From an infant who hating the idea of getting dressed and used to shriek whenever I tried to put anything on her, Diana now revels in the daily ritual of choosing clothes, smiling whenever I pick something out for her and even selecting items herself (she can't walk in them but she's still obsessed with her mini Vivienne Westwood for Melissa shoes, a gift from a friend, above).
I'm not sure if this is an age thing or a girl thing, but it definitely ticks my "perks of becoming a parent" box. First of all, it means I have another excuse to go shopping, and toddler clothes are happily more wallet-friendly than their adult counterparts. Secondly, who doesn't want to live vicariously through someone who can wear stripy tights, heart and bow decorations and puffball skirts - sometimes all in the same outfit - and not look ridiculous?
There are two sides to D's wardrobe personality: ultra-girly with tons of frills and frou-frous or boyish and bulldog-inspired. So sometimes you'll see her in florals and starry leggings, purple dresses and pink tulle-lined skirts and think, "How sweet! I love how she juxtaposed those abstract print leggings with that striped dress - feminine and funky at once." Maybe not quite - but you're likely to think she looks adorable (and is definitely female).
Other days, you'll see her dressed in head-to-toe Bolshy-emblazoned paraphernalia from the boy's section at baby Gap and you'll think, "Right. This boy's mother is a lunatic who seems to have purchased every toddler garment ever invented with a bulldog picture on it. I feel bad for that kid - what a weirdo the mum must be."
Or maybe that's just my insecurity talking. At any rate, for the time being, D seems happy with both of these sartorial personas, and I think Bolshy would be honoured if he understood.
It's not only Diana who's happier about the whole getting dressed situation these days. I'm more relaxed about it, too, since a) I know that D actually needs her clothes to fulfil a practical as well as aesthetic purpose (I found it hard to reconcile wrestling with a screaming Diana to put a cutesy outfit on her when as an infant, her entire day's plans involved staying in my arms) and b) D has recently gotten her very own closet so it's quite exciting to fill it with her possessions.
Previously, D's clothing was laid out on the shelves that formed part of the changing table; I was convinced this was a brilliant idea until Diana peed while being changed standing up and some of the pee dribbled onto her clothes below. That's when I saw the flaw in my genius plan and realised that changing tables should not double as clothes drawers.
But now that we're in the process of transforming the nursery from generic storage space with a cot and a changing table to an amazing, inspirational room for a growing toddler (well, whatever Ikea's version of that looks like), getting D dressed is a lot more exciting.
And now that everything's hanging up and properly organised, I can see just how cool Diana's toddler wares are, from the fashion-forward jackets (military-inspired, oversized grandfather cardis, a 90s grunge-style faux-fur lined parka and the pièce de resistance, a jungle print cape that is size three years but that I couldn't resist buying) to the nautical striped dresses, chunky cable knit jumpers and mini denim and corduroy skirts. Baby D has some seriously of-the-moment clothes that I would love to be able to pull off.
She's also definitely getting the hang of fashion and has even started accessorising. Diana has a red bucket toy that originally came filled with different coloured shape blocks which she now uses as a handbag and carries around the sitting room with her, spilling the contents all over the floor and packing them up again.
Is this a bad sign? Perhaps... but I can't help swelling a little with pride every time I see my busybody scurrying around the room organising her "purse."