When my oldest was a baby, I bought him some very cute flowered quilted overalls. One pair was red with blue flowers, the other blue with red flowers. I loved then; Mike's father claimed they were girl's overalls.
"Mike is too young to care," I asserted.
"Well I'm not," J. mumbled.
I shrugged. We owned them, and anyway, I dressed Mike most mornings.
Then there were the famous three pairs of footed pajamas. It was January and Mike had outgrown all of his PJs. New England in January is still pretty cold but you'd never know it by the merchandise in the stores. We finally found three pairs in Mike's size; two were pink, one was yellow.
"Pink is for girls," J. complained as I carried them towards the register.
"Tell me you're not planning to put back two of the only three pairs of footed pajamas in Mike's size in the entire Boston area," I fumed; I'd done a lot of looking. "And if you do, then you can hand wash them all by yourself."
"Well, all right," J agreed after considering for a full minute.
I have some very cute photos of Mike in his pink jammies which I still haven't shown to my daughter-in-law.
Mike started asserting himself when he was around 2 1/2. He had four pairs, of overalls, two royal blue, one red and one green. The royal blue were his favorite pair and his favorite shirt was an orange and navy striped rugby shirt. How do you explain to a child whose only color word is "red" that navy and orange stripes don't look that great with bright blue? I dropped him off at the baby sitter with the words, "Mike picked his own clothing today."
"I can see that," she replied, trying to hide a grin.
When my second son refused to wear his brother's hand-me-down footed pajamas,I called my sister for advice.
"Colin refuses to wear Mike's old pajamas. I looked but there really are no unfooted winter pajamas. What do I do?" I was desperate.
"Why don't you try sweat suits?" she suggested.
Colin happily wore sweat suits instead of winter pajamas for years. This was the first of many things I was unable to pass down. Colin also refused to wear overalls. He wanted jeans and little khakis instead. My thirds son did wear the footed pajamas but refused both the overalls and the pants. So again I called my sister.
"Chris won't wear Mike's old overalls and he doesn't like Colin's old jeans either. I'm at my wit's end."
"Maybe he wants something looser. Why don't you try Colin's old sweat suits?"
Praise the day, it worked! Colin, of course, asked "Why is Chris wearing pajamas to school?" This led to a rather interesting conversation where I tried to convince Colin that sweat suits were regular clothing. He didn't buy it. Chris wore the sweats to preschool anyway.