Friday, September 7, 2012

Judge Me Not By My Child's Clothing Choices

The 'Back to School' honeymoon period is over, I think. Three days-that might be a record.

On the first day of school, Chloe and Nicholas were up a half hour before I intended to wake them. They both eagerly and efficiently dressed in the new finery they had each laid out the night before, brushed their teeth and hair and did their morning chore. They were looking cute and ready to go in plenty of time.

Yesterday I poked my head in both of the kids' rooms at 6:30 and cheerfully but gently woke them up. They each popped out of bed fairly quickly and went about their morning business with little need for reminders.

This morning...oh, this morning. This morning my cheerful "Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!" was met with groans, moans and whining from the general area of Nicholas' head, buried under his quilt.

"I'm tiiiiiiiiiiiired! I don't want to get up! Why can't I sleeeeeeeeeep? I hate school!"

"We're running a bit late this morning," I prodded. "So please get up and get going."

Fifteen minutes later, with hair and makeup done, I ventured out into the living room where Nicholas sat on the couch, petting a dog and watching the news with his dad.

Wait--I should clarify. Somebody's ragamuffin kid sat on the couch, looking like he found his wardrobe choice at the bottom of a Goodwill bag. Last year's shorts, now faded and ending two inches or so above his boney knees were topped with a dingy white t-shirt featuring a hand-painted peace sign and the remnants of countless summer afternoon snacks.

"Oh HECK no! I did not buy you all those new clothes for you to wear ratty play shirts to school! Get back in your room and change!" I may have lost it a tiny bit. Five minutes later I heard Paul's voice, raised in frustration and decorated with colorful, Army-inspired adverbs, echoing from Nicholas' bedroom. Apparently he was losing it, too.

Nicholas, crying pitifully and still dressed in white trash couture, sprawled across his bed. "I don't have any shirts! I don't know what to wear!"

I stomped to his closet, grabbed a brand new t-shirt from the hanger, ripped the tag off and threw it at him. He woefully changed into the shirt he had loved when I pointed it out to him on Wednesday, and complained that the shirt was too long, it didn't match his shorts, etc. etc.! Such a little diva!

I recounted the episode to my mom this morning on Facebook chat, and we mused over the question of letting your kids make their own choices vs. having your kids look fairly clean and cared for (that is to say, not having your parenting skills judged by how ratty your kids look).

As we wrapped up the discussion, my mom posed a question. "What are you wearing today?"

"Um...faded work jeans with paint on them, one of Paul's old band t-shirt (featuring a new found hole in the front), and an old pair of tennis shoes."

What? It's Friday...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Calm Yourself, It's Probably A Fluke

In two days it will have been exactly one year since my last post. I suppose I could wait for two days to write, but that would be just so darn expected. And why would ANYONE do what is expected if they could flip the situation and do the...wait for it...unexpected. So Bam, Flip! A post.

Last weekend Paul came home with a horseshoe set. What? Horseshoes. We are, apparently, a family who horseshoes. He jammed two pieces of rebar (it looks like rebar.I keep having visions of one of the kids taking a nosedive and impaling themselves on our lawn game. Always the fatalist, me) into the ground, and before long he and the kids were flinging U-shaped hunks of metal across the patchy brown weeds that serve as our lawn. After three or so poorly-aimed throws, Paul decided that maybe he should move his car out of the line of fire and ensconce the dogs safely in the house. And...that's the end of my story.

Except that last night I tried the horseshoes. And I failed. Badly. And this made me angry. (I don't like not being good at things. You know, the first try, without practice, all that.) And the angrier I got the worse I threw the damn shoes. At one point I even attempted an overhand fling at the rebar, and only succeeded in ripping out a chunk of weeds. Meanwhile, Paul stoically made points on each perfectly aimed toss. Ok, he didn't. In reality, he wasn't throwing much better than I was, but that didn't keep me from losing it a little bit more each time I missed.

It is not fun, apparently, to play games with me. Turns out I'm a bit of a sore loser. I guess I'm known to occasionally have a little temper tantrum when things don't go as I think they should. Maybe I should add that to my mile long list of things about myself that need to be fixed.

In the end, I apologized to Paul for being a big, giant, candyass crybaby (that line, by the way, was stolen from a fight between two co-workers that I had the pleasure of overhearing today), and I promised that I would try to know, grow up. And then he made fun of me.

But it occurred to me that I could use this event, this realization in a creative way. So I've decided that it's time to embrace my ridiculous.