Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Great Clothing War

This morning my father-in-law approached me with a predicament he had... Apparently his house was way too full of Mac-n-Cheese with not enough people to eat it. And he had a few too many brand new movies he hadn't gotten to watch yet, but sadly no one to watch them with. So could someone please come over to play?

It just so happened I had 2 boys more than willing to help out.

I joyfully leaped at this wonderful opportunity agreed to the idea.

Soon after that phone call, the wheels in my head finally began to spin (the 6 cups of coffee were a little slow at making their way to my brain cells this morning)... Ella was due to take a nap soon and the boys would be gone for hours... what ever would I do with myself?

I could work on craft projects, paint, take a bubble bath, put my clothes away (does anyone else hate doing this?), clean the house, go shopping, make freezer meals,  pay bills (if I could only find the checkbook..), write a blog, edit pictures, read a book, read a magazine ....

Oh the possibilities...

After daydreaming far too long about what I could do, I immediately set to work making a list of things I should do. You know, just a few items that I really thought could be completed in the time they were gone.

There were 12 things on my list (15 if you count the "extras"that I did, then wrote on the list just for the satisfaction of crossing them off). I made sure to be just vague enough to ensure some success on my behalf. I included things such as "pick up" that are truly based on opinion, so if I run out of time, but feel like I made some effort, I had to leeway to cross it off. Smart, huh? Yup, I'm a pro at working my own system.

I included some small-ish items such as mop the floor, sweep stairs, etc. And also some bigger-ish items, such as finish mudding the wall we started renovating 6 months ago and was supposed to be done by Christmas... and the boys' birthday parties.. and this summer... but is still left plaster-white, untextured, with pieces of wood flooring missing.. don't worry-no hard feelings there. It's FINE!

*deep breath...*

I may have overdid it on the list. But I was really excited at the prospect of getting some things done around here! I completely forgot how much more of a mess 3 kids make compared to 2..

Anyways, after the boys left and Ella went down for her nap, I started tackling that list. (I may have squeezed in a little Facebook and got distracted by a few blogs along the way..). But after that I was focused and ready to go. What to do first... Hmmm.. what can't I do while Ella is awake? Which, in her constant state of fussiness this week is... well.. pretty much everything. I did a few smaller things like empty and reload the dishwasher, just to boost my confidence that I could do this.

And then I ventured upstairs. The one (of many) things I'd been struggling with this week was finishing the nightmare of sorting through the boys' summer and next-size-up clothing. Please tell me I'm not the only one who dreads this.. I thought it wouldn't take that long, considering I had spent 2 hours in the attic last weekend, sorting, folding, putting away. I figured the hard part was done. ha!

I began with Nolan's clothes, since I knew he probably had some in his dresser that could go immediately into Charlie's. I was right. He is 6. Not a huge 6, but 6 nonetheless. The problem is, some of his 4's still fit. Charlie is 4. Rightfully, the 4's should be his. But really, he still fits in most of his 3's. So should he get the 4's or be forced to wait until next year, when the possibility exists that he may outgrow them? After too many minutes of contemplation, I unloaded the 4's from Nolan's dresser and put them into Charlie's.

I moved on to the size 5's. Many of them still fit. I was willing to keep the size 5 t-shirts in his drawer for this summer, but what about the long sleeve shirts? Am I going to store them all summer, taking up precious dresser storage room, making it so difficult to open to over-filled drawers that when one of the boys tries to pull on the knob, the entire things tips over on top of him, only to find out in the fall that he's now too big for most of them, thus having to sort through them yet again? Same thing with the jeans.

Then I started looking at the box of size 6 clothes. Last weekend I had sorted the 6's into 2 boxes. The winter-ish clothes stayed in the attic, leaving me only the summer-ish clothes. This shouldn't be too bad. But then I started looking closer. Why do clothing companies assume when your child turns 6 they instantly blow up like a big fat balloon? Are our school lunch programs that unhealthy that as soon as a child starts Kindergarten, society accepts the fact that they will triply in width?? Seriously... These shirts are GINORMOUS! (yes too that is a word, spell checker...)

Check this out. The shirt on top is a 5. The shirt on bottom is a 6.
HUGE difference!

But that's not the worst of it. It would be ok if ALL the size 6 shirts were this way. I mean, really easy. I would just throw them all back in the attic until next summer and succumb to the fact that I have shrimpy kids. But nooooo.... some of the size 6 shirts are actually wearable. So that leaves me sorting through every.single.shirt. just to try to guess which ones might fit Nolan and which ones I could potentially wear... I mean, if I were into dinosaurs and monster trucks and that sort of thing. Hmmm... That's actually not a bad idea. Might be an option on those weeks laundry doesn't get done and I run out of clean t-shirts.

To make matters even worse, at this age clothing companies seem to develop decision-making phobias.. Instead of the typical 2T, 3T... all of a sudden I see 5, 6, 6-7.. Wait.. what? What the heck does 6-7 mean?? Is it a SIX or a SEVEN??? Make a decision!! Those seemed to be slightly bigger, so should I just throw them back in the attic with the 7's? Because, really, who are you kidding.. that's what they really are. But then the 7-8's should be in the 8 box? And are there 8-9's that should go in a 9 box? How long does this nonsense go on???

I finally gave up and moved over to Charlie's dresser. There, I was confronted with many too many 2T shirts. He is FOUR!! I sorted through each and every one. I even embarrassingly found a few 18-24 month shirts... They were BIG 18-24 month ones though!! They were... I swear.

