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 – 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!