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I Want to Be a Fifth Grader Again

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...or at least dress like one!

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Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: Forget about being as smart as a fifth grader, I just went to my son's holiday assembly at his elementary school, and with all the rainbow-striped tights and floppy hats I saw, I want to dress like one.

No really, I do.

Toe socks, rawhide bracelets, jean mini-skirts, clogs with flowers stenciled on them, soft-cotton t-shirts and training bras -- I want to wear all of it. As I sat waiting for my son's class to make its way to the stage I was assaulted by a fantastic succession of adorable outfits and I couldn't help wondering how I would look in them. Could I pull it off? And if not, why?

Why is it that a 12-year-old girl in purple knee socks with red ballet slippers and a cockeyed French beret looks so cute and yet that same outfit on a 40-plus woman is a clear indication that she's disturbed? Or desperately in need of attention, or both?

I'm no clothes-ologist, or Dr. of Garment Studies, but I have to admit this phenomenon intrigues me. This afternoon, I wanted to test it. Perhaps it was the ample time it took to set up each grade in between the "all new" interpretations of "Silent Night," "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Let The Sunshine In" that gave my mind time to wander. Or maybe it was that I can't avoid replaying my childhood in my mind while watching my son grow up. All I know is that seeing those toe socks and that specific rainbow pattern I wore as a girl made me want to leap on stage and rip them off the grade-schooler, pull them up my legs and be transported back to that age. I wanted to be in the school choir again, singing the solo because my voice was always too big to blend in anywhere, much like my personality, and know what I know now -- that it was okay to be silly and make mistakes and not know the answer all the time because it was all going to be all right. Or sometimes it wasn't and I'd get through that, too. The only certainty was how mind-numbingly fast it would all go -- and that no one recommends a rainbow-colored interview suit.

Instead I kept my ass on my metal folding chair and smiled with my whole face watching my son try to remember the lyrics and straining to reach the high notes.

In what will feel like five minutes from now, I'll be the one straining to see my son move the tassle on his graduation cap to the left -- or the right -- I can never remember. Whichever one means it's time to leave home. Or at least time to stop wearing the bunny slippers.



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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 2:52 PM

Good article. Nice and fun reading. I have one observation to give about tee shirts.


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