Friday, April 17, 2009

Planning The Wardrobe

My children have been accepted at Excelsior Academy, our new charter school. And now begins the process of planning how I'm going to get the boys into understanding school uniforms.

Princess has already been at a school with uniforms, and in fact she prefers the sharp look of uniforms, so she won't have any trouble transitioning. The problem lies with Sonshine and Bagel, both of whom have attended schools without uniform policies and both of whom have Asperger's Syndrome, making changes to daily routines very difficult for them. Wearing school clothes (and changing into play clothes when they get home so they don't rip the knees out of their school pants) is going to be a major paradigm shift for them. I'm going to have a hell of a time convincing them to wear button-down shirts and nice looking pants on days that aren't Sunday, after I've spent all this time convincing them to make a distinction between everyday clothes and Sunday clothes.

I think the best approach would be to pick one style of clothing that will be School Clothes, and cull everything from their wardrobe that looks like it might be School Clothes but isn't (e.g. polo shirts that are in non-dress-code colors). Picking just one is easy enough to do. The problem is finding the One Style that I can afford. I've been having to do a lot of the school shopping at thrift stores. It's gonna cost a pretty penny to outfit three kids in uniforms, and with business being slow I'm a bit short on even ugly pennies.

So my next-best idea is to devise some labeling scheme or drawer organization scheme whereby the boys can tell which shirts and pants are authorized for school. The major drawback to drawer organization is that Bagel and Sonshine frequently turf everything out of their drawers and don't put it back. Right now it's just a nuisance that results in a bit of nagging and occasionally doing extra laundry. If it mixes school clothes with play clothes, it can result in meltdowns and fights. Labeling is a second-best choice too because the labels would have to be on the inside. Without a drawer organization scheme to go along with it, the school clothes and play clothes will be all mixed up in the drawers, getting further mixed and turfed out as the boys rifle through looking for a clean shirt with a label inside. A certain amount of this is to be expected, but it'd be a lot quicker and less frustrating if they knew they were looking for, say, a polo shirt.

I'm leaning toward only polo shirts for the boys for school. Polos are cheap and they pop up all the time at thrift stores. I just have to figure out what to do about pants, and how to tell nice looking navy blue school pants from nice looking navy blue Sunday pants. Any ideas?