"Mom STOP! My face is CLEAN!" he growls at me. Matthew's definition of clean means only three tablespoons of peanut butter are smeared all over instead of four!
There have been a few occasions where he has walked into school with a dirty face and his pants unzipped because I did not notice until we were halfway up the steps and had nothing to rectify the situation. This always makes me feel like a winner of a parent: "Hi there! Here's my filthy child! I never bathe or wash him and it shows!! If you have a lice outbreak in the classroom, it's probably from us!!"
Granted, it's not every day that I drop him off looking so disheveled. Some days he actually looks pretty well put together - a nice crisp polo (crisp as in freshly laundered not ironed - who has time for that?), pants that actually fit and are neither drooping down his skinny little backside nor six inches above his ankles, shoes tied and on the correct feet, and combed hair with a little gel worked in. Unfortunately, I have a knack for choosing the wrong days to not keep a close eye on his appearance.
The other day, Matthew came home with a package of spring school pictures in his backpack. I was completely unaware that they were having these pictures done - even though I'm sure a note had come home at some point about it (Mom for the win!). Having missed the memo, I had unknowingly sent him to school the day the portraits were being shot looking like a homeless child. It must have been a very frazzled morning for his hair (in desperate need of a trim) was sticking up, his shirt was too big and sported some pretty prominent spaghetti sauce stains, and he had marker stains on his face. Had the picture been a full-length portrait, I'm sure we would have seen him wearing pants that are too short and his rubber rain boots that are beginning to come apart at the soles. The photographer obviously tried his best to make my poor child more presentable by having him cross his arms to hide his stained shirt and combing his hair down a bit. It was all a failed attempt - the portrait was abysmal.
The photographer did not touch the marker stains on Matthew's face. This was probably an attempt to encourage us to opt for the "retouched" portrait option when ordering these fine works of art and have the stains removed digitally as we would acne or rosacea. A nice advertising ploy, but we still won't be ordering these pictures. No amount of retouching could save them. I also do not wish to preserve such a fine moment of parental failure.
However, I wish I could share them with you. They really were hilarious. Paul and I laughed for a good while when we saw them.
And it could have been worse. Like what happened to this kid.