Reluctant Trendsetter Syndrome

Okay, so. This morning, just as I was plopping the Peppermint Ice paste onto my toothbrush, I heard Jaiden break out into an unholy spazzniption. Knowing that time was short, I hurriedly ran out to diffuse said spazzniption because we were within minutes of the kids' bus trundling down the street.

"Jaiden – what the heck is wrong with you, boy?"


"Jaiden. I already told you earlier that there was nothing wrong with those shorts."


"No they're not, son. They still fit just fine and they are most certainly not too short. They stop just above your knees, so you don't have to worry about getting a dress code violation. Wearing shorts to school again just feels weird because you've been wearing pants for a while."

"But NO! You can SEE my kneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees and EVERYONEISGOINGOTLAUGHATMEEEEEEE!" snotsnifflechokehack

"Alright son, that's it. You're about to be what – nine years old? So please explain to me why it is you're having a 2-year old meltdown over your shorts. It's too late for you to change clothes because I hear the bus coming down the street. And so help me Spongebob, if you miss that bus because you're too busy having a fit you can walk to school. On your knees. In those shorts."

Okay, so not really, but he exchanged his sniveling for a lip-quivering pout and he hightailed it down the street. He made it to the stop just in time for him to hop on the cheesewagon.

I did an abrupt about-face and made my way back to my bathroom, muttering mumbles of annoyance along the way.

I got back to the task of brushing my teeth and then moved on to fixing my hair. Just as I was reaching for my comb, I had a sudden flashback to 1986. I was 8 years old, just a couple of months away from my 9th birthday.

As usual, my mom fixed my hair in the morning before school. Not usual, she pinned my two braids to the sides of my head just above my ears with barrettes instead of just letting them hang freely.

"BUT MOOOOOOM," I cried as snot slipped down my lip, "EVERYONE IS GOING TO LAUGH AT ME!"

Breezily, Mom said, "Moxie, no one is going to laugh at you. Now go to school. You're almost late and if you are, you know you'll have to serve detention. So scoot."


"Kyyym," she said in that tone.

So off I went across the street to school, feeling utterly stupid and quite embarrassed with braided handles arching out from my head.

I thought of Jaiden shuffling off down the street while holding his bookbag in front of his legs in effort to hide them, and I immediately felt like shit.

Because to him, the fact that his bony knees were sticking out from just beneath his shorts was a big damned deal. Little people have problems which are proportional to their size, and what was a minor annoyance to me was a major issue to my kid. I made a mental note not to lose sight of that, and to apologize to Jaiden for being so short with him this morning because, Dude! Did I ever tell you the story about the time Gran-Gran sent me to school with Teacup Hair?…

Then I remembered that two days after I went to school with Teacup Hair, another girl in my class came to school with Teacup Hair. By the next week, there were other girls with Teacup Hair. This befuddling trend didn't exactly take away from my initial embarrassment (befuddling because though it seemed to catch on, I still hated it and NEVER wore my hair like that again), but it did offer some relief that no one other than me thought I looked stupid.

When I got home from work this evening, I asked Jaiden if anyone laughed at his shorts.

"No, Mom – you were right! Nobody was even looking at my knees and other people said they were going to wear their shorts tomorrow, too!"

The lesson here – Teacup Hair and shorts effin' rock.

Or maybe it's something like mothers usually think they know best. (Unless they don't, because you're like, 15 and the parental units are soooo not happening.)

What is your worst "I can't believe my mom sent me to school like this" moment?

12 thoughts on “Reluctant Trendsetter Syndrome”

  1. Or maybe it’s something like those truisms are truisms because a lot of the time they’re true. πŸ™‚
    The only time I was ever embarassed at school was when my sister (who was 13) had a conniption fit over the outfit my mom had put me in (I was 5). Apparently, even in the ’70s, strips and checks didn’t go together. I had afternoon kindergarten, and my sister did not get a chance to give approval to my outfit before I showed up at school and made her look foolish.
    I hope you enjoyed your fabulous Mother’s Day present – hearing “Mom, you were right” is a very special event!

  2. GeekByMarriage

    hank goodness!!!! I thought Seth was a freak for freaking out about wearing shorts. He still refuses to wear ANY. He’s 9 too so maybe it’s just that age?
    My mom bought me a head to toe, one piece, heavy, STONE WASHED DENIM, jumpsuit. Buttoned from crotch to cleavage with big brass snaps. I was in 7th grade and she made me wear it, OR ELSE. Problem was, everyone noticed and everyone had jokes.
    She also had a thing for buying me “old lady tops” you know the beaded ones with flowers and puffy sleeves on the shoulders with shoulder pads a linebacker would envy.
    Don’t get me started on the poodle perms she did herself on me. Looking back now she’s like “What was I thinking?”
    No shit, Mom… No shit.

  3. My problem wasn’t what my mom sent me to school in. My problem was my hair. Yeah, the hair I love and adore now. It was a much hated bitch back then. My mom has stick straight hair and I have uber-curly hair. I mean many people including hairdressers have compared my hair to african-american hair…and my mom had no clue what to do with it or how to manage it. I love it now but back then my hair frequently looked frizzy and out of control.

  4. Congrats! You’ve officially become your mother!
    I try really, really hard, not to be mine.
    Loved her, but she wasn’t all that and a bag of chips… she was a Dr. Phil ep. in the making w/her bad choices.
    I love the new word you’ve created hun. Spazzinization. One for the dictionaries, it creates an awesome visual!

  5. My mom used to cut my hair, and apparently I didn’t stand still, because my bangs were ALWAYS crooked. I don’t think I was embarrassed at the time, but those school photos sure make me laugh today. πŸ™‚

  6. My mom used to curl my hair into the perfect image of a 50-year-old woman. It never caught on in the elementary school fashion scene, needless to say.
    Glad things worked out better for Jaiden.

  7. For a minute I though you had made him wear the Richard Simmons jogging shorts my brother was forced to wear in the 7th grade, that cut off right at the end of his asscheek. And yes, they did laugh at him.
    Knees showing are not so bad- but it isn’t what the boys are wearing these days.

  8. Teacup hair!!!! I soooooooo wanted to wear my hair like that. I always ended up looking like trailer park Heidi. *pout*
    I adore you and the way you parent.

  9. I can visualize the teacup hair but really, I need a picture. Please.
    I was a trendsetter b/c of circumstances; to get pants baggy enough to fit over my scoliosis brace ‘girdle’ I had to wear pants that turned into pedal pushers (not so cool in junior high, 1983) as I was always long-legged. The other kids couldn’t tease ‘the girl in the brace’ & soon other girls were wearing *real* pedal pushers; the same girls who used to tease pre-braced me about wearing ‘floods’. HA!

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