A couple of years ago, I wrote about the Continuum of Match. It housed, if I may say so myself, groundbreaking and perception-changing clarifications of parental types. If I were the Doctoral Candidate type, it might become a significant part of my thesis.
Let’s review the categories contained therein.
Level 5 Matchers: These parents believe that complete matching is synonymous with holiness. They not only match ALL of their children, both male and female, all the way down to their socks and underwear, but also match their OWN outfits to their children’s.
Level 4 Matchers: These parents regularly match their children, both male and female. Although they don’t typically also match their own clothing with their children’s, they feel compelled to do so for family portraits and holidays.
Level 3 Matchers: These parents tend to always match their children of the same gender (especially girls), but don’t subscribe to cross-gender matching or parental matching.
Level 2 Matchers: These parents find occasional pleasure in matching their children, but don’t make it a requirement.
Level 1 Matchers: These parents are Easter-Only, same-gender-only matchers, and refuse to match their kids at any other time.
Level 0 Matchers: These parents scoff at (or secretly scoff at) any parents with a matching level above their own, and absolutely refuse to EVER match their children, sometimes even consciously choosing to make them clash – on principle.
I am a Level 2 Matcher who would be 96% more likely to be a Level 3 matcher had I been gifted with two children of the same gender. But I’m never tempted to match my own clothes to my children’s attire, and often consciously make decisions to prevent being mistaken by others as consciously matching my children.
Once a year, right around the dawning of that cool, crisp, magical fall aura that enters the air and makes Mommies want to go out and buy entirely new autumn-colored wardrobes for the every family member, a bizarrely intense temptation arrives at my doorstep, in the form of Hanna Andersson’s holiday catalog.
No one in my family has ever owned a single garment from Hanna Andersson. Not even hand-me-downs. Yet this catalog sends me into an immediate trance, endangering my budget, my familial harmony, and my sanity.
I’m pretty sure they lace the entire catalog with Mommy Crack (the drug, not an inappropriate amount of butt hanging out of jeans), because although there is nothing about the Mommy-Style in Hanna Andersson that looks similar to anything in my closet, I swear that something comes over me and creates a nearly-inescapable draw to buy every piece of clothing in their catalog . For me, for Chris, for my children, and for age brackets of children that I don’t even possess.
What is it about their coordinating and contrasting prints that enraptures me so?
(Stop it, Rachel. Cable-Knit sweaters make you look lumpy and barn-shaped. For the love, woman – get ahold of yourself.)
But then I turn the page.
I don’t even like plaid, and I certainly don’t like sweater vests. So why does this set make me wish I had a tween son to dress En Matche with my husband?
(Oh…I so need a sweater dress. Why haven’t I owned a sweater dress in my entire life? Has it all been a sham?)
Then I turn the page.
To a woman’s cardigan.
A CARDIGAN, I say!! Straight off of Maggie, circa 1991, Northern Exposure!
(Ali would look SUBLIME in those red tassly boots!!)
(Hey – I wonder if they have those toddler boy ‘fro wigs available? I could totally order one for Noah to finish off the look.)
It was at this point that I looked up for a second and noticed Noah watching me with incredulous fear.
I looked back down, re-entering my daydream of our family of four, all coordinating in our idealistically matching duds, strolling about a quaint French Countryside Farmhouse.
But then I made The Mistake.
You know, the one where you open the catalog to your favorite page and tell your husband in that shopping-lust voice how awesomely enriched our family life would be if we could wear coordinates like these every day?
Um, yeah. I got The Look.
And then I compounded my mistake by accidentally slipping my grip from my favorite page and allowing him to see that I had earmarked matching pajama page.
The Look, paired with The Eyebrow Raise and Downward Tilted Head.
“But look how gleeful that Daddy looks!! Don’t you think we’d sleep better if we had matching dancing penguins all over our long pajamas?”
So I tried the “Just This Once” Technique.
“You know, for the Christmas memories!”
“Do you know what I would look like in those pajamas? I’d look like the Lorax, or some other round-bellied Seussian Beast. The Dad in the Hat.”
“Well, if you’d rather go with something a little more belly-appropriate, you could coordinate with this one…”
“That reminds me of Will Ferrell walking through New York in Elf shoes buying lingerie for his long lost dad.”
But it’s all good. My husband’s reaction helped me regain my senses, break away from the Crack á la Hanna, and remember: I’m just a Level Two.