Saturday, 8 September 2012

Clothes for the Congo

I’m knee deep in boxer shorts, can’t tell the difference between any of them, Husband’s, Eldest’s, Middle One’s… Okay Youngest’s I can tell, they’re tiny, he has the smallest bottom in the world, but sorting the others is a nightmare. Ditto the socks. I’d like to burn them all.

Four hours into the job, with coat hangers and clothes all over the floor, and I wish I hadn’t started this whole sorting-out-their-clothes-for-the-new-term thing. Now I’m going to get ruthless…. Will I really hand those faded torn jeans down to Youngest when the time comes? No. Out they go. Are those orange cords nice? No, the legs are so baggy they look like flares. Who knew that only six short years ago little boys wore trousers with such wide legs? Something you don't consider when buying expensive clothes for the children. Well, they can always be handed down, you think. No they can't.

Seven bin bags full of old stuff to get rid of now. We could clothe an African village. Or three. But no doubt I’ll be driving round with them in the car for days before I actually bring myself to part with it all. What if there's something in there we really need? It always feels like I'm throwing their childhoods away...

Finally I'll do it. I know I will. Bin bags hauled out of car with the hazards flashing on a red route, shoved into one of those giant bins or the hands of a smiling, benevolent old lady in a charity shop, phase one of their journey to a Congolese village, I hope. 

Once there, little bare footed cherubs of my imaginings will snatch it all up, pull on those Red Herring T-shirts with incomprehensible slogans, the faded stripey Boden hoodies, even those GAP orange cords with the flappy legs, and run off delighted and laughing, kicking up red African dust in their wake... and then boil to death. That's what I like to think anyway (not the boiling to death), you can blame The Poisonwood Bible if you like. In reality it will probably all end up clothing delinquents in a Young Offenders Institute in Hull.

So, six hours of sorting and now Eldest has nothing to wear, bare hangers swing in his wardrobe and he’s starting in the Sixth form on Monday where no doubt it’s going to be fashion, fashion, fashion all the way. Middle One is okay-ish, not much in the way of jeans and trousers for him because older brother has a particularly bony left knee, which wears through everything so there’s nothing to hand down, but he’s well served for school uniform and t-shirts. Youngest, meanwhile, has seventeen pairs of jeans in every conceivable colour and eleven hoodies - all of which look like they might finally fit him sometime in 2016.

And there’s still my ironing and putting away pile from the summer holiday we returned from more than two weeks ago. I just tipped it all out on the guest room bed to make a start…

Ho hum.

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