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Monday, January 15, 2007

100 white socks

I remember a gym teacher who always made us wear white socks because she felt the dye in other colors would be a detriment to our health. But if we were to all wear white socks, how would we tell them apart? My mother had a great solution to this quandary when we were all older and wore the same sizes. She would take a permanent black marker for laundry (they say laundry marker on them) and put our first initial on the bottom of the toes of each sock. When it came time to sort the socks, it was easy to just look at the toes. Though I wonder if that gym teacher would have an objection to the permanent ink being on the white sock seeping into the skin the same way the dyed socks would?

Here are some ideas we have for keeping many people's things straight:

* There are many styles of girls socks available, so when we go shopping for socks each year, every girl gets a specific style. This way, we don't even need the marker- I can tell the sock's owner by the style. There are ribbed top, scalloped, colored heels, different manufactures (and they all print their names on the bottom anymore) and many other ways to keep it straight.

* Boys' socks are getting a bit easier, too. Keds now has colored stitching on the bottom of their socks, so the bigger boy is grey while the little boy is green. The downside to that is the fact that the colors go with certain styles- so one has tube socks while the other has crew.

* For dark colored socks or stockings, I use a white-out pen. I can either put the initial inside the top seam, or on the toe. I think a white fabric marker might work too, if it is not the puffy kind that wears off.

* Whenever possible, everyone has a size. We have three girls who are within 18 months of each other, and keeping track of the clothes got to be tough. Since most of what they wear can be tweaked a bit size wise (no jeans to worry about, nothing tight fitting, and skirts can be modest at the calf or the ankle) we would assign the tallest girl size 6, the middle size 5, and the smallest size 4. That REALLY helped with the laundry sorting. Whenever we couldn't get different sizes, we would write their initial on the tag with- you guessed it- permanent marker.

* Each child has a color. Water glass, toothbrush, hairbrush, raincoat- we can again tell right away by the color. For the families who have more kids than colors- again try a permanent marker. If you have 2 kids with purple toothbrushes, draw a very dark line around the handle of one. It is still easier to remember two purples, one with a line, than to have no system whatsoever!

* Partner off. When we go anywhere, everyone must hold a hand. Even if we happen to have an odd number, we will have three kids holding hands rather than one kid alone. This helps to keep track in case someone would fall away. If I see one child standing alone, I know there is a problem.

* Have as much community property as possible. I do understand having things of your own, and that is part of the individuality God gave to each of us. We like different things and participate in different activities, and that requires (or allows) us to each have things that are just ours. But there is TOO MUCH individual ownership by children now. It creates distentions when someone is forever saying "MINE"! Instead, have relatives give group gifts at the Holidays, or save up the Family Fun budget for something everyone can have or do together. For example, I do not see the point of allowing one child to own a board game. No board game can be played alone, and if it belongs to one person, it will invariably cause a fight or tension when it some time to use it- who makes the rules, who chooses first, etc. We have reduced the number of gifts our children are allowed to receive each year anyway, but we also try to do more 'everybody' gifts. They are just as excited to open and use them, and then we stop the pride before it starts.

If I think of more, I will share them later. Do you have a tip to share?

1 comment:

Mother Hen said...

Hi Amy, thankis for participating in Help for Growing Families! I hope you'll do so again next week. Looks like you have lots of large family wisdom to share. Loved your post!