The stay-at-home dad: Sentiment for ill-fitting clothes | Coeur d'Alene Press

2022-06-15 12:12:37 By : Ms. Inna Fan

My wife opened an old box in the garage and found my old Ghostbusting jumpsuit.

I remember wearing this tan, micro-uniform all-day, every-day back around kindergarten. The “Ghostbusters II” logo, with the classic ghoulie holding up a peace sign, is stitched on one sleeve (screen accurate!), and the back of the jumpsuit reads the words, “Back off man, I’m a Ghostbuster.”

My mom managed to keep this favorite costume, as well as a few other important childhood items (a Buddy doll, my knitted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Christmas sweater, etc.), and the box eventually made its way to my garage. Luckily, we opened it just in time for the Ghostbusters suit to fit our youngest kiddo, who turns 5 this week.

I’m glad I have the costume, as it makes me feel all fuzzy about childhood again. However, the fact that it just barely fits my youngest of four kids makes me realize that I’m not a young parent anymore. My kids aren’t so little, and that thought unnerves me in an existential, mid-life crisis sort of way.

Luckily, my oldest daughter, who just turned 11, appears to be as sentimental as I am, and so I have a feeling she’ll refuse to grow up just as I have in certain ways.

This all leads back to clothes. My 11-year-old daughter never wants to give away her clothes, either via donation or to her younger sister. Every item is special. She’ll squeeze into size 7 pants, I think, because she believes that she’s young enough to still wear her kiddie clothes.

Actually, I don’t need to speculate. I know she doesn’t want to grow up, because, at multiple points in her life, she’s burst into tears (unprompted) and shouted, “But I don’t want to grow up!”

Nobody, except perhaps Father Time, has ever told her she had to in the first place.

The clothes create a rather precarious situation for my wife, who has taken it upon herself to manage the clothing rotation in the house. While I still hold the laundry card, I’m extremely thankful that I don’t need to involve myself in what gets saved for younger siblings and what ends up being donated or sold.

Let me stress that, with four kids, managing the clothes is one of the most time-consuming tasks of parenting. In addition to the hoarder, we’ve got two boys who are picky about how certain clothing feels, and a daughter who can’t wait to wear most of her older sister’s wardrobe. Switching clothes out and making donation bags requires tons of space, lifting heavy bags and storage bins in and out of the garage, emptying them, filling them, emptying and refilling, folding, refolding, etc.

Honestly, holding that card requires me to hold two or three other regular, chore-related cards as a trade-off, and I’m totally OK with it. Organizing clothes is insufferable.

You know what makes it even worse? An 11-year-old over your shoulder losing her temper over every “unwarranted” removal.

“I love that shirt! Even when it’s too small I want to keep it!”

“I don’t want her to wear that shirt because it’s special to me!”

It’s just a small hole!”

“It’s only uncomfortable to wear sometimes!”

“These pants basically work like shorts now!”

In most instances, my wife tries to make the difficult cuts after bedtime, without the judging eye of our little Toys-R-US kid. Out of sight, out of mind, right? It works until a certain special shirt or pants comes back into the fold for her younger sister, and then she suddenly recalls at least nine memories of wearing that specific article of clothing.

Her: “You can’t give that to her. It fits and I still wear it!”

Us: “It’s been in a bin in the garage for two years.”

Her: “Ugh, and I was looking for it EVERYDAY!”

Us: “It’s too small to physically fit over your head.”

Her: “But I don’t want to grow up!”

I get it. Part of me thinks I could get that Ghostbusters uniform to fit over my head.

Tyler Wilson is a freelance writer and stay-at-home dad to four kids, ages 5-11. He can be reached at

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