|Photography by Mary Allison Tierney|
My son thinks that wearing underwear is optional. He is four, so for him most articles of clothing are optional. But in my house underwear is non-negotiable: Unless you are taking a bath or a dump, your Fruit of the Looms must stay glued to your bottom.
But let’s face it, as hard as we try to institute rules with our children, they are trying equally hard to break them.
On a typical morning, I will hand my son everything he needs to get ready for the day: shirt, pants, underwear, socks, shoes. I then calmly ask, “Sweetheart, can you please get dressed while I get your sister ready?”
And the usual response to my request sounds something like an animal dying in the wild: “Noooooo! I don’t want to get dressed! I want to plaaaayyyy!” After much dramatic display, he finally starts removing his pajamas.
I return to dressing my daughter, and just moments later, I find my son totally naked with his day-old underwear stretched over his head, covering one eye. He is running around yelling, “Mommy, look at me, I’m a pirate! Arrr!!”
The day ends with a similar scene: My two-year-old daughter declares it a clothing-optional dinner, stripping down to her diaper. “Dahpuh off, dahpuh off!” she demands. My son follows suit, and as he starts to pull down his underwear, I yell, “Underwear is non-negotiable!! You can take off the rest of your clothes, but underwear stays on!!”
Sometimes I wonder who’s in charge in my house. I’m pretty sure it’s not me.
Originally from the Northeast, Jennifer now lives in Marin County, California with her husband and two children. She writes a blog, Miles From Perfect, about her search for the perfect town to raise her children, and realizing how imperfect she is as a parent along the way. She has also written articles as a guest blogger for various parenting blogs.