I’m about to bring another child into the world. It’s glorious and awe-inspiring and clearly a transcendent time in my life. And yet, what preoccupies most of my waking and sleeping hours these days is not the overwhelming beauty of motherhood, the growing being inside my womb, or the spiritual wonder of childbirth: it’s pants. Toddler sweatpants, to be exact.
My kiddo has about 42 pairs of sweatpants of every imaginable variety: fleece, elastic waist with strings, elastic waist with no strings, elastic waist with elastic hems, elastic waist without elastic hems, flared, fitted, boot-cut, “GAP” branded across the hip and/or butt, non-“GAP” branded across the hip and/or butt, and even a pair of marled gray sweats that look super vintage-y and like my kid could definitely be riding a motor-tricycle right now if I would let him. (Don’t worry, he’s worn them all of never. My bad for buying him the “cool” pair I most wanted for my own wardrobe. Parenting fail hashtag hashtag hashtag).
I’m sure you’re wondering, why so many sweats (or “sweapons,” as he refers to them, and not because he thinks they are some form of toddler weapons of mass destruction — at least, I don’t think so)? Well, the kiddo doesn’t wear proper undies, for starters, which is TOTALLY OKAY, WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE, ANYWAY? and did YOUR kid potty train himself in 3 days? HUH?? Cut him some tightie whitey slack!, making jeans kinda uncomfortable for his nether region. He owns jeans, I mean I’m not one of those moms who’s all “NO JEANS IN THIS HOUSE, DAMMIT!”, but he doesn’t wear them. He likes comfort, he likes the inevitable softness that sweats provide. I don’t blame him; nearly every day, I wear glorified sweats that our society gets away with calling “yoga pants” to make them seem acceptable. You know the ones I’m talking about since you own 17 pairs yourself. Some even set you back 100+ dollars on Shopbop or Lululemon, the cost, of course, further validating your lifestyle choice to don activewear 24-7. You are wearing one of those pairs now, even if you lie about it on social media and your fashion blog where your feet are always ensconced in Louboutins with straps I can’t even fasten without a manual.
But back to the toddler variety. What’s the problem here, anyway? Well, none of these 42 pairs of pants seem to satisfy my toddler lately. My child is unquestionably the Goldilocks of sweapons. One day he wants elastic strings, one day he doesn’t. (This preference also changes minute-to-minute, like CNN news coverage). Some mornings before school, he wants sweats that EXACTLY MATCH my black maternity yoga pants (same material, no strings, no pockets, flared leg). He has one (I repeat, one) pair like that that we found at Target. At the time that we discovered this incredible pair, nay the “great white unicorn” of toddler apparel, wedged between a bunch of Sesame Street shirts and some glitter shoes for toddler girls that were ambiguously “everyday” enough to not be clearly a Halloween costume, I tried to convince him to buy several (the price was so right, I would have bought 10 of them if it meant he’d pull them on happily every morning without me having to surreptitiously dig them out of his hamper every evening once he’s asleep and wash them before school the next morning, which I have done a bunch of times against the advice of every single parenting book ever written, and you know in my shoes — er, pants — you’d do it, too), but he refused to let me buy more than one. So, until I give birth and return to wearing other pants besides LITERALLY this one pair, he will continue to want to be just like Mommy every morning and insist those Tarjay sweapons are the only acceptable option. (That is, until 2 minutes later when they aren’t.)
Okay, so hold on. Let me put this whole pants “situation” into context. Just now, I was not a) thinking about a birth plan to communicate to the labor and delivery nurses b) lovingly preparing the baby’s room c) frantically working on my novel or d) resting up before my entire life takes a turn for the sleep-deprived and impossible. No, I was toggling back and forth between three tabs on Google Chrome: Gap, Carter’s, and Amazon.
A sample of my inner dialogue:
Are there magical sweapons out there I haven’t identified or purchased yet?
Do they make pocket-less fleece black yoga pants for toddlers that I can buy in bulk?
How fast can I get them here?
(These questions, and others just as pressing, have not yet been answered. Amazon Prime is good, but maybe not *that* good).
You might be thinking that 42 pairs of sweatpants is too many for one 3yo. You would be entirely correct. (NOTE: 42 might be an exaggerated figure, but don’t ask me to actually go into my kid’s dresser and count the sweapons. I do have some standards). The thing is, my sweet, thoughtful, hilarious little engineer-in-training is going through a lot. He knows he’s about to become a big brother ANY SECOND NOW. But the concept of time is a little bit challenging to the under-4 set. How could he possibly understand that my due date is in exactly 2 weeks? (Or maybe that’s precisely it: he does understand that my due date is in exactly two weeks, and he’s just as freaked as I am). He did, yesterday — for the first time ever — turn to me with his big baby blues and declare that he “WANTED THE BABY TO COME.” (That melted this cranky preggo mom’s heart. Or maybe it was just the indigestion). For whatever reason that makes sense in my kid’s adorable little head, stressing the heck out of his pants is what helps him get through the uncertainty. And so, I sit here trolling the nets for pants, because I want to help him, even if I don’t understand it, not entirely. Even if some days I wish he would just PUT ON A PAIR OF PANTS FOR THE LOVE OF ELMO. In sum: my little guy is growing up, and this is part of his process, for better or worse. If it means I need the patience of one thousand Muppets to help him feel comfortable in his pants, so be it.