Parents of sensory-sensitive kids who are picky about their clothes will relate to this one. It’s no fun in the moment but it’s funny later. Really, it is.
When he was in 1st grade, Nick decided he would only wear one style of pants. They had a bungee cord waist so he could cinch it super tight (later I learned he was craving compression), and zip-off legs which made the transition from long pants to shorts a lot easier. I always found them at a local store where they went on sale several times a year and I stocked up whenever I could, buying the next size up so I’d be ready when he had a growth spurt. But he often wore them out faster than I could stock up.
So one day, off I went to the store get Nick some more pants. I was thinking how lucky we were that this company had been making this same style of pants for so many years. Boy styles don’t change as much as girl styles, I’d noticed. But I was in for a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad surprise.
They changed the pants.
I looked everywhere in that store for Nick’s pants. I had just bought some a few months ago. There had been no warning, no gentle letdown that my loyalty and devotion to these pants meant nothing to these people. They had removed the zipper from the legs of the pants. No longer could they serve as both pants and shorts and thereby keep my boy happy all year long.
I stood there, eyes, wide, chin quivering, mouth in a pout. I felt rocks in my stomach growing bigger as I anticipated having to tell Nick. I already knew that this was the only store in the area that carried this brand—believe me, I’d looked everywhere. A store employee saw my distress and approached me to ask if she could help me find something. Slowly, I shook my head.
“They changed the pants.”
She looked confused. “Well, we rearranged the displays, but I can help you find—”
“You don’t understand. They changed the pants.”
“Oohhhkay….” She backed away slowly.
My only consolation that day was that Nick was at his dad’s house, so I didn’t have to tell him right away that he was going to have to get used to different pants. Also, he had grown taller and thinned out, so he could still wear the old pants as shorts when spring and summer came along. I decided to buy one pair to show him, knowing I could return them after the inevitable rejection… but holding out a small bit of hope.
I went home and searched the world wide wonderweb for the old pants, but alas… they were no more, even on the brand’s site. One person was selling a used lot of them on eBay but they were way too small. And so, that was that. I poured a glass of wine and sat down to plan how to explain this tragic turn of events to my son.
I had to time it perfectly. I needed to make sure he wasn’t low on tokens, had time to adjust after coming home, was well rested and fed. I chose a Saturday morning after he had slept in and had a good breakfast. I casually draped the pants over the arm of the couch and waited until he noticed.
“What’s THAT???!” he asked suspiciously.
Be cool, now. “Oh, those are some pants I got you to try. I can take them back if you don’t like them.”
He picked them up and examined them. “They’re not the pants I like.”
“Well, Nick, I found out something when I was shopping. They don’t make those pants anymore.”
“I don’t know. These are what they make now instead.”
“WHY????!?!” He was confused and panicking.
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t like these! They don’t have zippers on the legs!”
“I don’t want them. Take them back.” He threw the offensive things onto the couch.
“OK, I will. But then I will need you to come shopping with me to find some pants you do like,” I said as if this could ever possibly happen.
“NO!!!!!! Can’t you buy my pants somewhere else?”
“They don’t make them anymore. No one sells them.”
And… we were stalled. I lovingly disengaged to let him process this information.
On day two, he reminded me to take the pants back. I reminded him that this meant shopping with me.
On days three and four, he ignored the pants, still in a clump on the couch.
On day five, I sneakily and with some trepidation slipped the new pants, tags removed, into his clean laundry, which he is supposed to hang up (HA… but that’s another story).
On day six, he noticed and brought them to me angrily, reminding me that he did NOT want them. I said OK and put them back on the couch.
I believe it was around day 10 when I noticed the pants were gone. And day 14 or so when he just appeared, as if nothing had happened, wearing them. We didn’t say a word to each other about it… but that day, I went back to the store and bought all of those pants they had in his size.
That night, my glass of wine was celebratory. You wanna change the pants? Bring it! We are invincible!