In general boys are pretty easy-going, I've been a mom for a long time and over the years I have noticed that if I take the time to come up with a reasonable explanation --a good "WHY"--my boys will cooperate. This may sound like stereotyping but boys seem to have a logical side that can be tapped into and used to a mom's advantage. There is only one area where this has not worked for me. The only real struggles I seem to have with my boys are over clothes. What would appear to me to be a reasonable request--asking them to dress for the occasion whether it be church or school or a trip to the store-- turns into a battle. I have dealt with this enough that I try to anticipate their need for comfort and each boy's particular style quirks.
Scott refused to wear striped shirts--a huge obstacle considering the polo shirt is the main staple for dressing boys for the elusive: "not a sloppy t-shirt, but not a suit and tie middle of the road casual." and most polo shirts are striped! This carried down to the other boys and we have literally not had a striped shirt in the house for years. Scott also decided that he only liked jeans with elastic cuffs. This was a funny little passing fad his kindergarten year. I think the "sweat jeans" I bought for his school wardrobe were particularly comfortable so he decided that was the only way to go. The problem came in when they went out of style--and out of the stores--but Scott continued to wear them. And he continued to grow. I did my best to scour the sale racks and buy a few sizes ahead for him but eventually we had to battle it out and rather than go naked, he agreed to wearing regular jeans again. Then Spencer came along and refused to wear anything but khaki cargo pants and polo shirts (but NOT striped ones--Scott had indoctrinated him on this point). This started because it was our dress standard for our home school group but it morphed into his personal signature fashion statement. As far as clothing obsessions go, it was fairly painless for me. Both items are easy to find and the look is classic. It only seemed odd when he went on Scout camp outs or fishing trips. He was the sharp-dressed outdoorsman. Now Seth's quirk was his attachment to favorite shirts. One standout was a shirt I got for him-- his "bug shirt" it had a bunch of cool looking bugs all across the front. It looked like a page from a science book. I had to peel it from his body and wash it while he slept. It became even more valuable to him when he split his head open at Grandma's house and bled all over this treasured shirt. He begged me not to wash it. The blood only increased it's coolness. Sam came along and surprised us all with his affinity for cleanliness. This doesn't usually kick in for boys until they discover girls so I was thrown off at first. Anytime he spilled on his clothes, he would strip off the offending article and toss it aside. This worked great unless we were out somewhere and he spilled on his clothes. After a few incidents of me trying to wrestle him back into a shirt with a drop of ketchup or a smattering of juice, I learned to dress him in layers--like a little onion-- so he he could peel down to a clean shirt.
So this brings me to Shane and last Saturday afternoon. Sam and Shane were getting ready for a youth Temple trip. I don't have to debate with them about getting into their suits--they know that's a given. But Shane had a recent growth spurt and I had to get him a new suit. It is exactly like his old suit in every way except the pants are longer. Yet, he informed me, as he stood before me in his old suit flood pants, "The new pants aren't comfortable." I didn't have time for the battle of the wills to persuade him through my mom-logic to wear the pants that looked nice on him, so I skipped ahead to his sock situation. Shane couldn't find his church socks. I started the usual "Did you look in your drawer? Are they stuffed in your shoes...etc" and he soon came up with two very different socks. One was a solid, thick black sock, the other a thin sock with a definite pattern. I hurried to find a match for one and while I was digging around under his bed, he decided he would just wear the mismatched pair he had come come up with, and he put them on with his shoes. He was trying to tell me they wouldn't show when I reminded him of his flood pant choice. I thought I had solved the problem when I found the mate to the thicker solid-colored sock and held it out to him. This is when he informed me that the thinner sock was comfortable and pulled up farther on his leg which looked good and felt good. So he had made the decision that having one foot comfortable was superior to having two matched socks. I could tell by the calm look on his face that he was quite happy with his decision and it would not be easy to change his mind. It was the moment of truth. Did I have the mettle to debate the issue quickly? Time was of the essence as they needed to leave in a few minutes. Could I wrestle him to the ground, remove the shoe and sock and force the matching sock onto his foot? Maybe--but I really didn't think that would set the right tone for a Temple trip. Just in the nick of time I remembered a lone dress sock I had recently seen in the laundry. It was thin and had a pattern. And so, both of Shane's feet were comfortable and his too-short pants revealed two matching socks. When it comes to boys and their clothing battles, ya win some, ya lose some.