John came to me in a state of deep indignation one day. "I'm wearing Calvin's underwear," he informed me, clearly distressed about this state of affairs.
"John," I calmly informed him, "Calvin Klein is a clothing designer. Some people like his stuff."
"No," he told me, "This is Calvin's underwear."
He pulled down the waistband far enough for me to see Calvin C______ written in black Sharpie, clear as could be.
It was, indeed, Calvin's underwear -- Calvin, our friend from down the beach at Pelee Island, not to be confused with Calvin, the designer.
To add insult to injury, those undies had traveled from our friend Calvin to Nathan, John's cousin, and then quite possibly to George, John's next cousin down the line, before landing in John's collection of intimate apparel.
The Brotherhood of the Traveling Underpants. Believe me, John was less than thrilled to be a member.
Now I am a firm believer in thrift stores and consignment sales and hand-me-downs. I have a few scruples in this regard, and if truth be known underwear generally doesn't make the cut of what I'll buy used. Sippy cups and bike helmets and underwear -- we generally bite the bullet and pay retail for these goodies. I am part of a vast, complicated network of hand-me-downs which results in notes in our community newsletter that might read something like this: Lost: Lands End school sweater size 8. Name tag reads Sterett. Please return to the Johnson family.
Mostly I'm cheap. But, really, I'm just cheap about some things. I think that's true of most people. You splurge on a pedicure; I might splurge on dinner out. You want a new car; I want a nice vacation.
An unidentified child of mine lodged a complaint about his cleats. Not the size or the fit or the general condition of the cleats. No, no, no. Dissatisfaction stemmed from the lame, lame, mega lame brand of cleats I had chosen to purchase. At the risk of offending my beloved offspring, let me just put it out there that the Dolins, as a rule, don't make the starting line up, and so I am not inclined to purchase those $100 basketball shoes, those $95 cleats.
"Look at the label on the piano," I gently told said offspring.
We seem to produce better pianists than soccer players, and, thanks to Grandma who just plain rocks, we now have a n-i-c-e piano. (But cheap soccer cleats).
A new babysitter once asked if my kids were allowed to play outside.
When, slightly confused, I said yes, sure, of course, she asked if the kids should change clothes before exiting the premises. I was baffled that kids should change out of play clothes to go out and, umm, play, but this sweet babysitter had been burned by a mom who had positively lost her marbles when her children actually dared to play in their play clothes.
I get it.
Ainsley had a pre-school classmate who routinely showed up on the playground in slightly bizarre designer outfits that topped a hundred bucks easy.
As for me, my heart swells when I see sights like this:
All that being said, I admit to minor heart palpitations upon seeing Ainsley's ruffly, new, white t-shirt from Gymboree looking as though it had taken a trip through the sewers that backed up last week. If she had to demolish one of her new tees, I'm thankful she chose the white one. Bleach and a little elbow grease might revive it.
I have my moments.
I may or may not have birthed a hapless child who takes freshly laundered dress clothes -- clothes that have been on a warm body for the whopping ninety minutes it takes us to drive to Mass, attend Mass, and return home -- and deposits these clothes in a hamper designed for dirty clothes. You can imagine my reaction.
Gruesome, I tell you, gruesome.
Yes, I have my moments. But going postal over clothing is not my modus operandi. At the end of the day, I realize these little people of mine will not be six and eight forever.
No, they won't.
While I certainly appreciate cute, I really want them to be kids.