she didn’t return within a couple of minutes. I headed into the house and followed the sound of her voice into her room.

“Can you help me?” she was saying to no one in particular. “I need my hat. Can you help me find my hat for my head?”

I walked in to find her slowly, painstakingly buttoning herself into her Red Sox jersey – One. Button. At. A. Time. With pride, I watched her little fingers work to button that damned thing. It’s a new skill – this buttoning thing – and it’s still not easy. I could not believe the calm patience with which she diligently worked her way down the seemingly endless placket.

“Mom,” she said, “Can you help me? I need my hat. Can you help me find my hat for my head for the baseball? I’m playing the baseball.”

I found a Sox cap (not too hard in this house) and adjusted it to fit her head. Obviously satisfied, she set out toward the yard.

She looked so pleased with herself as she hopped down the steps. I knew that by the time we got back down the girls would have long since moved onto something else, but I just couldn’t kill that perfect little moment for her. As she got out the door, the older girls were struggling to put together a soccer goal.

I set up the tee for Brooke and snapped a quick photo as she gave it a shot. Not two swings in, she apparently came to the conclusion that playing baseball alone just didn’t have the same allure as playing with the big girls. She shed the uniform and Big Papi became little Brooke again.

It broke my heart, but only a little. Because I knew that later, when she stood in front of the dress-up box again, the possibilities for what little Miss Brooke could be would once again be endless.


















23 thoughts on “dress-up

  1. Damn that girl has flair! And a wickedly awesome imagination that is becoming more and more in evidence as you write. 🙂 And, man, she is WORKING those red boots and santa hat!

  2. i think pirate brooke is my favorite. her dedication to historical accuracy, what with those classic pink pirate galoshes, is admirable.

    i don’t know a great deal about kid culture, so the blue costume eludes me. only because i read this blog do i know that the photo above it is a backyardigan. you know you write an interesting, addictive blog when i read enough to identify a backyardigan. that takes some serious doing.(i’m going to be really embarrassed if the yellow hat character is not a backyardigan).

  3. “the blue costume was the first incarnation of little bo peep”

    little bo peep! i was thinking “little bo head injury”, so i was close.

  4. m – i think the blue costume was the first incarnation of little bo peep, though truth be told she looked like cinderella in a babushka – a nod to her russian heritage perhaps. if you look carefully in that picture, you’ll see them holding the cheese that they got from me at the door. katie was like, ‘oh man, this isn’t candy. mama, you gave us cheese? reeeeeeally? i told her it could be worse. i could be the lady that gives out pencils at halloween. then of course, the next time we did it i gave her a pencil. Mwwwwaaahhhaaaa! and yes, the yellow costume is tasha!!

  5. LOVE the Santa hat and red boots! That’s so funny that they started to trick or treat in the house-sneaky hoping to get some candy now! My son likes to wear his costume but hasn’t thought about asking for a Halloween treat yet! He just keeps asking if he can eat September…to make it go away I guess!

  6. I have been reading your posts for a while, and loving them. I have a special little girl, too. I laughed when I read your post today- my little one is downstairs, in a Little Mermaid costume.

  7. thank you all for your very sweet comments.

    mama edge – the band-aids were actually the tip of the iceberg – for a while there the little dear was covered nearly head to toe in the darn things as we fought to come up with a better plan to stop a skin picking self stim. i’m praying that her little body won’t be too scarred from it. not one of our best moments, but at least they make cute band aids these days. 😉

  8. oh my!! i haven’t been online for a while and here i come by and am treated to all these fabulous inventive trick or treat costumes! i love the explosion of creativity and exploration!!!!!!!!! just gorgeous.

  9. I take back what I said on your other post about Tasha. I will now be studying your precious little girl so I can maybe turn my princess into a hippo. Is there anything you’re not good at?!

  10. bernadette – there’s much more that i’m NOT good at than the inverse, i assure you!

    not to mention the important detail that i didn’t make the costume! you should have seen my misguided attempt to use 2 visors on a headband to make ‘ears’. oy! 

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