And Where Would You Like to Put On Your Socks?

Arlo is WAY into socks. Like it might be a problem how much he’s digging socks right now. His desires are very specific and each pair must be unique.  His go-to combination lately is a long blue one, coupled with an ankle-length red one. He then spends the rest of the day taking them off and putting them back on.

It’s the type of oddly specific, habitual behavior that gets in the way of succeeding at a job. No one can be a hopeless slave to his sock ritual AND an attentive bartender. Luckily, at 2.5 years old,  he doesn’t have any other responsibilities, and can therefore pursue his footwear proclivities free from the judgmental whispering of gossipy co-workers.

This all coincides with his obsession over where he gets dressed (we’re in a big clothes phase, apparently.) Each morning he wakes with new ideas about which article of clothing should be applied on which specific square foot of which specific room. He runs and stands in one place, then changes his mind, becoming completely confident that the new spot is THE SPOT to put on his shirt, only to suddenly decide that the small slice of floor between the subwoofer and sofa is clearly superior.

Since, as parents, we are socially obligated, if not legally required, to dress our children, one of us ends up hunched over, holding open a tiny pair of pants while chasing a naked cackling toddler. It’s comical the first ten times.

I’m afraid we’ve become the loyal but defeated servants of a madman.

“Ok, is THIS where you want to put on your pants, My Lord? I see. Ok then,  I’ll just follow you to the basement in hopes that perhaps it might be a more suitable location? Very well.

My Lord, is the basement to your liking? Shall I put on your shirt here? No? Well then, I must say, My Lord, that I am becoming increasingly frustrated with your inability to ….. I’m sorry My Lord, it is not my place to be frustrated with you.

Please stop crying. Would you like to put on your shirt in the kitchen? Oh dear, I see that due to my lack of manners, you’ve decided that you would prefer not to get dressed at all today. I’m sorry it’s come to this, My Lord. Shall I fetch you some kind of cookie?”

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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