Reality Chic: It’s Only A Phase

Jennifer Hatcher by Jennifer Hatcher
photography by Elisabeth Nixon Photography

Phases. All kids go through them. With six children, six lively personalities, we have definitely had our share of phases in this home.

Some phases are rather delightful, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

One daughter went through the Wear a Bathing Suit Under the Clothes phase. She liked feeling the tight fabric against her skin, so she wore a bathing suit. Every. Single. Day.

The other daughter went through a Laura Ingalls Wilder phase. We ordered prairie dresses from eBay. Friends gave her bonnets.  She pretended the bunk beds were a covered wagon. She wore her hair in two braids. Little old ladies in the grocery store thought she was adorable. This phase lasted a wonderfully long time.

Two sons have been extremely attached to an Old Navy basketball jersey and matching shorts, what I nicknamed the Wanna Be a Basketball Player phase. It’s amazing these clothes lasted through four boys without falling apart. My oldest son wore this basketball uniform every day. At bedtime, he would reluctantly take the clothes off so I could wash them overnight; then he would wear them again the next day. When my youngest went through this phase, he would often wear them during the day, and then beg to sleep in them at night. Because I have a 24-hour rule when it comes to wearing an article of clothing (a rule I never imagined I’d have to create – another one of the surprises of motherhood), I would explain that if he slept in the basketball uniform, he could not wear it the next day.

Some phases are less endearing. These are the phases that require plenty of deep breaths and reassurances that “this too shall pass.”

My oldest son was absolutely obsessed with building a Duplo block creation that would float. In honor of the popular Late Night With David Letterman segment, I like to refer to this as the Will It Float? phase. I lost count of the times my bathroom sink overflowed during the test-floats. And I don’t want to think about how many times the Duplo blocks floated in the toilet without being disinfected afterward.

That same son regularly laid out elaborate webs of yarn, string or dental floss while I was in the shower. I affectionately call this the Booby Trap phase. I probably still have scars from the times I was caught in one of these traps.

My fifth-born went through a very strange Powdered Food and Drink phase. He loved dumping out and playing in powdery things. So one night, he hid under the table with a container of Parmesan cheese and created Mt. Cheesemore. Another day, he grabbed the Country Time and sprinkled the hallway with a fresh lemony scent. And one morning, he snagged a packet of Old El Paso taco flavoring and seasoned his bedroom carpet Tex-Mex style, sometimes I just went and get a Maid Zone service in the area and worry about it. But for months after cleaning these messes up, every time I would vacuum and the smell would recirculate, some child would shout, “Are we having tacos and lemonade for dinner?” Much to their disappointment, I would reply, “No, Momma’s just vacuuming the carpets, I don’t need a carpet cleaning Las Vegas to help me!”

The youngest, the Baby-of-the-Family, went through an excruciatingly long Dictator in Training phase when he was two. In caveman-style English, he would scream out demands to everyone around him. Not only would I have to patiently explain to him the proper way to speak to people and ask for things, I would have to remind his doting older sisters not to give in to the Little Dictator’s demands.

I think all the boys went through an Unroll the Toilet Paper phase. What joy there must be in tossing a roll of toilet paper and watching it unfurl! For an embarrassingly long time, there was always a basket of messily-folded, unrolled toilet paper in the bathroom (because I wasn’t just going to waste it all!).

Actually, this phase may still be on-going. Just last week, there was a giant wad of clean toilet paper in the laundry room. This was the same day I heard loud snapping sounds coming from the laundry room, and I found myself shouting, “We don’t play with mousetraps!” I’m really hoping that’s not a new phase!

Originally posted 5/13/2012

1 Comment

  1. Martha says:

    Love this, love this! And the photo is fabulous! Now I’m going to have to think about some of the phases from around here. I know there was definitely the Spiderman phase, where every day for WEEKS Andrew wore a costume we had gotten cheap after Halloween! Not sure I washed that every day…Mother says that I went through a phase around age 2 where all I would eat was pineapple and cheese. And I know for a long time, Elizabeth had to go to bed with EVERY ONE of her stuffed animals. Some nights I wondered if there was any room for her…wait…come to think of it, she still sleeps with a ton of “friends.” Ha!

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