I love seeing children dress like the breath of summer in the dead of winter. I figure those parents must also be graduates of the “choose your battles” school I attended.
For the entire year that Will, my hot-blooded boy, was in 5th grade, approximately 98 percent of the time he wore shorts to school. Why? Because I'm hot. That’s what he said, anyway. That and pants are terribly uncomfortable, too tight on my legs, et cetera, et cetera. And, because maybe I just need a bit of control. Okay, I made that last part up, but that's what I think he was secretly saying.
During our pant-less year, we had some inevitable discussions about the said lack of pants but, frankly, it was a battle I rarely fought. I have a somewhat hands-off policy about boy clothing choices. Granted, shorts all winter long and sweat pants and sneakers to church are about the worst I’m faced with but I’m anticipating bigger battles on more important health and safety issues in the course of parenting. I’m saving up for those discussions and imaging a conversation that goes something like this:
Him: “Mom, can I get a tattoo”
Me: “No. Remember, when I let you wear shorts to school back in the winter of ’09? Well, you can’t have the tattoo.”
Him: “You’re being unreasonable!”
Me: “Are you kidding? I’m not a bit unreasonable. I let you dress like summer in the middle of winter back in 5th grade!”
It might be something else we’re debating but I'm hopeful that a pant-less 5th grade year is some evidence to my reasonability.
As the winter of 5th grade progressed, I did eventually lay down a basic rule that if it’s actively snowing, you have to wear pants. I let him take a pair of shorts in his backpack in case it stopped snowing and he wanted to change at school. He never did. I also made sure that there was a pair of sweatpants in the backpack most of the winter too. That was our compromise because I’m convinced that you’ll never know when you need some pants. And too, I occasionally forced some pants on the boy if we were going to be hanging out with his grandmothers. I like to believe he put those pants on out of love for me, knowing I didn’t want to get the “back in my day, mothers dressed children for the weather” lecture. Of course, he probably knew he’d fall victim to the same lecture.
Two years later, my son has worn pants to school every day of middle school that the temperature has fallen below 45 degrees. No one ever called Social Services to say I was a bad mother, Will never had frostbite or caught his death of cold. The winter of shorts makes our little family laugh (including Will) and sometimes I think he'll be able to put that year on his resume of related experiences for any polar exploring jobs he might want.
(Note: I am a central Kentucky mom. If I lived in Alaska and my son walked to school, I’d probably make him wear pants. Chances are, he’d probably want to wear pants. Of course, this year, I might as well live in Alaska. Brrr…)