Tiny Fashionistas

I’ve been mildly obsessed with little girls’ fashion since I was a little girl, myself. The obsession gave birth (no pun intended) to my creative pursuit, Menina. To me, there’s nothing so charming as a sweetly dressed little girl, made all the more endearing if it seems she dressed herself. When I see a girl wearing a princess dress or fairy wings in public, I melt. Today I was treated to the sight of two girls on a street in Brooklyn, each expressing themselves through fashion, but with very different results.

The first was a girl of about three or four. I caught sight of tiny black ballet flats with ribbons, then my eyes rose to see black and white striped leggings, a pink floral skirt, and a pink hoodie emblazoned “Brooklyn” across the front. Nevermind the pinks did not match; the outfit was enough to render her cute as a button. But then, atop her head was an honest-to-gosh pioneer bonnet, à la Laura Ingalls. The bonnet was such juxtaposition to the hip little outfit- made of light blue cotton, with tiny pink flowers- and I am certain the little girl thought the bonnet was the pièce de résistance to her ensemble.

I looked to the woman whose hand the little girl was holding: a tall brunette, chic in heeled boots, jeans, and a mid-season leather jacket. My instant thought: “Now there is a confident woman, raising a confident daughter.” A woman less sure of herself would have insisted the little girl leave the bonnet at home. A girl less sure of herself wouldn’t have thought of the bonnet in the first place. They made a great pair and made me smile.

The very next people I saw were another mother-daughter combination, only this girl was slightly older. She was also wearing sweet ballet flats. and in the brief moment I passed her and her mother on the street, I heard the woman say, “See. Everyone else has their ankles covered.”

My heart broke a bit for this girl. I imagined the scene at home that morning: all she had wanted was not to wear socks, and battle ensued. Mom declared it was too cold to go sock-less; Daughter declared she didn’t care. Back and forth until Daughter won and was allowed to leave the house with bare ankles. But Mom was not going to miss the opportunity to point out Daughter was wrong in her choice, as all the world could prove, in their socks and boots and long pants.

The thing is, it wasn’t that cold. It wasn’t raining or slushy. The little girl was not going to catch pneumonia in her state of undress. But her life, I imagined, would be very different from that of the girl in the pioneer bonnet. This idea might be a major projection on my part, yet I wish both these little girls well in learning to express themselves through fashion, and in their relationships with the women who love them most in the world, and who may- or may not- guide them around pitfalls.

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Re-Loving Romeo

31Days2013

Three references to Romeo, for your consideration:

One Juliet cried from her balcony, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? She wasn’t wondering where he was; she was wondering what purpose he could have in her life. If the families into which they were born would not allow Romeo and Juliet to be together, then what would become of their love? Why had they met? Why were they tortured in their passion? We all know how this tragic love story ends.

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A Garden Grows in Brooklyn

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I’m rediscovering the neighborhood, so it seems, since we returned from our Hudson summer. Our apartment is in a gentrifying area, and I’m filled with ambivalence over this fact. While it’s nice that crack whores no longer patrol the corners, I’m sad that the family living a few doors down, including an elderly disabled gentleman, were displaced by the sale and renovation of their building while we were away. Where did they go? Almost certain, far from here, just as we would if our landlord pulled the rug out from under us. Changes that “improve” the neighborhood drive prices toward an ever-higher roof. Some say we have Mayor Bloomberg to thank, for engendering a New York City fewer people can access, but that’s a post for a different day.

This post is about a garden, rather a garden center, that has sprung up in a formerly vacant lot on a nearby commercial street. Continue reading

No Sleep Till Brooklyn… No Hope For Brooklyn

As of this week, we are back in Brooklyn. Yes, the bitter truth: we are “weekenders” in Upstate New York. In the throes of summer loveliness, it’s hard to remember that living in our home full-time is a fantasy for a future decade. Our reality: we spend summers there, and the rest of the year just weekends and other pockets of time. Alternatively, our lives are lived in a two room (two room not two bedroom) apartment in Brooklyn. Is it any wonder we spin our wheels with projects Upstate? After almost five years, the wonderful old place still feels more like a frat house than a family home. Continue reading