Give C.J. a theme and he will run with it. This week had him running for five days straight.
It was the last week of school and the Orange County Mommy Mafia was out in full force giving each day a theme and a party and a sense of panic that had me constantly feeling like I was forgetting some important detail. They scuttled about campus in their Lululemon yoga pants, clutching their stainless steel commuter mugs filled with the organic coffee they picked up at Trader Joe’s over the weekend while they were loading up on supplies for the class ice cream social, board game mixer, pizza party, beach blanket BBQ, popcorn and movie mid-day madness and bubble blowing farewell ceremony. I watched them all from the comfort of my dirty car, while wearing my work pants that give me a severe muffin top and drinking yesterday’s coffee that I had managed to burn when I reheated it in the microwave.
I remember when I was in school and there was only one celebration, it was called the final bell ringing, marking the start of summer. That was the “Official Party,” the bell, it lasted five seconds. How times have changed, I didn’t even have time to write a blog post this week because I was busy meeting the demands of The Mafia and trying to keep up with my two sons and the days’ many themes and parties so that I didn’t seem like a clueless, uncaring, uninvolved mom.
I have to admit, I burst out in insane laughter when one of the boys’ room mom sent an email reminding us that there was a party the next day and she still needed “multiple parents to supply wet toppings. Squirtable chocolate?”
Excuse me? I nearly showed my true colors. Alas, I was able to control myself without replying to the entire class using the hashtags #roommomepicfail and #ivegotyourwettoppingsrighthere.
“C.J., do you want to dress like a pirate for school today,” I asked.
“No, that’s not fun,” he said with a look of disappointment.
He wasn’t quite as glum hours later when I picked him up from school and he was wearing the awesome pirate hat that he made in class. He customized his Jolly Roger, complete with rainbow wig and purple grill.
Another day that week was Sports Day.
“What do you want to wear for Sports Day? You can wear your baseball uniform or your soccer uniform or….”
“I want to be a cheerleader!” C.J. interrupted. “I already have my uniform, you know the pink one with glitter?”
Oh I knew which one he was talking about. It was two sizes too small, ripped and stained. Nana Grab Bags had worked her sewing magic on it a few times, but you can only do so much when working with a $15-dollar, imitation satin number.
“Baby, that uniform is too small and too worn out to wear to school,” I said honestly. It was a tattered mess.
“Okaaaaaayyyyyy, I guess I’ll wear my baseball uniform,” he said lacking enthusiasm. “When’s pajama day?”
“That will be MY day. I’m going to wear my Little Mermaid jammies to school,” he declared.
I looked at my husband. Were we really going to let our son wear girl’s pajamas to school? Considering he doesn’t own a pair of boy’s pajamas our options were limited or I needed to go shopping. Not that I ever mind a good excuse to go shopping.
“Are you cool with him wearing girl pajamas to school?” I asked C.J.’s Dad later that night, away from the boys.
“Yeah, I don’t care. School’s almost over,” he said.
It has been a tough school year dealing with gender issues. In a way we were waving our rainbow flag to mark the ending of a struggle. Not defeat, just an end.
I emailed C.J.’s teacher Ms. Sensible to warn her that on Friday C.J. would be wearing his three-piece deluxe Little Mermaid pajamas that he had recently purchased on sale at the Disney Store to school. Pants with fish-scale tail design, white top with Ariel on it and optional layered skirt, which C.J. has never considered optional; to him, it’s mandatory.
She replied the next day before noon letting me know that C.J. was welcome to wear anything that he was comfortable in..
I picked C.J. up from school. He sat in his booster seat wearing his baseball uniform.
“Mommy, today Ms. Sensible told me that I could wear my Little Mermaid jammies to school for pajama day. She said I could wear whatever makes me comfortable and that she’ll tell the kids not to make fun of me. She said that people will like me no matter what,” he said.
“Ms. Sensible is right. She’s a good teacher.”
“So, can I wear my Little Mermaid jammies to school tomorrow?”
“What!?!?! I LOVE crazy hair day!!!!”
“That’s odd, you’ve never had a crazy hair day before,” I said smiling at C.J. in the rearview mirror as I drove.
“I know, but I know I’m just going to love it.”
C.J. won the award for craziest hair at crazy hair day. Or so he told us, only for me to find out later that there was no award given. My kid has a good imagination, or he’s a liar.
Finally it was Friday. Finally it was pajama day. C.J. had allowed me to wash his favorite Little Mermaid pajamas. He put them on and then sprayed some of my Victoria’s Secret Body Mist on himself. He. Was. Ready.
Then, we got to school and he didn’t want to get out of the car.
“What if somebody sees me?” he asked in worry.
“They’ll see your fabulous Little Mermaid pajamas,” I said. “If you want to change, I have a pair of your brother’s old pajamas that you can wear instead.”
“No, I’m good.”
He sat quietly looking out of the window for a minute or two. I could tell he was gathering his courage. His little chest took a deep breath and he opened the car door. He had made his own decision and I walked behind him to class. I had his back every step of the way.
Then his girl friend Isabella walked up to him.
“C.J., you look soooooo pretty in your Little Mermaid pajamas,” she said with admiration and a smile.
“Thank you,” C.J. said shyly. It was the highlight of his day.
Ms. Sensible took the pajama’d kids into her classroom and sat them down. She explained that it was pajama day and everybody was wearing what they were comfortable in, that people are comfortable in different kinds of pajamas and that’s okay. She reminded them that teasing was not okay on pajama day or any other day.
As far as C.J. is concerned, pajama day was the best day of the school year and it set the stage for him to wear a hula girl outfit to the Hawaiian-themed pre-k graduation four days later.