“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.  

For more information on raising perfectly imperfect kids as a single mom, check out Kids and the Single Mom HERE.

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.


Parenting is Lori Wildenberg’s passion. She speaks nationally and has authored four, soon to be five, books. Those books include, Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home and Raising Little Kids with BIG Love. Lori is the co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, a ministry for moms and dads. Her easily applicable, relevant, relatable, and cutting edge material is presented with warmth, humor, and transparency. She admits she is not the perfect mom and openly shares stories of parent fails and successes.  Lori, a licensed parent and family educator, loves to coach parents to be the parents their kids need. The Wildenberg family resides in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A perfect day in Lori’s world is a hike with her husband, five kids (four plus a daughter-in-love), and the family labradoodle, Murphy.  You can find out more about Lori at www.loriwildenberg.com.

The Life of a Single Mom is a global nonprofit committed to seeing no single mom walk alone. Having served more than 71,000 single mothers each year, the goal of the organization is establish support groups for single mothers in communities around the world. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s group. Our programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, and parentally. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com