Friday, April 25, 2008

4th Child Musings

So, tonight during one of our dinnertime conversations where everyone has something so important to say that we're all basically talking over each other, I happened to hear Liza mention something about school pictures. WAIT a minute . . . pictures? You mean pre-school pictures - the ones where you stand together as a class with the teacher and all your little 4-year classmates take them home to their adoring parents . . . those pictures? My mind started racing . . . ok, was that the day I caved and let her wear her favorite royal blue velour frilly dress-up over her regular clothes, complete with tap shoes (minus the laces which went missing years ago) to school? Nope, that was Monday and this dinnertime revelation puts pictures on Wednesday. What in the world was she wearing on Wednesday? Please don't tell me it was her favorite orange striped pants with that one flower shirt she loves, or the cowboy skirt with the same tap shoes . . . wait, did i even wash her face after lunch before sending her out the door? And please tell me her hair was out of her face - did i even do it that day? All these thoughts crowded my mind in a matter of seconds and before long our dinner conversation had suddenly switched to nothing but the details of Liza's attire on Wednesday. As the kids argued about exactly WHAT she was wearing and if indeed her hair had a bow or not, I suddenly remembered something Liza had told me earlier today. She walked into the kitchen, hair out of place, and jam smeared all over her face and announced simply, "Mom, I want to live with Mary Poppins."

Before long I was laughing so hard I was in tears (really, the only way to experience true laughter) as I began contemplating the difference between my first, second, and even third child compared with little Elizabeth Jane. I clearly remember Ryan's first day of pre-school down to the neatly combed hair, tucked in red and white stripped shirt and even (heaven forbid) matching red tennis shoes. Caroline must have had a neatly pressed smocked dress, curled hair, and a matching bow. And I at least REMEMBERED the day Sophie had her pre-school pictures and sent her to school somewhat presentable. Something mysterious has happened from the first three kids to my last. For one thing, I let Liza wear light-up, character shoes - something that was outlawed for the first three children. I also allow Liza to dress how she pleases, despite Caroline's protests of "Mom, you CAN'T let her out of the house looking like that!!" Finally, I don't get embarrassed by anything Liza says or does in public, even if she annouces quite loudly, "That guy with the green hair is SOOO freaky!" Usually, I just smile and agree with her because she's usually right and because as a child she doesn't feel the restrictions that social etiquette requires of the rest of us.

Unfortunately, I'm now "that" mom in Kindermusik class who, when the teacher asks all the children to get out their homemade boats, gets that blank stare that translates into "what boat?" I suppose it's the fate of all last children, but I don't think they are traumatized by the lack of attention. Just look at Liza - she's by far the most independent, creative, not to mention funniest kid in the house. As for the picture, it looks like we're going to have to wait for the actual printed school pic to come home to see what she wore that day.
But this thought just came to mind: Wednesday was the day I let her do her own hair and I do clearly remember her teacher walking her out to the car after school with her hair combed and the little clippy Liza had originally haphazardly placed in her hair was now in a different place entirely, pulling her bangs out of her face, and I thought to myself: "how nice, her teachers fixed her hair." Now I know why ;-)


christensen crew said...

Hilarious Julie! I am laughing so hard at this post. I love the Mary Poppins comment! So random and funny. It is true how you slowly let go of perfection as the kids multiply and grow! I am in big trouble, cause my oldest is five and I only have three...and I allow all kinds of crazy looks out of the house! Character shoes and all! And I swore I never ever would. I think that it takes a selfless mom to let her child's happiness come before style!

Kelly said...