WELL BALANCING ACT BY SAMMI JOHNSON
No pants? No problem. That’s how I feel after the never-ending arguments I have with my children after explaining to my 4-year old why pants are essential. Often, I head out the door with pants in one hand and my child in the other. I’ll let daycare deal with this one. Again.
Why pants? Why are we fighting over wearing pants? Here is a sampling of reasons why:
“They are blue.”
“They aren’t blue.”
“Not pink enough.”
“Brother looked at me.”
“He also touched those pants.”
This occurs almost daily in my house with my oldest child, and her mentality is now wearing off on her little brother; his answer, however, is just “no” when asked to wear his pants. With the eldest, it begins with a negotiation session and usually ends with what looks like a greased-pig wrestling match. I have tried buying different types of pants – soft, long, short, any kind – to no avail.
I’ve recently found that this defiance is a lifelong struggle to which many parents can relate. How do these children know that not wearing pants is a symbol of rebellion? They don’t actually hate wearing pants; they love the idea of simply not wearing them. Adults love this idea, too. No pants equals freedom and a feeling of rebellion! It’s a lifelong ambition to not wear pants, but only children hold the right to carry it out, or perhaps only in my household.
There is a youthful fascination of getting away with something. It’s hilarious, but exhausting. For my toddler, when wearing pants becomes a reasonable option, they surely aren’t jeans. Soft pants only. She still has a huge aversion to jeans and the prospect that they may be too tight. Rightfully so, because jeans are often too tight and are miserable to wear.
Our childlike beliefs and wishes extend into adulthood, but we simply adhere to social norms and stop acting out every wish and desire. Children push the envelope and try to do things that as adults we’ve declared as obvious no-nos. A sampling of my own internal wish-list of kid things that emulate my own kids’ ambitions include:
Eating cereal all day, every day.
Eating all of the Halloween candy in one sitting.
Doodling on walls, tables or basically anything.
Putting a hammer to a wall.
Adhering to a strict jammies-only uniform.
I’m letting the minis run with this one for the time being. Enjoy it while you can, kiddos! You’ll probably go to college with pants on, so what harm is done if you only wear leggings with shorts on cold days? Do it while you can. I imagine you’ll turn into hysterical adults who will also think rebellion comes in the form of sans pants (I hope that is as edgy as you get).
It isn’t a question of who is wearing the pants in this situation because the children are clearly winning. They win. I lose. I’ve accepted this and moved on to force-feeding vegetables.
Perhaps, one day we’ll be rebellious together, eating cereal after eating Halloween candy, while not wearing pants, then coloring on the walls before tearing them down.
Sammi is a mother, wife, business owner and production and marketing director at the Flathead Beacon in Kalispell. Have an idea for a column, or a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.