Eliot is a lot like most 3-year olds. He likes to build and color, play dress-up, play with dough, ‘read’ and be read to, and engage in imaginative play with dolls and action figures.
Eliot is not like most 3-year olds in that he’s an enlisted soldier in the KISS Army. Yep, the one with Paul Stanley’s lady mouth and the spikes and the tongue flailing and the face make-up.
Let me just say for the record that I am not a KISS fan. In fact, I find Gene Simmons to be a reprehensible human being. I don’t like the marketing, I don’t like the make-up, I don’t like the misogyny. And perhaps because of that, I don’t really like the music either.
Much to my dismay, Eliot found a trio of Kiss dolls hidden among Justin’s boyhood toys. Sadly, these ‘action figures’ were not purchased during my husband’s childhood years, but instead were the leftovers of a ‘collecting’ phase he had in college. I was vehemently opposed to my sweet darling baby child playing with those awful, chest-hair baring, buckle-and-chain encrusted things.
But he loved them. Oh how he was completely enchanted by their rock n’ roll lifestyles.
So I did the only thing a mother could do in that situation. I hid them. And then I feigned ignorance as to their whereabouts. And it worked! For about 6 months. And then the child with a memory that I suspect may go back to his time in utero suddenly remembered his love for them and begged his Daddy to get those “guys! The one with the tongue stickin’ out! Find them!”
And of course, Daddy, who loves his boy and lives for his happiness especially when it involves doing things that make me slightly uncomfortable, was more than happy to oblige. Eliot quickly learned all of their names and instruments, even Ace Frehley, the only guy missing from the collection.
He plays with them endlessly. He wants to take them everywhere, and I would love to hear what people think of me and my Peter Criss toting toddler. He draws the line at sleeping with them; what with Gene Simmons’ reputation for promiscuity, I think he’s making a wise choice.
As much as they make me squirm, I cannot deny him this relatively harmless thing. In his eyes, KISS is a group of guys who just love to dress-up, get their faces painted, and play music - all things of which he’s a big fan. And how can I not smile when tells me, “Mommy, did you know that the Kiss guys never sleep? Yeah, because they rock n’ roll all night, and they party every day!”
You may have noticed that the overall photography quality has markedly improved here at Butter Family Picnic. No, I have not uncovered some long dormant talent from deep within myself when it comes to snapping pics. Instead I did something I should have done a long time ago, which is to give my incredibly wondrous husband Justin, an actual professional photographer, access to post images on my blog. This is a family operation after all, so it just made sense. Be sure to visit his website to see more of his beautiful work.
You how before you had kids, you said things about how you and/or your kid would never say or do certain things? Like, My Child with never watch TV / eat refined sugar / sleep in my bed / have a public tantrum? Or I Will Never use the computer as a babysitter / give dessert for dinner / say ‘because I said so’?
Last week Eliot did one of those My Child Will Nevers. And I followed it up with the ultimate of I Will Nevers. It was a banner week for the Butters.
We had been talking to Eliot about starting preschool for approximately 6 months. We read books about the awesomeness of school, used peer-pressure (your friends LOVE school), we bought a backpack and a lunch box, we talked about how incredible school would be. He was ready. We were ready. School was going to be an amazing explosion of rainbows and confetti in which I would drop him off in his class, he’d run into the loving arms of his beautiful teacher, and I would walk to my car smiling and planning what I was going to do with 2.5 hours of sweet, sweet toddler-less freedom (Clue: it involved work and laundry. And maybe Facebook. Okay, definitely Facebook).
Much to my surprise, NONE of those things happened. The first morning was fairly drama-free. I stuck around for about 10 minutes with the other moms. It was, after all, the first day. I left without incident, skipping across the parking lot and racing home to drink coffee and work in peace.
Day two was awful. Eliot cried and clung to me as if I was giving him away to a band of roving musicians. He was not down. My Child Will Never be the kid who clings to me in tears while all the other children play happily and parent-free. Oh really now? And then, I Will Never be the parent that stays way too long in terror that their child will burst into tears when they leave. Yeah, about 50 minutes, I think? Way to rip the band-aid off, Mommy.
Day three was the holy mother of I Will Never breaking. Eliot continued to be the hysterical kid that I previously believed Would Never Be the Hysterical Kid. And then, after about 40 minutes, when he was clinging to my legs, showering them with tears and snot, I Cried In Front of the Teacher. And my kid. And all of the other kids. I was the Crying Mom. And not just a single tear for dramatic effect. No. I was the sobbing, sort of choking on my tears mom who had to be hugged by the teacher. HUGGED BY THE TEACHER. Which, quite frankly, made me cry even harder.
Cut to this morning. I decided to take my own critical advice and just leave. Even after Eliot told us all weekend, “I don’t like school”. Even when he made up a song to the tune of “Tomorrow” from Annie that went, “Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I’ll cry at school tomorrow, I’ll cry all day long.” Seriously. I warned him that I would walk him to class, tell his teacher I was leaving, give him a kiss, and leave. He asked if it would be okay if he cried for 3 minutes. Maybe five.
And that was apparently what it took. My friend Amanda was there with her daughter Scouty B and told me that he was happily working on a craft project after I left. He looked happy and excited when I picked him up as opposed to the beaten-down look of a work-camp prisoner he wore last week.
So, I’m hopeful for Eliot’s future in pre-school. Even though I surely have a reputation as an unstable, overbearing mess.