A life of discarded uniforms
It started with a ballet outfit when DD was four.
Having done ballet aged three in a pink tutu, DD’s ballet school declared that four-year-old ballerinas must wear white. Out went the pink leotard, the pink tutu, the pink socks and even the pink leather ballet shoes (onto which I’d hand-sewn the elastic straps – spare a moment, please, for my pain). In came a white ensemble made from spun gold and angel breath – well, you would think that, given how much it cost – and, into the dressing-up box went the pink outfit.
A term later, DD gave up ballet. To be fair, she’s not a natural. Into the uniform drawer went the white outfit.
Then DD took up gymnastics. I think this was the year of the London Olympics. She really enjoyed watching the gymnasts. After about two weeks of gymnastics, I was asked to buy the official leotard. The school year ended, gymnastics stopped, DD’s interests moved on.
The leotard still sits, hopefully, in the drawer. (I bought it big; it may still fit).
DD developed a love of dance. “I really, really, really want to do a real dance class,” she begged. “In a proper dance school.”
I agreed: DD has the rhythm. She’s a great dancer. I’d love to see her develop that further. I enrolled her at a dance studio and, guess what? They had a compulsory uniform. I sold my collection of Hermès bags and bought the uniform. DD loved the dance class. She did it for a term. But, when term ended, she didn’t want to go back.
“I’m nearly nine,” she said. “I’m the oldest in the class. It’s so babyish.” I had to agree – she was a good couple of years older than the rest of her class, but too young for the next class up.
The dance uniform sits on top of the leotard in what I now call the drawer of discarded uniforms.
Then DD took up yoga. I admit I encouraged this. I love yoga. But I was dubious and the drawer of discarded uniforms haunted my thoughts. I ignored DD’s pleas for baggy yoga pants and sent her to yoga in her PE kit. After a term, she came home with a letter.
“Your child requires her own yoga mat,” read the letter. “You can purchase this from us for AED [ridiculous].”
“You can have a yoga mat,” I told DD. “But not that one.” We took her to Decathlon and bought a yoga mat for a sixth of the quoted price.
“How was it?” I asked after her first class with her new mat. Would the other children have noticed her yoga mat didn’t have diamonds and rubies embedded in its latex?
“Fine,” she said. “But the teacher says I need yoga socks. Special ones. Here’s the letter…”