Sunday, April 26, 2009

Long story shorts

Even though I know how difficult change and transition are for Bud, I am continually surprised by how difficult change and transition are for Bud.

They're difficult even when they come wrapped in lovely packages. Take yesterday, for example. Yesterday was a delightfully sunny Saturday - a rare treat in April in this part of the world. Bud and I set out early, visiting two libraries and the town dump before noon, as the temperatures climbed and the delightfully sunny day became unseasonably warm, with a jump of about 25 degrees over what we've been experiencing lately. It was a welcome change for me, but, I soon discovered, less welcome for Bud.

We stopped at home for a quick lunch before setting out on our next round of adventures, and I changed into shorts and a t-shirt. I brought clothes down for Bud to change into as well - and that's when the trouble began.

He wasn't changing, and that was that. He was sticking with the heavyweight jeans, t-shirt, and long-sleeve sweatshirt he'd put on that morning, and no amount of coercion from me was going to change his mind. It was all I could do to keep him from putting on his coat as well. I decided to choose my battles and packed a change of clothes for him, hoping that he'd want to change once he got uncomfortably warm.

He didn't.

I let it go until the temperature hit 89 degrees and the threat of heat stroke outweighed my fear of battle. I convinced Bud to change by telling him that if it was warm enough for him to wear shorts and a t-shirt, then it would be warm enough for us to stop by the lake so he could put his feet in the water. He donned his shorts and took off his sweatshirt, but he kept complaining at a low rolling boil until he'd had a successful foot-dipping excursion to the lake. Then the real battle began.

In retrospect, I see that Bud's perseveration about his clothing had taken over and that a portion of his preoccupation was really out of his control. In the moment, though, it felt like one of those wars Bud was waging simply because he wanted to call the shots. There's been a lot of that lately, as Bud has begun to assert himself in all his almost-ten-year-old glory - the "I can't possibly eat peanut butter if you say I'm having peanut butter" moments; the "what do you mean I'm taking a shower when what I really want is a bath" moments; the "we can't go to the pharmacy and then the grocery store - we should go to the grocery store and THEN the pharmacy" moments. And though, in retrospect, I see that perhaps I should have dropped it and let him wear whatever he wanted to wear, in the moment it simply annoyed me, and I ended up going toe-to-toe with him as the minutes became hours of "I need my long pants! I need to cover my arms! I'm going to get cold! My knees will get covered in bug bites! Can I have my pants on now? I need to have my pants on. I need a sweatshirt. Will you get me a sweatshirt? I can wear my coat. Where is my coat? I need to have my coat. I know! I can wear your coat. But I can't wear shorts. My knees are sticking out. Here, I'll just put these bags on my arms."

It was, to say the least, an unpleasant afternoon.

After dinner, in hopes of salvaging the rest of the day, we struck a deal. Though it was still in the 80's outside, I agreed that he could wear his winter-weight jeans if he agreed to wear a short-sleeved t-shirt with them, and then we headed out for a walk around the neighborhood as we made peace and enjoyed each other's company.

Today, we woke to another beautiful day and I resolved to do whatever it took to keep the day from escalating into another fight to the finish. If he wanted to wear winter clothing, I thought, then we'd just stay in the house, since it seems that our house was built on a glacier and it's typically ten to fifteen degrees cooler inside than it is outside. I decided that I wouldn't even bring up his choice of clothing - I'd just follow his lead.

In mid-morning, I told Bud it was time to get dressed, and he wandered off to find his clothes. He reappeared after a few minutes in his underwear, with a pair of lightweight pants in his hand. "Let's see," he said, ostensibly to the air, "What can I wear today? Shorts or pants?"

I didn't reply. Neither did the air.

"Now let me think," he repeated. "Should I wear pants... or should I wear shorts?"

"I'm wearing shorts," I answered. "You can wear anything you want."

"Okay, shorts," he said, and he left the room. He returned a few minutes later, still in his underwear, pants still in hand, and mused "Hmmm... now, what will I wear today...?"

"Wear your pants, Bud," I said.

"Pants?" he asked happily.

"Yes, wear your pants," I said.

"Okay!" he chirped. "I'll wear my shorts later, okay, Mom?"

"Okay, Bud."

He dashed out to dress, then came back in his pants and a t-shirt, with a sweatshirt in his hand. "And I'll wear this too?"

"You'll be too hot in that, Bud."

"I'll get a red face?"

"Yes, you'll get a red face."

"I don't want a red face," he said. "I'll wear it another time."

"Good idea," I said.

And then, though I had earlier resigned myself to staying in the house on this beautiful spring day, Bud asked "What are we doing today?"

"I don't know," I answered. "What would you like to do?"

