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Dream, Draw and Dress

By Isabel Kallman

By Melissa Summers

Letting my daughter create her own t-shirt has been a lesson in letting go. When I first opened the package of Peace Monkey’s Do-It-Yourself Tees, I was instantly struck with the kind of crippling anxiety which will only grip an anally-retentive adult when faced with a permanent marker, a t-shirt and an enthusiastic seven-year-old.

A permanent marker? A one time chance to make a design? You want me to let a seven-year-old just draw? On a shirt?
I grabbed a paper bag to breathe into, gave my daughter her shirt to draw on and didn’t say a word about the permanence of what she was about to do. Fine, I only said once that she should think very carefully about what she was about to do. You only have one chance to make this the perfect t-shirt, maybe you want to make a sketch before you start actually drawing?

Thankfully my daughter has been raised by two parents and one of those parents is not particularly anally-retentive. I won’t say which one.

In spite of my best intentions to squash any sense of spontaneity in my seven-year-old, Madison grabbed the marker and drew a picture of a dog. She drew a dog because my daughter never misses a chance to remind me that the only thing she would like in this world is a dog.

She may never have a dog but she now has her very own drawing of a dog on her shirt and it’s given her a lot of joy. Maybe we can teach the drawing on her shirt to do tricks so it’s nearly as exciting as a real dog? Okay, it’s a really nice soft and sturdy cotton shirt but probably not as exciting as a puppy.

Nonetheless the shirt with her very own design is a huge source of pride. When people ask where she got it she proudly says, “I made it myself.” She then quickly adds, “It’s a puppy. Don’t you think I should have a puppy?”

DIY tees at

For a daily dose of Melissa Summers’ wit and charm please visit her popular parenting web log, Suburban Bliss

Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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