You’d Never Know That He Spent Hours Watching Project Runway With Me

A friend and I were talking about back-to-school clothes shopping what her two teen-daughters were wearing for picture day when I suddenly realized that Doodicus’s picture day is TOMORROW.

It’s not his first day of school, which is next Thursday, but we go in for his schedule pick-up and let the kids familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. The middle school, fifth and sixth grades, is a campus unto itself so all the fifth graders are new there. Somehow during all that chaos, they’ve scheduled school pictures, which they will use for their school ID. They will also be issued tomorrow.

I admit, I’m a bit freaked out that it is T O M O R R O W. Can you tell?

From the time Dood entered Kindergarten, he’s worn a school uniform. It’s a fairly relaxed dress code as far as uniforms go: khakis or navy trousers, and red, white or navy collared shirts. No plaid skirts or blazers or ascots or berets. But for my son and his ADHD, just thinking of what to have for breakfast sets up enough sparks to cause tearful tantrums, I have no idea what these open-wardrobe days will now bring. He hasn’t done too bad matching up shorts to t-shirts this summer, only having to be sent back to his closet if he came out wearing sweat pants on days that were easily going to reach the 100 degree mark. Because of this, we’ve had to add to his chore chart (a recommendation from Dr. Rita), that he "dresses appropriately for the weather".

In most ways, his wardrobe choices are very low maintenance. T-shirts, preferably ones that advertise his favorite team sports and athletic shorts (mesh, please, and must have at least a 10" inseam, thankyouverymuch) have been Dood’s de rigueur. I had tried to push the "skater" look on his for years (Vans, plaid shorts, graphic polos), he never took to it. Now that he’s 10 years old, I can no longer shop for him and now I dread shopping WITH him.

When the weather cools off enough that he can no longer sensibly wear shorts (and based on past experience and his father’s example, he could be wearing shorts well into December), we will have to make the trip to The Metro and buy him whatever passes for pants. Will they be athletic pants or jeans? I just don’t know. This is one of those very rare instances where I will actually let peer pressure dictate his fashion choices. I would hate to fill his winter wardrobe now, before his first day of school, with jeans when it’s entirely possible that is not what his friends will wear, which will then mean more chaos, meltdowns, tears, and tantrums in the morning if he refuses to get dressed because he has nothing to wear! Seriously not worth the battle. So we’ll let him find a circle of friends, his clique, and do some shopping based on what would make him comfortable around his friends. The only caveat: I will not permit an all-black wardrobe.

And then there’s the hair. The back-to-school haircut is not on the radar. Yet. The parochial school required that boys hair not cover their ears or touch their collar or go past their eyes. Now? The only threat of a buzz-cut comes from his father and I. Long hair is a privilege, we informed him recently. You dont’ take care of it, you don’t get to keep it. He struggles in this department. Often he comes out of the shower without washing his hair. Or he’ll shampoo it and not rinse it. Or he forgets to comb it after he gets out of the shower. Or he combs only the bangs leaving the back a rat’s nest. It’s this hair-business that very well may be the death of both of us.

I am trying to look upon his rather slack and casual outward appearance with grateful optimism. It will be so easy to tell when he discovers girls. At that point, I will have to run away from home and join a French circus.