I'm still reeling from the excitements of the weekend, by which I do not mean the agent contact but the epiphany which was my seven year old tomboy Discovering Dresses.
My tomboy has eschewed such frippery since she was three, the age at which she last "dressed like a girl". On Saturday, surrounded by the colour shock that is catwalk designer dresses for little girls (aka Debenham's), she went wild. It started with a pair of colourful summer plimsolls and a pinkish t-shirt with applique writing. A wild tangent led to a smocked camisole top in pink lawn with Liberty print flowers. From there it was a small but significant step to a Matthew Williamson sundress, all over flowers in beautifully bright shades with tiny light-refracting sequins sewn at intervals. "Diamonds!" was the gleeful cry. She tried it on. She twizzled and twirled. She asked to be allowed to wear it out of the shop and for the rest of the day, one of the happiest I've spent in her company as she was in a rare old mood of high spirits and affection. I grinned like a lunatic all around Stratford-upon-Avon. Luckily, it was the Bard's birthday weekend so the place was filled with clownish people and I did not stand out in my state of excited bliss.
In Monsoon, we debated the merit of various bolero tops. My daughter liked the one in Tiffany blue with the faux diamond brooch fastening. I was speechless, trying to keep up with this sudden and staggering development. She likes jewellery now?! The wise shop assistant asked how old she was and referred us to the seven year cycle in which one's life is said to move. Double whammy for us then, since I was 35 when my daughter was born. She is now talking wistfully of a frock in Monsoon that had roses all over it, "Great flowers".
With great flowers comes great responsibility.
As well as feeling disorientated, I am suffering from the knowledge that this new phase will require very delicate and attentive handling on my part. She sought my opinion, assurance and counsel at the weekend more than she ever has before. Her confidence has always been sky-high but this is new territory, for us both. I am conscious that a misplaced word or action from me right now could make a lasting impression on my little girl. Yikes. The responsibility!
Now to mention the pressure to start showing an interest in frocks for myself. She picked out some true horrors for me at the weekend, including a hideous violet-spotted sateen halterneck that looked like it'd been left out in the rain. "You'd look lovely in this," she confided.