Thursday, August 31, 2006

Today was NOT pajama day

Justice or mercy? Tough love or protection? What would you do?

Yesterday Kailey came home from school all excited because her class had won a pajama party. Apparently this is a pretty big deal for kids these days. I think it's just sheer laziness...kid rolls out of bed and right to school. But who am I to judge. Today was a half-day of school and I thought it would be a logical day to have a class pajama day. Still, I had my doubts. "Are you SURE today is pajama day?"

"Yes, Daddy."

Normally I would have dropped Kailey off at the gate, but I promised her that I would walk her into the schoolyard to watch her do a new move she had learned on the monkey bars. This actually worked out to her benefit. I parked the van and walked Kailey to her gate. The schoolyard bustled with kids eager to work out their last bits of energy before the bell rang and the school day began. Kailey ran over and put her backpack down, rejoined me and we made our way to the monkey where I prepared myself to be amazed by her acrobatic prowess.

As she climbed up on the bars and waited for her turn, I scanned the schoolyard. I couldn't find any other kids in pajamas. I looked back over at Kailey and found her talking to a boy on the monkey bars. She quickly descended the bars with a harried expression on her face. "Dad, today is NOT pajama's Friday." Right on cue, the bell rang and kids hurried to line up for the day.

What would you do in that situation?

I tried to get her to line up with her class with the promise that I would be right back with a change of clothes. Sheer terror danced in her eyes. I had to stifle the laughter building inside.

"But Dad, they'll think I'm stupid!"

Maybe then you'll pay attention to when freakin' pajama day is, I said to myself before assessing the situation. If I made her line up, she was primed to blow a gasket. Save face or perfect attendance? Public humiliation isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Plus, she'd never forgive me if I made her get into that line. Today, I chose to be cool Dad. I chose mercy.

We rushed home, changed her clothes, and rushed back to school where she received her first tardy slip (nobody really wants to have perfect attendance anyway). This afternoon we'll have a little chat about paying attention in class. Today I'll be cool Dad, but next time she'll spend the day in her pajamas!

Monday, August 28, 2006

On Being Pampered

"What color do you want?" Kyra, my five year-old, demanded.

"None, thanks...I'm good."

"Boring! Nobody will see, Daddy."

"How do you know?"

"BeCAUSE...people don't look down when they look at you. They look in your eyes." Duh. "So, what color do you want?"

She's persistant. I've got to give her that. "This color." I said as I pointed to my fingernail, implying that I wanted to go au natural. She didn't get it.

"Pink! Boys don't wear pink!"

Kid, you didn't know me in the 80's. "What color do you think?"

"Blue...boys wear blue."

It was actually a light aqua. You don't see too many boys in light aqua either. She carefully opened the small bottle adorned with the image of Ariel, aka the Little Mermaid, on the front.

"What do you want first?" She asked as she tapped her foot.

"Why don't you start with my feet." I replied, hoping that she would grow bored and forget my hands. No chance. She meticulously globbed the aqua blue (oooo with SPARKLES) fingernail polish to my big toe. Notice I didn't say toe-NAIL. Much of it made it to the nail but there was a noticable trail of sparkly aqua blue down my toe. I watched her as she concentrated on the task at hand, or foot, and repeated the process on each toe, then to my left foot, then to my hands. Damn.

But by the time she reached my hands I no longer cared about the stigma of wearing sparkly aqua blue nail polish. My heart swelled as I witnessed and experienced the developing expressions of my youngest daughter's motherly care. She was loving me and I let her.

She examined her handiwork and told me not to do anything until the polish had dried, a process she learned from her mother. I agreed, then watched her run off to the day's next activity. I smiled in amusement as I noticed the scent of blueberry filling the air around me.

Now if I can only remember where Diane keeps her polish remover.


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