Someone please help me. Please explain what in the world is going on in my son's brain?
My oldest boys attend a private high school that requires a uniform. At the beginning of the year, I took the boys to the "uniform store" and purchased them their school clothes for the year. They picked out what they wanted to wear. AND I PAID A FORTUNE...
Now I am at a loss how to parent this one.
Back in February I told my husband that I didn't recall washing any of Son #2's uniforms since they returned to school from Christmas break. He managed to bring down enormous hampers of dirty clothes to be washed each week. He carried piles of neatly folded clean clothes back upstairs after I had washed them. But it did take me a while to realize that the uniforms were not making the dirty clothes. (Remember I am doing laundry for 6 people each week. There's ALOT of it - so the fact that 3 pairs of khaki pants escaped my memory isn't a real shocker here.)
So back in February I spoke to my son.
Me: "Where are your school pants?"
Son: "What do you mean?"
(Can I just interject here for a minute - how come this intelligent child always answers with "WHAT DO YOU MEAN?")
Me: "Your. Pants. For. School. Where are they?"
Son: "Upstairs, why?"
Me: "Well, I haven't washed them in six weeks."
Son: "They don't need to be washed. I have 3 pairs."
Me: "Excuse me? You have worn 3 pairs of pants for 6 weeks and they don't need to be washed?"
Son: "I only wear them to school. They don't get dirty."
At this point, I tell him I want the pants to wash them.
Naturally, he will bring them to me after he does a long list of other things that are important to him. So I tell him:
"You can either bring them to me and I will wash them now or you will wash them later."
He decides he will wash the pants himself. How did I know that?
Fast forward into March-
I tell my husband that I have not washed his pants since December and I am pretty sure that he never washed them either. So we have to have this big conversation about it. Really? We have to lecture our 15 year old son about the importance of washing clothes?
So I demand his pants. I wash them. I grab them by the bottom cuffs and fold them in the crease. I tell him to take them up to his room and hang them nicely.
The next week I go to pick Son #2 up from school. As he gets into the car, it is obvious to me that those are NOT his pants. I ask him,
Me: "What pants are those?"
Son: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Those aren't your pants. Where did you get them?"
Son: "Uh. Well. I forgot my pants one day and ..."
(Sorry but I have to stop him mid sentence...)
Me: "You FORGOT your PANTS one day?"
Son: "Well, I had weight lifting first period so I just wore my gym shorts to school and I forgot to take my pants with me. So I went to the secretary and she gave me a pair of pants out of the lost and found."
Me: "They don't fit you. Are you supposed to give them back? What's the deal?"
Son: "I don't know."
Of course not.
Over the next couple of weeks, I noticed that -Son #2 was now wearing khaki pants every time he went out to go skateboarding. I finally had to ask
Me: "Why are you wearing your school uniform out to skate?"
Son: "I'm not. These aren't my uniform pants."
Me: "They aren't?"
Me: "So what are they? Where did you get them?"
Son: "I don't know where they came from."
Me: "Are they from the lost and found at school?"
Son: "No, definitely not. What's the big deal, Mom?"
Me: "I don't know I just feel like there is such bizarre issues with your pants."
Me: "Why don't you wear jeans when you skate?"
Son: "Khaki pants are in Mom. Everybody is wearing them."
Me: "I am pretty sure that those pants are intended to be worn with polo shirts or something - not graphic t shirts with skate shoes to go out skateboarding."
Son: "You're wrong, Mom. Everybody wears them to skate."
And with that out the door he went.
Fast forward again to the following school week...
Son #2 is getting ready to go to school. He is sitting on the couch next to me. I look over at his pants.
Me: "Those aren't your school pants."
Son: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Those. Aren't. Your. School. Pants."
Son: "Yes they are."
Me: "No they aren't. They are not the same manufacturer. Those are not the school uniform."
Son: "Mom, they are fine. Nobody cares."
Me: "Yes they do. That is WHY it is a school UNIFORM."
I finally see the BOTTOMS of the pants he is wearing!! The hem is completely ripped out! On both sides! They are about 6 inches too long!! I send him upstairs to change. He is furious. Yelling at me about being too involved. I cannot even believe we are having this exchange!
At this point he tells me he doesn't have any other pants to wear.
I feel my blood pressure rise.
Me: "Where are the pants that I washed back in March?"
Son: "They are broken."
Me: "Your pants are BROKEN?"
Son: "Yes, the clasp broke."
