Thursday, July 24, 2008


We are hitting the road on Thursday night to visit family in Nashville and Little Rock, and to go to a few nice parties honoring Matt’s cousin MK, who just got married in Italy. We are excited to see everyone and to celebrate the newlyweds. Little Rock in July is hot, like Hell is hot. But we can handle it. And we’re driving there with a two year-old, but our minivan has DVD. No problem, right? I am sure that you can’t think of a thing that could go wrong.

So, when the details of this trip were coalescing, months ago, my first thought, right after, “Oh, how lovely,” or it might have been right before “Oh, how lovely,” was, “What are we all going to wear?” In this house, Mama dresses everybody, young and old, especially if it’s any kind of big event. It’s not my favorite part of the job. I mean, I like shopping and picking out outfits for the kids, especially Laura. (I’m still trying to figure out this whole Hank is a boy thing.) But as I may have let on, I’m kind of a miser when it comes to my mental energy, and all the details of four peoples’ wardrobe and grooming really add up to a lot of stuff to think about. So, four people times three parties equals potentially twelve outfits. But, as I figure, we don’t all need to have unique outfits for each event—the guest lists won’t overlap much and who cares anyway—so there’s plenty of wiggle room. The only person I was really worried about was my husband, who deserves his own paragraph:

Many times, Matt has arrived at a destination with nothing in his suitcase but board games and socks that were put in to cushion the board games. Many, many a family beach week has started with a trip to buy Matt some underwear. Then he wears the same clothes everyday. I honestly don’t have a problem with this. I didn’t marry him for his sartorial gifts, and I’m simply not going to add his clothing to a list of things that I think about. For work, he has a limited selection of khaki pants and polo shirts, like Garanimals for adults—a system that has served us these many years. But when there’s any kind of occasion in the offing, I know without it being discussed that it’s up to me to get us all there dressed appropriately.

So this post will serve as a confession that I put drastically different amounts of time and effort into dressing the various family members. The timeline was, two months ago, I bought myself five dresses, carefully considered them at home with the proper undergarments, tried them on for my mother-in-law, and kept three of them. Two for these weekend wedding parties and one for some future funeral, because we decided it was a little dowdy for a cocktail reception, but just right if someone dies. One of the keepers, a really cute little black number has—free your mind—kind of a bubble skirt. (That is not the funeral dress.) Anyhoo.

Then a month ago, I found this website called Little Mercado (thanks to Maggie at Mighty Junior), and when you get past some of the scary “pageant” get-ups, there are amazing bargains on flower girl-type dresses. I got Laura two adorable party dresses, deeply marked down, for $10 each. Then I spiked the ball and danced around the dining room, because dang, that was awesome. They arrived and were just as cute in person. She tried them on, we picked out shoes, done.

So, on to Hank. This is a matter of personal taste and family culture, maybe, but I don’t want to dress a tiny boy in a man suit. Those little clip-on ties? Yes, they’re cute, but I can’t get down with it. I understand this may be controversial. Dr. Phil even did an episode in which a husband confronted his wife for dressing their toddler boy in “girly” clothes like seersucker rompers and shortalls with smocking. I could see that it was kind of traditional, maybe, but it just looked normal to me. Then Dr. Phil brought out some little models wearing what he suggested as more masculine attire. They looked like tiny members of Pearl Jam. Whatever. So I waited until there was a super sale at Olive Juice, then got H two little outfits. Picture these shortalls with a white shirt underneath. Plenty dressy for a two year-old in July.

Then, the one I really loved, but is no longer on the website, was the boy version of this. Picture instead of a dress, it’s a one-piece with shorts, and no Peter Pan collar. It’s a linen material. I put it on him tonight for the first time, and it is super cute. He’ll wear it with his little fisherman sandals. He obviously felt very special in it, ‘cause he kept saying, “Hank is a princess!”

So now our timeline has brought us up to this week. I knew Matt’s one suit was somewhere in the house, though I haven’t actually seen it with my eyes since we moved in. I worried, without actually doing anything, that it wouldn’t fit anymore. I mentioned this to Matt a couple of weeks ago and he offered to stop eating, since buying another suit would be cost-prohibitive. I didn’t really know what to do so I was putting off dealing with the whole issue. Finally, last night, I told Matt that we needed to find it. He vanished into the basement, and Bob’s your uncle, came back out with his blue suit, an extra pair of gray dress pants, and a pair of good shoes. The suit jacket still fits fine. The pants are a little snug but wearable. And the extra gray pants fit great. So I balled it all up, threw it in the van, and took it to the cleaners today. We’ll pick them up tomorrow on our way out of town, not a moment too soon. And sometime, someone has to iron some shirts. That will probably be me.

Y’all have a good weekend! And keep it casual.

Edit: in the interest of full disclosure (always our goal here at Suburban Matron), I wanted to say that Matt's mom ironed his shirts, because she is that wonderful.


Amy said...

That is beautiful. I laughed so hard I snorted about the board games and socks. Then I read it to Jason and snorted again. And "Hank is a princess"!! That is seriously golden.

I do have to ask...linen for a 2 year old? It's adorable, but can you just iron it while it's on his body, like halfway thru the party? Have a great trip--forgot to tell you that today! xoxo

Veronica said...

I'm with Amy on all counts...

I wonder if you could steam-press him, like how that one designer steamed her model's butt on Project Runway last night?

Becky said...

Yes, the linen would be a bad idea. To clarify, when I said linen material, what I meant is that it's linen-y, like it's really a heavier canvas (sort of nautical, like the colors) with a linenish texture. Like cotton duck but more refined. Or something. But I still might need to whisk him away and stand him near a hot shower.

David said...

HA! *I* laughed so hard I snorted at this:

"Two for these weekend wedding parties and one for some future funeral, because we decided it was a little dowdy for a cocktail reception, but just right if someone dies."

Please please please dude, find a way to say that every single time you talk to me.

Anonymous said...

Linen is SUPPOSED to wrinkle. That's half of its charm ; )