Airing My Dirty Laundry

There are days when I have to wonder how my family would survive without me.  Take the other day for example.  Brendan was in his bedroom picking things up, and I was in there hanging up clothes.  As I placed a shirt onto a hanger and hung it on Cameron’s side of the closet, Brendan stopped and asked me how I knew that it was Cameron’s.

The question seemed odd to me because it wasn’t one of the shirts that both boys have, it wasn’t a hand me down that Brendan had previously worn, and it was clearly small, all of which would clearly indicate that it was Cameron’s.  Even with all of that I pulled the shirt back out of the closet and checked the tag.  XS.  Yep that makes it Cameron’s all right.  So I told Brendan that I knew from experience that the shirt was Cameron’s, and when in doubt I check the tag because everyone in the house wears a different size.

That’s not the first time my kids have been confused by which clothes belong to who.  At times I will fall behind in folding and putting away my clean laundry.  All three of the kids love to help with the laundry, so a lot of times while I’m folding one basket of clothes I will have them sort the rest of the clothes into piles based on who wears that item.  That way when I get around to folding that pile I’m all ready to move it into that person’s drawer without further separating.

I would think that because they wear the clothes they would at least be able to identify their own clothing.  But that’s not always the case.  A lot of times they can easily identify Kaylee’s clothes, after all who else wears big frilly princess dresses.  And the boys do have a lot of t-shirts that they both own, and I recognize the difficulty in telling them apart, but there are also tons of shirts that are not duplicated.  They should be able to at least tell those apart.

Pants too.  Brendan still has sensory issues with clothes and his dexterity isn’t good enough to allow him to work the snap on jeans so he only wears the swishy track pants with an elastic waist band.  Cameron wears sweat pants frequently because we have a lot of Brendan’s hand me downs still, but he also has a half dozen or so pairs of jeans.  Simply put, if it’s swishy pants they go in Brendan’s pile; if it’s anything else it goes in Cameron’s pile.

I don’t have any expectation that they would be able to tell apart Matt’s or my clothing.  We both wear jeans most frequently and one t-shirt looks like another.  My simple process for them is to put any adult clothes into a single pile.  It all goes into my bedroom anyway.  Believe it or not they sometimes have trouble identifying our clothing as well.  But overall I can’t really complain, at least they are trying to help.

It’s not just the kids either.  A few days ago we were trying to get ready to leave the house.  I’d gotten the kids ready to go except for socks and shoes, and I still needed to take a shower.  About halfway through my shower there was a knock on the bathroom door.  Matt came in holding various pairs of socks, and verifying which one’s belonged to which kid.

Matching socks to each kid can be a difficult task.  First of all because they are never matched up and in their drawer.  I will fully admit that is one job that almost never gets done.  I have a sock basket where I throw the socks that come out of the laundry intending to go back and match them up and put them away.  But so many other things take priority over matching the socks that it rarely gets completed.  Second because the kids feet grow so fast that I’m constantly having to get new socks for them.

I try very hard to get distinctive socks for each of the kids because it makes identifying them much easier.  But for Matt, who rarely has the task of putting socks onto the kids since he’s at work when we get dressed 90% of the time, the distinction only went far enough for him to make matches.

He had three pairs of socks in his hand.  One had red writing on the toes, one had green writing on the toes, and one was plain white.  He correctly identified the plain white ones as belonging to Kaylee and the green ones as belonging to Brendan.  Almost all of Kaylee’s socks are plain white and more girly looking than the boys which simplifies that a lot.  Matt himself had bought the green socks for Brendan one afternoon when we’d forgotten to pack socks into his skating bag and Brendan was wearing sandals.

As for the red socks, those were not Cameron’s.  They were at one point, but Cameron didn’t like wearing them because they were ankle socks and that really bothered him for some reason.  Then Kaylee took a liking to them because they were looser than her regular socks and that allowed her to pull them on herself.  Besides, Cameron’s feet have grown a couple of sizes since I bought those socks and I was fairly certain that his feet would no longer fit into them.

Matt looked at the socks in disbelief, surprised that none of these fit our middle child.  He then asked if the plain grey toed socks were Cameron’s, and I told him they weren’t either.  Those are Brendan’s too.  Cameron used to have socks with plain grey toes but he outgrew those a while ago.  In exasperation he finally asked which ones were Cameron’s socks.  Cameron’s have different colors that go all the way across the bottom, not just on the toe or heel.

I’m quite sure I heard some mutinous muttering as Matt left the bathroom to go and get the right socks onto the right kid.  I felt bad for him, but as I said socks change so frequently around here it’s really hard to keep up.  Plus I do all the clothes shopping and do most of the dressing of the kids so it’s not like he’s got a lot of experience in that area.

I could spend some time teaching all of them the ins and outs of the laundry and how to identify the clothes, but why bother?  They don’t really care and it gives them an excuse to keep me around.


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