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By Jason Offutt
I expected the dress. My daughter, who’s had more wardrobe changes as a kindergartener than Audrey Hepburn had in her entire acting career, wears dresses daily because she’s under the assumption she’s a Disney princess. I can’t argue with her because I’d lose.
The thing is, the Girl’s in a bowling league (as I can only assume most Disney princesses are) and on Saturday morning as I stood at our front door in blue jeans, T-shirt and coat, you know, stuff people wear to a bowling alley, she came out in a dress made of red velvet, or red chiffon, or red polyester, or red paper grocery sack. Heck, I don’t know what it was made out of, I’m a guy. It was a dress, it was red, and we were going bowling.
“Are you ready?” I asked.
The Boy, standing next to me in a John Deere hat and Star Wars shirt he’d thrown on in about 45 seconds, moaned something about girls taking too long to do anything. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t want it getting back to his mother. But he was right.
“Oh, no,” the Girl said. “I forgot something.”
She scampered off, as she is wont to do. She came back a few minutes later (minutes, not moments) brushing back her hair with her fingers and wearing something completely different, but still a dress.
“I’m ready,” she said, and slipped on stylish, but completely winter-inappropriate shoes. I’ve given up on convincing her to keep her feet warm. I’ve almost given up on convincing her of anything.
This stems back to a family walk when she was less than 2 years old.
The Girl tried to step onto the street and her mother grabbed her.
“You can’t walk into the street without holding Mommy or Daddy’s hand,” my wife said like the Girl would actually listen. At that point we still had hope of reaching her.
She put down the Girl who immediately tried to walk into the street again.
“You will listen to Mommy,” my wife said, now holding a squirming toddler. “Who’s in charge?”
The Girl squinched up her little face and said, “Me.”
The Boy (about four) and I went on the walk alone. When we got back home a half-hour later, the girls were still sitting on the front porch arguing about who was in charge. I’m not sure if the issue’s ever been resolved.
That’s the moment my wife and I knew we were in trouble.
Which brings us back to Saturday. After the Girl slipped on her shoes and coat, she pulled a small hand mirror out of her pocket to make sure she hadn’t mussed her hair. Again, she’s in kindergarten, she’s had two wardrobe changes, at least one hair check and made us late by at least five minutes.
I’m not sure she’s captured the spirit of bowling.
Jason Offutt’s column has been in continuous publication since 1998 appearing in newspapers and magazines across the United States. Follow Jason on Twitter @TheJasonOffutt.