Well, I just got round to the frankly rather irritating task of hand-washing the Girl's princess dresses. Actually, I did it in two batches (small house, and they all need to air-dry), but still.
All fancy dress outfits these days require hand-washing, which isn't really the issue for me. Fill a bowl in the sink with water, squish them in one at a time, and there you go. But afterwards, with two dresses scrunched on my draining boards awaiting hanging space in the shower (these things drip forever, I swear), I got to thinking.
I just washed away a swirl of glitter from one of these dresses, from a pattern glued onto the fabric. It looked lovely on the shelf, but I am all too aware that its days are numbered. When the glitter is gone, it will look a lot more shabby.
Yes, sharp-eyed parents of Rapunzel fans may know that the purple dress
is technically sponge-clean only but, that didn't work. It never does.
Most of her other dressing-up garments are similarly fragile. I gently tease the marks out of the polyester, because they are too fragile to go in the washing machine. That said, there is so little natural material in these dresses that everything comes out with remarkable ease. I mean, even tomato stains rinse right out.
Still, I look at her little collection of dresses, all about £15 a go, and wonder at the point of it all. None of them can stand up to thorough use - they all rely on little girls playing princess tea-parties and practising curtseys no doubt - but the Girl has a big brother, and a rather more enthusiastic streak. She is the Princess with a Light Sabre, or a Princess with a Sword (even if the "sword" is actually one of my scarves).
She's going to ruin the dresses long before she outgrows them. And, while I'm totally on-board for the sword fighting, I can't help but think it's a shame that her make-believe clothes can't stand up to her make-believe ambitions. And seeing as I have a sewing machine, I've gotten to wondering if there isn't something I can do about that.
This grand scheme may all come to naught. But I'm definitely going to look into what I can do to make a sturdier dress that won't rub off all over my sofa (seriously, there is purple glitter everywhere from this latest dress), and will let my daughter be the Sword-Fighting Princess she is in her head. Maybe I can even give it a scabbard.
Watch this space, eh?