If you are a person who does not have a girl child under the age of five, then you are about to ask me what a spinning dress is.
WELL, IF I KNEW THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE RUINING MY LIFE!!!!
Sorry. Let me back up a little.
You see, Iris has a closet full of clothes. And I don't mean ordinary-full. I mean stuffed-to-the-gills full. I mean no-toddler-should-have-this-many-clothes full. But, in the last four or five months, Iris has decided that the only clothing she will deign to wear are dresses. Which means she will not wear 95% of the clothes in her overstuffed closet. Of the remaining 5%, only about half of them are weather appropriate. And of that half that's left, she will only wear about a third of them.
Because only a third of them "spin," that's why.
Which leaves me with maybe four dresses to choose from, assuming all four of them are clean.
Now those of you who do not have girl children under the age of five are thinking "Iris is a child...why don't you just make her wear whatever you think she should wear, even if it isn't a dress?
Seriously? You're seriously asking me that?
Okay. Let me tell you what happened yesterday morning when I had to put her in a shirt and pants for her Saturday morning gymnastics class. I thought because the shirt had two layers of ruffles around the bottom that it might pass muster. But, then again, it's a shirt. Which means, of course, it's not a dress.
Iris: Can I wear a spinning dress to 'nastics?
Me: No, sweetie, a dress would get in the way when you're at gymnastics.
Iris: (starting to whine) But I want a spinning dress!
Me: Iris, you're going to have to wear a shirt to gymnastics.
Iris: (giving me the stink eye) No!
Me: (showing her the shirt I've picked out) But, see, this shirt spins!
Iris: (pushing at the shirt and starting to cry) No, it doesn't! That does not spin!!
Me: (showing her the ruffles along the bottom) Look! It's like a tutu! Tutus spin!
Iris: (losing it altogether) It's NOT A TUTU!!!! NOOOO!!!!!!!!
And then we entered tantrumland wherein I dressed her in the shirt and pants while she laid on the floor sobbing and did everything she could to make dressing her as uncomfortable and difficult as humanly possible. Followed by ten minutes of her snatching and pulling at the shirt while it's on her body and saying she doesn't want THIS, that THIS isn't a DRESS, that THIS doesn't SPIN.
You're about to suggest that I offer her two or three options and let her choose which one she wants to wear. Oh yeah, smartie-pants? What do I do when she decides that NONE of the options spin??? What THEN??
Which brings us back to your original question: what, exactly, is a spinning dress?
Well, for starters, as you saw from the example above, it is not a shirt. Not even an A-line shirt or a shirt with ruffles that will clearly twirl up if Iris should decide to spin around the room. Nope. Because a shirt is too short. Clearly a shirt will not spin.
After that, things get a lot fuzzier.
This dress does NOT spin:
Yesterday, this was a spinning dress:
Today? Not so much.
This dress is consistently a spinning dress.
However it is not always clean.
This dress might spin.
However, to make it weather-appropriate, she would have to wear a long-sleeved shirt under it and God forbid I make her do that because it will RUIN the dress and then, you guessed it, it will not spin.
Was designed and sewn by the devil himself and shall never ever ever ever ever NEVER touch her body.
There are rules. They are complicated. I will never learn them all. Even if I were to learn them all, I have no hope of ever understanding them, despite my law-school education.
Meanwhile, I'm tempted to just let her go naked.
*NOTE: Because someone is going to ask: all the dresses pictured are available at the Hanna Andersson website