Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cleaning Out The Closet

Over the weekend, I decided to go through our kids' clothes.  They share a dresser, and between the two of them, despite Daddy's decent organizational skills, every one of the six drawers was so stuffed, they could barely be closed.  My wife and I had put off the job for long enough -- it was time.

I decided to take on the task solo.  My better half is better suited for it, since I'm awful at eyeballing a shirt or a skirt and determining whether or not it still fits one of our children, but I wanted to give her a break.  I'd go through everything, then let her make the final call.

With our 18-month-old son, it's always been easy:  the only issue is whether something fits him.  He's 18-months old:  he wears whatever we stuff him into.

But our 4-year-old daughter makes the whole wardrobe thing a different animal.

She's developed a signature look (weather permitting):  a short-sleeved shirt over a long-sleeved shirt, on top of leggings and a skirt.  She likes a variety of colors, but they're usually coordinated.  Thankfully, she's been backing off the "It has to be pink!" ledge as of late.

It's a rare day that she deviates from this outfit, and she tends to wear the same items over and over again (kind of like her Dad does).  So I decided to include her in the weeding-out process, figuring since the clothes she prefers are so specific, it'd make things easy.

I was right.  She basically hung on to all her favorite stuff, and rejected everything else.  Of course, I decided to keep a selection of the dumped items, knowing they'd be needed at some point.  But she's a strong-willed kid, and we know that there's a good chance she'll never wear some of the things that I'd chosen to keep.

This all got me thinking:  How are these kids going to dress when they get into high school?  Will there be any battles?

I'm guessing the answers are:  Who knows?  and:  Of course.

I wondered just how much trouble might be ahead in my daughter's case.  She doesn't really wear anything out of the ordinary, considering she's 4-years-old:  the occasional full-on ballerina outfit to school, or a favorite pajama top outside once in a while.  There's also the official Snow White costume from last Halloween that sometimes finds its way to a birthday party, but that's all normal.

Will my wife and I have to send her back to her room to try again, after she shows up in something a bit too skimpy for 8th grade?  Maybe.

But she's a good kid and a little shy.  I suspect there won't be trouble.  But who knows what will happen once she's faced with somebody she's attracted to.

What's the most outrageous thing your kid has worn outside your home?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mini-Male Bonding

I'd waited a long time for a solid male-bonding moment with my son.  Well, at least for most of his now 18-month-old life.

He's been a Mama's boy for a long time.  It's understandable, of course, what with the whole 9-months-in-the-tummy thing, as well as the only-source-of-sustenance thing.  But food-wise, he's been on his own for a while, and all things considered, he's now a pretty darn good, independent eater.

I'd expected more of a connection with him earlier, but it never really came.  Don't get me wrong;  he's a sweet, loving kid, very free with the hugs.  But when there was a serious comforting issue that needed tending, Mommy was the destination, and usually still is.

He'd pop out in a moment of need, take one look at me, then make a beeline for his mother's leg.  It was a rare instance that I'd been able to comfort him completely.

Except at bedtime.  For some reason, he prefers me when it's no longer time to communicate with his family for the day.  I'm great at putting him down.  Mommy at bedtime equals playtime.

I'd had my turn at the kid preference thing, though.  Our now 4-year-old daughter was a Daddy's girl for a long time.  My wife recently reminded me of the time our child raced for me, after Mommy and Daddy returned from a three-day trip without her -- her first significant separation from us.

Now, our daughter seesaws between us equally.  So my wife and I both know what it feels like to be the "chosen one."

So there we all were, one recent day, at a neighborhood park.  Our daughter was playing on the grass with a ball.  I was expecting our son to gravitate toward either her or his Mommy, per usual.  He of course wants to do everything his sister does (which got him walking earlier, but also invades her privacy, as she often points out).  He typically romps with her, then takes a break with Mommy, periodically throwing me a hug or a smile.

But this time, he chose to hang out with me.  He came over and started grabbing and yanking on a nearby chain-link fence, an action that felt very male to me.

It lasted a while, and felt good.  It got me envisioning a classic father-son activity that's sure to come:  tossing a baseball back and forth (though I think I'd prefer it to be a Frisbee).

After about 10 minutes, he went over and stole the ball our daughter was playing with, and we were back to the way playtime usually goes.

But I got those 10 minutes, and it finally felt like there would be a lot more to come.

What have you considered to be a good bonding moment with your child?