Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To Barter Or To Thieve?

Susannah ConstantineLord knows we’re all having to cinch our belts tight these days (those of us that can afford belts; personally I’m making do with a bit of string and an elastic band) but I really object to people half-inching my kid’s clothes!

I’m sure it’s not a deliberate act of thievery but it does happen quite often.

We’ll send our youngest off to nursery dressed up like a style guru or a miniature version of Huggy Bear and, in the course of his executive play activities, a little accident of varying moistness will occur. A leaky nappy or a beaker spillage.

Thankfully one of the nice nursery girls will rescue him from whatever puddle he has found himself in and change his clothes (we send him off with a spare set every day for this eventuality).

All well and good.

At this point what should happen is that the dirty clothes should get bagged up and then sent home with Tom when we come to pick him up so that we can get them all clean ready for their next encounter with rogue Ribena.

But what often happens is that they don’t get sent home with Tom at all.

They disappear.

They – and I suspect strongly this is the case – get sent home with another kid whose mum takes a look at them and thinks to herself, “ooh, these Star Wars jeans from H&M look pretty trendy, I wonder how they’ve ended up with my Joey, oh well I may as well hang onto them now.”

And suddenly the fortune my wife and I have spent on nice clothes for Tom finds itself tailoring some other little kid who won’t appreciate the Trinny and Susannah discussions my wife and I had to select that particular item of clothing in the first place. (I am Susannah, thank you for asking.)

Now, I like the nursery where Tom spends his week days. It’s great in so many ways. But this constant trouser drift annoys the hell out of me. Because it is now getting to the point where Tom hasn’t got enough decent trousers to see him through the week. Even though the wife and I spent a lot of money ensuring he would have.

It’s getting to the point now where, when we find mystery items of clothing in Tom’s bag – nice woollen tops and jumpers, the odd pair of socks, etc – we no longer do the honest thing, i.e. wash them and return them back to the nursery. Instead we wash them and keep them and add them to Tom’s constantly yo-yoing wardrobe. He might be poor in trousers but at the moment he’s got more tops than he could feasibly wear in a 2 week period no matter how many times he douses himself in orange juice.

I’m tempted to look on it as a kind of unofficial bartering system. Someone gains his trousers, we gain someone’s hooded top. Fair exchange and all that. I suppose we ought to be thankful he hasn’t come home with a dress or 5 magic beans.

But it isn’t right, is it? Call it bartering all you want but technically it’s theft. Theft by virtue that we and (presumably) other parents are knowingly keeping items of clothing that clearly don’t belong to us. We’re also possibly depleting the nursery’s own supply of spare clothing. Or are they replenishing it by accidentally nicking our stuff? Not that I’m too worried by this as once Tom has grown out of his toddler clothes we’ll donate them to the nursery anyway. But do they have a right to pick and choose in advance?

And what the hell has happened to Tom’s Star Wars trousers? We want them back! There was a Yoda patch on the left knee and everything!

Where the hell is Shaw Taylor when you need him? Help!



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38 comments:

Clippy Mat said...

(Susannah eh? I knew it!)

There's a little Bermuda Triangle of kids' nursery school clothes somewhere out there 'cos the same thing happened to my kids and now their kids' clothes. They're rolling around in outerspace forming a massive meteor which will hit the earth's atmosphere sometime in the distant future when you're sitting on the front porch in your rocking chair and I'm long gone. Nasty, mouldy, wet trousers, socks and underpants, hardened to a rock solid mass. LOOK OUT!

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: to be honest, given how snotty Tom is at the moment, most of his clothes are going to be pretty crusty on their way up into outer space let alone when they return to earth. Hopefully the heat of re-entry will get rid of some of those tough, ground-in stains...!

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Shaw Taylor - now there's a blast from the past (although your link doesn't work).

That is an annoying situation and surely one that can be easily remedied? I've never lost any of Joseph's clothes but he has come home on a couple of occasions with someone else's having exhausted his own spare set!

Rol said...

Shaw Taylor? Blimey, Steve, now you are showing your age! Even mentioning Nick Ross dates you these days...

Nota Bene said...

It's a vicious downward spiral...next you'll be robbing the Bank of England...

the fly in the web said...

Used to puzzle me how the wellies with the name inside would disappear...long before designer clothing for kids arrived on the scene.
Who would want their kid wearing someone else's wellies?

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: link now repaired / remade / reforged - sorry about that. I'm not sure what we could do as even putting his name in his clothes wouldn't help - he can't read and I doubt the nursery assistants would bother to look when reaching for a pair of emergency trousers. Maybe we could just glue him into his clothes? No. Too dangerous. What about sellotape?

Rol: I'll have you know I was at school with Shaw Taylor's father... he was in the class below me.

Nota Bene: I'd feel perfectly justified - they robbed me first.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: maybe it's forbidden fruit syndrome? As soon as you know something belongs to someone else you desire it all the more... It's possibly why GAP print their name all over their clothes. Actually that blows that theory clean out of the water, doesn't it?

Kelloggsville said...

