Thursday, April 19, 2012

All credit goes to the underpants

Remember the color calendar, where I accidentally agreed to dress by my six-year-old's schedule? What happened is this: I struggled with yellow day because it's not my color, you know? And E informed me that undergarments count so I bought myself a cute pair of underpants when I was at Target because A) five dollars and B) gray with neon yellow hearts and neon yellow lace! Adorable and now I can meet the requirements of yellow day. So G decided that he'd finally start with the vocabulary explosion we've been waiting for, and has begun yelling UNDERPANTS ME!!! and grabbing any pair of unders he could locate and pulling them on his person. And when I found my yellow neon hearts around his neck like a necklace, it became urgent to buy the boy his own underpants.

That's all preamble, but it was urgent because yellow day was coming up and I was going to have to wrestle my son for my unders and something's not right about that, although I appreciate his flair for accessorizing. So while we were up in New York last week and near the great outlet mall near my parents' house, I declared to my family, "I'm going to run to the mall to buy G some underpants."

I never go shopping with my kids. Because, obviously. And I mean never. Everything we own in life is procured via the internet or can be purchased on my lunch hour or after they're asleep. But we were on vacation and Mister Underpants Me himself needed a nap, which really means he needed his Sisters, The Distractions, to disappear, and suddenly it was all: family trip to the mall!

Hold me.

But then this thing happened: in one of the clothing stores, E saw the accessories wall. She discovered Cute Earrings. She ran to me with fistsful: I'm ready to get my ears pierced right now!

This is also preamble: I first offered to get her ears pierced in November, after her ear surgery. She'd been asking to get her ears pierced for years, and I suggested after surgery (when we mistakenly thought the ear saga was done) that we mark the occasion by celebrating her ears and fulfilling her long-held wish.

But at the chance to fulfill her dream, her courage failed. Maybe when I'm six I'll be ready, she suggested. I told her from that point forth, it was a standing offer and she could tell me when she was ready. Six passed: maybe after kindergarten.

And then, because her brother makes jewelry from my underpants, she discovered cute earrings and decided she was ready.

I will remember this day forever, the one where I took my sweet girl to the hands of strangers who donned medical gloves and wiped her skin with antiseptic and performed a thousand tiny injustices that would in other circumstances set her screaming and kicking, the one where she set her jaw and held my gaze and didn't even whimper.

There will be times when I remind her what she can accomplish with determination, and there will be moments when I remind her that everyone has different struggles and things that come easily to others might be challenging to her and there's nothing wrong with that.

But tonight, I just told her a million gazbillion times how proud I felt today.

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