I admit it. I hate laundry. Well, specifically I hate folding and putting away laundry. Especially the daughters’ laundry. I can manage top undergarments because they’re different sizes so the difference is easy to spot. But they generally wear the same size shirts and some crossover in pants sizes so I can’t tell whose is whose. So I tend to put off doing laundry until a crisis arises. Crises like, “Mooom, I don’t have any clean bras! Or pants.” From the tone of their voices when issuing declarations of this nature, the bras are issues of national importance, while the pants are a nuisance side-note, more informational than anything.
My laundry avoidance occasionally leads to some interesting conversations in our household. I line the kids up and ask, “What do you need me to wash right now, in the load I’m putting in the washer this instant, if this is the only load I do tonight, so that you will have a full set of clothing to leave the house in the morning?” I’m sure you notice the oddly specific nature of this question. The reason will soon be revealed. Eldest responds, “I don’t have any jeans and I’m not wearing a skirt to school but other than that I’m ok for tomorrow.” The Younger adds, “I’m fine on everything. Except underwear.” This last is, in fact, a side-note to the kid. Underwear is apparently not essential clothing in her world, nor are socks. A boob harness is vital but underpants are less important than lip gloss. I don’t get it either. I look both kids in the eye. “So you,” pointing to The Eldest, “need pants to wear tomorrow. And you,” my finger turns to The Younger, “are out of underwear. So if I throw some jeans and underwear into this load y’all are going to leave the house in the morning fully clothed, right?”
The Eldest nods eagerly. The Younger comments, “Well, I’m not actually out of underwear; just sort of low. But I have a few pairs; enough for tomorrow and the next day.” My face pinks slightly. My mind screams, “This is not the question I asked!” but I keep my cool. “So you don’t actually need underwear in this load right now?” She shakes her head hesitantly, sensing my lack of cool.
I try again, “You,” pointing at The Eldest, “need jeans. You,” The Younger, “don’t need anything for tomorrow.” The Eldest again gestures in the affirmative. The Younger pauses a split second before saying, “I need underwear. And pants.”
Wait, what?? This conversation is degenerating rapidly. She now needs two items. But she doesn’t actually need one of them. But it’s easier to just go along now. What’s a pair or two of underpants in the load, right? “OK. I’ll go wash what you guys need and… Wait a minute, you have pants! I just put a pair in your pile and you put them away not five minutes ago!”
“Well, yeah, but I’m generally sort of lowish on pants. I think I only have like three pairs.”
“But – but – that’s not what I –“ I splutter, my face taking on the hue of a tomato. I sigh, take a deep breath, count to five and continue in resignation, “OK, I’ll wash you some pants and underwear.”