I used to really enjoy picking out my kids’ clothes because they were so ridiculously cute — a tiny button-down plaid shirt! A pint-sized pair of corduroy overalls that ensured the wearer would make that comical vip-vip-vip sound while T-Rexing his way around! — and they were certain to fit, as opposed to anything I ever buy for myself. Then the boys started getting lanky and I had to search out adjustable waistbands and Dapper Snappers, but they were still wearing adorable graphic tees and wee jeans and two-toned shoes with contrasting Velcro straps and it was all pretty delightful, shopping-wise.

Somewhere along the line things started changing. They grew out of easy-fit sizes, they developed style preferences, they each have their own set of issues with regards to fabric and cut, and now it is no fun at ALL to buy stuff for them.

Both boys are in between sizes, with Dylan being too big for a size 8 but not quite tall enough for a 10-12. All of Riley’s 10-12 shirts look too short, but the next (generally available) size is a 14-16, which isn’t right either. So good luck finding something that actually fits, but never mind that, the real challenge is finding something that meets their ever-changing fashion requirements.

Dylan is the most fussy when it comes to how things look and feel. The fabric has to be soft and loose, preferably that unpleasant-looking sports material that’s sort of shiny. The sleeves must be long, no matter what, even if it’s the last week of August and everyone is wilting from the heat: LONG. SLEEVES. ONLY. Jeans are tolerable but he would much rather wear workout-type pants or giant baggy shorts, ideally combined with a matching shirt featuring at least one garish fluorescent stripe.

Riley refuses to wear anything with long sleeves even if it’s actively snowing outside: SHORT. SLEEVES. ONLY. He also greatly dislikes sweatshirts, hoodies, coats, and pretty much every other form of outerwear along with patterns, stripes, and graphic elements. He would probably be happy wearing the same pilled-up grey t-shirt for the rest of life but like pretty much all of his clothing it is now too small, and have you tried finding a plain kids’ t-shirt in January, JESUS.

I myself have gotten more and more picky about clothes in recent years — fabric must not itch, cling, bunch, be too tight in the sleeves to properly push up, land at the wrong spot on my waist, or otherwise rudely behave otherwise I feel a sort of shrieky pull towards the nearest cliff — and so I get it. Big kid sizes, big kid druthers.

Still! I do miss those overalls. And the satisfaction of whisking them into a cart, secure in the knowledge they would delight their target audience: me.


It is downright balmy here in Oregon compared to many parts of the country currently experiencing temperatures that don’t even start with an actual number because it’s so cold there has to be a symbol first and the minus sign was in use long before the far more appropriate hands-clasped-to-cheeks-open-mouth holy crap! emoticon, but it IS January and therefore the Great Thermostat Wars have been underway for many weeks.

I hate to be a living cliché but I like it much warmer than John and thus we are constantly at odds over the right winter temperature setting. Admittedly it is hard to argue with his point that the person who is cold can always put on more layers but my feeling is that since he has repeatedly chosen hobbies that involve being cold — winter hunting, SCUBA diving, snow camping — he clearly doesn’t mind it. Like Elsa, he welcomes the discomfort of low temperatures, therefore shouldn’t the house environment be geared towards the person who does not at all enjoy the sensation of impending frostbite?

Plus, I feel like the entire point of living in a house is so that you have shelter from all the unpleasant elements of the great outdoors. Isn’t that why we all get so frustrated when fruit flies take over the kitchen? You’re like: UM I DON’T THINK SO YOU’RE AN OUTSIDE THING. Being inside means you shouldn’t have to bat aside clouds of insects all day, startle a grizzly bear when you stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night, or be forced to wear sixteen sweatshirts plus a pair of novelty fuzzy socks.

He has rudely drawn attention to the fact that his parents infamously keep their house at a temperature I can only describe as “a broiler set to high which is also on the surface of the sun” and my habit of bumping up our thermostat may be linked to my recent inability to switch between peering at a phone and peering at a faraway object without ten full minutes to adjust, meaning I am chilly because I am getting old, but 1) I’m setting the damn thing to 68 degrees here, not 5 MILLION, and 2) shut right up before I whack you with my cane.

We usually find a compromise but of all the deeply lame forms of rebellion I enjoy these days my favorite might be watching his truck pull out of the driveway then heading straight to the little Honeywell box on the wall. SIXTY-NINE, BITCHES.


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