I live in middle class suburbia, where generally speaking, the children always look clean cut and presentable. In the park their clothes match perfectly, their shoes are always clean, they don’t have mud around their mouth or food in their hair and then there are my children. Grubby little things, with dirt on their clothes, a button missing from their coat, a hairstyle held in place by lunch and shoes with a few scuff marks on them. I mean they’re happy enough, they just don’t look very suburban.
I mean we always start the day well, they are clean from their bath the night before, their hair is swept to the side in the same way Prince George has his and I at least try to coordinate their outfits as much as they will allow me. But by mid-afternoon, they are back to being those grubby looking kids that don’t quite match middle class suburbia.
Bear in particular, as he is now verging on age three (how did that happen?) has decided that he is old enough to chose what he wears day to day. So despite spending a small fortune on clothes that give them the suburban child glow, he chooses the same three jumpers. One of which is a getting a bit tight. He has a number of lovely body warmers, jackets and coats but is always so sure he wants the one with half of the buttons missing and I’m not ashamed to say that on occasion I’ve reduced myself to bribery of cake or an extra episode of Thomas the tank engine in order to persuade him the nice new one (with all its buttons attached), is what he actually wants to wear today.
The problem is, once I’ve worked both of the children into their nice new clothes we leave the house. Keeping the boys clean is a futile task, they roll around on the grass and kick up leaves. They dig in the mud and eat the sand in the park. They fall over and get grass stains on their knees and more often that not, at some point I’m telling the littlest toddler to stop eating whatever it is he has found. I mean today I actually had to confiscate sticks and wood from their mud kitchen to stop him chewing on them.
In all honesty, I’ve kind of given up trying to keep them looking presentable because not only is it a futile task, but I also don’t want to to chase them around with a wet wipe all the time. Besides, a bit of dirt is good for their immune system and when it comes down to it, childhood is all about getting grubby, learning about the world around you and having fun. There will be plenty of time to look presentable later.