What Goes On The Body Doesn't Always Stay On The Body

Sometimes it's "back upstairs," when this mom sees what her sons are wearing.

My oldest and youngest sons, 13 and 6, have a morning ritual in common.

They reach their hand into their closets, grab the nearest pair of pants and shirt, and put them on.

Thankfully, most of the time, it works out just fine. But some mornings, I’m “ACK! Those pants are too short!” Or, [cringe] “That shirt really clashes with those pants.” Or, [giving the ensemble a closer inspection] “Those dressy corduroys really don’t work with a sweatshirt.”

All of the above result in a: “Go upstairs and change,” which is always followed by a loud groan.

I’ve tried to teach them the common tips for knowing when something no longer fits. Ankles or wrists visible, bad. Any bit of stomach showing when arms are reached overhead, also bad. And, I’ve explained how some color combinations just don’t work. A bright orange shirt with black and red pants, not so good.

With David, 13 and growing like a weed, it’s become important to take the fit test more often. What fit yesterday, may not fit today. Truth be told, he’s not much of a morning person and doesn’t really care about fashion. Bleary eyed and half-asleep, for him, the reach and grab method of dressing is easiest. So what if the shirt is from his 11-year-old brother’s basketball tournament? He doesn’t care. There’s no fuss. He’s warm, dressed and ready to face the day.

For Reese, 6, picking out what he wears each day is more about him doing something by himself and then just being done with that job for the day. When I ask him to change, the groan is often followed by: “But I’m sooooo tired.” Or, “That will take sooooooo long.”

“Back upstairs,” I say.

Both boys often respond with, “It’s fine, Mom.”

And so I’ve learned to pick my battles. Sometimes a little color clash is OK. If they are comfortable heading out the door, then most of the time I can be too.

But this morning was another matter. First, David’s entire outfit was wrong. He forgot about a school fieldtrip to see a play. Athletic pants and a T-shirt weren’t going to cut it. Then, he decided a collared shirt and athletic pants fit the bill. I suggested jeans. “But Mom, we’re not supposed to wear jeans.” I sent him back upstairs for khakis. Lots of groaning later, he comes down with pants that were a tad short, but no ankles showing.


The khakis weren’t even wrinkled.

Suzanne Flynn March 26, 2011 at 12:51 PM
I could have written this article!! I am the same way with my boys, 8 and 4. My four year old wants to dress himself and normally I let him. Unless we're going somewhere "nice" he can wear whatever he wants - but it's a HUGE battle if he has to change. Yesterday he wore a red/white/black striped t-shirt with black and white camo pants! We were just staying home most of the day....but when we headed out to dinner I made him change his shirt "It has jelly on it from lunch" I told him - it really did! But that helped ease the battle!! And my 8 year old just doesn't care what he's got on or if it matches. Most the time it's okay...but I too have to say "back upstairs to change" when the pants are too short or he looks totally ridiculous on a day that it's not okay!


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