My children have outgrown so many outfits already this year, I’m starting to get concerned. They just keep getting taller, and they’re harder on their clothing now than when they were infants who barely moved, so every week I’m having to replace something. Even the baby, who until now has been dressed almost exclusively in hand-me-downs, has needed new clothes because nothing lasts as long as I think it should. Worn-through knees in pants, torn sleeves, holey pockets… I don’t think a single piece of their clothing is intact.
That’s why, every time someone asks me what they should get one of my kids for a birthday or holiday, I reply, “CLOTHING!” Because my kids always need clothing. Especially socks and pyjamas. Why do none of them seem to own matching socks, or pyjama tops that actually go with the pyjama pants they want to wear each night? And why does my seven-year-old insist on wearing summer pyjamas in the dead of winter, then complaining he’s too cold, and winter pyjamas when it’s sweltering outside, then complaining he’s too hot?
Last week my two-year-old turned three, and my sister-in-law gave her four brand-new pairs of leggings for her birthday present. I was THRILLED. Miss Three was only interested in the wrapping paper. Master Seven looked at the gift, disgusted. “You can’t PLAY with PANTS!” he sneered. No, but you also can’t PLAY outside in public without PANTS, despite what he may think. One needs pants to go to the local playground, to the zoo, to a friend’s house for a playdate — excuse me, I mean a HANGOUT (as Miss 13 is constantly reminding me).
With one more week of school holidays to go, I figured I better sort out the summer uniforms. Miss 13’s uniform is the same for summer and winter terms, and thankfully, it still fits — although her skirt is covered in paint splotches from art class, which never seem to come out no matter what stain treatment I attempt. She also wears the same shoes for summer and winter terms, so no need for new ones this year.
Master Seven, however, is a different story. His summer uniform is completely different to his winter uniform, with the addition of sandals. And he appears to have grown since Term One. In fact, he appears to have grown so much, he now needs a completely new summer uniform. New shirts, new shorts, new sandals. I look at that kid and all I can see is dollar signs.
The last day of Term Three, he came out to the car holding his backpack in front of him. “Mum, I need a new backpack,” he told me. I looked. His backpack was ripped right through the zipper. It was a good-quality Buzz Lightyear backpack that had lasted him through two years of preschool and three years of school, and it couldn’t make it just one more term to the end of the school year before getting ripped?
“I’m too old for Buzz Lightyear, anyway,” he told me, shrugging off his favourite childhood character and stabbing knives into my heart at the same time. He’s outgrown his backpack now, apparently. I just hope he doesn’t outgrow me anytime soon.
Editor, Tots to Teens