Thursday, May 20, 2010

All things tend toward chaos

I was talking to another mom at the mall today, and when I was admiring her teeny little ten-week old baby daughter, I noticed something. Everything that the mom had for her baby matched...or at least all of it coordinated. The pink-and-white flowered (and monogrammed) diaper bag coordinated perfectly with the lace-edged pink blanket. The baby's outfit matched her hat. The outfit and the blanket and the hat all looked lovely and coordinated against the backdrop of the tasteful charcoal gray infant car seat and stroller. Even the mom was dressed in a lovely outfit that seemed to go perfectly with her child; she wore a really pretty white tunic, with dark jeans, silver sandals and silver jewelry.

By contrast, Andrew's set-up was a total hodgepodge. He was wearing a sweet little Kissy Kissy romper printed with sailboats, but it clashed jarringly against the brown, aqua, and cream polka-dot-and-stripe pattern of his car seat. Which in turn did not match the black Snap n' Go stroller frame. He did have a nice little white blanket, but geez, how hard is it to throw a white blanket on your baby? And then he had his pacifier clip, which is white-and-blue. He had everything he needed, but he sure wasn't going to win any style points. Or, should I say, I am not going to win any style points, since I was responsible for all of it. Oh yeah, we haven't even gotten to my ensemble. I was wearing an orange t-shirt, khaki cargo pants, and green sandals. Not even delicate pretty sandals, either. No, I was wearing my big old clunky Keens. And my glasses, which are scratched. Of course.

Together, we looked like the Before picture in a Before-and-After photo spread for a makeover feature in a women's magazine. Some editor would be slapping little black bars across our faces.

This might have bothered me a few years ago. However, at some point, I had to come to terms with reality. And for me, reality is the fact that I am just never going to be all perfectly turned out. I'm never going to be one of those women who never has a hair out of place (good Lord, no, not with this hair). I'm never going to be one of those women whose clothes are always neatly pressed, without any wrinkles or strings hanging off. I may start out looking nice and neat in the morning, but eventually my true self wins out, and I start looking a little frazzled.

I am about to do something fairly unusual in a parenting blog. I'm about to talk about physics. My reason will be very clear, however. You see, in physics, one of the laws of thermodynamics posits that all things tend toward chaos. That about sums me up in a nutshell. Really, I'm okay with this. At some point, you have to accept the truth about yourself. The truth was out there. And for me, the truth meant wild hair and the odd Diet Coke stains on my shirt.

And for better or for worse, I am passing this little, er, characteristic on to my children, too. For example, I have big messy hair. William has big messy hair. Probably, Andrew will have big messy hair. I tend to spill food on my clothes. William tends to do the same. I'll hazard a guess that Andrew will eventually do it, too. You can see where I'm going with this. My poor kids never had a chance. David may be all nice and neat and orderly most of the time--and he really is, it's pretty amazing--but in the universe, chaos tends to win out over order, and that's how it seems to be developing for our offspring, too. Granted, Andrew can still blame me for anything right now--he's not choosing his own outfits, after all--but I think the handwriting is on the wall, just the same.

No, I'm just never going to be perfectly turned-out, no matter how hard I try. And neither are my kids. Luckily, they're boys. People seem to have lower standards about these things for boys. And whew, I'm kinda glad. I'd feel a little bad about setting a daughter up for that life... at least, until she was old enough to come to terms with it for herself! Maybe people will think that it's charming in my boys. Or maybe they'll marry someone one day who can reign it in...a little bit.


John Larson said...

You didn't say if that new mom was a first timer!?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You always look very fasionable to me! Also, the boys are dressed very nicely and appropriately.