Going Forward, Backwards

“Are you comfortable like that? Or do you want to change it?”

From the beginning, he always said he was comfortable; he didn’t want to change.

A few months ago, I wrote about how Captain Bravo would surprise me by sneaking away to get dressed in the clothes I laid out every morning. As so often happens on those first attempts at independence, he would often put his shirt on backwards.

I am his mom/first teacher/co-pilot, so I felt it was my responsibility to point out that it was backwards – but he was unconcerned.

So most of the time, we left it that way. Even if we left the house.

Over the past few months, his backwards shirts have become less a choice of convenience and more of a personal expression. If you visit me here or on social media, no doubt you have seen photos of Captain Bravo’s backwards days.  We have many. In fact, I would venture to say that they are frequent. So much so that family and friends now think nothing of seeing him in backwards clothes.

He said he wanted to see the number.

He said he wanted to see the number.

I still point it out as he gets dressed.

“That’s backwards, you know. See the tag?”

“But Mom, I love it backwards.”

Who am I to argue?

Didn’t I scour the hair colour boxes at the pharmacy, searching for that perfect red – cherry, not auburn? Didn’t I search the racks for the shiniest, most-shoulder-sweeping earrings I could find? Wasn’t it me that tied the tongues of my Converse sneakers down and wore neon and clinking bracelets up to my elbow?

Check, check and check. I did.

My clothes were not worn that way, but wasn’t I backwards-by-choice sometimes?  Aren’t I still?

The other day, I overheard Captain Alpha talking to Bravo as he got dressed.

“It looks kind of silly that way. I’ll help you,” Alpha told him.

Shortly after, Bravo came bounding out of the bedroom sporting his forward-facing shirt.

I wondered if this would be the beginning of the end of Backwards Days. A word from big brother is so very influential. Captain Alpha is cool, and a worldly know-er of many things. Would his opinion discourage Captain Bravo’s backwards phase?

I got my answer the next day. We decided on his clothes and he began to get dressed. His head appeared through the opening in his shirt and he looked at me.

“Do I have it on backwards?”

He pulled the shirt away from his neck and saw the writing on the fabric at the same time that I did.

He smiled as he put his arms through the arm holes and smoothed it down.

“I love it backwards, Mom.”

Backwards Days have lasted longer than I thought they would. Even when they go, I hope the spirit of them lives on. I wish for a sureness and a confidence in himself to express who he is.

I want him to feel comfortable, so that he doesn’t want to change.

And for now at least, we will go forward – being backwards.


 How do you your children express themselves? How do *you*?


Linking up with Alison from Writing, Wishing and Galit from These Little Waves for Memories Captured

Comment Using Facebook


Comments Make Me Geek Out

  1. says

    Oh, I love it. My daughter has a very unique style which I’m sure you’ve seen on my blog. Sometimes I like to joke about her crazy outfits and say, “Oh she dressed herself” or “Oh, her father dressed her today.” The other day she was wearing a bright H&M rainbow dress over a pink t-shirt and purple and white striped pants. Rainbow socks and pink sparkly shoes completed the outfit. At preschool dropoff another mom said, “So, who dressed her today? Her father? Herself?” And I looked and realized..it was me ..so I proudly said, “Oh that one’s all me! She actually let me take the reins for once.” And you certainly couldn’t tell the difference! Does anyone in my family match?
    Tamara recently posted..Break It Down Again.My Profile

  2. says

    You are such a fantastic mama! My girl has a style too (we’ve had leg warmers in July and, most recently, a cat tail to school one morning). I love that you let him go backwards. I love little ones expressing themselves!
    Tricia recently posted..One of those memoriesMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you, Maureen!
      I like for him to be able to express himself and it really is such a little thing. I am pretty sure most people that see him know he dressed himself! :)

    • says

      Thank you, Alison – I think he is a pretty great little guy!
      So happy that Memories Captured is back this month; I love linking up with you and Galit!

