There's a time-honored tradition between parents and kids, and it's called fighting over clothes. It's a tradition I've decided to break with, however, because there are certain battles I don't find worthwhile. Clothing--along with food, ear-piercing, hair, and jumping on our crappy furniture--is one of them.
I more or less let my kids leave the house wearing whatever cockamamie combination of clothes they want. Their grandmother (my mother) is a compulsive consumer of Baby Gap, and once exceeded the "transaction limit" there while purchasing clothes for my kids and all my friends' kids here in Alaska. I had no idea that stores even had "transaction limits," and I bet you didn't either. You're welcome.
Anyway, because my kids are outfitted by grandma, their clothes are generally pretty nice. That doesn't stop Isaac from dressing as a "ninja" in black long underwear three days a week, and it doesn't stop Paige from wearing stripes and polka dots together.
My reluctance to fight with my kids over clothes can be explained by three words: The Cat Jumper. The Cat Jumper was my childhood sartorial boogeyman. A hideous (to me) gray corduroy dress with an applique felt cat head in the middle. It looked like this:
(Side note: I'm no better at spelling "corduroy" now than I was in 1982).
My mom thought The Cat Jumper was the cutest thing ever, and in retrospect, it was. But to me it was horrible, and I cried every single time she tried to make me wear it, which was often. She couldn't understand why I hated it so much, and as I recall, the reason I hated it and the reason she loved it were one and the same: It was adorable and infantilizing. The Cat Jumper is the main reason I didn't really balk when Isaac refused to wear these to school this week:
"I don't want anyone to see me in that!" My not-quite-five-year-old son exclaimed with horror when I pulled these out of his dresser drawer. I capitulated, because although I thought the shorts were cute in an ironic way, I also realize that five might be too young to appreciate fashion-based irony. Plus, they definitely kind of looked like something Prince George would wear while playing polo. In other words, a total weiner-fest. I was actually sort of proud of Isaac for recognizing how lame they were. So I put the plaid shorts away and let the matter drop.
It was some time later that multiple friends sent me photos of the latest in men's swim fashion: the crochet mesh bikini. Prepare to feast your eyes on THESE:
Someone pointed out that in the latter picture, the model's twig and/or berries (it's not clear which) appear to have been eliminated by a careless photo-shopping job, "shrinkage," and/or a very unfortunate man-scaping accident or anatomical anomaly.
In any event, I really hope that my lax attitude toward clothing will allow my kids to develop their own personal style, and that one day Isaac will proudly strut the beach looking exactly like this:
Because THIS, people, is every woman's dream! The other thing is that this guy looks very smart. Don't you agree? I mean, it's obvious that the brain underneath that spiky, thinning, product-tousled hair is full of smarts and good ideas, the best of which are being stored in future-man-boobs and a marsupial neon pink crotch-pouch in order to accommodate the overflow capacity in this grease ball's Einstein-ian noggin.
I can only hope that Isaac will take after this fine specimen, and I think his unwillingness to wear plaid shorts is promising.