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The 7 Indisputable Rules of Little Kid Fashion

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The days of dressing my 5-year-old son are over. Actually, they came to an end a few years ago, when speaking in full and clear sentences was no longer a mountain he needed to climb. He was there, at the summit, expressing how he really felt about the clothing choices I’d been making for him. No more cute, fly-guy fashions and themed outfits, like super-mini skater kid, tiny Harvard preppy, or the "Mad Men" Casual Beach thing I was getting away with for a stretch. Once this kid was able to express his likes and — as was often the case — staunch dislikes, the couture was cut down to a set of very basic rules. Rules that may not be bent or broken, for the retribution would be steep ... and bloody annoying.

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I learned the hard way and endured the battle of the morning get-dressed scene, and have come out on the other side. So, in the interest of each one teach one, I present to you the 7 Rules of Little Kid Fashion, as told to me by my son — who, for this exercise, we’ll call Maester ICanDoItMyself.

1. Band-Aids Take Priority. If there is ever a bandage covering a bump, scrape or cut [Parent edit: real or imagined ones], be sure that socks and sleeves do not cover this important plaster. Unless, of course, these things bring added protection to this most necessary tourniquet. In that case, pull the socks up all the way to the knee, making doubly sure they stay up, and drag those sleeves or pant legs carefully over the important bandage. Failure to comply will result in certain grumpiness and more than a few Band-Aids wasted in the “reapplication” process.

2. Tag, You’re Not It! No matter how much I claim to like a shirt, if the tag scrapes or tickles the back of my neck, even just a little, we will have a problem. I will not think twice to demand that the offending tag be completely removed. It’s lay flat or go home. (Home being the garbage bin here.) And, Parent, it’s probably a safer bet that you memorize the wash and care instructions of all my shirts, as I have a zero-tolerance policy about tags that don’t follow the clear rules.

Honestly? I don’t think grown-ups really understand what The Weather is.

3. Robots Are the Best, But Only Today. When it comes to designs, patterns, colors or animated characters that may adorn my shirt, I reserve the right to change my leanings at will. This week — for the entire week — I may desire all robot everything, but come Sunday that can change without any advance notice. Yes, from robots to stripes-only on a dime, and you will deal. [Parent edit: Don’t let a favorite shirt-of-the-week be found in the hamper — like, ever. #staywoke]

4. Buttons, NO! Snaps, Yes. I’ve decided that I don’t like buttons, and all your cajoling isn’t changing matters. Maybe it’s because they still kind of trip me up, making my little fingers do extra work, or maybe I just don’t like the looks of them, with their four holes that resemble judging eyes. Either way, not a fan. Keep them out of my sight. Note well: This rule can sometimes extend to cover your clothing as well. It’s arbitrary, yes, but it’s not a game. Tread lightly.

5. The Weather Is a Myth. Honestly? I don’t think grown-ups really understand what The Weather is. As much as you talk about it in elevators and in line at the grocery store, I’m not at all convinced that you have a firm grasp on this ephemeral concept. So no-thanks on any words of “wisdom” you may care offer on why I can’t wear my GAP hoodie — zipped up all the way — in the middle of July’s heat wave. Or, conversely, why a tank top with a rad surfboard motif isn’t "appropriate" attire for a Thanksgiving afternoon. Let me know when you work out the whole climate thing (and climate change, frankly). I’ll be over here … in my hoodie and tank top.

6. I Choose the Shoes. Sometimes I want to wear my light-up sneakers. Other times, I might fancy my funky, brown half boots with the faux-laces-and-velcro finery. Or today could be a Crocs and socks day. It really all depends on my mood at the given moment. But the point here is: I’ll decide what footwear I’ll flex. Please don’t question my choices, you’ll only get your feelings hurt.

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7. PJs Are Always Winning. Whoever invented pajamas needs a grand award, posthaste. These things are comfy, cozy and completely charming. There’s also that undeniably compelling quality about them: Once you’ve nestled into a fine set of PJs, it’s a real struggle to find your way out of them. That’s why my mates and I are thinking about launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a global parade to celebrate all the prudent teachers who have instituted a Pajama Day at their schools. It’s genius, plus I have a sneaking suspicion that most adults (teachers included) are happy to rock their jammies for the better part of the day, too.

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