Name tapes are the answer and you can get them printed with individual pictures in them. My daughter had a red horse next to her red name. So she knew red horse was hers and the nursery could clearly see the name. Sewing them onto the waist band of trousers and the neck of tops will make a big difference in the number of clothes you lose. It won't stop them robbing the star wars stuff, nothing will, he didn't have an accident, they were ripped from his poor little body by envious nursery nurses - yes, they were.

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: that's a clever idea. And I'm sure you're right about the nursery nurses - they just want to wear those Star Wars trousers for themselves!

rb said...

I think the trick is to dress them in the kind of clothes that no-one wants to nick.

Lederhosen perhaps??

Steve said...

RB: or a Nazi uniform...? Yeah... that's not a bad idea...

rb said...

Thanks x

libby said...

It's a puzzle is'nt it? Used to happen to mine as well, and I just ended up doing what you are doing...although I was unhappy with all the thin nasty socks we accumulated, but hey....
and in future when you're at the nursery 'keep'em peeled'....

Steve said...

rb: People will never guess why. ;-)

Libby: the socks are horrible - think ankle socks, absolutely useless to man and beast. Who makes them and who buys them? No wonder they get given away or lost at the first opportunity!

Gorilla Bananas said...

Chairman Mao had the best solution to this problem. Under his rule, all the kiddies wore exactly the same little suits, so the parents of Hoo-Hee never even knew they'd been given Ha-Ha's clothes in error. The rot started when the bourgeois reactionaries started buying Star Wars trousers for their infants.

femminismo said...

At first I thought you were talking about the way kids shoot up in height - losing 1/2 inches and all that. Never had to deal with nurseries. Lucky (?) enough to stay home with the brats. haha just kidding (sort of) Good luck finding those Star War jeans. Yoda patch is a great loss.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: the dark side strong in you I sense...

Femminismo: I fear the Force may never recover...!

Mark said...

I think we just wrote his our kid's names on everything using special pens. Thing is, the older are boys are teenagers now and are still losing their kit - not just at their girlfriends' houses either.

Steve said...

Mark: I'm beginning to think the only way is to put Tom's name on the outside of all of his clothes in huge unmissable letters!

London City Mum said...

That's nothing. Wait 'til they start school... Actually, don't get me started on that or I will have a right rant.

My lot used to regularly be sent to nursery in their pjs-doubled-as-outdoor-wear-with-something-thrown-on-top.

The fact they came back with any clothes at all was a miracle in itself.

LCM x

Löst Jimmy said...

I do like that Gorilla Bananas chap, he has some great observations.

As for the problem, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Steve said...

LCM: I'm beginning to think prison might be the safest place. They give you clothes in there and people don't usually nick them unless you conceal a shiv knife in your boxers. Mind you, not sure my kids are ready for the sex, violence and crime education. So no prison and definitely no school then.

Löst Jimmy: grrr just about sums it up, I fear!

Being Me said...

I now have a visual of your son breaking into To Be Or Not To Be (a la Mel Brooks style) in his little hitler uniform. Dear oh dear. It could work, though. Might, in fact, be the answer to all your concerns here.

Steve said...

Being Me: ja! Vere ist meine trousers?! Gotterdammerung!

Vicky said...

Just keep doing what you are doing and by the time he leaves nursery school you will have everything back that belongs to him.....but it wont fit!! LOL

Steve said...

Vicky: true; good point. I might have to start nicking some of the nursery assistant's clothes. Or would that get me into serious trouble?

Owen said...

And what do the nursery people say when you ask for your stuff back ? Are they north Korean or something ?

Try going in there with your flame thrower strapped on your back ? That usually gets people's full attention.

Heather said...

If you were to start sending him to nursery naked it would solve the problem entirely...

Steve said...

Owen: they're more Iraq than North Korea - they deny all knowledge of trousers of mass disruption and, indeed, there really doesn't seem to be any.

Heather: or I could take him to nursery without any clothes on myself... sort of a dirty protest?

Sarah said...

I bet it's the staff who are nicking the clothes and selling them on Ebay.

I'd buy crappy stuff from Tescos for nursery and keep the nice stuff for weekends. I'm sure he doesn't care what he wears (except for the Star Wars jeans, natch).

Steve said...

Sarah: right, I'm heading over to eBay right now. I want those Star Wars trousers back!

misssy m said...

Have you ever seen teh Dry Cleaning episode of Curb your Enthusiasm? You should. Larry David has a similar problem.

Steve said...

Misssy M: I must admit I've never seen it... but if the guy in question has a solution I'll tune in forever more...

Modern Military Mother said...

You could buy some iron on labels and name them, or go pikey and head to George at Asda like I did!!

Steve said...

MMM: nowt wrong with a bit of pikey action and we have an Asda 10 minutes walk away. Sorted!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

I'm sorry, Steve. It was me. I stole the Star Wars trousers. I'm wearing them now and quite enjoying them. Esp. this pimpin Yoda patch on the knee. You don't mind if I keep them for just a little longer, do you?

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: fine by me provided you don't mind the leaky nappy stain around the back...!