Posted by Callie
My mother used to tell me that she started fighting with me when I was 2 years old about what I was going to wear that day. I started very early making sure that I was in control of the appearance that I put forth into the world. (She also says, in contrast, that my sister would probably still to this day allow someone to lay out her clothes for each morning because that would be one less thing to worry about- to each her own.)
Before I became a mom, and I would hear these stories and think, “She is clearly exaggerating. There is no way a 2 year old would ever be that difficult. I mean, you’re the adult. Just force the kid to wear the clothes.”
I have now discovered, having quite the strong-willed child of my own, that the universe is cruel, has a vindictive and annoying sense of humor, and likes to punish fabulously amazing adults who used to be snotty little assholes.
Fast forward to present day and I would like to outwardly warn the world that Noah is exactly the same way about choosing his own sense of style as I was at the very same age. It started early when he discovered that he could be a superhero any day of the week… all he needed was a cape. He received his first shirt with a cape as a present from our neighbors for his 2nd birthday. From this day forward, Noah was Batman.
I then spent the next year searching and looking for more shirts with capes because he suddenly had to wear a cape every day, all the time, even when he slept. We ventured out to Superman when the Batman shirts were dirty.
Then, the sad, sad day came when his teacher pulled me aside (and this is always terrible news- it is never good news when the teacher pulls you aside) and asked that I no longer send Noah to school in a cape because “he cannot seem to wear his listening ears and a cape at the same time.”
Damn! She just put it out there like that. No sugar coating it… No more capes.
He has been okay with it for the most part. Often times, we have to change into a cape as soon as we get home from school and he is somewhat obliged with a regular, capeless Batman shirt (but deep down, he knows it is not the same).
[I always do feel really sad when I put a regular shirt on him and his sweet little voice asks, “Does this shirt have a cape on it?” I do not like reminding him about the listening ears comment.]
However, remember when I mentioned the cruel and vindictive universe thing?? There is apparently also this crazy phenomenon with southern boys in which they refuse to wear long pants in the winter time. I remember talking to moms about it when Noah was a baby and thinking, “Even if this does happen, it obviously won’t happen to Noah until he is at least 8 or 9 years old, right?” When will I learn to shut the hell up?
Last winter, when he had just turned 2 years old, and North Carolina had the most snow-filled winter in recent history, Noah decided that he no longer wanted to wear pants and developed a very strategic kicking movement that made it absolutely impossible to force him in to a pair of 2T pants. In fact, he has perfected this move and even added a bit of a pelvic thrust to it that has been known to force his feet into the air with such speed that it may have bloodied my lip a time or two.
I eventually was able to make myself feel better about the whole process by making him wear really tall socks with his shorts so that only his knees were exposed. His teachers said they thought it was funny but I could feel their judgment.
I was hoping that the hatred of pants was just a phase and, surely this winter, he would embrace the long pants and admit that 29 degrees outside is way too cold for shorts (oh, and we have regular fights about putting on a jacket too, but that story can wait for another day). Early in the fall, he actually put on a pair of jeans because we were able to convince him that jeans have pockets and that means he can take toy cars to school (he later informed us that it also meant that he could hide them from his teachers too). It worked for a little while.
Once it really turned to winter and it got really cold outside, the struggle began. I’m not really sure how it happened but, one day, when I was already going to be late to work and Noah was running around in his underwear because he had managed to defeat me in the battle of “you must wear pants,” Matt suggested that he wear his pajamas pants under his shorts.
“Okay!” Noah says with the most excitement ever and I am just shaking my head and already thinking about what I was going to say when I drop him off at preschool. [It’s all right… he is clothed, safe, and not showing bare white legs.]
Obviously, this became a thing and he began wearing pajama pants under his shorts every day. I still had to find shorts that had pockets so he could keep his toy cars hidden from sight. (Except for the one say that his Ninja Turtles shorts did not have pockets so he kept his shark hat on all day and stuck his toy car under his hat. Creative, huh.)
I even spent last weekend searching the children’s stores trying to find leggings or tights that would fit him and were not covered in ruffles or hearts. I eventually found striped leggings (that were actually displayed in the boy section at Osh Kosh so I bought them). I told him they were boy-leggings and he was happy.
And, the teachers have stopped giving him “that look” when I drop him off and the other parents always say things like, “We always love to see what Noah is going to wear today!”
He marches to the beat of his own drum and no one can say that he doesn’t have style.