Out, damn dots.

yoyoi kusama / shawn mortensenphoto of yoyoi kusama by shawn mortensen

Last night as we’re heading uptown for a barbecue at Grandpa’s, Thalia springs it on me: Today is Color Day at her camp (a decidedly non-Color Day type camp), in which each kid must wear the specified color of her group.

No problem I thought. We can pull together pretty much any color.

“Only,” she added, “this time they’re doing patterns.

And ours is polka dots.”

Polka dots?


We don’t seem own any clothes with polka dots.

This morning, I ran through this frantic mental inventory of every garment in our house. There’s one cute hat although hats are not allowed. There’s a pajama bottom that we could disguise as leggings but Thalia insists they’re still too big. There’s a single outgrown red and white polka dot bathing suit in the Goodwill bag that in a pinch we could uh…stick over her neck like a cape? (No, that’s pathetic.) Aha! We own one adorable little brown dress with teeny white dots–but of course it was nowhere to be found. Because as we all know, the very things we need are the very things that go hiding when we need them most.

Inanimate objects my ass.

I had horrible flashbacks to her first day of Kindergarten, unable to find the one dress she insisted on wearing. I turned the house upside down in a frenzy, as if it were the deed to our house I couldn’t find, moments before some mustachioed bad guy accompanied by anxiety-provoking piano music, came to tear it down.

I am shaking my fist in the air, cursing the fact that she couldn’t have been in the plaid group. The stripes. The stars or hearts or rainbow. Or chevrons for feck’s sake! Who were the lucky kids who got to wear chevrons? And how much did those parents tip the counselors?

To make matters worse, Nate is screaming WE HAVE TO GO! through the entire ordeal. This is the one morning he’s decided that taking the girls out to breakfast before camp and actually spending quality time with them over pancakes is more important than getting Thalia dressed fabulously for Fucking Polka Dot Day. As I’ve come to think of it.

Priorities? Hello?

As I’m about to send Thalia out the door with her contraband hat and a huge apology, I had a revelation: Scarves. I own a ridiculous number of hand-me-down vintage scarves, all crammed into a basket in the back of the closet and currently serving as a makeshift cat bed.

And so I talked her into a single polka dot headband scarf.

she wore polka dots

It’s no Yayoi Kusama, but she seemed satisfied.

thalia yoyoi mashup

I just hope none of the kids in the group have cat allergies.


18 thoughts on “Out, damn dots.”

  1. Special clothing days and art projects disguised as academic work have the bane of my parenting life. Begging Staples to open back up at 9:10 pm…humiliating really. I might have just taken a marking pen and made my kid polka dotted.

  2. Yup on the marking pen — sharpie circles on plain T?! Or stickers? Round stickers? Stickers cut to be round?! That’s where we would have had to go.

    New rules: if you want kids to wear or do something silly at camp/school…figure it out there! Have everyone wear a solid color and use tape and stickers to create patterns on themselves and each other! More time taken, kids involved and making decisions…winwinwin.

    1. D’oh! Where were you all when I needed you at 6:30 this morning? The sharpie did cross my mind but colorful round stickers – simple and genius.

  3. Dress up days at camp and school drive me crazy. Usually they’re easy, like pajama day or wear your favorite sports team shirt day. But the dress up like a character from history day? I’ve made togas from bed sheets, civil war outfits from women’s blazers, and a monk’s outfit out of a brown snuggie (worn forwards), sandals and rope. Enough already. I am not running the costume department at the local theater company!

    Vent over. Back to work.

  4. I so feel you. Every Wednesday Sophia’s camp has Wacky Wednesday where the kids can dress up and every week there is a theme. The counselor calls you on Sunday night with the theme. Sophia is almost 6 and adamant that she be lookin’ good on stage when her her group goes up. I spend way too much time trying to fashion an awesome superhero or holiday costume in a days without spending a lot of money and it drives me batty. Honestly, I might pay a lot for simple Polka Dots.

  5. OMG, that last line made me laugh so hard! Perfect!

    Belly has a birthday party on Friday night which has a note “Please wear green.” GREEN!??! For a birthday party? And what color do you suppose my oldest has NOTHING in? You guessed it! Have a scarf we can borrow?

  6. oh, i hear you. we were informed about neon day at camp at about 8:00 the night before and of course there is no neon clothing in our house. (i wonder why?) so yes, we did detour to rite aid for some neon nailpolish, and then we decorated a tank top with some neon duct tape. you’d think they could bother to tell you in advance…

  7. See, chevrons might have been my complete undoing. Polka dots, we’ve got covered. Reading this makes me thankful I’m one of those crafty dorks who keeps fabric paints on hand for such occasions 🙂

  8. Teachers and camp people think they are being so brilliant with this stuff. It’s the bane of my existence each time.

    You did good though.

    1. I happen to love this camp. I just wish I had a wee bit more notice than “mom, we need polka dots right now.”

  9. Polka dots? Really? We had a crazy color day in our camp and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what that meant in kid’s clothing. Aren’t all kids clothing crazy colored? You did good. I would have quit the camp at poka dots.

    1. Maybe crazy colors for a kid is heather grey and black.

      Ooh…conceptual. Think they’d get it?

  10. Well, the part about Nate saying, “We have to go NOW!” during all of this made it sound like my house and I laughed out loud. I would have cut some random dots out of cloth and taped them to my kid, so I think you did great.

  11. Huh. I feel like I got off so easy. We also had color day at camp today, and my daughter had to wear….blue. Actually it was tribe theme day, and the helpful counselors decided to have their tribe be a rainbow, with each kid wearing a color that they got to choose, and my helpful daughter going for blue. I did have a little heart attack yesterday afternoon when she burst off the camp bus yelling “MUMMY! We have to go buy some blue face paint right now!!!!” Uh, no. Blue nail polish is trendy though, so I did spring for a bottle of that and we had some nice mother-daughter time painting our nails and watching women’s volleyball. Go USA.

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