So, way back when I only had one kid, my friends, (who generally only had one kid as well), and I used to use the phrase, "Hey, at least she's not the dirty kid in class!" as a joking way to cope with times when we weren't exactly the most stellar of parents.
Baby fell down and busted their lip? Hey, at least she's not the dirty kid in class.
You gave your kid pop rocks for breakfast? Sad, but hey! At least they're not the dirty kid in class!
You get the drift. It was a surefire way to make each other laugh when one was having a rough day.
Fast forward a few kids. Throughout the past 6 years of parenting, I generally have managed to make sure my kids were clean when in public. And by clean, I mean, at least the parts that show... hands, faces, etc.
Sometimes someone would finish their breakfast on the way out the door and need a meeting with a baby wipe to get rid of the milk mustache before we got to our destination.
But generally, I've done quite well at making sure my kids were never the "dirty kid in class."
Once a week, I join a bunch of other women for a bible study at our old church. They provide awesome childcare and a homeschool class for Lex. The kids practically dissolve into tears when we have to leave. Good stuff.
Yesterday I got them dressed, brushed the girls' hair, brushed teeth, put shoes on, fed the baby and rushed out the door. I checked them each into their classrooms and settled into my seat and chatted with my group. About halfway through our session, the child care coordinator slipped into the room and knelt down next to my chair. I glanced at my silent pager, thinking that perhaps it malfunctioned and she was there to tell me that the little one needed me.
But instead she asked, "Did... did Sayer have jelly for breakfast today?" Puzzled, I told her he hadn't. She continued, "Because he has something on the top of his head that looks like jelly... his teacher wasn't sure if it was jelly or blood and didn't want to wipe it too much in case it was blood and it would dislodge a scab or something." I sat there with my mouth half open for a few seconds.
And all at once, it hit me. The day before, I had some friends come over with their mostly school-aged munchkins to surprise Lex for an impromptu playdate. (And, not going to lie, some momma hang time). Anyway, someone brought donut holes. Sayer managed to finagle hmself a couple, of course.
Later that night, we were hustling out the door for a birthday dinner and I noticed something red and sticky on the back of Sayer's head. Jelly. I tried to wipe it off as best as I could, but we were in a rush, and it was, you know, jelly. So I left it and told myself that I'd toss him in the tub in the morning before bible study.
Of course, in the morning, Sayer was the last one up. He woke up, I threw clothes on him, and he ate his breakfast on the way. No time for a bath. Admittedly, I didn't even think of it.
So... I tried to explain, "See... yesterday (wince), he had a jelly donut, and um, it got in his hair? And well, we were on our way out when I noticed... and... um... I was going to give him a bath this morning but... we were running late?" I stopped because no matter how I explained it... the truth was still there,
I had the dirty kid in class.
So I did what any mother would do in the throes of absolute mortification. I laughed. And laughed and laughed. Because really, he might have been the dirty kid in class, but at least he wasn't the SMELLY kid in class.
I should probably stop saying that, shouldn't I?