Sometimes these things creep up on you when you least expect them. This one runs at me, bowls me over and catches me out on a day when we’re running behind schedule, loudly drowning in the minutiae of the early morning schedule, the one designed to have everyone ready for school on time, although we are rarely truly successful. It’s always an approximation of harried, as no-one around here will be hurried. The minutes tick by as we fall further and further behind, flustered and frustrated, just for a change. By the time he comes downstairs for the umpteenth time in a state of bewilderment, I know that we need to take a few steps back as I’m expecting too much too soon, as there are too many distractions to ever achieve task completion unaided. “Come on, up we go, let’s go and get you dressed.”
He looks at his own body, still clad in pyjamas, surprised that they are still there, that the visit upstairs didn’t transform him Clark Kent style into his school clothes without effort, and some days everything is an effort.
In the bedroom he stares at the contents of the wardrobe as he begins his debate. I’m so tempted to choose for him but that will only stall progress. I mentally hop from one foot to the other rather than physically, as that would also be a distraction. Eventually he reaches for a pair of trousers, plops to the floor and starts to insert one foot, “just a minute dear.”
“Haven’t you forgotten something…..look.” He looks but brightly coloured pyjamas are not that dissimilar from brightly coloured underwear, “you need to take your pyjamas off first.”
“Oh yeah,” he wrenches them off and holds them bunched in his hands uncertain what to do next. It occurs to me that it is uncommon for pyjamas to remain on his body for very long, either because they are surplus to requirements for the majority of the time or because they are no longer wearable for a wide variety of reasons, They never make to a second night. “Wot I do wiv dem?” he asks as he shoves them towards the center of my body as my hands are by my sides, but I can still feel them through my shirt, “they’re still warm,” I comment to myself, as much as to him, “and they’re ……..dry!”
“So? Wot I do?”
“I think perhaps……” what do you do with cleanish dry, nightwear? I have no idea. What does one do with pyjamas after one night, lightly used with only the odd dead skin cell on board? What is the norm? Clean pyjamas every night is the norm around here, sometimes several times a night but what do other people do? Is it permissible to wear them more than once? Is there some chance that this late in the day I might redeem myself before Mother Nature and resist this small addition to the ever burgeoning laundry pile? Is this the shape of the future? Is there any possibility, no matter how slight, that some time soon we might just reduce the deluge to two or three loads a day?
There must be some easy solution but it’s been several years, many years. I have some vague recollection back through the mists of time, what did they used to call that thing……a pyjama case! But of course we don’t have one, what would be have one for? Pyjamas are on the body, in the wash or very briefly in the cupboard, clean. There are no other options but we need to mark the occasion, this novel outcome, this once in a life time step forward. “I know………how about you put them under your pillow and then you can use them again tonight!”
“The pillow?” His tone is one of amazement.
“Because…….isn’t that what you do with them?” He gives me the look, the one we reserve for people with very small brains when trying to be kind, no matter how daft the suggestion, “o.k. Mom. There yah go. They’ll be all safe for yah now.” I watch him pat the pillow affectionately with a very strange, amused and vaguely patronizing expression on his face, before he whispers, “it’s o.k. Mom…… ……I’ll keep yur lil secret.”