Sunday, March 15, 2009

All dolled up

Here's the thing about hiring one of the girls' daycare teachers as a babysitter: not only do they already know her and love her, we know that she knows the ways of their nonsense, and won't fall for it; we know that she's CPR-certified and all that jazz; and we know, as a contract employee in a federal facility, that she's passed an insanely personal and invasive background check. In other words, we trust her not just with our intuitions (and we do), but based on her credentials, as well.

I've heard of parents who leave their children for the evening but can't stop thinking about them, can't stop worrying about them, don't know what to discuss except them. We know our kids are in good hands, and we don't seem to have this problem.

So tonight was the night M received his award. We had a lovely evening cocktail reception to attend. He put on a suit and schooled the babysitter in his repetoire of tricks for getting our younger one to sleep while I took my time getting ready, with E by my side. We weren't just going out, we were Attending A Function, and I enjoyed the rare sensation of glamming up for such an event. I pulled out my little black box of pearls and chose the fat single strand and wrapped them around my neck, but only after E slowly rubbed each pearl between her thumb and finger and asked that which she asks of anything she finds grownuply enchanting: will you save that for me when I'm big? I added a glass ring I had bought when we went to Italy five years ago in substitution of the chandelier I wished I could buy (which would have looked absurd in the townhouse we had at the time, but very first cosmetic change I made when we bought this house was to rip out the hideous brass fixture in the dining room. I think this house could handle a Murano centerpiece.). I slipped into my dress and into my navy 3" heels and I added a bright fuschia lipstick and neutral eye makeup and deep black mascara, and it must be said, we looked Good.

There are not so many moments in a year when I feel glamorous and uninhibited and unencumbered. To feel gorgeous and sip a glass of wine with my favorite person and not be preoccupied with the kids--

--there on the hand that was cradling the wine, just below my favorite glass ring--

In my head I laughed ruefully, delighted at the calendar's timing, the pixies' cunning. There is no clean break. An hour earlier I had been wearing jeans and a snot-covered t-shirt, because navy heels and white pearls and fuschia lipstick or not, those girls are everything. How impish, to have branded me, to ensure I couldn't slip them from the forefront of memory.

This afternoon I took E to a birthday party at a warehouse filled with large inflatables: a moonbounce, a basketball court moonbounce, huge slides, obstacle courses. Every parent had to sign a waiver and then both parent and child got their hands stamped to indicate that they had signed the necessary paperwork. So sipping Shiraz in my highest heels and my favorite jewels and I had even blow-dried my hair today!, I stood holding that wine in a hand covered in a cherry red rendering of an Air Jordanesque stick figure long-jumping the encouraging phrase, Pump it Up! Classy. Pin It