Yeah, I did it! And I would do it again! I made a statement and I'm sticking to it. Some may say it was petty and misguided but to them I say, with the style as grace of a literary genius.... :-P <--- Oh, yeah... Don't mess with the QUE because you might get the tongue! (For some reason the BULL and the HORNS original quote sounds much more... menacing. I'm not sure why).
This time of the year becomes interesting. My wife is in retail so she works all the time and late hours. So that means I get to spend a lot of fatherly time with the kids. That ALSO means that for those few hours of the day... what I say goes!
If I want to feed the kids Cheerios for dinner (Multi-grain, though. I'm a good father)... I can. And I'm not saying I have ever done that. I'm just saying that if I wanted to, there is no one there to stunt my awesome parenting skills. If I wanted to feed the baby beans when I know it's my wife's night to deal with her... I can. Again, that's not to say that I would (or have EVER done that). That's just to prove the point that for these few hours each night during this time of the year are MINE. (I really should tell you the story about me taking the 4-year old and the 1-year old to the "salon" to get the 4-year old's hair cut.)
With that unwritten rule (which apparently should be written), I have the freedom to dress the kids anyway I choose. A few nights ago I had one of those "I'm in charge" nights. So I went through the mental checklist. I played with the kids... check. I fed the kids...check (I will neither confirm nor deny the involvement of any said Cheerios). I gave them baths...check (separate baths, of course. Those who read this post know why). I put the little one to bed...check. Now it's time to get the 4-year old ready.
This is where the fun comes in. She hates brushing her teeth. So there is always this song and dance when it comes to the teeth brushing thing. It normally starts with the word NO (GRRR) and it usually ends with me giving my VERY authoritative, VERY stern MANLY voice commanding her to brush or else. I even stand up sometimes for the affect (Since I'm 6'3" and she's much, much smaller. That technique has the opposite affect on my wife, though). She's pretty smart, however. So I have to watch what and how I tell her things. If I just tell her to brush her teeth but don't tell her how long, she's usually done in 2.7 seconds (personal best).
Now it is time to change into her night-night clothes. She always wants to wear her Penguin PJs. This is an easy one. But of course... not this night. When I go to look for them, they are no where to be found. GREAT! That usually means they are currently in one of 2 places: the washer or the dryer. Either way, that's not going to help me now. DING, DING! That signaled the beginning of Round 2. Time for the yelling, kicking and screaming (and that's just me)! I get to spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince her that her Minnie Mouse PJs are WAY COOLER (they aren't). What about the Butterfly PJs? NO! What about the Flower PJs? NO! What about the Panda PJs (which are too big because they are her older sister's hand-me-downs but she likes them anyway)? NO! What about these???
I reach into a pile of newly dried clean clothes and grab some PJs. Hmmm... These are cool. What do you think about these? And there is was... the 4-year olds approval. YES! That's all I needed. So I put the PJ bottoms on. Wow, these are kinda tight and a little short. This is probably the last time she gets to wear these. I'm not sure if I said that out loud or not, but I was thinking it. Now for the PJ top. I had a little problem getting it over her fro (even though I just had it cut a few days earlier). But I finally shoved her head through the neck hole. These PJs were too much trouble. This is definitely going to be the last time she wears these. 4-year old in her night-nights... check!
Parenting skills were in tact. I started the night with 2 kids and ended with 2 kids (the other was at gymnastics) so that night was a good night. Until... my beautiful wife came home. As the 4-year old sees mommy, she goes running to her yelling "Mommy, Mommy!" like normal. But what wasn't normal was my wife's expression. She was trying to keep a straight face. She looked a little confused. She knew it was daddy's night but something was still wrong. She looked at me and with a very lovely tone asked...
"Why is the 4-year old wearing the baby's 12 - 18 month PJs?"
... That can't be right.
I really wish I had a good excuse for that one. All I had was... "She wanted to wear them." (Which was true) I said that with as much sincerity as I could muster all the while still trying to figure out how that happened. But my wife knew. She knew that I had a nice, classic daddy FAIL moment. And I knew she knew when she fell out laughing! Then I started kinda laughing (trying to not give it away that I didn't even notice it was the baby's clothes). But when I viewed the scene with my new perspective I noticed that our daughter did have her Homer Simpson on. As well as her father... DOH!
We let her sleep in the PJs. It wasn't cutting off the circulation (that I could tell). She liked them. AND she wasn't going anywhere. So I thought all was done. But I guess my wife's FaceBook Status Update had a different set of plans. The next morning, it decided to let the world know that the 4-year old looked like the Incredible HULK that morning and proceeded to tell why. It turned a wonderfully fun, beautiful and PRIVATE father/daughter moment into something PUBLIC.
Needless to say, dirty or clean, the ONLY PJs my 4-year old will ever wear (on my shift) are the Penguin PJs. Take that, FaceBook! (notice how I didn't point the finger at my wife. I blamed FaceBook. I'm more than a foot taller than she is but sometimes when I stand up next to her I still find myself looking up.)