The “Education” in Phys-Ed
Clothes quickly became the bane of my existence when I was the only parent in my household. They piled up, both dirty and clean. Yes, I understand that piling baskets and baskets of clothes leads to wrinkles, leads to ironing, leads to complaining. I also get that while I did the laundry I also cleaned the kitchen, made cookies, prepared dinner, read over homework and dealt with whatever other issues there were in the house.
I’ll be honest, too, I didn’t read over the homework very well, either.
People often underestimate what having twins means. That applies physically, emotionally, and – most painful – financially.
When my sons started school I went to the prep day that required the “binder reminder” which was basically the school version of a small Franklin Planner – a required piece of school supplies. They also required a cadre of school supplies. There were “recommended” items that, of course, everyone was buying. Then came the PE clothes. I dutifully got in line, watching my bank account dwindling, and had to buy clothes for my twin sons.
“I recommend that you get two sets of clothes . . . and the sweat pants and . . . ”
I groaned. Everyone said I should get spares of tons of materials…meaning that where they have double the school supplies I need four times the supplies. That’s 4x the cost, by the way, if you haven’t done the math.
This comes back to mind because on Saturday morning I was informed by my son that “my PE clothes were missing.”
(He actually said something about someone stealing them, but I doubted that…I’ll explain why.) Had any of his three other siblings made this statement I would have rolled a skeptical eye. Unfortunately, this son is thorough to the point of obsessiveness.
The kids at his school share a gym locker and I have a feeling either someone knocked the small bag with clothes out by accident…or my son – or his locker mate – didn’t lock the locker very well. Either way, the clothes would have to eventually make their way back to him. His name, in sharpie, is written on the front of his and his brother’s shirt.
“I can’t wait that long,” he informed me, angry to the point of tears. “If we get three days with borrowed uniforms I have to do detention!”
So I sigh and inform him I’d call the school Monday morning (this morning as I write this Monday evening). He asked be at 6:30am if I’d done it already.
Instead I handed him $20 and told him to find the student store or talk to the teacher and ask him what to do. He got quiet. I called the school at 7:10am, got the voicemail, and informed them we’d leave early.
“Go to the office, ask where to get other clothes, and move on,” I informed him. I felt a little bad about pushing him to do this, but at the end of the day . . . he has to be able to function in the school.
By noon I got a call from the PE teacher who postulated all the same things I’d considered: they were dropped, left on a bench, or just in a corner someplace. Either way, some Mom, if they had them in the wash, would see my son’s name and send them home. More likely is they were left on a bench or the locker wasn’t locked right . . .
He informed me that they had used uniforms, all cleaned, etc. They were $6. Sold.
Then he added . . . “you should get a couple sets anyway, just in case something like this happens.”
I couldn’t hold my tongue.
“Well…I have to buy sets for him and his brother then.”
“You can hand them down, though.”
I take a breath . . . and then say “yeah…but they’re twins. If I buy double everything I’m paying for four sets of uniforms. There’s nobody to hand them down to they’re the same age and size.”
“oh…” was the response. That’s usually the response.
I agreed, though, that in the meantime my son would buy a set of used gear. The teacher was more than pleasant, understood my son’s worries and eased them for me and for him. He’s only used borrowed gear once.
And he understands that buying 4 of everything is just so super-costly it’s a killer.
My son bought his own gear, gave me the change, and at the end of the day felt proud of his own semi-independence in the matter, even if I fixed things for him in the end. He wasn’t quite aware of that.
It was an education in the realities that sometimes . . . you just lose a shirt or a uniform or what have you. Do what you can…and then move on. He ended the day with far fewer worries than when he began.