"Let's go for a hike," he said.

So we did. We spent the whole afternoon on a long hike in the woods, the sun shining through the branches, the breeze blowing through our hair, and not a bug in sight. And though I wore shorts and Bud wore pants, we were both comfortable and we didn't spend another minute discussing wardrobe. Instead, we hiked and climbed, while Bud listened to Dierks Bentley on his iPod and I listened to Bud sing along. Then we played a game that Bud developed that I like to call "Every Style a Memory," in which Bud names a Dierks Bentley track and I have to guess whether Dierks originally sang it with long hair or short hair - which may sound tedious, but was actually a welcome relief given the conflict of the day before. We spent the final half mile or so of our hike playing "What's your favorite?," with me asking and Bud answering - What's your favorite Brad Paisley song? Celebrity; What's your favorite Sugarland song? It Happens; What's your favorite Lady Antebellum song? I Run To You. That one never gets old.

And so, despite the rocky transition, it's a joy to finally welcome spring to this frozen tundra we call home.

Which reminds me of one other somewhat-related update. Those of you who were around here last year at this time may recall the Ice Out 2008 competition, in which readers placed bets on the day when the last traces of snow would disappear from my yard. I couldn't get my blogging act together enough this spring to do a repeat (though there's always 2010), but I thought you might like to know the status anyway.

So, you recall that yesterday it was almost 90 degrees outside, right? This is what my yard looked like at the end of the day:

Yes, that's snow. But these days, I like to think of it as nature's cooler - a place to put your beverages to keep them cold while you're outside, enjoying the sun and wearing shorts.

But, really - is it any wonder that my poor linear thinker is confused by it all?


Niksmom said...

Priceless! And, yes, I can imagine the confusion this weather (and subsequent clothing changes) has created for many. Even Nik had a tough time understanding whyhe was going to bed in shorts and a t-shirt tonight instead of his usualy fleecy-footy pj's!

Floortime Lite Mama said...

so interesting
I have to say its ironic how much flexibility - all the rigidity requires

Melissa said...

I'm reading this thinking, "Well, at least MOM-NOS doesn't have to contend with snow," ... until I got to the end. Seriously, I think I would LOSE. MY. MIND if there was a flake of snow left on my lawn.

There's definitely something about the change of seasons that can throw our kids into chaos, isn't there? *sigh*

Anonymous said...

We're having similar issues w/ clothes these days. Finally worked our way into a short sleeve shirt and no jacket today, but he just won't give in to shorts or bare feet. It's a slow evolution for us, and I always hold my breath hoping and praying that he'll be comfortable in shorts and sandals by the time the temp hits a consistent 80 degrees. But it's a close call, every year.

Quirky Mom said...

You know, I think Apple would have a supremely confusing time with her clothing choices if there were snow on the ground and warm temps. But we don't get snow here, so that's not an issue. Instead she's just confused every single day and never knows what is seasonally appropriate. LOL. For us it is the cold(ish) weather that causes problems, though, because Apple is always happy in a dress.

I love the compromise of letting Bud wear his long pants with short sleeves. We have a similar compromise happening right now. Apple has desperately wanted to swim ever since it got hot enough for water play and swimsuits at preschool. She's been begging all evening to put on her swimsuit and get out her kiddie pool. But today's high was 70ish and it's down in the 60s now. No pool today. I finally came up with the solution: Apple is wearing her swimsuit and "swimming" in the bathtub. Everyone is happy. :)

Maddy said...

I hear your pain. It's always the little things that drive me completely batty.

I've given up festering about clothes a long while back though. I don't care what they wear as long as they're wearing something.

The transition from long trousers to shorts takes approximately three weeks [as opposed to a whole season].

Most valuable lesson learned for me = if I force my son to wear shorts when he needs to wear trousers then he merely ensures that the hems of his shorts meet his socks so as to keep his ankles covered and warm, the fact that everything else is therefore exposed is apparently of no consequence.

Glad you ended up having a brill day afterall.

Kate said...

I'm wondering where you live, all our snow is good and melted and I live in Maine. And we haven't had a day above maybe 75. Maybe one day was 80 but mostly it's been in the 50s and 60s.
Last year however, I left on April 7 and I remember I am pretty sure there was still a good four feet of snow in the front yard that hadn't melted yet. Last year was a cold, snowy year.

kristina said...

In previous years it has been impossible for Charlie to relinquish his fleece and gloves and hat and who knows what even when the mercury rose.

Today, I put out shorts and he put them on. Didn't even ask for the fleece.

Granted, he never wants to wear sandals; always his same Merrell's and short socks.

Iced coffee or, perhaps, snow coffee?

Robin said...

