Several weeks ago I wrote about my pursuit to replace Charlie’s beloved but ratty orange monkey shirt. Since that time, the condition of the shirt has steadily declined to its now disgusting state. The holes have gotten bigger and it has developed tiny spots of mold that won’t go away.
The monkey shirt has to go. Because I’m a huge proponent of conflict avoidance in all aspects of my life, I thought I’d try the trusted out-of-sight-out-of-mind magic parenting trick. I hid Charlie’s monkey shirt and crossed my fingers. Now, hiding his favorite shirt may seem cruel, but as you may recall, I’d bought Charlie a brand new orange monkey shirt from the Paul Frank store in Los Angeles but he’d rejected it because when it arrived in the mail it turned out to be more of a reddish orange than a bright, pumpkin orange.
Anyhow, I hid the old shirt one day after Charlie put it in the washing machine. On the first day of the hidden shirt project, Charlie asked for the shirt and I gave some blasé response about how it was probably in the laundry and we’d find it later. He bought my explanation, but he looked skeptical. The next day, I tried the same tactic and it worked, but he seemed even more skeptical. We did this dance for a few more days until, finally, Charlie came to me near tears and said, “Momma, I put my monkey shirt in the washing machine and now it’s gone. Did you throw it out?” Words like daggers, I tell you. I immediately “found” the monkey shirt and all was right in his world.
Meanwhile, a dear reader had pointed me in the direction of monkey iron-on patches available from eBay (thanks, Shannon!). So I ordered three. Technically, my sister ordered three because eBay baffles me a little bit. At $.99 each, the iron-on patches were a bargain. At an additional $2.11 each for shipping, they were less of a bargain. But the final cost of three still was under $10.00. I asked my sister to order three because I wanted to have a couple of “practice” patches in case they weren’t easy to apply.
Next up: I just had to find a plain t-shirt in the perfect shade of orange in Charlie’s size.
Ha. Ha Ha. Ha Ha Ha. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
I went to a couple of stores and couldn’t anything. Then I went online. I was reluctant to buy a shirt online since I wouldn’t be able to verify the right shade of orange, but I had no other choice. After an enormous amount of time, I came across this site which offers a big selection of t-shirts at rock bottom prices. I settled on two shirts: this one in Mandarin orange in extra small and this one in orange in extra small. With shipping, the total came to $13.33.
And then, I waited. The iron-on patches were coming from Singapore and seemed to take forever to arrive. Both the shirts and patches ended up arriving while we were on vacation. When we got back, I opened the packages and inspected my purchases. The result: pretty good. The patches were smaller than I would have liked, but in good shape. As for the shirts, one was too red (it was almost the exact shade of orange as the rejected monkey shirt from the Paul Frank store), but the other – the one called “Mandarin orange” was perfect (can you guess which is which in the picture below?):
Though I’d wanted to keep secret from Charlie my plans to create for him a new monkey shirt, he discovered my shirts and patches and quickly wanted in on the action. So we set out to make a new monkey shirt together. I practiced on the new shirt that was too red. We followed the instructions on the back of the iron on patch package, but the English translation of the directions were, uh, not exactly clear. And the result was that the patch adhered to the shirt, but wouldn’t release from its plastic backing.
We tried ironing it over and over again and couldn’t make it work. I went online to look for troubleshooting tips. What I discovered was that the iron probably wasn’t hot enough – it needs to be at its absolute hottest setting without steam – and I needed to ditch the ironing board. Iron-on patches adhere best when ironed on a hard surface. So I made these minor adjustments and the plastic backing peeled away from the patch effortlessly. With renewed confidence, I pulled out the perfect Mandarin orange t-shirt and had at it. Sweet mercy, it worked. So now Charlie has three new orange monkey t-shirts (including the rejected one from the Paul Frank store):
He is, of course, a heck of a lot more excited about the Mandarin orange shirt than the other two.
So let’s recap for a second how much I’ve spent to replace one beloved orange monkey shirt:
- Paul Frank shirt in too red orange: $18 + $10 shipping and
handling (S&H) = $28
- 3 monkey iron-on patches from Singapore: $2.97 + $6.33 S&H = $9.30
- 2 orange t-shirts ordered online: $7.38 + $5.95 S&H = $13.33
Grand total: $50.63
Let’s just let that staggering sum sink in for a minute.
Sticker shock notwithstanding, this crazy, desperate lady is oh-so-pleased to report that Charlie’s love affair with the original moldy monkey shirt with holes is coming to an end as he’s found new love with the Mandarin orange homemade monkey shirt. And that, I assure you, is priceless.