  3. says

    I love this and I love how you’re cool with backwards and embrace backwards the way most people don’t. My son dressed backwards too. And I also loved his independence and self expression the way you do.
    Ilene recently posted..If OnlyMy Profile

    • says

      How awesome that you had a backwards-dressing boy, too! I will miss these days when they are gone. It has been great seeing his self-expression.

  4. says

    I’m loving this. Who cares how he wears his shirts or his shoes or socks or whatever. As long as he is happy, that’s all that matters!!
    Krystal recently posted..Reality hitsMy Profile

  5. says

    I never took much risk with my own appearance, even though there were times I wanted to. Fear stood in my way sometimes of feeling like I could fully express myself. I love that you allow your son to express himself and be who he is! I hope to enable my future children to do the same.
    Bev recently posted..Right Before My Very EyesMy Profile

    • says

      It makes him happy to be backwards right now. It is a little thing for me that means a lot to him. I am pretty sure anyone that may see us will know that he dressed himself. :)

    • says

      I think when it started, he was just happy to put it on and wasn’t bothered that it was backwards. Now his backwards days seem to be a conscious choice. :)

  6. says

    What a great memoir — with a fabulous lesson about being comfortable in our own skin/shirt. I used to worry that Thing Two would always only listen to what his older brother said, but have learned that he’s strong enough in his own little personality to hold true to the things he wants to regardless of whether his brother approves.
    Kimberly recently posted..Memories Captured: Teenage editionMy Profile

    • says

      I am beginning to think the same of my youngest. He was willing to go along with big brother, but when he had the choice the next time, he chose backwards. :)

  7. says

    He’s so cute! When the kids were little I was totally okay with them being dirty, mussed up, whatever. I didn’t really care that much because I knew that I had bathed them and the clothes were clean when I put them on. It drove my mother crazy! She likes everything just so. Now that I have grandkids when they come over I still don’t care if they are dirty, mussed up, whatever and it still drives my mom crazy that they are that way.

    P.S. My 3 yo granddaughter decided underpants were totally unnecessary this past weekend. I guess she’ll be going commando for awhile.
    Carlil recently posted..The 10 Signs of a Girlie RunnerMy Profile

    • says

      I am the same. I know they are clean, their clothes are clean (yet worn backwards at times) and I am OK with them getting messy sometimes. All part of the fun of being a child!

  8. says

    This post is awesome! A.W.E.S.O.M.E.-Awesome! I laughed out loud at that last picture. I think it’s so sweet that you’re just going with it. It’s inspiring.
    Adrienne recently posted..Memories CapturedMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you so much, Adrienne! Even though I see him do it all the time, I have to admit that I chuckled that day in the park – and then later when I looked back on the photos – as he sported his backwards shirt. I like that he wants to try something different. :)

  9. says

    This is great! I have three daughters who each have a very individual sense of style. My oldes is currently in a phase of wearing anything and everything that is turquoise, neon green, or neon orange. My middle cares nothing about clothes and consistently looks disheveled. The youngest is my girlie girl – nothing but dresses for her. I learned a long time ago that, even though parts of their style drive me nuts, it just isn’t worth the fight and like seeing their individuality come through!
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted..Mornings – Bah Humbug!My Profile

    • says

      Isn’t it amazing how we all find what is comfortable for us? It makes my little guy happy to express himself this way for now, so I am just going to go with it. :)
      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  10. says

    {Melinda} I love it! What a good mom you are for just letting him be him. I shudder to think how many times I have encouraged my kids to be “normal” when they were younger. Now — unless it’s hurting someone else or themselves in some way — I bite my tongue and just let them express themselves. :)

    Pinning this post!
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted..The Non-Negotiables of Mommy Self-CareMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you, Melinda! (For the kind words and the Pin!)
      For now, it makes my little guy happy to express himself this way, so I am just going with it. And hopefully, everyone will know that he dressed himself. :)