It's all so confusing to them. M usually has more trouble the other way - wanting to wear summer clothes when it's freezing out. One year we finally had to make a deal - I chose what she wore outside, but she was able to wear whatever she wanted when she came home.

I don't even want to think about how high my heating bill was that year as she ran around in spaghetti strap dresses while the rest of us were in thermals.

Sally's World said...

what a brilliant post....and lets face it, I'm confused at the weather, you leave the house in layers to account for every eventuality...the kids are leaving for school in sweaters and blazers and coming home weighed down with half their clothes in their backpacks...who knows what to do...

it has taken me two months to convince deion he needs his winter coat...the first day there was no struggle...the sun came its going to take me two months to convince him he doesn't need it LOL!!!

but thats nothing, i'm going to try to get him out of thick socks and trainers and into lightweight sandals this summer!!!!!

I know there is no hope of shorts, cos he has a problem showing off...what he thinks are 'surprisingly hairy knees mum'

have a great day...

Jen said...

I love the change of seasons because I live in Ontario, and I hate it because of how difficult it is for my kids. It was about 25 degrees here on Saturday, so everyone was in shorts- yesterday we were back to jeans and jackets, and it threw everybody off. Today it's going to be back up to 25, so everyone will be back in shorts and spinning circles again. I'll be glad when the weather just picks something and sticks to it for a while.

Fleecy said...

Glad you guys found a compromise :)

Now that I'm in charge of what I wear, I will pretty much never wear shorts if I can avoid it (occasionally I have to, so I can wash all my pants). I like having my legs covered.

BeAGoodDad said...

I love how he didn't wear the sweatshirt because he didn't want a red face.

Our transition to non-winter clothes and no coat seems to have gone much easier this year than last.

Now I just need to hope that we don't get any more really cold spells to confuse the matter.

JoyMama said...

I have to say... what struck me reading this is that of my two children, the one with whom I butted heads over weather-appropriate clothing choices last week was: the neurotypical one. Heh.

Ronna said...

I totally "get" the Every Style A Memory game--love it! I think we're going to have to play that at Dierks' fan club party in June in Nashville! I'll be sure to give Bud and MOM NOS credit for the idea!

Robin said...

I cannot believe you still have snow in the yard! We had beautiful weather last week but today it was cold (well what passes out here for cold).
Glad you and Bud had such a good day yesterday!

Anonymous said...

well, of course he was confused!!! it's SO CONFUSING!! a few days ago it was sleeting and then suddenly, BOOM, 90 degrees!

i love the way the day ended for the two of you on that hike, 'what's your favorite'. and how bud left the window open for the shorts. later. he will wear them later.

fluffy wears the shorts all winter long so ...

Ronna said...

Hey Mom NOS--thanks for posting on the dbcongress blog! To answer your question, indeed, Dierks recorded "House of Gold" at the Grand Ole Opry as one cut on the "How Great Thou Art" compilation CD. All the artists recorded their cut for the album live that night at the Opry. Wish I could have been there! That CD was released February 2008, so it was "short-haired" Dierks!

Unknown said...

You gotta love good ole New England Weather! Meteorologists
can'e even get it straight, and that is their job!

Love the "Game" thing! My kids and I play games all the time! Our favorite one is "The 3 clues game"! You choosea catagory: song, artist, book or movie. Then, one at a time you give 3 clues, allowing guesses after every clue is given. If someone guesses correct, it's their turn, if not, it is your turn again!
Simple yet entertaining! Games are a great way to engage and pass the time! We will try the "Deirks" game, but maybe change it to the "Kenny" game!

KAL said...

I love the pictures of your hike and the image of him with his ipod singing. The weather has been just nuts these days, moving from cold to hot overnight -- no wonder he was confused, I'm confused.

And as for Ice Out 2008 - and as its triumphant winner ;) I look forward to Ice Out 2010!

pixiemama said...

We have the same battles, with temperatures near 90 one day and near 50 two days later.

love Bud.

love you.

thanks for your awesome support.

budbud's mom said...

'I am continually surprised by how difficult change and transition are'
this is such a truism, you could be talking about my son!

Not only am i continually surprised , when really it shouldnt be new to me, but also it seems when i am most braced for conflict and rigidity it doesnt occur...wish i could figure it out! and as for the 'how could i do this if you suggest it...priceless, again quoting from my house, and we still have snow as well! (Manitoba)

Chun Wong said...

Wow, snow and 90 degrees, that's amazing.

Sounds like you had a real battle over the clothes but at least you had a great time hiking. Must be hard to keep calm!

LAA and Family said...

Going from winter to summer clothes.. a battle we have gone through many times. However, the battle was much shorter this year. He only complained about wearing shorts one or two times. It's usually a battle that lasts several weeks.