Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Ugly Christmas Sweater

    My oldest girls, the Scribe (who's ten) and the Hippie (who's seven) love fighting with me.  They aren't terrible fights where I get black eyes and lose hair.  Well, maybe I've lost hair.  No, they're the sort of fights I really hate.  Physical pain--no problem, I had four of my five kids without pain killers.  
    But these fights drive me nuts. They're useless and pointless.  They're about clothes!
    When it's summer, the Hippie thinks it's appropriate to wear wool sweaters and snow pants.  In the winter she'd prefer miniskirts and tank tops.  "What are you doing?" I asked the other day.
    "You don't want me being like everyone else.  Do you?"
    "If it'll keep you alive, then yes!  There's half a foot of snow out there.  You can't go to school in flip flops."
    "Yeah, I bet I could?  I'm tough enough."
    That kid thinks she's an oracle, a superhero--or something.  Could she wear flip flops . . . yes.  Should she--ABSOLUTELY NOT!  "That isn't a good idea," I said, pointing at her.
    "Yes, it is," she said.
    "No, it isn't.  I know you don't get it now, but you'll understand when . . . you're ninety-two."  

    On a side note, everyone in this family knows about being ninety-two.  People get completely wise at ninety-two; at least I think so.  Ninety-one-year-olds might think they have it all.  Even people in their late eighties might have false hope.  They're wrong, though.  True wisdom doesn't come until the age of ninety-two.  I realized this truth after meeting Opal, that fiddling hound, who was pretty wise.  That story is here: I Went Underground--Fiddler Style   Anyway, she was the ninety-two-year-old fiddler who kicked my ars.  If I can just make it that long, then maybe I'll get wise and be good enough at fiddling to finally show her up in Heaven. Oh well . . . dreams, dreams.

    Back to the story: The Scribe is even worse about her clothes than the Hippie is.  The Scribe is sneaky.  At least the Hippie tells me what she's doing.  The Scribe, on the other hand, will put a massive shirt over some grungy top she knows I hate.  Then, once she's at school, she'll take the sweater off and strut like she owns the fourth grade.  Once I even caught her! "Why are you wearing that?"
    She pulled me aside and whispered, "Because I'm a tomboy.  This is the stuff you have to wear if you want the boys to play soccer with you."
    That was strange.  The Hippie would rather show some skin--in outfits that DO NOT match--while the Scribe just wants to hang out with the boys, play soccer and paint.
    "Fine, I'll let this slide.  But I'm taking you shopping, and you need to start wearing the things I buy for you even if you think they're ugly."
    She cautiously shook on it, the deal of doom.
    I took my girls shopping later and while at the store, I found the cutest sweater.  "That's kind of . . . ugly," the Scribe said.
    "Is not!  It's awesome.  You're wearing this tomorrow."
    I bought the sweater although both my girls seemed mortified.  The point remained, I got it from some teen store.  I even saw a cute girl wearing one.  That had to be neat, right?  I could be a cool Mom--damn it!  Plus, it had Rudolph and Clarice on it.  You can't go wrong with Rudy and Clair, seriously.


    "You're wearing this," I said morning after morning.
    "But that's a picture from a baby show AND the nose lights up."
    "That's what made it so expensive . . . So, you can glow in the dark like when Rudolph guided the sleigh."
    She just stared at me.
    "Plus," I went on, "Would I like a baby show?  I LOVE that show."  I paused and got to the heart of the issue.  "I'm only twenty-eight, Scribe . . . a young mom!  You treat me like I'm sooo old, like I've expired."
     So, the battle raged every day for weeks until I finally gave up.  Fine, if they wanted to look like grungy, bratz girls, let them.  
    I wrote my blog at 5 a.m., drank strong coffee and hoped for the best.  My girls woke up making me nearly shake with fear.  This was a big step--letting them pick their own clothes--what would they wear?
    But of all the days for me to give up, the girls came down the stairs and shocked me. The Scribe's shirt blinked with its red light shining in our previously dark world.  The Hippie wore a wool sweater she'd once professed to dislike.  So, I did what any good mother would do, I made them pancakes.  We danced and sang.  We smiled and laughed.  We even used syrup!
    It wasn't until the end of the day came that things unraveled.  I waited for school to end.  After the bell rang, my girls came closer  and hugged me tight.  "This was the best day ever.  You two are growing up.  You didn't fight with me about clothes."
    They both smiled in this weird sort of way.  "Yeah, Mom," the Hippie said, so tender it looked like tears of guilt lined her eyes.
    "Mom," the Scribe said, "we have something to tell you."
    "Yeah?" I asked.
    She rubbed her hands together as if thinking of a way to get out of trouble.  "We're glad you're happy.  We've been talking; we don't want to fight about clothes anymore.  We don't want to look bad, but we don't want to fight either."
    "Great," I said.  "I, for one, think you look awesome!"
    One of their friend walked by at that moment, he hit the Scribe's backpack and gave her a thumbs up.  "You sure know how to win at everything.  That was the perfect pick for ugly sweater day.  Congrats on winning."
    I paled.   It was hard to speak.
    My girls looked sick, too.  
    "You wore these clothes, for UGLY SWEATER DAY?" I asked, my voice going higher with every word.
    "Yeah," the Scribe said.  "The Hippie didn't win in her class, but I did.  I guess I should thank you.  I won a candy bar."  She fumbled with her backpack.  "You want it?"
    "No thanks." I groaned.
    The Scribe pulled a sad face.  "But I was serious.  We don't want to fight about clothes anymore."
    "Why?" I looked in the rear view mirror.
    "Because you were so happy, we even got syrup."
    I snorted.  "You really won the contest?"
    "Yep," the Scribe nodded.  "I never thought having such an ugly sweater could be so epic."
    "Yeah," the Hippie agreed.
    "I always knew it would be."  I nodded, lying as I tried sounding like the young, COOL mother.  "Ugly sweaters are in style right now.  Seriously, they are.  I saw it on the news and everything."


