All Is (Not-So) Calm, All Is Bright

After holding it together through the end of summer and into the beginning of the school year, this is about the time my family’s ability to remain on schedule and on-task begins to wobble off the rails. School lunches that only weeks ago included a healthy, pre-planned menu and a witty, handwritten note from mom are now thrown together as each family member sprints out of the house. Developmentally-appropriate evening art projects turn into “Which crumbly pile of Play-Doh can still be molded into, well, anything?” You get the idea.

Maybe it’s because at the stroke of midnight on October 31st, department stores (and human beings, myself included) give up pretending we aren’t on a rapidly accelerating collision course with the holidays. Maybe it’s because the first weekend of November signals the end of Daylight Savings and we seem to lose at least—AT LEAST—an hour of daylight each evening. Or it could be that this is about the time the kids’ routines become a frenetic combination of school breaks, class room parties, parent-teacher conferences, and a never-ending game of “How much snot is TOO MUCH snot?” to disqualify one of the kids from soccer practice, daycare, or both. 

But whatever the reason, we need help.

So it recently occurred to me that a small adjustment to our routine, specifically around getting ready in the morning, might help. Taking that a step further, I made the executive decision to embrace mixing patterns using the brightest, most optimistic gear in the kids’ closets—that had to get us pretty far down the line toward getting everyone out the door in one happy piece. Why? Let me count the ways…


My parents swear we dress the kids in the dark (and maybe we do) but when my son wears his teal Polarn O. Pyret striped pants with a maroon t-shirt from Crewcuts, and traffic cone orange New Balance slip-ons, well, he’s a cherub. Did you eat breakfast? “Yes, Mama!” Can you put on your coat? “Yes, Mama!” Did you go potty? “Already did, Mama!” It’s magical. 


My daughter, bless her heart, is game for any combination of stripes, polka dots, hearts, colorful animals, and any other pop culture phenomena replicated on everything from sweatshirts to socks. A fun game involves seeing how close we can approximate colors with patterns that, on their face, appear diametrically opposed. Getting her brother to complement what she’s wearing in an odd couple-kind-of-way gets me out of bed on cold mornings, if I’m being honest. And it’s fun. 


I can’t tell you how many really awesome pieces of clothing both kids grew out of while I was searching for just the right thing to pair them with. A Mini Rodini tunic with rabbits that eluded any pair of leggings I tried to mix them with in a traditional way. A handful of cool graphic tees for my son that “just didn’t look right” with the one sweater he begged to wear every day for six months. If we only readjust our framework for getting the kids dressed, nothing could ever get left by the wayside.

Can this approach be used with any brand? Absolutely. Does it work better with certain brands, like Hugo Loves Tiki, Rylee + Cru, Polarn, Tiny Cottons, and Mini Rodini? Sure. The only thing I’ll say definitively, is that if you’re going to get bright and a little wild this time of year—commit fully. And send us pics, of course. I’m always looking for new inspiration.

Photos: Kennedy Wore What

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