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Attention: Your Childhood is Now Over

My son is going through a growth spurt. I had to go out and purchase new pants, shirts, shoes, etc, but it wasn't until this past weekend after watching him tug at his bottom while he was playing sports when I realized that I forgot to purchase new underwear for him. Before dropping my little guy off at school this morning I asked my kiddo if he wanted regular underwear like his dad or the "character" kind. I wasn't surprised that he chose the character kind. My son still has quite an imagination. On any given day he pretends to be Luke Skywalker, a knight, a superhero. He still believes in Santa. He will take an empty box and turn it into a ship or space shuttle. I don't feel like he's an exception. I think a lot of children his age are in the same head space, so I was surprised at what I found when I went to the boys underwear section at Target. I couldn't find his size. All character underwear went up to a certain size and stopped. When I asked a sales associate about it they confirmed that children my son's size and larger had a choice of white or solid/check patterns and colors. No characters.

Now before I get a slew of angry emails and messages telling me that I'm being ridiculous and that there are more important things to worry about, let me say that I know this is a first world problem. My son will be fine with whatever underwear he's given. We are fortunate to have what we have and I am grateful for all of it, however I was troubled by the unspoken message given to children my son's age. What retailers are saying is that it's time to put away the superheroes. It's time to move on, to grow up. Your days of bright colors and cartoon characters are now limited to an occasional novelty tee or tie. I remember when my son was much younger and a friend and I had taken our kiddos to a local playground for a play date. My friend's daughter was having trouble climbing the playground equipment yet when she was at home and much to her parents chagrin, she scaled her dining room table and dresser without incident. My friend realized that the problem was with her daughter's jeans which were slim cut and flared. While it made her quite stylish and adorable, it was restricting her movement and making her frustrated at not being able to keep up with her playmates. It was from that point on that my friend started purchasing her daughter's jeans from the boys section of stores which allows for more comfort and movement. A few years ago a trendy store was in hot water for selling girls' padded push up bikini tops. Not a problem until you see that the sizes were for girls as young as eight years old! If you peruse many local retailers you can find clothing styled to make children look much older and more mature than their age. Even the pictures in this post are from a quick Google search and show some Instagram trends. Why are we having our children pack away their childhoods so quickly? What's the message? Hurry up and grow up so that you can get a job and pay bills. Hurry up and grow up so that you can worry about your cholesterol and colonoscopies. Hurry up and grow up so that you can have children and tell them to hurry up and grow up. They sell desk toys for executives. There are kickball leagues and Underoos for adults. Why? Maybe we were rushed through our own childhoods too quickly. Maybe we just want a bit of the magic that we see in our children. Maybe that's why some of us have children; to relive the innocent fun and wonder that they see in our world. Call me crazy but I want my boy to enjoy his childhood for as long as possible. Now please excuse me while I do an online search for children's character underwear in my son's size. ~HZM

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