Tuesday, December 12, 2017


(Originally written 9/2017)

Something that I've learned and relearn daily is that a toddler might just do anything. Generally speaking, they're not beholden to the order and restraints that we adults often are in the name of being grown-ups. To this point, I've got a three-year-old who epitomizes a free-spirit , fun-loving, "doing me" energetic, active, and engaged young person.  Although she will eventually fall in line when orders are handed down to her from me or her daddy, she really doesn't like being told what to do and takes pleasure in asserting her continually blossoming capabilities.   This is the reality of the situation day-to-day in my household, and I know I'm not the only one.  In fact, a recent experience with my child that was characterized by all that I have said of her above brought me to a realization about a particular point of discussion that I have witnessed come up from time to time.

I was standing in the hallway one Saturday having just dressed myself in some actual "nice" clothes--not the usual sarong and spaghetti strap top or bandeau-style bra that is typical of my leisurely, around-the-house Hawai'i attire.  I mean, I had on my new jeggings, a cute tunic designed and made by me, and my favorite sandals. My fro was out, and one side was ever so slowly forcing its way out of the hairpin I'd placed there to hold it back. Everything was cool.

My family and I were preparing to go out for dinner, and as I stood there with my head cocked to one side securing an earring, I got a glance up the hallway of my toddler. Her fro was also out--a bit crunchy and dry from having been out in the sun earlier.  She'd run from me screaming with her hands flailing in the air just ten minutes earlier when I attempted to spray it with water and massage in coconut oil. I didn't quite get it done.

The fro was also lopsided.

Her clothes were ok, even though she'd managed to find and adorn herself with the dingiest shirt she could find--one stained with paint from one of her many art sessions. At least it was clean--in the general sense of the term--and had a sweet little tulle ruffle at the bottom. Then there were her shoes.  Despite my efforts to coerce her into wearing her pink, Velcro strap canvas high tops that look nice with the pink pants she had on, she preferred her white light up sandals--the ones that her toes hang over the top of, since they're now one size too small (yes, these should have long been taken to the thrift store or at least hidden away). *

I looked at her in the living room dancing around, threatening to do a headstand, and not giving a care in the world. She felt good, she was free, and she was looking forward to going out for some pho. And so, I, in my "fancy" clothes (that really aren't but can be considered so by comparison), my husband, our eight-month-old-baby, and our three-year-old left to go eat.
Freedom Lover

In that moment, though, that moment where I was standing in the hallway, putting on an earring and looking my child over, it hit me that I was that mom.  You may have read commentary or even made remarks yourself about a parent--particularly a mother--who's out looking all cute and/or together, yet their child is standing there looking like "who did it, what for, and why."  I've previously not had much thought on these matters. Now that I've had the experience, I can just say that I get it.  I know how it is or can be. Yeah, there may be times when it can be considered some form of neglect, but I know that there are those times where a mama may have sincerely tried and failed at better organizing the child's appearance. That Saturday wasn't my first experience with it and --given who my oldest child is--it surely won't be my last.  Many a day I have succeeded in getting her dressed and "together" in a manner that I deemed appropriate for a trip to wherever we may have been going.  Some days, though, she's just not feeling it.  We may have the best intentions for our little ones as it pertains to their appearance or any other area. Yet they're often committed to their own agenda, no matter how much it fails to jive with intentions we have for them.  The notion of "pick your battles" comes to mind.

That Saturday I didn't trip.  We went, we ate, and we had a great time.  Crunchy fro and all! And least importantly, nobody we encountered cared whatsoever. (That's probably saying more about the culture in Hawai'i than anything else.)

*I did manage to persuade her out of the too small sandals into some more shoes--some brand new ones that had arrived in the mail the day before.  Yeah, the colors in them further added to the disarray of her overall outfit, but at least her toes weren't scraping the ground!

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