Me: "On all three pairs?"
Me: "Well, why didn't you tell me so that I could fix them? It's not a big deal."
Son: "I don't know."
Me: "Get a safety pin and change your pants now."
After my son leaves for school I go up to his room. Those pants that I washed back in March are still laying across the guest bed in his room. Still perfectly folded and creased like after I washed them. He had not worn them. Not one time. What the heck?
I showed my husband. He is not wearing his school pants. What is he wearing?
So I started to pay careful attention to my son's coming and going from school.
Because he was playing lacrosse and because he had weightlifting class at school, he wasn't always coming and going from school in his uniform. I was just trusting that he was handling it properly. Because at 15 years old I thought that he should be able to manage this. But this is what I learned...
He was stuffing the same pair of pants into his gym bag every day. The same pair of pants. For weeks. And they were not the school uniform pants - they were the miracle pair that just spontaneously appeared in our home without my son knowing where they originated. The pair with the hem completely torn out. He had been rolling the pant legs underneath so that I didn't notice.
I took the pants from him. I washed them and told him that they were not to be worn to school, only for skateboarding. I reminded him that he had school pants upstairs. He argued that they didn't have a clasp. So then the conversation began again:
Me: "Well here's the deal. If you had told me back in February that you needed new pants. I would have been happy to buy them for you knowing that you would get 5 months of wear out of them. But you played games. Now I am not going to buy you new pants 1 month before school is out at $40.00 a pair that will not fit you next fall."
Son: "It's not a big deal. Nobody cares that I am wearing the wrong pants."
Me: "You are missing the point entirely! You are wearing the same pants over and over. They do not fit you. They are ripped. They are not regulation for the school. They are not washed and they are DIRTY!"
Son #2 wears the nasty mystery pants all weekend long while he skates. They are covered in black stains from the asphalt. They are ripped beyond repair. Completely filthy.
On Monday Son #2 gets up and gets ready for school. I am still laying in bed. my husband is up and this is what I hear:
Husband: "What are those pants?"
(I cringe and pull the covers over my head.)
Son: " What do you mean?"
Husband: "You are not wearing those pants to school. They are FILTHY!"
Son: "Dad, they are fine."
Husband: "No! No they are not!!! Take them off now!"
Son: "Dad, I don't have any other pants to wear."
Husband: "Well you better find something else - because you are not wearing those."
Son #2 stomps upstairs to his room and changes.
After he leaves, I go down to his bedroom. There are the remaining 2 pairs of pants draped across his bed washed, pressed and ready to be worn since I prepared them in March.
I am trying to understand. But I just can't.
I pick up the NASTY mystery pants. I look at them. I am horrified to think that he would continue to wear these pants. In fact, he has gone to extreme lengths to wear these pants for MONTHS now. It is beyond anything I can comprehend. So I took the nasty mystery pants.
That evening I try again to explain to my son how embarrassing it is to me that he is wearing those pants to school. He rolls his eyes and makes no correlations. My husband and I try to point out to him that him wearing filthy, ripped up, oversized pants to school is a reflection upon ME! As if I don't do his laundry. As if I don't care how he looks. As if he is some poor neglected child.
Son #2's response?
Shaking his head, "You don't know what you are talking about."
For the past 8 days, I have had those pants confiscated.
Monday morning arrives and I hear the conversation begin again. I think to myself - HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING? I TOOK THE PANTS!!!!!"
Husband: "You are not wearing those pants to school like that."
Son: "Like what?"
Husband: "They look like they have been balled up in a bag somewhere."
Son: "No they don't. They look fine."
Husband: "You aren't leaving until those are ironed."
The next thing I know everyone is in my room and the flurry of activity has begun. Ironing. Spraying. Chattering.
I pretend to be asleep and unaware of what is happening.
After they all leave - I tiptoe to check to make sure that the nasty mystery pants are still safe and secure in their hiding place. Phew! They are there. At least I know that he isn't wearing those...
Every morning I have gone into Son #2's room to check the pants on the bed. Same two pairs laying there pressed, folded and washed - since MARCH.
I'm not even sure what pants he is wearing for the past 8 days. They could be the same pair over and over. They could be pants out of the lost and found. I have no clue.
I can tell you this-
I am truly
and completely tired of worrying about it...
Thank God it is almost summer and it's time for shorts.
“There's nothing wrong with teenagers that reasoning with them won't aggravate” ~Anonymous (But I am betting it was a mother of a teenager.)