Monday, March 24, 2014

Dam Fine Fashion.

You've heard the quote, "Dance like nobody's watching"?  I think it's often intermingled with other corny advice like "Love like you've never been hurt" or "Sing like nobody's listening".  Essentially what they're getting at is....DO what you're doing and don't worry about what everybody else might be thinking about your off-key singing or Seinfeld-episode-worthy dancing.  

My kids have taken this advice to heart in at least one area of their life.  Wardrobe.  Their motto is "Dress like you're Lady Gaga."  In other words, make it crazy.  Break the rules.  Fashion forward means loud, seasonally inappropriate and un-matching.  Wear it proudly and don't worry about the second glances and hushed commentary that will be coming your way as you strut your stuff around the neighborhood. 

Case and point.  Today we took a little trip to one of our local landmarks, the Shasta Dam.  If you are interested in Dam trivia, Shasta is the second largest concrete dam (by mass) in the United States.  The first largest is not Hoover Dam, as you may assume.  It's actually the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington.  But anyway....back to fashion. 

It was a bright, sunny, spring day today so we piled in the car to visit this monument of American engineering. For footwear the kids both selected their cowboy boots (perhaps going with the Americana theme?).  These aren't just any boots....they are fancy cowboy boots that light up when you walk.  They are attention grabbers, let me tell you.  Which is probably a good thing because then it might distract you from the typical chaos of the rest of the outfit.

My daughter selected her light blue, taffeta Easter dress from last year with bright magenta knee-socks.  Her accessory of choice was a shiny pink costume skirt worn on her shoulders as a cape.  This look was, of course, completed with the light up footwear.

My son was a little more subdued but also went with the Americana theme.  Red shirt, blue football sweatshirt, red shorts and blue (light up!) cowboy boots.  Nothing says haute couture like naked knees paired with cowboy boots. 

When we leave the house on "creative dress" days like today, I do my best to relax and embrace the carefree spirit my kids put into their wardrobe choices. I like to think of myself as an ambassador of goodwill to the world.  Here world...I bring you icons of joy in the form of creative preschool fashionistas.  Smile.  Appreciate their stylish ensembles.  Giggle a little as they walk on by.  Enjoy. 

Please just don't ask them to sing.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Luck o' the Irish.

Here's how Irish I am.  As we were driving to church this morning, I realized it was the middle of March and I had been hearing the radio commercials for green beer and specials on Irish whiskey all week and it must be getting close to St. Patrick's day.  Suddenly it dawned on me that TODAY might be St. Patrick's Day.  So I pulled out my phone, looked at the date (March 16) and declared, "Yes, today is St. Patrick's Day." 

My 5-year old quickly asked, "What's Pat Satrick's Day?"

"Well, it's"  Good question. 

"It's the day we celebrate St. Patrick....and wear green...and stuff."  That was the best I could do.  I sincerely apologize to Irish folk everywhere.  I know nothing of St. Patrick's day other than the mandatory green clothing requirement and free-flowing alcohol. 

St. Patrick's day also happens to be the anniversary of my second first date with my husband.  We dated in high school, but then lost touch and reconnected in 2002.   He came to visit me over St. Patrick's day weekend when I was living in Oregon.  We decided to go out for a drink and play darts at an Irish pub.  Turns out the pub was actually British.  But obviously the date went well in spite of our horrible attention to detail when celebrating international drinking holidays. 

Ironically I looked around the car and realized that everyone was, in fact, wearing green this morning(aside from my husband, so we didn't really go into explaining the whole pinching tradition to the kids).  Well perfect.  We were festive without even trying.  I was feeling pretty smug actually.  I had managed to get my family dressed in appropriate St. Patrick's day attire without even knowing it.  It was like a free mommy win!  After all the mini failures of motherhood.....the times I've forgotten to pack snacks, or dressed them in jeans when it ended up being 90 degrees, or forgotten to RSVP for a birthday party, this free pass felt good. 

Sometimes you have to savor the small victories. 

Although there were shamrock cookies served at the coffee hour after church, I did notice that not many others were wearing green.  The kids weren't running around pinching each other.  Nobody was humming Irish drinking songs or wearing little shamrock pins.  Hmmm.  I began to doubt my mommy intuition.  Is the 16th really St. Patrick's Day?  Or did I get the date wrong?  Was my mini mommy victory all just a sorry illusion? 

On the ride home I had to do a quick fact-check because I was beginning to remember that maybe St. Patrick's day was the 17th of March.  Lo and behold, Google confirmed my fear.  I was sorely mistaken.  Pretty sure my long lost Irish relatives were turning over in their graves all morning.  For those that may be afraid they missed it, today is NOT the day. So wear green tomorrow.  Monday, March 17th. 

As I laughed and explained to my daughter that St. Patrick's day was actually tomorrow, she replied without  missing a beat, "That's ok mommy.  I have another green dress.  With glitter." 

Seems like she has already mastered the finer points of celebrating this important holiday.  Let's just hope the she doesn't embrace the Irish whiskey tradition anytime soon. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Three Cheers for Thumb Sucking

My two youngest children somehow turned out to be award-winning thumb suckers.  I know there is some controversy about the habit.  Will it make their teeth grow crooked?  Will they be sucking their thumb as they walk down the aisle at their wedding?  Is it an indicator of some deep, unmet, psychological need? 

I don't profess to be an expert but I think we should all just CALM DOWN about the thumb sucking.  Really.  We have enough to worry about as parents.  Can we just agree that your kid sucking their thumb doesn't really qualify to be at the top of our worry list? 

In my experience the thumb sucking is nothing short of a miracle.  Both kids pretty much only sucked their thumb when they were tired and/or in the process of falling asleep.  For us, thumb sucking was a big, bold neon sign saying, "I'M TIRED AND IT'S ABOUT TO GET UGLY IN HERE."  And really, when you're raising an infant with severely limited communication skills, that kind of clear, direct message is a God send.  Got it!  You're tired!  I can help you with that.  Let's get you in a comfy place for a nap.  Phew.  Problem solved. 

My daughter first found her thumb when she was  few weeks old.  As she was flailing her arms around aimlessly, as babies tend to do, her hand slapped down right in the middle of her forehead.  She stopped and sloooowwwwlllyyyy drug that little hand down the front of her face until it hit her lips, and then wrangled her thumb into her mouth.  For a while, this was her routine.  Flail arms.  Slap forehead.  Slide hand.  Find mouth.  Insert thumb.  Eventually she mastered the finding of the thumb and was able to connect it to her mouth without all the extra steps.

My son was a little quicker on the uptake.  I think he may have been practicing the thumb sucking in the womb.  He was only a few days old when his thumb somehow found its way into his mouth without all the awkward flailing, slapping and sliding. 

I'm a fan of the thumb sucking for a few good reasons. 
1.  It helps my kids fall asleep.
2.  It's always available.  No chance of leaving the house without it. 
3.  If it falls out, it's easily located. 
4.  It's free.

Recently our home has been going through a serious transition out of our baby phase.  My little guy just turned three, which I think now bumps him out of the toddler category and into the preschooler zone.  He decided it was time to give away all his diapers to a family at our church. And I sold the stroller that had been gathering dust in our garage for the past year. 


As much as I love the idea of being done with all things baby....the midnight feedings, nursing bras, spit-up stained shirts, the diaper changing, the backwards car seats, and constant, exhausting neediness of an infant...there is a part of me (and I'm guessing every mother that ever lived) that mourns this transition. 

It is this wistfulness that leads to my last good reason to relax about the thumb sucking.

5.  It reminds me that they're not so big and grown up after all.