A couple of Sundays ago we gathered the kids for church and they immediately began to squabble over seats and hymn books and were altogether so unpleasant that in the middle of the sacrament hymn I declared that church was being postponed for a half hour and that when we reconvened the children would all be dressed in their Sunday best and with their best Sunday attitudes in place.
So they all stormed away and I sat and fumed and when we regathered, the children were dressed up so nicely and had changed their attitudes so wonderfully that I couldn't stay mad, myself.
Years ago a friend of mine said that she might not always be able to control her children's behaviour but that she could always control their dress and if her kids looked cute she found she was a little more tolerant with them. There is wisdom in this but it's also something I've never quite managed. I haven't felt like I've ever had control of my children's outfits. I had dreams of a perfectly dressed baby, of course, but between reflux and explosive poops my babies never seemed to stay dressed in whatever they chose. So I kind of stopped choosing.
I'm not sure this particular friend's babies ever dared spit up on their clothes.
Some babies are like that.
I literally have friends who didn't know what burp cloths were for. My friend Tiani, for example, was absolutely baffled when I offered her a burp cloth in the mother's lounge one day when she lifted her baby up to burp her. "What for?" she asked (it was her first Sunday at church after the birth of her first baby; I was on baby #3 (with a couple of colossal refluxers in the mix)).
"For the, uh, spit up..." I said.
"Spit up?" she asked.
"Sure," I said. "Like, just the milk that comes back up after they eat."
"Oh, my baby doesn't do that," she said.
And her baby didn't, which I found shocking. And then my baby did, which she found shocking.
Her baby also pooped once a week, which was (is) unfathomable to me.
Anyway, I imagine my other friend (my advice-giving friend) had babies like this—babies that didn't make them lug around a bagful of burp cloths to clean up all their messes. Both types of babies are fine; but I think they make different kinds of mothers. One type makes mothers who expect they'll be able to dress their children well. The other type make mothers that have to stifle laughter at the very idea.
I haven't seen this friend or her children for years, but I can't imagine that she's ever had a child wallow in a mud puddle fully clothed *cough* Benjamin *cough* and I imagine that her children definitely get dressed every day while I struggle to get mine out of their pyjamas. But that's alright. There is still wisdom in her words and I found it on Sunday when I had the kids go get changed.
Don't they clean up well?