I just had to tell my child to change his clothes. He’s not wearing anything inappropriate for a Saturday afternoon of football-watching and Minecraft-playing, but I’m pretty sure he’s had on the same long-sleeved camouflage shirt and cargo pants since I yelled at him to put on something warmer or I wouldn’t let him go trick-or-treating.
Halloween was day before yesterday.
I actually work to not obsess about cleanliness around here, although my space needs to be tidy. When I say “my space,” I mean every place I inhabit in this house or am likely to pass through on my way to somewhere else. It’s not like we live at Downton Abbey, but there are still entire rooms I’m not going to see on a regular basis, so live it up, people.
Both boys can keep their rooms in whatever state they care to, as long as they put away laundry, and don’t let trash or dishes accumulate. Colin, for obvious reasons, frequently doesn’t have much laundry to put away.
When I was about a year older than he is now, I saved and bought myself a pair of San Francisco Riding Gear jeans. They were all the rage, but mom wasn’t about to shell out twenty-six buck for a pair of froofy, quasi-designer jeans for a twelve year-old. So I bought them. For that year they were, hands-down, the best thing in my closet.
Every day after school I would change out of those jeans and carefully hang them for the next day. It didn’t take too long for mom to notice and institute the “no more than two wearings between washing” rule. I had to alternate between them and the Sears-brand carpenter jeans that had the requisite comb pocket but totally inappropriate yellow stitching and too-dark denim. Bleah.
Colin’s is not a fashion issue, it’s a pickiness issue. He can’t stand certain fabrics or anything with itchy tags. Anything with a recognizable cartoon character or logo is out. College shirts are okay. Camo is great. He will not wear jeans, or anything with elastic. Sleeve length must be precise. Shirts may have neither collars nor buttons. It is extraordinarily hard to shop for him. When he finds what he likes, he wears it. A lot.
For each year we’ve sent him to resident summer camp, Colin has come home with a completely full suitcase of clean clothes. On one drive home, the boys talked about this.
Jack said: “Colin, I saw someone left a pair of underpants in the boys shower. I wondered if they were yours.”
“I’m sure they weren’t. I didn’t change my underpants all week.”
I know. Wow.
Despite the state of his clothing, Colin manages to not stink, nor trail a cloud of dust like the Pig Pen character from the Peanuts cartoon. I have to think his predilection for wearing the same clothing every day could come in handy in some situations, like when he’s in college and can’t wrestle up enough quarters to do his laundry every week.
….Or if he becomes a prisoner of war, or during a zombie apocalypse when he has to make a quick decision about taking family photos, appropriate weaponry, or canned goods and simultaneously decide whether the dress code for battling zombies is more business causal, or purely functional.
I know for a fact that he can go for a good, long time in the same outfit, alternately running from and fighting zombies, until he finds some hardware store in which to scavenge a new pair of cargo pants. Or burlap and a rope.
Or maybe, by virtue of the smell, the zombies won’t be able to detect him and he’ll survive long enough to pass along the family genes. See? He’s not a slob. He’s a survivor. It’s all about perspective.