Over the past school year, my son developed a fascination with all things military. He shares this interest with a number of his preschool friends. As I recall my own youth, I find that it is not so unusual. I played “army” regularly as a child, as did most of my friends.
A consequence of my son’s military phase is his desire to wear camouflage clothes. Camouflage pants weren’t so easy to find in size 4T when I was a boy, or I probably would have been bent upon getting a pair to go with my plastic army helmet.
When my son first began his collection of camouflage fashion wear, it was cold outside. He was either indoors or playing in snow the entire time. The kid in the Camo jacket or pants stood out against painted walls or people dressed in winter clothes. It made him easy to spot.
Then something alarming happened. That sneaky outdoors got to looking very much like summer.
In summer, camouflage clothing does that horrible thing it was developed to do.
Two weeks ago, my wife took the boy to his preschool’s end-of-year picnic. Still in her winter frame of mind, she let the boy convince her that he should wear Camo from head to toe. It would make him easy to see among the other children.
And maybe it did, except the park had lots of other things besides children. These other things are known as trees and bushes.
My wife called me from the picnic. She laughed as she explained their miscalculation. “Oh my Gosh,” she said, “he’s playing over by the tree line and I can hardly see him. Now I have to pay even closer attention.” This was not part of the plan.
It was a disappointing development, because my wife is a good talker. She would much rather be chatting it up with the other moms than trying to follow the one tiny bit of human foliage around a park filled with vegetable foliage. It’s difficult to be an engaging conversationalist when you can scarcely lay down your binoculars, making it toilsome to spare an eye for your speaking companions.
But my wife would have made a good soldier too. She’s a problem solver. If she had trouble tracking the object of her surveillance, she’d find a marker. “It all worked out in the end,” she explained later. “His friend, John, had a bright red shirt on. I made him play with John all afternoon.”
“Did he want to play with John?” I asked.
She shrugged. “As far as I know, he did.”
Let that be a lesson to the boy. If he wants to wear Camo to the park, he’s bound to be the best friend and playmate of the kid with the loudest clothes.