Monday, January 11, 2016

Blue Jean Baby

When my boys were little, a squirm was enough of a sign for me to know they needed a tag in their shirt cut out.  Their body language told me everything without the need for words.  If I delayed in getting the scissors, the squirm would increase and sometimes a whine or two would escape.

Both always had very definite opinions about their clothing choices, once they were old enough to voice them.  No dressy or itchy shirts, no khakis, no matchy-matchy outfits.  I wonder if they were in a silent torture back in the Garanimal days.

My baby will be sixteen in a week.  For Noah, once puberty hit, the pants came off.  Part werewolf, he lives in shorts and a T-shirt 365 days a year.  And still complains he is hot.

In the beginning, I feared a visit from social services, as I was convinced every mother was shaking her head at the school drop-off each morning and mentally noting my license plate.  I would beg him to wear pants, even sweatpants would be sufficient.  At times, I offered pajama pants just for being out in the cold.  He could cram them in his backpack once inside.  Hoodies became a bargaining chip.
'My legs will get frostbite but my arms will stay warm' reasoning.

After awhile, I just gave up.  He's a big hunk of a boy and I figured if he gets cold enough, he'll wear more clothing.

Aside from wearing shorts, he also makes some very colorful choices.  Remembering my all-black phase from 7th grade, I bite my lip and let him express himself...most of the time.  Bright basketball shorts, a t-shirt that does anything but match, and knee-length boldly colored socks.  All three pieces usually opposites on the color wheel.  Add in a pair of size 15 shoes with neon orange stripes and it is impossible not to notice him.

The other night, he comes to my room and says, "Mom we need to talk."

This, of course, puts me on alert, but I play it cool.  Don't pounce, let him come to you.
I sleepily set up and nonchalantly ask what he needs.

"My boss pulled me aside policy changes...dress code...asked if I even owned pants."

At this point, I'm rolling (and also internally worrying if the question of owning pants was sincere or meant to be funny) but mostly in a fit of laughter from the way he describes their conversation.  He's moaning now, the squirm already inching up his shoulder as he thinks about having to cover his legs.
Tim and I pick on him a few more times before bed and I promise to help him look through his closet in the morning.

The next day he begins the fashion show.  Again, no words are needed as he marches, stiff-legged, out the hallway.  His entire body is tense, as if the blue jeans are physically freezing up his muscles with each step.  One after one, the parade reveals busted zippers, too tight-won't close, and ripped pants.  Two of his jeans have gaping holes in the upper right thigh.  What are you doing to flex and burst through denim fiber in exactly the same spot?!

We manage to find the one decent pair of jeans he was forced to wear to Sadie Hawkins in the fall.  (Seems his girlfriend has more persuasion than momma)  And make a plan to go shopping later that day.

Unsure of his size, as he hasn't been forced to choose a waist/length measurement for quite some time, we load up on a few possibilities and he creates a fort in the nearest dressing room.  Being that he will literally only wear these to work (and probably strip in the car on the way home), I'm going for cheap and scrounging the clearance aisles.  I manage to find a couple under $10, which for the amount of material it takes to cover his football frame, is a steal.

I'm quickly informed; however, they are in fact an impossible color choice.  Apparently, even for a uniform, style matters.  White is not acceptable.  I think about correcting him, as truly they're just a faded washout, but I calculate the irritable scale and decide it is against better judgement to push further buttons.  Under my breath, I do mention that they are a good deal and just work pants but let it go at that.  In the end, we leave an hour later with a couple choices, a few twenties missing from the wallet, and a flustered, red-faced boy.

Saturday night would see his first shift with fully covered legs.  I prayed it wouldn't be too typical of a slammed evening, considering the snowy weather.  Thankfully, he got out in record time and managed to remain fully clothed all the way into the house.

Here's hoping he can survive Tuesday's shift.

And learn to regulate his body temperature before summer arrives.  


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