  1. We're not THAT old...right? I worry about this with my own kids. When they get to school, will that mark my cool days being over? No, I shall stay cool in my own mind and make them wear all the "cool" stuff I pick out...LOL You are both young and wise, Veal.

  2. This . is . GOLDEN! . . PURE 24-carat gold!

  3. I can't imagine Dr. Jones is going to be any easier when she gets older! Your girls are a hoot! Sneaky, smart, and they have style ;) You're such a fabulous mom!

  4. hahaha never knew there was even such a day. They are so sneaky haha love it.

  5. I remember those days fighting with my girls and even my son on what to wear...I gave up after awhile. If they got frostbite, oh Great story thanks for sharing...

  6. Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard! I just knew it was coming! lol. It's like those really good movies where you know what's going to happen but the lead characters still has no clue, and you are just dying to tell them, but secretly you are hoping you AREN'T right!

    At least your kids are great enough not to tell you until the end of the day and let you have that beautiful morning! My kids would have flaunted it all morning long!

    I let my boys pick out their clothes as long as they are appropriate for the season, appropriate for their age, and within our budget. That way we all win. I had no idea my oldest loved Diary of a Whimpy kid (he's 7) until he picked out his own shirt. I was quite surprised and excited to learn something new about him.

  7. I'm old, but not 91 yet--but there's one thing I know to be absolutely true--YOU ARE AN AWESOME MOM!!!!

  8. Now that is funny.

    Youngest used to love his boots. YEllow rain boots from LLBean. Wore them everywhere, in every season. Then he got batman boots and decided to mix it up, as in wear one yellow and one batman.

    Then there were firman ones, spiderman ones, and more yellow...

    It went on for almost 3 years. Sometimes it drove me crazy, but mostly, it was just who he was. :)

  9. That's hysterical! I once outfitted an entire group of my niece's friends for an ugly sweater party... sad but true :)

  10. I just spit apple. Very hysterical. ~Mary

  11. You are 28? I'm old enough to be your mom. I guess having one mom is probably enough for you, though, and I can't afford to add you to the will. Sadly, I do not have an ugly sweater.


  12. Hah! That's great. Although I have to agree with your daughter...a sweater with a light up Rudolph nose, really!? I mean I've been threatened with the death penalty by the fashion police and even I would have to think twice about that one. (he says as he writes this while wearing an Aqua Teen Hunger Force tshirt :)

  13. Oh my goodness!! Your tales just crack me up! This is another priceless story. :):)

  14. Now wait just a darn minute - the Rudolph shows aren't baby shows. They're classic shows. ABC Family even says so :P

    Those girls of yours are pretty clever. Though why on earth Hippie would wear clothes for the opposite weather conditions is beyond me. My brothers were like that in the winter when we were younger but I think they know better now. I hope they do stick with their promise to not fight about clothes.

  15. What a funny story! I like how you turned everything around in the end! Ugly sweaters really are "in" right now. I know more people that have ugly sweater parties and a shop opened near me that only sells ugly sweaters. They sold out in under a week (New Haven, CT).

    I guess for now you and the girls will disagree. When they are a little older they will appreciate how cool you are. :)


  16. LOL I'm sorry Elisa. Kids can be difficult when it comes to fashion. My son, Gamer, refuses to wear anything other than sports shorts or sweats. Ugh! My daughter has her own kind of crazy fashion. She just handed me the cool "Ghost Busters" shirt I had bought for her telling me to give it to someone else. She is never going to wear it! :( I'm not 100% sure she's mine anymore. I want a Ghost Busters shirt.

  17. Do you know the book "Ann of the Green Gable" by Lucy Maud Montgomery? I played that character in Polish theater years ago. It has been with me all those years. You have two "Anns" in your house; read them that book and enjoy time together, the time of their crazyness and the good lecture.
    You can write nice stories about daily life of a mom. Thank you!

  18. Haha your post made me many times I see girls come to school (7-9th grades) and wonder if their mothers know what they are wearing!

  19. Ugly sweater day! Epic

  20. I love your kids! That is just too funny.
    BTW - I call Bryan Rudolph because I texted him one day and told him he was cute. He sent me a text back saying he felt like Rudolph when Clarice kissed his cheek and told him he was cute. Now it's our "thing".

  21. That is hysterical. I'm sorry your kids don't appreciate your sense of style. Mine doesn't either although her classmates seem to think I do a good job so she is coming around.

  22. okay, okay, I am gonna have to send you the bill for my respiratory doctor. I can never wait for the next story and they keep getting better and better. I love kids and yours keep you on your toes and in style to.. :)