An Open Letter to Nate

Re: The Laundry


Dear Nate,


Well, here we are. You’re 5 now. I thought at this point you’d grow out of some of your quirks. That you’d be hardened by the conformity of traditional schooling, disillusioned by peer pressure and the overwhelming desire to fit in.


What can I say, I’m a natural cynic. That’s what carries this blog.


But I was wrong. I mean, sure, some of your quirks have disappeared.


For example, you no longer intentionally mismatch your socks or wear them on your hands as mittens. The infatuation with anything and everything red has kind of faded. Though you did make a bird at school last week using only red tissue paper, but you recently added gray to your growing list of favorite colors. Festive.


You've sat in the same seat on the same sofa pretty much as long as we’ve lived here—3 and a half years. You perch there. You eat breakfast there, eat your snack there, watch movies there, play with Legos there, and bark orders at Sam from there. You’ve dubbed it your couch. Which, quite frankly, is fine with me. You’ve stained that thing beyond recognition with all kinds of juices, milks, and bodily fluids. I don’t even like brushing by that piece of…furniture.


Also, your obsession with jigsaw puzzles has been replaced by a need to accumulate and tinker with Legos. Oh…so many Legos. So, so, so many.


But fine. That’s fine. I’m fine with that. I don’t even mind that you and Sam bring them to the table at mealtimes as long as you clean them up.


What’s getting old to me is the costume thing. Sure, costumed kids are normal and fun—lookin at you, Jimmy A! Your hammerhead shark costume on the playground a few weeks back made my day—but your costumes are not costumes. They’re just…clothes. Clothes that you’ve dug from your drawers and your closet and hand-me-down boxes and Sam’s drawers and piecemealed together to produce costumes.


I gotta say, I admire the creativity.  You’ve accumulated pieces for the Black Ninja, Kai the Red Ninja, Batman (see also: the Black Ninja), Leonardo, and Raphael. Nice.


There have also been some random, unidentifiable costumes. Like yesterday, when you wore three different pairs of Adidas track pants. At the same time. Last week you simultaneously donned so many black, gray, and navy blue t-shirts that when I punched you in the stomach—at your request, mind you—you didn’t even feel it.


So, here’s the problem: your new hobby is generating a lot of laundry. It’s also depriving Sam of clothing.


I did a load of laundry this morning and folded seven pairs of pants that you had worn. Granted it had been almost 24 hours since the last load of laundry I did, so I can totally see how you’d worn seven pairs of pants in those 24 hours, 12 of which you spent sleeping. I did not include your pajama pants in this count.


And three of these pairs of pants belonged to Sam. Which really immobilized him when I told him to get dressed—a difficult task for him to begin with—and he was left with few choices. But he donned his hideous olive green cargo pants without complaint because he considered it an honor that you chose his size 2T gray sweatpants to squeeze into as part of your Black Ninja costume.


But sure, go ahead and wear them for fifteen minutes before tearing them off, tossing them into the laundry basket and foraging through your drawers to find your green fatigue sweats and kelly green long-sleeved shirt that my mom bought you in Ireland so you can dress as Leo. Or Raph. Whatever. I'll wash it all.


Thanks for keeping me busy. And jacking up our water bill. And destroying the environment.


Much unconditional love,


Your Mom, who has absolutely no weird quirks at all—except the thing about organizing cereal boxes and the system for consuming M&M’s


PS In case you’re looking for it later, your black Darth Vader cape is folded neatly on top of your dresser.