Thumb holes and fancy tights

Jul 31

We have had a very unseasonable cold snap come through our area over the past week.  Normally, July means long pool days, prayers of gratitude for air conditioning, and choking on the heat when I climb into my hot car.  This cold snap has dropped the temperature 20-30 degrees and created some marvelous outdoor weather.  It is too cold for the pool (at least for the girls and I–we are wimps).  It feels like an Australian winter day in the area where my family lives (Brisbane/Sunshine Coast, if you are familiar).  Brad, with his Wisconsin blood, would probably still brave the water if the girls asked him to (he’ll do anything the girls ask him to).  Instead of the pool, we’ve explored new playgrounds and gone for hikes.  Our schedule has been jam-packed with fun activities; a stark contrast from last year where we had very little on the calendar so that we could accommodate how I was feeling on any given day.

As we’ve reached for sweatshirts and jackets this week (in July!), I have noticed that Maren’s wrists are hanging out.  She needs some new layers.  My big six-year-old has opinions about her clothes these days: she still loves dresses and skirts, and anything else is unpredictable.  We wandered through the big girl section (size 7-16) at one of the big stores last week, and I was so sad.  Gone are the polka-dots, whimsy, and bright colors.  In their place is lacey trim, questionable wording like “Shake it” and “I’m faux real”, and an aesthetic that, quite honestly, makes me sad that little girls are growing up too fast.  I fully admit that I am conservative and perhaps even prude-ish when it comes to clothing, but I’m taking advantage of the years where I’m in the driver’s seat for clothes to start from a modest baseline.  Soon, I know, she will have opinions and want to express herself–clothes are only going to get harder around here.

On the way home I asked her, “Maren, what kind of things do you think you will want to wear to first grade?”

She said thoughtfully, “Well, I think I mostly still want to wear dresses and skirts.”

I asked, “What about when it gets cold outside?  Will you wear pants on colder days?”

“Well, maybe sometimes I will wear pants, but mostly dresses.  Remember those things that are kind of like socks but they cover my whole leg?”


“Yes, tights.  I can wear tights under my dresses!  And boots!”

“Okay, well, what about sweatshirts or sweaters or warm tops?  What sounds good?”

“Well, the main thing I want is thumb holes.”

Thumb holes?”  I’m thinking, what the what?  I was expecting: I want pink or As long as it doesn’t itch.

“Yes, you know how you have lots of shirts with thumb holes?”

“Yes.”  I do.  I love thumb holes in shirts.  I’ve always had cold, cold hands, and I love shirts/hoodies/jackets with thumb holes.  After I stop to think about it, I realize that half my winter wardrobe has thumb holes.  I can’t believe Maren has noticed this.  “Okay, kiddo.  Thumb holes.  We will do our best to find some tops with thumb holes for you this year, okay?”

“Okay Mom.  And can we get some fancy tights and boots?”

“Sure, kiddo, we can do that.  What are fancy tights?”

“Fancy tights have patterns or animals or shapes or something on them.”

“Oh, okay.”

Thumb holes and fancy tights.

That’s the direction we’re heading this year.  I love that I never would have chosen those as Maren’s fashion priorities.  I love that she picked something of mine that she wants to emulate.  I love that she wants to dress and act and look and play like the beautifully creative, smart, imaginative girl that she is.

I love being her Mom.  I pray we always have this much fun together.  She delights me.



  1. Lauri Mathie /

    What a wonderful post! Maren’s taste in fashion reminds me so much of Carli! 🙂 Give the girls a hug and know that I think of you everyday! xoxo Lauri & Dale

  2. Sweet choices-two of my favorites too-tights with cute patterns and warm hands. What a darling girl she is. North Face has an outlet in Berkeley and all my NF shirts have thumb holes; I love them too. You and she give me pause and help me to deal with the young ladies in my life by following your examples. Thank you.

  3. Peggy /

    Jen, you come from a family where all the women tend to admire each other. You’ve written about your grandmother, mother, aunts, sisters ~ all in glowing terms. You’re just perpetuating that adoration with your own precious little girls. I love how you have “true conversations” with each…that will last a lifetime…I promise!

  4. Charlotte W /

    I am in TOTAL agreement with you on the fashion that is available for young girls. I am still a few years from having to worry about it (my baby girl is only 10 mo) but I cringe at some of the stuff they have. Maybe I’m a prude too, but I don’t understand why the fashion industry is pushing our sweet little girls to grow up so quickly.

    • Karen Almand /

      I couldn’t agree more. I am the mother of two “tween” girls, ages 10 and 12. Last year I even tried to send an email to someone in merchandising at Target but I could never figure it out. We were literally shopping for halloween costume stuff in the girls section-not meant to be costumy. I was horrified-gold metallic tights, see through lace tights, and faux leather tights! Just to mention a few inappropriate things (we were looking for 80s stuff) It has become a real problem to find appropriate clothing. There is no doubt that the devil is present in our society more than ever. I wish there was something we could do besides live with it and try our best to work around it!

  5. I love your little Maren. She’s thoughtful, observant, knows what is important to her…and she is a very, very stylish young lady! Yay for thumb holes and fancy tights!

  6. Alexandra has so many opinions about clothes! I don’t know if I am ready to have her come shopping with me, but am worried that if I don’t she won’t wear what I buy. The last time I took her she spent all her time looking at the accessories and decided she didn’t want clothes, but a furry purse and sequine-type shoes… ahhh!