Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wardrobe dysfunction

I surrender. Uncle. I have given up trying to understand Earbaby's issue with clothes. I've decided as long as she's covered properly, and luckily for me she is modest, I'm going to limit the arguments about what she wears. To a point.

See, if you want to know if your preteen is coming or going, don't go by the clothes for a clue. EB wears her summer clothes, tank tops and shorts, to bed for pajamas, instead of the summer short pajamas. She wears pajama bottoms when she's going out, to gymnastics or dance. She wears nice little skirts and leggings when she's going to church, sometimes, but sometimes she saves her nicest outfits for the 20-minute ride into work with me, and back home again with her dad. When no one will see her! That's after she's changed from her school clothes, which can be jeans or sweats, hoodies or shortsleeve shirts with her dancer shrug. And it's usually all black.

And sometimes the same shirt she's worn all day long doubles as her pajama top. In short, her outside, inside, casual, dressy and sleepwear, are apparently interchangeable.

When I was young, we had nice clothes for school, which we had to immediately change out of into our casual clothes when we got home. EB had that when she was wearing a school uniform. They had one function and one function only. The white blouse she wore all day didn't make its way into bed as a pajama top. And the uniform jumper never saw the light of day after school let out.

Now underwear is worn to be seen (thanks for nothing, Madonna), pajamas are what you start out in for the day instead of ending up in at night, and there are even pajama jeans (huh?) for sleepwear. Let's all just sleep in our clothes, shall we?

EB's clothes is a longstanding point of contention. She wears things for 10 seconds, decides she doesn't like it and throws it into the hamper. Or she hangs up new clothes on the floor. I finally decided there was enough for me to do without trying to decide between clean and dirty clothes on the floor, on the bed and on the chair in her room (not to mention the socks that are left all over the house for no other reason I think than to annoy me). I proclaimed EB ready to do her own laundry.

I figured she would become more judicious if she had to fish her favorite shirt out of the hamper after having worn it for 30 seconds the week before. She would hang things up. She wouldn't leave clothes all over every surface for the clothes fairy to pick up.

I was wrong. Laundry has now become a three-day ordeal. She can separate the lights and darks (mostly darks) and knows how to fold and hang up and put away. But she takes almost half the week to do it. A recent fight came because she was specifically told to put her laundry away while I ran an errand. OK, she said. So why did I return to find her clean clothes still in the basket (this was already day two) while she was parked in front of the television? Oh, she said, I want to wait until it's all done and then put it away. Like I said, this was already day two and one load was still in the dryer. That prompted  a rant from me. Because once that load was over, she would park that on her bed and it would be another day, after another screamfest that the clothes would find themselves stuffed in drawers. Nothing would be hung up, The things to go on hangers would end up on a chair.

I once shared with her that when I was single I would dress out of the dryer, because I was too lazy to hang things up right away. It was meant as a funny cautionary tale. She took it as an inspiration. And was surprised when I told her, no, she can't dress out of the dryer, since she lives in a house with other people who also wash and dry their clothes.

So the laundry wars will go on. But what she wears is pretty much up to her. And despite the sleepwear/daywear ridiculosity (my own word), I don't mind what she has on, most of the time. We live in a neighborhood, and she goes to school where some of the young girls are clothed in what I will delicately call "hoochie mama wear." Very little is left to the imagination and despite her school's dress code, EB tells me there are still girls who show up in "booty" shorts and tank tops and flip-flops. But she isn't one of them and is too self-conscious to ever be (at least that's what she says now).

She's more the big, oversized, hip-hop style than the please-cover-yourself type. That's why I'm not fighting so much what she's wearing. There are other battles ahead to be fought. On this one? Uncle.

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