“It’s not a hat, it’s a bucket.” My three-year-old son corrected the grey-haired woman who had intended to give him a compliment following her, “Nice hat” observation.
She may have been attempting to normalize the weirdness of a preschooler wearing a bucket on his head. Perhaps she thought he didn’t have a hat to fend off the rain and chose a bucket instead.
It never— well almost never— rains in Southern California, so it would have been a reasonable assumption given the unusual San Diego weather that day.
But no, Jake was correct. He was wearing a bucket. Not a hat.
It fit quite nicely—perfectly formed to his head. The cracks in the plastic were functional and expertly placed. His bucket went on in the morning and wasn’t removed until bedtime.
The bucket was worn everywhere Jake went; to preschool, church, errands with mom, playdates, the beach, and to the doctors.
Soon one bucket wasn’t enough. The stack grew to four buckets. But they nested nicely and only added about 6 more inches from the original bucket height.
Jake wore his buckets to my doctor’s office. I made an appointment to take an hCG blood test. I wanted official confirmation of what the two blue lines on my white stick told me.
The ObGyn nurse entered the room where Jake, his two sisters, and I expectantly waited. She looked at my bucket boy then at his two sisters. Her face burst into a huge smile. She had deduced a fourth would be great good news.
Kids do weird stuff. Harmless weird stuff. Let your kids be kids. Allow them to do their kid thing. Say yes to the goofy moments, outfits, or accessories. (With the caveat that the weirdness doesn’t violate safety issues, your conscience, conviction, or comfort.)
Each of our kids had a thing that was uniquely theirs: Courtney loved her golf shirts, Samantha had to wear swing around dresses, and Kendra sported at least five headbands each day.
These are just moments in time; a short season to enjoy before self-consciousness, uncertainty, and insecurity creep into the little one’s psyche. The crazy kid things make for fond memories— memories that last a lifetime, memories that produce a smile, and memories that bond us together.
Let your kid, be a kid.