Picture day and the musings of a 4-year-old

It was picture day today at D’s school. My kid really never dresses up. Maybe if there’s a wedding, but I think we’ve only been to one of those since he was born. I have very few dressy clothes on hand for him but try to have just a couple of things at least for pictures, which are twice a year at his preschool – I assume this is because the kids change so much at this age. The first time they had picture day, I bought a really expensive package. We still have wallet sized photos sitting around from that shoot, so lesson learned there.

At the consignment sale last week, I managed to procure a couple of dress shirts for him and a really cute sweater vest. I’m generally not much of a sweater vest on guys type, but I think they look cute on little boys, so he’s wearing it today despite enormous protestations. He REALLY hated having his dress shirt tucked in, and we had a major argument about it all morning while we were getting ready, with me explaining why he needed to have it tucked in, tucking it in for him and then whenever I went to do something else, him untucking it, and then whining and bitching when I made him let me tuck it back in. My little negotiator finally got an idea that he could tolerate and suggested that he bring a “just in case” shirt to change into as soon as pictures were done. (He has a bag of just in case clothes at school, as most preschoolers do, in case of spills, potty accident, whatever). I said that would be fine with me, and then he revised further, knowing he was making some headway, and said maybe he would still wear the outfit I picked out for him if he could untuck the shirt after pictures. Perfect, I told him, that’s a deal. Just leave it tucked in until pictures are over, and then you can untuck it. Which really, is a win-win for both of us. My boy looks nice all day, but he feels like he won. I also sent an extra dress shirt “just in case” because pictures aren’t until after breakfast, and I know how he eats.

On the way to school, he guessed “The Eagles” when trying to guess who was playing on the radio, and I gave him full credit, because it was Don Henley singing, and then we discussed the difference between being in a band and what a “solo” career means. To try to spread things around a bit, we also listened to the Pretenders “My City Was Gone” and I explained about Chrissie being from Akron and kind of what the song was about a little, without talking over the whole thing. Music education, amateur-style.

Then he described something really weird, which I guessed had to be a dream, about one of his school classmates jumping up and down on “the big bed” (my bed at home) and something getting smashed and how crazy it all was. I said, “How could that be? [Classmate] hasn’t ever been to our home?” He replied, “I don’t know, man! But it was crazy!” LOL my kid sounds like a hippie.

I managed to take him to a restaurant last night for dinner. This place, thankfully, is very tolerant of little ones and not super busy in the evenings, it’s an informal little hippie-ish cafe where they serve a lot of organic and vegan and crunchy-granola type foods, including, quite literally, crunchy granola. They have a basket of toys and a bunch of books and coloring books and crayons and stuff and my kid loves going up and getting a bunch of crap to bring back to the table. He’s very tired at the end of the day, and it’s hard for him to behave. He’s on a short fuse and wouldn’t sit properly in his seat no matter what I said or did. But it didn’t disrupt anyone else or cause any problems for the restaurant, so we muddled through. They are so understanding and accommodating. I wish more restaurants were like this. We’re all just doing the best we can. I’m tired, I don’t have anything ready for him to eat at home, we just want to get in and out in a half hour and not cause too much damage, be given an understanding smile or pat on the shoulder, have a nice cup of tea and a sandwich and be on our way, vegan cookie clutched in his tiny brown paper bag like a merit badge for decent behavior.

If you could see him in his monster pajamas, watching Wallace & Gromit, happily munching that cookie, you’d struggle through taking him out once and awhile too.

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