Saturday, May 18, 2013

I Just Hope You Understand...Sometimes the Clothes Do Not Make the Man

The three-year-old is starting to demand a say in dressing himself every day. That results in some mysterious clothes combinations and a beginning of the end of the days when his collar somehow matches his socks, which makes his mom sad. (Mom insists on dressing her boys like they have graduated from schools we'll never be able to afford. She obviously has never paid attention to what she married.) But before we examine some of the issues we encounter with the boy trying to dress himself, let's take a look at his storied career in clothing so far:

--Three time winner of the prestigious yet vague "Slugger" award, according to his pajamas.
--Two-time "Pitching Ace" award winner, according to a shirt he has repeatedly barfed on.
--Six-time "Mommy's All-Star" even though Mommy needs to have at least three more boys to field a team in any major North American sport.
--Various positional/sports activity designations such as "Short Stop," "Slam Dunk" and "Football."
--Uniform #05 retired because no athlete in the history of sports has ever worn the number 05.

Maybe someday Daddy will start a separate boys' clothing line that promises kids will become "Daddy's Long Snapper," "Off Sides," "Nana's Bench Warmer," "Fumble Prone," or "20-Game Loser." But that's for spare time.

For now, though, while we appreciate his efforts to save us little slices of time during the morning free-for-all by dressing himself, mostly Mommy and I would rather he let us (by us we mean Mommy) pick out the boy's clothes. This week, we picked out a perfectly fine set of clothes, if it were January, or if we lived at the North Pole, but not for a 75-degree day. This means that we actually have to start paying attention to the local weather girl, not just debate whether her boobs are real. (I do that with my wife, not my kids.)

A truly great thing about kids is their innocent ignorance of societal norms. (It explains why they love riding in minivans so much. Except when the van's air conditioning is shot and they have just the stifled breeze from the back windows that open outward, only to the width of their noses.) But it's also what possesses them to pull their socks up so high when they wear sneakers. So we dial back his socks to a less Catholic schoolgirl uniform-ish level.

One rule of toddler haberdashery is that if they like it well enough, who cares if it still fits. We've worn hockey jerseys better suited for displaying navel rings. We try to wear shoes we've already bequeathed to our little brother. We consistently attempt to wear flood pants.

Color coordination is at best optional but mostly coincidental. Any two items can and will work, and if something doesn't have a sports team logo on it, it damn well better be littered with smiling animals that will rip your face open, like dinosaurs and sharks, or eardrum-obliterating vehicles, like jets and bulldozers.

Even after we decide what to wear, he still struggles at times with his footing. We were thinking about putting him in ballet, like the great Lynn Swann. Not so he could make catches like this in the Super Bowl like Lynn Swann, but so he could stand and put his pants on without needing to wear a helmet like Lynn Swann.

He also has a tough time putting his socks on. Although so do we, because he retains the gene that causes his toes to fan out like a peacock's feathers when his socks are only 22% on. We would all save 3 minutes per school day if he didn't do this. That's 540 minutes per person per year. That's 45 man-hours lost every year to an infuratingly tedious, highly preventable ritual that MUST STOP NOW. But I think he thinks deep down it's funny, so it will go on until the day after his wedding day.

The type of shoes he wears daily is determined exclusively by which pair we can find. The other pairs are usually stuck under a table in a room other than his bedroom, so by Thursday each week he's wearing a baseball shirt, baseball shorts, socks pulled up to just below the knee, and shiny black tuxedo shoes.

Once Mom finally gets her way and he's wearing something borderline appropriate with minimal haggling, we'll notice as we're unloading at Daycare a crooked white stripe starting at the sternum and ending somewhere around his heart, like a crudely drawn reverse Nike swoosh. 

Kid also likes to brush his own teeth.


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