So, checking every tag I filled his dresser with the 4T's that were so recently unknowingly "gifted" to him by his brother. I also had to look closely at the 3T shirts. There were some 3T shirts that still fit great, some that are still too big, and some that are the size of those 18-24 month shirts I found... Each and every shirt had to be unfolded, studied, folded again, and put into the appropriate pile. Some I actually took into account what the tag said "Oh, it says 3T, so it must go in the 3T box." But others made it so glaringly obvious that what was labeled a 4T was really more like a 2T, so the rebel in me took delight in putting it in the "wrong" box.

And I had to decide what to do with the 4T long sleeve shirts.. Do I fill his dresser now because by next winter he'll be wearing them? But what if he still fits in the 3T ones? I could get one more year out of them. I don't want to put them away in the attic, because what if I forget about them?? We might miss out on a whole size of clothes, with him being forced to wear too small 18-24 month clothes because I forgot we had more!!

Oh, the heartache..

And then there were the shorts.. and the tank tops.. and the swimming trunks.

They weren't any better.

Example #2. These shorts are the same size!!
There is at least a 4 inch difference there... Can you feel my agony??

The piles of clothes were beginning to accumulate around me. I realized they were towering over me, taking the form of giant mountains.. no wait! volcanoes.. And there were about to erupt all over me. I was going to be buried alive. I began to fear suffocation. How long would I lay here in misery? Who would find me?

Those fears forced me to dig deep, channel my inner strength, and triumph out of this great depth of clothing despair I was in. It was a very similar situation to the man who had to cut his own arm off after falling on a climb, just to survive. Believe me.. it was.

I was frantically searching... Is this a 6 or a 6-7? Is it a "fat" 6 or a "regular" 6? Is it a 6 that will fit my 6 year old or a 6 that might fit when he graduates high school? And this 4... Is it a 4 like a 6? or a 4 like a 2? Or a... 4 like a... *gasp.. 4??? And here is the pile of 5's that still fit Nolan. And the pile of 5's that are too small that might fit Charlie, the pile of 5's that are too small for Nolan yet too big for Charlie, and the pile of 5's that might fit Nolan right now, but I'm not sure if they still will this winter, so do I put them away in the abyss of the attic, or do I keep them out, knowing I will have to sort them again if I do..

I am currently proposing legislation to standardize children's clothing sizes. One pattern shall be used by all.

Can you imagine for a moment what a serene place this world would be if we mothers didn't have to suffer through the troubling torture of dishonest clothing tags? We would clearly have more time to spend with our children, more energy to do crafts and bake cookies. Our children would be happier, not only because their mothers were not walking around in a frazzled tizzy muttering things like "Why call it a 5 if it fits like a 4..." but also because for once in their lives their clothing fits. Don't you get crabby when your jeans are too tight? I do. Maybe that's the real reason Charlie threw a huge temper tantrum when I asked him to clear his plate from the table today... His jeans were too tight!

I truly believe this could solve so many world problems.

On a side note: I do realize that the sheer volume of the boys' clothing adds to my drama. Just for fun I counted Nolan's t-shirts (the ones that fit). There were 52 of them. 52!!! And that's not even counting the ones in the dirty clothes basket. I also counted Charlie's shorts... 37 pairs of shorts.

Do you realize the enormity of what this means??? I only have to wash their clothes once this entire summer!!!!! whohoo!

If 'anyone' would like to point out the fact that I could save myself some misery by cutting back on rummaging, I do believe that someone could be sleeping on the couch tonight. Yes, I think you know who you are. 

And no, I still did not get that wall mudded. *sigh...


  1. I just have to say...I'm glad I'm not the only mom who is neurotic about this:)

  2. I had a good laugh at this!! I, personally, think it would be easier to buy 1 big ass dresser and tell the kids "you figure it out".

    I went through this not to long ago with Lynden. He'll be 4 in the fall but outgrew his 3T long sleeve in Feb, can still wear his 3T tshirt, is finally able to wear 3T pants (ONLY if there's an adjustable waist because he doesn't have one. There is a pair of shorts he can still wear that are 6m. That's how friggin' tiny his waist it!), and shorts 2T. Can you imagine the explanation I have to give people when they ask "what size clothes is Lynden?".

    (aaaaaand I bet you could have mudded that wall in the time it took you to write this awesome post ;o), although I'm glad you wrote this instead)

  3. I sorted clothes yesterday too Maria....oh the joys, but I was VERY happy to find the clothes that I had so carefully saved of my oldest daughter Grace (who is now 10) for Lauren. It's like shopping for FREE because I haven't seen them in at least 5 years ;)

  4. Haha! I had to read Beau the part about lists and writing it down and crossing it off if it wasn't on there & you do it. I do the same thing and he thinks I am crazy! Glad to know I'm not the only one! And your right..Sorting through clothes is such a process!

  5. I have the same issues and it drives me crazy! It's even worse with two girls (5 and 6)--especially because they are hoarders who change their clothes forty-seven times a day...

    1. I always comment as myself and not my blog. If you are interested in "hopping" over, I would love to have you!

    2. Yes! I am a follower of yours!! I commented on your "Zuckermanberg" post yesterday. :)

  6. So funny Maria...I keep looking for the "LIKE" button after each paragraph!