Pride and Prudishness

I consider myself pretty lucky to be on the receiving end of bags of hand-me-down clothes for my daughter. One friend, who comes like a thief in the night, drops bags of clothes on my front porch. They appear there usually with out me knowing she’s even come. And when I say they are gently used, that is the understatement of the year. Some still have tags on them. And the ones that don’t are in such good condition that perhaps they’ve been worn once.

There are beautiful clothes in these bags. Gymboree outfits, Janie and Jack, Hannah Andersson, you name it. My little girl is a fashion plate and I can thank my friends for it.

Another good friend of mine also gives me her daughter’s gently used stuff. And I am convinced that I must have missed out on the laundry lesson they got. The whites are really white. The colors bright and nary a stain dons any of these items. Maybe I need to rethink my own way of doing laundry. I probably should sort the whites from the darks, right?

In any case, on one occasion my friend invited me over to go through some bags of clothes her daughter specifically picked out for my daughter. She told me to take what I wanted and the rest she would give to another friend whose little girl was about the same age.

Lots of adorable things. I picked through and took a pretty nice stack of items for my girl.

With the clothing strewn all over the floor, my friend picked up a pretty bathing suit and said that my daughter would love it.

I told her that yes, it was cute, adorable even, but my daughter would not be wearing it or any bikini until she is at least 12.

My friend looked at me as if I had six heads.

“Why?” she asked.

My reason is simple. I don’t believe a bikini belongs on my little girl. Tankini? Sure. But a two piece, midriff bearing, hardly covering anything bikini? Nope.

Not going there.

In the summer, we are at the beach. A lot. My mom still lives near the shore and we visit. Plus my own family usually takes to the beach for a summer vacation in Maine or Cape Cod.

And I spend a lot of time happily planted in my beach chair on the sand people-watching.

There are little girls, from age 10 all the way down to 1 year olds, who are wearing bikinis that barely cover them up. They are digging in the sand, playing in the waves, doing little girl things like that. And from my vantage point, wearing a bikini is just not conducive to that kind of adolescent behavior. The bikini top will eventually ride up and half of her little girl chest will be exposed until her mother comes and pulls it down for her.

(Note: I have also witnessed grown women wearing a bikini that could probably fit their toddler, but that is for another day.)

More than the fact that you just simply need more sunblock, my feeling is that a little girl, at least my little girl, needs to stay little for as long as possible. Because one day, earlier now than ever, you will wake up and your once little daughter will be sporting boobs and curves and be wearing low rider jeans and maybe even thong underwear.

They grow up too fast s’all I’m sayin’.

12? Maybe 13.

A bikini isn’t evil or anything, I realize it is just a fashion statement. (Unless of course you count that company that added extra padding to the top of their toddler bikinis. Can you say inappropriate? They should be so ashamed that they ever thought of that.)

And if you are comfortable with your little girl wearing one, then so she will.

But for my little girl, a one piece or tankini is going to be on her until she can afford to buy her own. And I for one am hoping that it is not until MUCH MUCH later than 12.

This one is just as cute as the bikini, no?

I wore what they called a “two piece” back in the day. I remember it well. It was a hand-me-down from my sister that I could NOT wait to get my hands on. It was red, had two triangles outlined in white on the top, and the bottom was red and white striped. It came up above my belly button and was clearly not a “bikini” in the true sense of the word. But it was the bomb.

But I had to wait until I was 10 before I could wear it. My mom was so behind the times, right? I waited for a very long time, following both of my sisters’ introduction into the world of bikinis, for my own. And once I started wearing them, well I decided they weren’t for me. I am and will continue to be a one-piece or tankini girl. My sisters not so much. They like a good bikini as much as the next person. Just not me.

So thinking back, I thought my mother was old-fashioned. But clearly we agree on this one thing. I may be old-fashioned like her, prudish even. But I am sticking to my guns on this one.

Yesterday I received a CWD Kids catalog in the mail and my daughter, fashionista that she is, immediately reached for it. She flipped through the pages while eating her lunch, eyes wide with hope of a new outfit.

She pointed to the cute clothes and gushed with delight. Then she pointed to a red-white-and-blue bikini clad toddler. “I want that one,” she said.

“Not until you are 12,” I replied.

“Why mommy?

“Because Mommy thinks that bathing suit is too big-girlish for you.”

I waited for the screaming that I was sure would follow.

But it didn’t.

“Okay,” she said and perused on. She pointed to the same red-white-and blue pattern in a one piece and said “How about this one?”

I just love her.

Perhaps she will always be this agreeable.

So… Am I too prudish or on the money? I’d love to know what you all think.