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The Dressed Up Lesson

Teachings of a Three Year Old.

by Hal Evan Caplan
October 16, 2007

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The Dressed Up Lesson
The Dressed Up Lesson_Hal Evan Caplan-Teachings of a Three Year OldAs grown men, we sometimes forget to use our gentlemanly manners. Fortunately, I have my teacher to help in such times. My teacher is my 3 year old son. And on more occasions than not, I find myself in the middle of one of his lessons. Often, these little lessons can take place without me even realizing that I am smack dab in the middle of it...

I'm just a guy talking here...but the time it takes us to get dressed up for a suit and tie occasion is a non-issue, at least for me, even if there is 10 minutes left until it's time to go. I could be sitting in front of the TV watching the ballgame in shorts, t-shirt and sporting a 5 o'clock shadow on my face and I'll be ready and "waiting to go", somewhere in the 5 to 7 minute time frame, as long as my shirt is already ironed and my pants pressed.

As for the time it takes a woman to get ready for a fancy function...well, I'm not even going to attempt to touch that one. Let's just say that typically, it takes a woman a bit more time than 5 to 7 minutes to get ready. My wife is no exception. Don't get me wrong, I understand that appearance is an important part of a formal event. Plus, it is fun to people-watch at these types of affairs, but that is another story for another time.

My wife and I were invited to a dress-up function. On the day of the function, as the time got closer for us to leave, I continued to watch the clock...and the TV...and played on the floor with my teacher. I actually was concerned with leaving us on time. Now, I am trying to be diplomatic about saying this, but let's just say that I wasn't concerned about the time it would take for ME to be ready...

When it was time for me to get ready for the evenings festivities, I raced upstairs, shaved, showered and dressed in my suit and tie. This all fell within my normal 5 to 7 minutes time frame. Then, I went back downstairs to continue to watch the ballgame and to play with my teacher, best as one could when wearing a suit. Once my teacher and I began to play, he asked me an interesting question.

"Dad, how come it takes Mommy much, much longer to get ready?" He asked.
"Because she is a wom… because she just needs a little bit longer to get ready." I replied.
"Why?" He wanted to know.
"That's how it goes sometimes." I answered.
"Oh...but why?" He questioned.
"Is it because she is prettier than you?" He whispered.
"That's exactly it; Mommy IS much prettier than me." I emphasized.
"I know she is..." He added with a snicker.

As my teacher and I continued to play, my lesson had started in motion. I could see that my teacher was in deep thought, the wheels in his head were spinning, and I was actually curious as to what he was thinking.

"You have a puzzled look on your face." I expressed.
"What is a “puzzle look”?" He asked.
"Puzzled, not puzzle...It means that you are curious or confused." I answered.
"Wait here a second, please". He asked. Then he just took off and ran up the stairs.

A few minutes later, he came back downstairs and said, "Dad, you look like you."
"OOOkay." I replied. Not really sure what he meant by that remark.
"What do you mean by that?" I asked.
"Well, you are just in your work clothes and Mommy is not." He explained.

Now I was the one who was wearing the puzzled look on my face. I had no idea what he was talking about. Obviously, I understood that since I was wearing a suit and tie, that this was nothing new to him. But what did he mean by his comment, "Mommy was not"?

He started to explain, but I did not understand him yet...

Then, like a scene taken from an old black and white movie, my wife walked slowly down the stairs and my teacher went nuts.

"Dad, look...look at Mommy...look...look!" He roared.
"I am. I am." I uttered.
"No, look at her." He restated.
"I am!" I repeated.

Then he turned to her and said, "Pretty Mommy! Pretty Mommy!"

She looked beautiful; no words came out of my mouth. Just for the record, I feel that my wife always looks beautiful, but this was one of those "all dressed up" beautiful moments that made me speechless.

Then, my teacher walked over to me and motioned for me to bend down so he could whisper in my ear.

He whispered, "Tell Mommy she looks pretty, Dad!" And then ran back to the bottom of the stairs, where she was standing. As I walked closer to her, he said in a loud whisper, "Tell her!"

I looked at my wife and expressed to her that she look stunning.

"She doesn't look sunny", he said, "She looks pretty."
So I explained that "stunning" and beautiful basically mean the same thing.
I walked over to my wife, took her hand and we headed for the door. I asked my teacher how I looked now that my wife and I were standing next to each other. He again replied that I looked like I was going to work.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I learned that day is: At every opportunity, be a gentleman, and compliment your spouse or significant other. And especially let them know they look nice when they are all dressed up.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
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