Thursday, May 29, 2008

Project Declan

On Monday we took all the kids to the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. Erika couldn't wait for the Border Collie exhibition, Hilary loved the pizza and candy, Ronan wanted to ride the carousel over and over again, and Declan... well, Declan wanted to buy some shoes.

We passed the shoe stand on the way to the rides and Declan fell in love. They were nice and reasonably priced, so we told Declan we would buy them later, on the way out. We went to watch some horses.

"I want to buy the boots."

We went to ride the carousel. "When can I buy the boots?"

We offered him ice cream. "Can we buy the boots first?"

He was a boy obsessed. And when he slipped his little feet into those chunky black boots, his face erupted in joy, much like Ronan's had when we let him ride the swing in the carnival.

Declan is obsessed with fashion. I don't think he realizes this; to his mind he just knows exactly what he wants to wear. And what he wants to wear is a plain, long sleeved shirt (which he calls a "down-sleeve shirt"), long pants, and his new black boots. The plain shirt fetish began several months ago, coincidentally right after I discovered a treasure trove of adorable little boy t-shirts that had been Jonah's, all decorated with age-appropriate pictures. But then, Declan announced that he did not want to wear shirts with pictures, or with stripes. Defeated, I tucked the decorated shirts in Ronan's drawer and bought Declan several plain long-sleeved t-shirts. All was fine.

Now that it's finally getting warm (okay, hot), I try to dress him appropriately for the weather: shorts and (plain) short-sleeved t-shirts (which, by the way, are a lot harder to find than you'd think). But that's not what Declan wants to wear. He doesn't like shorts, doesn't like sandals, and still really, really wants to wear down-sleeved shirts every day. I don't want to stifle his aesthetic, but I don't want him to overheat on the playground either.

What I find most interesting is that Declan's clothing preferences are remarkably similar to his father's. Declan would be the first to tell you that he's a Mommy's boy, but I guess even at the ripe old age of 3, he knows that capri pants and tank tops are not appropriate for young boys. Matty's never discussed fashion with Declan (shocking, I know), but Declan must have just noticed that Matty never wears shorts or t-shirts but rather pants and a long-sleeved, button-down shirt all summer long, the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. (Amy even immortalized this quirk of Matty's in song at our wedding: "You could wear a t-shirt once in a while!")

I know that I'm supposed to let Declan pick out his clothes in an effort to trick him into thinking he has some control over his life, but I always thought that meant letting him go to school in plaid shorts and a striped shirt with a feather boa and cowboy hat, not letting him swelter in 85 degree heat under heavy khakis and shit-kicker boots.

In an attempt at compromise, I bought Declan a couple of long-sleeved button-down shirts, just like his father's (also surprisingly hard to find in size 4T). His face lit up when I took them out of the bag, and he begged to put them on immediately. And this morning, we let him wear one to school, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, with shorts and sneakers. He wasn't 100 percent happy. But he was pretty close.

1 comment:

Brittany McDonnell said...

Hey Keri and Matty, It's Brittany from Stones and I just wanted to congradulate the both of you on the birth of Molly! That is so exciting. Mom and I were reading through the blog and it is hysetrical! The boys have gotten to be soooo BIG! We hope all is well and miss you all more than you could ever know!