Can you imagine?

The bus stop is always a fun place to have social interactions. They’re pleasant in Angelborough (as opposed to Angeltown, where the other women actively hated me) but there’s a culture gap.

I live in a very small place (my own head) and tend not to notice things about the world around me. The other women are very observant. I have no fashion sense, no style. They do. That sets the stage.

Yesterday at the stop, one mom exclaimed to her daughter, “Do you have toothpaste on your shirt?” There was, I take it, a tiny dot of white. The mother tried to rub it off, then said, “Oh,” frustrated because there was no time to go home. She said, “Well, just zip up your jacket so I don’t have to look at it.”

Another mom said, “Can you imagine? Some parents send their kids to school in dirty clothes?”

Because I speak before thinking on a regular basis, I replied, “I do!”

Stopping cold, they pivoted to face me, as if I’d said, “Sometimes I kick baby bunnies.”

I added, “They’re only going to get dirty at school anyhow, so I figure, why stress about it?”

I own a washing machine, and we’re not strangers. By my estimation, I run 14 loads a week. My children have a supply of clean clothes available when they awaken in the morning. But these are children who think their shirt’s chief purpose is to spare the paper napkin from getting smudged, and who would rather chew their own collars than get an apple from the fridge.

In my opinion, a felt need of childhood is getting dirty. That way, mom can clean you up again and you can get more dirty. Perpetual cleanliness isn’t going to happen in the Philangelus household. If you’re my child, neither are stylish clothes — unless Aunt C. buys for you because Aunt C. has style and class by the tasteful truckload.

Regardless, I had just proudly stated before the world that sometimes I send my children out the door with smudges and rumples.

They did not bring up the matter again. For all I know, they may be staging an intervention. Saints Styleus and Fabrica, pray for us.


  1. leasa

    kids put importance on the things their parents put importance on. hygiene – important. toothpaste on a shirt? – that’s just proof of good hygiene. i hope the bus stop stays pleasant even though you *gasp* aren’t equally annoyed at the child that brushes her teeth.

    1. philangelus

      It’s funny you mention that, because the children of these two women are always well-dressed and, according to their mothers, attuned to style and what goes with what. Whereas my children need to be told, repeatedly, that ripped jeans are not wearable to school and that horizontal stripes and vertical stripes don’t go together. 🙂

      1. cricketB

        Those mothers are probably manage to keep the painting clothes hidden until painting time, rather than the rest of us who see “darks”, then “Son’s”, totally forgetting the ripped knee. And of course once the favourite pants get into their rooms,…

  2. cricketB

    Cricket runs to join the movement. Yes, it’s okay to send kids to school in dirty clothes! Can we add to it?

    Hemming with safety pins. No matter how many times I wash them first, the instant I hem them they shrink (or kids grow).

    Crumpled homework. It’s in the bag, ready to go, the night before, often days before it’s due. So what if the lunch bag squishes in on top of it? (I confess to having trouble with this one. I like paper that’s flat, stack-able, file-able, easy to read, respectful of the reader.)

    1. philangelus

      I’ll admit to something even worse: sometimes, I let my kids sleep in clothes. Or I’ll let the younger ones leave the house wearing pajamas. Under that winter jacket zipped to the neck may just be the top of the spider-man pajama set.

    2. Ivy

      I wouldn’t hem with safety pins because I’ve had more of them pop open than I’d like, usually while I’m setting in a sleeve. I wouldn’t trust them on a kid running around. I’d go with basting. A quick running stitch with a good silk thread takes minutes and those cuffs aren’t going anywhere. Get it close to the color of the pants, and no one will spot it on a kid in motion.

  3. Evie

    No wonder these moms never talk to me! Here I thought it was because I look like I’m 18 instead of 30. My girls have ummm interesting fashion styles. Anything goes with everything including those purple Ugg like boots I picked up for $3 a piece at Target. I think of them like walking works of art or sometimes walking seizures.
    I guess my biggest fault is brushing hair. One of my girls has curly hair and the others is pin straight but is prone to rat’s nests. Yet, with all that wonderful bed head we constantly forget to brush it.

    1. philangelus

      I’ll forget about my daughter’s hair until we’re out the door too. But she’s eight, and I think she should also take some responsibility for her own hair.

      I just wonder sometimes how other people *know* what to wear, when to wear it,and what goes with what. They know what’s in style and what would look good on them (and what looks good on their kids.) To me, it’s a mystery. I’d rather try to explain the Trinity than tell you what you’d wear to a baby shower garden party held at 3pm in the springtime. 🙂

  4. colleen

    Love it. Goodness gracious, kids get dirty. My children are grown but I seem to remember some days sending them to school with wrinkles or spilled juice on their shirts. All that means is that they live their lives as kids rather than statues. Praise God.

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