M walked down the hall this morning, hitching his saggy pants up as he went, and E and I both immediately hollered at him, “Belt! You have to put on a belt!” It’s a reminder we’ve had to give him way too often lately.
He got all grumpy and teary and slunk back into his room. It’s tough to be an overtired teenager, first thing in the morning, with two moms yelling at you about your clothing. And he wasn’t deliberately going for the boxers-showing look; it’s just that he is so skinny that he needs pants which are a size 12 in terms of width, but size 16 in terms of length, and we insist that he not go around with several inches of sock showing either.
Ten minutes later, E was already on her way to work, when I realized M was still hitching his pants up every few steps as moved around the kitchen assembling his lunch. He hadn’t actually put a belt on. I told him to go in his room NOW and PUT ONE ON. He told me that kids tease him if he wears a belt. “How can they tell?” I asked, pretty fed up at this point, since we were running late. “It’s not like you tuck your shirt in. You’ve got several inches of turtleneck hanging down that will cover the belt.” So off he went, still thoroughly disgruntled, and put one on.
(I just have to point out how abundantly clear it is that M hasn’t yet mastered the art of conning parents, or it would have occurred to him to just put the belt on the first time we reminded him, and then remove the thing on his walk to the bus stop and stuff it in his backpack.)
This afternoon, when I got home, I had a calmer talk with him about why he didn’t want to wear a belt. He explained that nobody, not ever, wears belts to school. And that while his turtleneck covers it just fine, when he changes for gym class, that’s when people see it and tease him. Ah, OK. I still have no clue why a belt is something kids would mock, but at least I understand his dilemma.
We went through his stock of jeans. He had a few hand-me-down pairs which actually have the hidden inside waistband elastic, so I tightened the elastic up by 14 (!) notches on each pair, and they fit just fine without sagging. He had a few more pairs without elastic which would still need to be worn with a belt. So we agreed that he will primarily use the elastic ones, and only dip into the others in a laundry emergency.
Phew. At least that’s one less thing to fuss about in the morning.