Yup, it happened this morning. Noah has finally asked to be "cool". I knew this day would come sooner or later. I think I need to be grateful that we made it into third grade before it came.
I have always been pretty picky about what the kids wear. Many people think overly picky. When Noah was in kindergarten, I insisted on him wearing "nice" clothes to school, which usually means shirts with collars (polo-ish).
Then, somewhere around the first grade year, the protests began, no longer willing to wear collar shirts every day. I gave in and got him some more regular type shirts. But I have stuck to my opinions on "attitude" shirts and "character" shirts. As the boys started asking for shirts with their favorite characters, I relented a little bit more, allowing them to wear them on the weekends or other non-school days.
But I have still stuck to the no character shirt rule for school.
Now, I must stop to say that this rule is much easier for girls than for boys. Girls have the options of flowers and designs without having to go straight to charcters. Plus, girl characters run along the lines of princesses. With boys, when you subtract attitude and characters, you
are pretty much left with solid colors and stripes. I don't like it, but it is the way of things. So the boys have closets full of shirts with strpes on them.
And sure enough, this morning, Noah came out for breakfast with a very unhappy look on his face. "Mommy, it's not fair that I have to wear stripes every day. Everyone else has cool shirts with words and characters."
The problem is, he's right. It really isn't fair. But at the same time, I believe that how the world sees you is directly affected by what you're wearing, especially when you're a school age boy. So I am conflicted. I really don't like the idea of him wearing characters to school. I also refuse to allow the attitude shirts. You know, the ones that say things like "I'm not deaf, I'm ignoring you" That kind of stuff. But if that's what everyone else is wearing, don't I owe it to him to find a way for him to blend in a little without compromising my beliefs.
So I told him I would spend the day trying to think of a compromise. After asking what the word meant, he seemed to be a little appeased. Putting aside my beliefs, the money for school clothes shopping is gone and I can't afford to go buy a new wardrobe for the child. But at the same time, I grew up with not only the most un-cool wardrobe possible, but also with a mom who called me a nerd pretty much every day because all I wore were jeans and t shirts.
I still am a nerd, and that's okay. But I really do want to do better for my kids. Where is the happy medium between spending huge dollars for a shirt just because it has a certain brand name on it and wearing the same stripes every day? I wonder if I need to take a trip to wander the mall today just to see what else is out there that I may have missed, even if I can't afford to buy that stuff today.
Yeah, I knew this day was coming. And now that it's here, I have to deal with it. I guess we all have to find where pop culture and personal beliefs meet and decide how far we're willing to let that line slide in one direction of the other.