Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fitting in with the misfits

Kids give us an excuse to be as ridiculous as we want to be. And that is how I justify an otherwise disturbing scene that encompassed a recent Monday evening.

Bettie Anne, 19 months old, was wearing her favorite outfit: a plastic pirate's hat and her pink rain boots that are four sizes too big. She was also wearing her pajamas, which are not "pajamas" by anyone's definition other than hers: her ubiquitous pink bow and her pink-and-white polka-dot jacket. Yes, that's what she likes to sleep in.

 And I let her. Because I am the mom who, including at this particular point in time, wears a white wig for no reason. Bettie thinks I look better with white hair, based on her requirement that I wear this wig at all times while we play trains, but not when we play dolls or read because, gosh, duh.

 I've got it easy. Bettie thinks her dad looks better with blue skin. Which explains why, on this fateful night that I hope Bettie never remembers out-of-context in a psychiatrist's chair, he was stuck in a head-to-toe blue spandex Morphsuit. Not sure what a Morphsuit is? You're luckier than my neighbors. Which might explain why no kids ever trick-or-treat at our house, not even when we stack mountains of those addictive little pumpkin candies on our doorstep with a sign that says, "Take this, for my saddlebags' sake!"

 The neighbors might be terrified of us. But my daughter has no fear. Other than of normalcy. She screams in disgust when her dad takes off his stretchy blue legs to do things such as go to the bathroom or shower or go to the grocery store. If Bettie Anne had her way, every day would be Halloween.

Ah yes. That's my little mini.

 Sure, silly little things like the "alphabet" and "numbers" are neat. But what really fills me up with pride when she covers her feet with sidewalk chalk or paints her cheeks with watercolors or builds virtual pants on her little legs with hundreds of Band-Aids. Bettie laughed while we painted my bunny mask with fake blood, and it was her idea to decorate daddy's taxidermy hammerhead shark with thick silver necklaces. Her favorite toy is a realistic-looking, feather-covered black crow.

 Her creativity is as wide as the universe. It hasn't yet been smushed and boxed by peer pressure, self-consciousness and judgment. And as far as she knows, all daddies have blue spandex flesh, all kids wear pirate hats to breakfast and every day really is a special occasion to dress up. She can be anything in the world for no reason -- only limited by her imagination. And as her mom, it's my job to wind that up, let it whirl and get out of the way.

 Plus, it makes Halloween easy. She already has her costume: a pirate with a black crow on her shoulder. And no ghosts and goblins could possibly scare her. Not when she's used to a mandex-clad dad.

Photo by Larry Sullivan.


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