"Why are you so weird?"
It is said with love, I swear, and it is asked nearly every day in our home. Sometimes we laugh that he got a good dose of strangeness from his dad's side of the family. And then we laugh harder and admit my genes delivered all the quirkiness he'd ever need right to him.
Lil E started dressing himself when he was in kindergarten, insisting he hated all "crunchy pants" and was disgusted by shirts with buttons. He proudly paired camouflage tees with striped athletic pants and unrolled his socks so that his feet were never matched up.
One of his friend's moms called his look "urban athletic chic," a kind way to say the kid was swathed daily in pants that swish and t-shirts that touted some vintage Star Wars endeavor or another.
Before the kooky clothes combos, it was his hair that was wild. Every school photo shows off his bedhead, where the cowlicks push his locks straight up, particularly if a trim is long overdue and his mop-top has mushroomed out.
"Ehhhh," I've reasoned, "it's adorable now. When he's 17 or 34? Not so much. May as well embrace it now."
This kid doesn't just look wackadoodle on some days. He also acts weird.
He dances crazy, regularly lapses into a British accent, is working on perfecting his sarcastic comeback timing and is a master of on-the-spot improved potty-centered songs. Plus, there's his secret knowledge of too many Katy Perry lyrics and an affinity for Mr. Bill.
Did I mention his hands are double-jointed and he will happily fashion his finger into unnatural claws with a shrug of his bony shoulders and a nonchalant, "Yeahhhh, this is just a quirk about my body."
My child doesn't have to be gifted in weird. In fact, I think it makes him fit right in.
I see what's happening at school pick-up. I am aware my kid is no weirder than yours. I say that with deep love, particularly for the girls on the playground in tutus and glitter UGGs and chef hats. I say that with respect for the kids who pump their fists to go to chess club after school and the ones who insist on wearing a sweatshirt that's six sizes too small while they perform for the winter assembly. I will double-high five any kid who genuinely enjoys "The Cosby Show" reruns or shares with the class her desire to be a poop scientist or is fully convinced he can fashion his own costume out of his baby woobie, a Hello Kitty band-aid and a box of Cheerios. I am smitten every time a child says loudly and proudly that SHE LOVES FRACTIONS or is really concerned about global warming or likes broccoli best of all.