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Growing boys bring uncomfortable circumstances

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


It’s official.

He’s a man now.

Or, at least that’s what clothing retailers seem to believe, and it’s something I am not ready for in the slightest.

This is the second time this year that I have been faced the reality that my son, who is not yet 12, is no longer a baby, or even a little boy.

The first came early this year when he was battling the flu.

I marched up to the pharmacy counter, mystified as to why the children’s Mucinex I’d been pumping him full of wasn’t working.

The pharmacist took one look at my son and knew the answer.

“Ma’am, that boy is bigger than many adult women. He should be taking an adult’s dose. That’s why what you’re giving him isn’t working.”

I worriedly asked him if he was sure, because that last thing I wanted to do was overdose him. That would probably end up involving lawyers and cops, neither of which I have the time or the money for.

He assured me that not only would I not kill him, but I’d make him feel much better. And, wouldn’t you know it, he was right.

Now, as we begin back-to-school shopping, my son stands 5’ 3” and weighs about 115 pounds. And apparently they don’t make “boys” clothes for “boys” who are that big.


We had to stop buying youth-sized shoes a couple of years ago, so I should have known it was a matter of time until his apparel followed suit.

Here’s what they don’t tell you about switching from boys’ to menswear: It involves math.

Well, not math, but more numbers than I’m used to.

(For the record, I am words person. The less math, the better. It’s budget season for governments right now, so I am currently having to do way more arithmetic than I am comfortable with.)

As a female, I have to worry about one number and one letter. Is it the size I need, and is it one of three lengths – short, average, or long?

Granted, I don’t wear the same combination at any two of the stores I frequent, but that’s not really the point.

For men (who mistakenly claim to be the less complicated gender), I have to know both his waist size and the length of his inseam.

Getting the circumference of his midsection is no sweat; obtaining a correct inseam measurement seems a bit awkward from what I have seen in the movies.

My son and I are pretty comfortable with each other, but I don’t know how he’s going to feel about all of that.

Can I pay someone to do that? Is that weird? I am so confused.

Most of my shopping has been for girls – for me or one of my two sisters.

I am cool measuring someone for a bra. That doesn’t faze me, but I am not all about sticking a measuring tape in places where I don’t think measuring tapes belong.

I guess I could just have him try on multiple lengths and see which fits best, but that would involve me having him there in person for the shopping process which we’d both prefer to avoid.

I already miss the days of being able to just look at a pair of jeans, check the size, and know there was 90 percent chance they’d fit him reasonably well.

And here I thought the day I had to buy his first “protective wear” device for baseball would be the most uncomfortable shopping event I’d undergo as the mother of a son.

Chritina Derr is a reporter for this paper.