What (Not) to Wear

In my previous job, I spent quite a bit of time visiting various elementary schools. As I walked around said schools I couldn’t help but notice that some of the kids looked fairly….shabby. Many looked like they’d basically come to school wearing their pajamas. ‘Why don’t their parents dress them a little better?’ I’d wonder to myself. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I think kids should look ‘presentable’ when they go to school. Maybe it’s because I began my school career wearing an unflattering maroon uniform.

But now that I have a kid in school, I understand why those aforementioned kids looked less than stellar. Because they’d dressed themselves and their parents were tired of fighting about clothes, so they let it go.

The Gort went to Kindergarten yesterday. ‘He looks like someone living under a bridge,’ the professor quipped as we headed out the door.

Which, he kind of did. His ensemble du jour consisted of baggy, too-short fleece pants, a white t-shirt several sizes too big and black snow boots that, upon first glance, looked like ill-fitting ankle boots.

I like to think I support my kid’s creative expressions. After all, I’m the person who let him wear a life jacket to a university function last winter. But there comes a point when ‘creative’ turns into ‘sloppy’ or ‘just plain terrible.’

And that’s where we were yesterday, in the ‘just plain terrible’ category.

For starters, the white t-shirt he was wearing….it was a shirt we received as a door prize at an annual University picnic a couple of years ago. It’s emblazoned with a red and white checkered rectangle with ‘Ball State Family Picnic’ printed in the center. And it’s intended for someone much larger than our Kindergartener. Frankly, it’s an ugly t-shirt. One that, if it were mine, I might wear while painting something or using a phenomenally toxic cleaner. That way if I spilled anything on it or ruined it, I wouldn’t care.

But the Gort claims to really like this t-shirt. So until I remember to bury it in his closet, the shirt will continue to make an (unfortunate) appearance.

I’ve tried to preempt the self-selection debacle by presenting him with an outfit to wear; figuring if I remove him from the [clothes selection] equation, he’d end up with a reasonable outfit. But of course it’s not that simple.

The kid has, let’s say, ten long-sleeved cotton t-shirts in different colors. Yet he refuses to wear most of them, claiming they’re ‘too itchy’. It’s a lame excuse that drives me nuts. If the shirts were wool or polyester, I’d buy the itchy argument. If he rejected all of the shirts, I’d buy it too. But the shirts are cotton and tag-less. And he ‘only’ refuses to wear seven of them.

The same goes for pants. One day… jeans are deemed too itchy, the next they’re not. Which means his ‘winter wardrobe’ consists of about three shirts and two pairs of pants.

Last week, disillusioned with his warmer clothes, he dipped into the summer wardrobe and left the house wearing an orange polo short-sleeve t-shirt and navy blue pants with mustard yellow accents. It was a vile combination, not to mention weather inappropriate, and no amount of intercession convinced him otherwise.

This weekend, as I was folding the newly laundered clothes, I came across those blue and yellow pants.

They’ve been enrolled in the witness protection program and are currently living in an undisclosed location…in the dark recesses of the closet.

3 thoughts on “What (Not) to Wear


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