Polka Dotted Panties

Posted: August 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Milestones, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | No Comments »

I’m planning to take an axe to Paige’s diaper pail.

Or maybe I’ll back over it with the car. Or set it on fire like some stinky, suburban Burning Man. We can get the neighbors to wear strange provocative costumes, do psychedelic drugs, and ride their bikes around our back yard as they watch it go up in flames. (Never let it be said I don’t keep the community’s entertainment needs in mind.)

Or maybe this is the wrong approach entirely, and I should do something to honor and preserve that damn diaper trapper for its many long years of service. Like, maybe I could mail it off to one of those places that covers baby shoes in bronze. We can set it in the corner of the living room—under a little art spotlight—like some masterpiece that everyone would be too disturbed by it to do anything other than compliment it. It could be our awkwardly large tribute to our kid’s babyhoods, like some freakishly over-sized charm bracelet souvenir.

Oh, the possibilities are endless, really!

Yes, it’s a thrilling time of unbridled celebration here at Chez McClusky. For the first time in nearly six years, we don’t have any children in diapers. (And we only have TWO kids. I shudder to think how long The Diaper Phase endures for more prolific breeders.)

Yes, we have no diapers to change. We have no diapers to buy. We have no diapers to carry with us in unattractive, unwieldy padded diaper bags. And we’ll hopefully never again be part of one of those weird half-drunk conversations where you find yourself arguing with other parents about whether it’s harder to clean poop off of boy parts or girl parts. (Everyone seems to think the gender they don’t have to deal with is worse. Which has gotta be some kind of Darwinian survival instinct.)

Whatever the case, Paige proclaimed recently, “Girls have vaginas and penises. And boys have nothing!”

In Paige’s world it’d be easier to change boy diapers without a doubt. I imagine they’d just be like dolls down there.

At any rate, it’s too soon to put our poop-talkin’ days totally behind us (no pun intended). As a new potty indoctrinate Paige is still in the exuberant bodily-function announcement mode. Which is to say, the moment everyone is seated at the table, hands washed, milk cups filled, and you lean over to take your first hungry bite of roast chicken, Paige will inevitably announce, “I have to go poop! I have a thousand big big poops to do!!”

Oh, how… cute.

At least, for the weight conscious among us, its an effective appetite suppressant.

Of course, the dark side to all this grown-up behavior is that we’re closing the door on yet another phase of parenting—even if it does mean less direct contact with feces. I lamented the last time I breastfed. I was heartbroken packing away all those tiny newborn shirts, booties, and receiving blankets. And despite myself, I was a weeper on Paigey’s first day of preschool.

Whether it’s good or bad, when the girls move past something, I feel a twinge of nostalgia about it. I mean, if I have time to.

But I’m over thinking that having a third baby is the solution to avoiding the bittersweet passage of time. I’ve come around to accepting that parenting throws plenty of weepish moments your way. So even though I don’t get to chomp on Paigey’s  ham hock thighs when I change her diapers any more, there are new excellent things that she does now—like pontificate about how panties with polka dots are really the best panties there are. And deliver spontaneous anatomy lessons on gender and genitalia.

Before our East Coast foray this summer Kate went to a fabulous summer camp. One of those old school outdoorsy places where she canoed, rode horses, swam, did archery (ha!), and had her first overnight away-from-the-family camp out. Oh, and made lanyards. In fact, she could now open an Etsy shop called Lanyard-palooza.

At the end of the first week the camp put on a lip synch performance. Each of the groups of campers did a little performance to a song, all the parents lucky enough to not work came to watch, and it was a lot of good clean fun.

I mean, “clean” if you didn’t listen too hard to the lyrics. Like for one of the songs, Katy Perry’s “Extra Terrestrial,” a stage full of nine-year-old girls jumped around waggling their fingers on their heads like antennae, while mouthing,  “Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me. Infect me with your love and fill me with your poison.”

I don’t mean to be prude, but sheesh.

Kate’s group sang a Justin Bieber song, for which she practiced around the house (seemingly endlessly) by jutting her hips out to one side and singing with the synthetic soulfulness that only a five-year-old can muster, “Bay-buh, bay-buh, bay-buh, oh!”

At least no one was purporting to be filled up with someone else’s “poison.”

But still I felt that sneaking, sinking they’re-growing-up feeling. Too fast.

One of the other moms called me the night before the performance. All the other girls were wearing Justin Bieber t-shirts for the show. Did Kate have one? Her daughter did not, and she had no intention of changing that. As long as our girls would be outsiders together, it’d be fine. We agreed they’d wear special sundresses—an attempt to make them feel gussied up, without giving into some Tiger Beat-like peer pressure at age five.

As it turned out, none of the other kids wore JB shirts the next day. More proof that you can’t always trust what your five-year-old tells you. And a reassuring indication that kindergarteners through the tunnel—in the suburban town where the camp was—were the same as our kindergarteners. Or at least, they weren’t yet acting like tweens.

On the last day of camp there was a talent show. The auditorium was packed with kids of all ages and parents wielding video cameras, digital cameras, and iPhones. Rest assured, this event would be captured.

The show was made up of older girls singing pop songs alone and in groups, boys doing kicks and karate chops to “Kung Fu Fighting,” and one twerpy kid who sang some teddy bear song that had the crowd howling as the seemingly endless lyrics went on and on and on.

Kate had talked about wanting to do something, but I wasn’t sure if she’d muster the gumption. Almost no kids her age had.

Then the M.C. called to her to go back-stage to be “on deck” as the next performer.

When she stepped onto the stage, she was clutching a mic and standing ramrod straight, wide-eyed looking out at the crowd. Then, without any musical accompaniment, with a weak uncertain voice she started singing, “Doe a deer, a female deer…”

I noticed a few mamas in the audience reach out to touch each others’ arms.

My chest swelled with love—or pride, or sympathetic stage fright—or all of those, and I held my fingers up to my mouth as I listened to her. I telepathically egged her on. I hoped some people knew she was my kid.

My little Kate, on her own volition, picked an adorably sweet wonderful song, blissfully devoid of semen-shooting metaphors. (Sung by a nun no less!) She’d ponied up to perform, though few other kids her age had. And she was KILLING on stage.

Maybe in response to the smiling audience (or my telepathic encouragement), her confidence kicked in, and she started singing more steadily, even swaying a bit less stiffly than her initial robotic stance. She finished to a resounding room of applause. (But really, the crowd clapped a lot for everyone.)

My girls might be growing up fast, but somehow—for now—they seem to be doing a damn good job of it.

Bravo to you, Katie! You are a rock star indeed. At least in your mama’s eyes.

And Paige, Daddy and I could not be prouder of you and your big girl panties.

Carry on, girls! Carry on.

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