Wednesday, July 28, 2004

arts and craps

I drove to work today feeling like the lamest mom. Here's why. It's Spirit Week at S and T's preschool and here it's already Wednesday and I haven't been able to remember or get it together enough to send the kids in their spirit gear.  Quite frankly, my first reaction to Spirit Week was not kind. Don't toddlers and preschoolers have a lot of spirit as it is? Are they going to learn the "We've got spirit, yes we do!" cheer and do I really want my kids shouting this around the house? What does it even mean? But maybe I'm just trying to justify my negligent parenting.

Monday Silly Hat Day and Tuesday Hawaiian Day pass by without me even noticing. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I didn't even get home from work until 11pm on Monday night so B did both drop-off and pick-up that day. S said it was okay because he just made a hat with his hands on Monday (okay, heart squeeze) and when I pick the kids up on Tuesday, S said "Hey look! I'm wearing the shirt that Aunt K and Uncle D brought me from Hawaii!" Pure accident, but B said that if nobody was upset, why feel guity about it. I was determined to make Wednesday Halloween Day spirited.

So I ask S what he wants to be for Halloween Day.

"How about an egg?" he asks. Would it be possible to make a stellar egg costume in the 20 spare minutes I'd have between pre-dinner Tuesday night and Wednesday morning? No.

"How about a super hero costume?" I suggest. "I could cut out a big red letter 'S' for your t-shirt and make you a cape."

"No, Mom...  I would really feel spirited in an egg costume. I just want to be an egg."

It doesn't matter, anyway. By the time I finish dishes, the laundry, and the report I needed to do for work, it was already 11:30 pm and I hadn't a stitch of creativity in me to get a costume together. Besides, T wakes up at about 4:45am and I panic at the thought of getting through my day without at least five hours of sleep.

The next morning, I pull out a tiny grass hula skirt that T got as a baby gift and then try to put it on over her little skort (which is, by the way, an item of clothing that as a semi-hip college co-ed, I once swore would never, ever, ever be something I owned. Does it matter if my daughter wears one? Apparently, skorts are a must-have in toddler wardrobes.). She wanted nothing to do with it. If I were a sane person, I would understand that no 1-year old would want to wear this silly skirt that would prevent her from running or crawling. So S puts it on his head like a crown and we desperately try to figure out a costume using it, but to no avail. Besides, the little plastic grasses keep poking him in the eyes. It was 7:15 and we had to be out the door in fifteen minutes. Time was a'ticking...

"Hey, what about this!" I pull out a bag of polar fleece that I'd bought years ago with the intention of making hats for friends for the holidays. Of course it never happened. "I'm going to make you a shark fin!"

"But I don't want to be a shark," S whines. "I'll scare myself."

"No, you'll love it. You'll be a nice shark."

So I quickly cut out a fin with the back of a coloring book (I had to tear the book apart, but it was mostly all colored, anyway.) and use it as a template to cut out two pieces of fleece to cover it. Then I super glue them all together. Bad, bad, bad. Not only does it not work, but it emits toxic fumes all over the place. I picture S all sleepy and snuggling up to his smelly, fleecy fin at naptime, innocently inhaling his super glue. Fuck.

So I throw it all away and start over. This time I sew the fabric around the cardboard with big sloppy stitches. And then I pin it to S's shirt just in time for him to jump in the car. It's actually not that bad, I think. Sort of cute. And I congratulate myself for getting it together.

"Where are my hand fins and sharp teeth?" S asks.

"Um, you just have a fin today, " I tell him. "But it's a mighty fine one and you'll swim so fast wtih it." He seems okay with the answer and practices making some shark faces. However, the fin sort of keeps flopping over so I have to add another safety pin.

"Are those okay," B asks hesitantly. Should preschoolers be wearing safety pins to school?

"They're called SAFETY pins," I say. They're supposed to be safe, right?"

"Sure," B says slowly, and then mutters "Super glue sniffing mama..." before kissing me goodbye.

S walks behind him with this fin still flopping with each step. He suddenly looks so little and I wonder if the fin will be okay and what the other kids are wearing. What if they have real costumes? What if they're all dressed up, or g-d forbid, there's someone dressed up as an egg? Then what will S think about his little fin?

B calls me later on in the morning from work. "S was so excited about his costume. He was showing everyone his fin."

"Really," I ask. "He really liked it? It didn't look too floppy and lame?"

"No, he really liked it. And now he and his friends all want to be sharks for Halloween."

I am ecstatic. He likes his fin. I didn't fail him. He will be well-adjusted afterall. He will not feel neglected and he isn't embarrassed by his mother (yet). And now I have to figure out how to make hand fins and sharp teeth, but thank goodness, I have until the end of October.



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