My #3 is an interesting mix of fierce competitiveness, wow, that's a big word for this time in the morning, efficiency, conscientiousness, enough with the big words already, tenderness, passion, self doubt, obsessive/compulsiveness, teasing, and gratitude. I know, sounds like most 13 year old boys, so we'll bare in mind that as a teenager it's in his job description to not remember that for many years I bathed, dressed including shoes, socks and clean underwear, combed hair, dropped off and picked up multiple children with only the occasional mix-up.
Unlike our other children, who tend to spring upcoming events on us at the last minute, "See ya in a week when I'm back from choir tour in Seattle", #3 reminds us
"Mom, tomorrow, #7, 9:30, you can't forget."
"Now Mom, are you planning to have #7 at my school tomorrow at 9:15?" note that the time gets a bit earlier with each reminder. Did I mention that we suspect a future of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for this child.
The reminders continued into the evening along the same order until suddenly another concern about my parenting skills surfaced. "Uh, Mom, when you bring #7 to my school tomorrow you need to make sure he's cleaned up and dressed nice, " he glances at #7, "like he's dressed now!"
"So chocolate pudding face, superman undies and bare feet are out?" I ask, with only a trace of sarcasm dripping from my tongue.
"Yeah Mom, our school has a dress code ya know." He has the good sense to accompany this last with a sheepish little grin.
I feel it's only fair to mention that #7 has, from birth, some kind of aversion to clothes. If #7 is wearing underwear we consider him dressed, if he's wearing a shirt with the underwear we know he's decided to go out to play, if shoes and pants are part of the ensemble he's been captured by Mom and is going somewhere with her, if his face is clean, his hair is combed, by me not him, and he's dressed including socks and underwear, we watch the heavens for signs of the millennial reign. Yet, silly mom that I am, I'm still fairly confident that I'll be able to pull off getting him to the Junior High with out incident.
This morning, as he left for the bus, #3 mentioned one more time, just to be absolutely, positively sure I could handle it that I needed to have #7 at the doors by the tennis court, at straight up 9:45, but 9:30 would be better, and to make sure #7 was clean and dressed.
I out did myself, I showered him, combed and jelled his hair, put clean clothes on him including underwear. I saved us all from a precipitous appearance of deity, you can thank me later, by putting sandals with no socks despite the cool temperatures, not that he's lost his shoes again or anything.
At straight up 9:45 a.m. #3 greeted us outside the school, with a big hug for #7. I was proud, I had proved to #3 that I could be a responsible Mommy, I double checked on the pick-up time, 10:50 a.m., then left to run a few errands.
10:45 a.m. phone rings, "Hello".
"Mom, where are you?"
"#3, I'm in the car driving to your school." I said without the least trace of aggravation in my voice.
"OK, just checking to see if you remembered."
10:50, I'm pulling up to the school, phone rings, "Mom where are you?"
"I'm outside your school, which you would know if you were out here waiting for me instead of inside calling me!" My voice just may have increased slightly in volume.
So, I still haven't proved to my latest teenager that I'm a competent mother; but, #7 had a great time, came home, took off his sandals, pants and underwear, put on a swimsuit then showed me all the fun things he did with his really great brother at big kid school.