| Posted in:Family, Writing

 On the making of a Hobo

Found this photo labelled “2010…changed clothes for birthday party”

I have a son. He’s eight.

He likes dirt bikes, welding, fire, olives, figs, coffee, things that blow up, making things blow up, watching things blow up, and talking about making and watching things that blow up.

He doesn’t like being told what to do, having baths, going to bed, or changing his clothes.

He is a creature of habit with a fierce, determined spirit that I need to be crush immediately.

Here is an excerpt of my life with this wonderful, frustrating, beautiful, stubborn, loving child:

Son, I did laundry today, and as you know, we are handling laundry differently in order to save some money. I have been trying to wash our clothes in cold water, but it isn’t working for your bundles ‘o stank. (We’re slang folk.) But hey; that’s okay. I understand that you’re going to get dirty, what with your important work of chasing your friends at school, filling your pockets with sand, and run amuck rabble-rousing. (See: slang.)

But I’ve noticed lately an alarming lack of underwear in your laundry basket. I checked under your bed, and in your drawers, and even behind the furnace. I used to hide things there when I was a teenag…well, that’s a story for another day.

When I couldn’t find them anywhere, I looked again in your top drawer and there they were!



Smelling of Snuggle “Blue Sparkle” fabric softener.

Sponge Bob and Patrick smiled up at me from their brightly coloured nut-pouches. I couldn’t believe that all of your underwear – every single pair, save for one, which I hope you are wearing now - were clean. But that can’t be possible because that would mean that you never change your…ohmygodyou…

Son, you need to change your clothes at least once every 24 hours. Ultimately yes, it is what’s on the inside of a person that counts, but if you have access to soap and water, then you should use it. Clean bodies are a sign of respect to yourself, and to others.


Because if I’m going to be held prisoner in your bed every night, I’m going to insist on some freshness happening under that blanket, okay?  If I have to lie in an Ikea bunk bed like a prisoner in Cell Block Stinky-Shorts, and carry out Vampire Watch duty until you fall asleep, the very least you could do is attempt to make it pleasant for me, scent-wise.

Besides, God forbid you ever get taken to the hospital or suffer a public pants-ing, you’ll thank me for teaching you this.

So, I hope you understand, and now realize that keeping yourself clean is a priority.”

He looked at me, and I think he got it.

I’ve heard that “echoing” is an effective teaching tool, so I asked him, “Okay. So how often should you be changing your clothes, and most importantly, your underwear?

“I KNOW, Mommy. At least once every week.”

I wish he’d take a lesson from his 13 year-old sister, who showers twice daily and always smells like ripe strawberries and bad attitude.

  • http://mypajamadays.com/ Emily Okaty Wilson

    So awesome! I’ve had the unfortunately experience to find out my oldest daughter would just turn her underwear inside out or use panty-shields so that she wouldn’t have to do her laundry as often. Girls have their ways…

    • http://highlyirritable.wordpress.com Jeni

      “Panty-shields” is now my word of the day. :)

  • Carolyn Weintrager

    Forest (10yo boy) proudly told me yesterday that he’d worn the same t-shirt a few days in a row and slept in it twice. I thought he looked familiar this week. :-P
    Also, he wears his socks for DAYS on end, sleeping in them too until I tell him to TAKE THEM OFF and put clean ones on. This one resists bathing, too.

  • http://www.deepestworth.com Shannon

    Ha-Ha, “nut-pouches.” We’ve been calling bras “booby-baskets” for years, but “nut-pouches?” That’s new to me. My son will thank you for adding that to my vocabulary arsenal.

    • http://highlyirritable.wordpress.com Jeni

      Happy to help!

  • http://thegreenstudy.wordpress.com thegreenstudy

    Very funny! My 8 year old is going through her “spy” phase which I tried turn to my advantage. “You’ll give away your concealed location if they can smell you a block away”. No joy. Apparently she now has a spy gadget that conceals her smell. Go, gadget, go. Cough, cough…..

  • http://tamarakellysblog.blogspot.com.au/ tamara

    HAHAHA My 7 y.o. boy has just hit the “I don’t wanna shower” phase. Maybe it’s because we’re on tanks so he has to shower with his 2 y.o. sister who has recently taken to pulling his willie.

  • Sheri

    Oh my gosh, all these stories are funny. It’s nice to know I am not the only one with struggles

  • http://thelandy.wordpress.com The Landy

    Good luck!

%d bloggers like this: