He sat, a gray plastic cape draped over him, head bowed and giggling so hard his body shook.
It tickled as the barber smeared shaving cream onto the back of his noggin.
For months, No. 3 had been pestering me to get his initials carved - 'scuse me, he prefers to say "shaved" - into the back of his head. I guess carved does kinda make him sound like a pumpkin.
Personally, I didn't think it was such a hot idea. But at the same time, how often do I look at the back of his head?
In the wide world of parenting, when it comes to style choices, I don't put up much of a fight. On a daily basis, there are sooooo many other battles. Homework. Chores. Actual physical battles between them. So when it comes to clothing, that is not a hill worth dying on. Isn't that a great saying? I got it from a friend who's never been in the military but works with preschoolers, so if that doesn't qualify as combat, I don't know what does.
Oh, I had my brief chance to impose my fashion sense.
Before the kids were mobile - or more accurately, before they were verbal and could complain - they were routinely dressed in some pretty sweet outfits, usually for a photo op. The girls wore so-frilly-it-looks-like-a-cloud-exploded dresses; the boy, a jaunty newsboy cap with a denim shirt and corduroy pants. Adorable. Each one - even the little dude - took a turn in this homemade, pink fleece Onesie. It had fat, green, felt leaves around the neck and a tie-on cap with hot-glued roses all over it. I dressed 'em up and plopped them on the grass and snapped away. I was a low-rent Anne Geddes.
They started developing their own "style" way too early. When No. 1 was just 3, she proudly marched into Banana Republic wearing this explosion of flowers, plaid, pink, purple, brown and yellow. This was before pattern mixing was an accepted trend.
"I'll bet you put that together yourself," the saleswoman said kindly.
"Yes, I did," No. 1 said proudly, and I was never again allowed to pick out an outfit for her.
No. 3 wore his father's socks to school. It looked like he had some weird growth midway up his leg because that's where the heel part hit.
Big deal. Last year's school picture shows him, grinning widely, wearing a T-shirt - with a clip-on tie.
Instead of trying to gently direct them toward clothes that go together, I let 'em wear whatever - and get photographic evidence to embarrass them later.
Experts say that letting kids make their own clothing choices teaches them responsibility and boosts self-esteem while giving them a measure of control.
Maybe. But for sure it gets them out of the house a lot faster.
Contact Kristen Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4194. The mother of three, Cook's lackadaisical attitude about her kids' clothing does not extend to tattoos, and she's already drilling into them that tattoo artists use 3-foot-long, exceedingly painful needles to draw tattoos - and that hurts way more than their dreaded yearly flu shots.