Plain White T

Last Thursday when I dropped Lily off at day camp the counselor stopped me before I could get out the door.

Counselor: Is her t-shirt in her backpack?

Me: What t-shirt?

Counselor: We’re painting t-shirts today. It was in the parent letter?

Me: What parent letter?

I seriously never got a parent letter. This was not negligence on my part. I am absolutely positive I did not get one. I think the counselors got too distracted when I swooped in on Monday and informed them that Lily had food allergies and had medication and a snack in her backpack.

I was supposed to have brought a plain white t-shirt on Thursday so Lily could paint it. Camp STARTED Monday and was only 5 days long.

Now here’s what drives me crazy, and it’s something that has driven me crazy for most of my life: Why do these people assume that I just have a white t-shirt lying around? It’s not just these camp counselors that assume it. My whole life I’ve been given like 2 days notice to appear with a plain white t-shirt so I can paint it/bejewel it/wear it in a play or musical show etc.

When I buy clothes for myself and my children, I go with what is the absolute cutest. Usually our shirts have colors, patterns or embellishments. There are never any extra plain white t-shirts lying around for ME and I’ve been relatively the same size for 15 years. How am I supposed to have extra white t-shirts for my kids, who grow constantly and are different sizes every 6 months? Do normal people just keep a bunch of plain white t-shirts around and I don’t know about it? Because I haven’t seen a lot of kids out wandering about in plain white tees. Almost everyone seems to wear NOT plain white t-shirts almost all the time.

It’s just a lot for various children’s programs to assume that we all have plain white t-shirts around. I would wager that most of us do not. I had to run out that morning to buy  a pack of t-shirts for Lily. Now we DO have a bunch of plain white t-shirts lying around– for 6 months until she outgrows them.

I didn’t mind paying the $6 to get the t-shirt(s), but I wish I’d had more warning. Even if I HAD gotten the parent letter on Monday, that only left a few days for me to get to the store. I would blame this program exclusively, but there is NEVER EVER much warning on this. I remember growing up constantly being asked to bring in or wear plain white t-shirts the day before I needed them. And I never had them! It always involved an emergency trip to the store.

Even more annoying than the plain white tee request was when they asked us to wear plain RED t-shirts. Where do you even find those?

Anyway, as much as I’m bitching about the plain white t-shirt, the artwork they did turned out super cute.

But still, next time a little warning would be nice. Note to organizations at large: We do not all have endless wardrobes that include disposable shirts we can paint. Quit pretending that we do and start including these shirts in the list of things we need to buy in advance.



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9 Responses to Plain White T

  1. For years (until he reached college) we were caught off guard by school (and camp) requests – a dozen cookies, a box of tongue depressors, styrofoam balls, etc. and YES a plain white t-shirt. If you have a Michael’s craft store near you, they have a large selection of silkscreen t-shirts – at about $2.50 each. They are decent quality and I have taken to wearing them myself when I am doing a project where I don’t want to risk ruining one of my good (expensive and stylish) tees. And should you need a red one: They have those too – and green and yellow and two shades of blue. And BLACK which came in handy when Stubble went through his Goth phase.
    Of course all of this begs the question of being able to do this at a moments notice. I remember flipping a coin with my husband over who got to make the last minute run to the craft store at 9 PM…

  2. Trigem

    I’d be annoyed to. Every camp or program my kids have ever been to have provided the shirts. My super tiny daughter usually comes home in a shirt that will fit her in a couple of years but still. I guess we are to irresponsible in my area to provide our own.

    • That’s another pet peeve of mine– the super giant shirts for tiny kids. They provided us with a team soccer shirt, but it won’t actually fit her for at least 2 years. Clearly 3 year olds aren’t going to be a children’s medium. Dumb.

  3. It’s your first year. Now you know every summer camp has tye-dying or decorating day and a white shirt is needed. Stock up now! ;)

  4. Buy them a little big, so she can wear them for at least a couple years, then since most tee’s come in a 4-6 pack, set aside the extra 3 for the next time you need a plain white t, and if you need to buy extra, you can always keep the smaller size for Rose when she goes to the same camp and needs a plain white tee.

    Hey you may as well dedicate a drawer to store plain white teeshirts, and maybe some other colors of “plain” shirts… lol

    • I figured we’d be using them for both kids. I realize now I will probably have to use two more of the for the day camps she’s signed up for later this summer. We’ll probably have to buy them again when Rose is this age!

  5. KatieM

    They should supply those darn t-shirts!

    But welcome to being a mom of school-aged children! Ones that kill me are photographs, yes, printed pictures, of your child doing something specific or having to do with a certain theme. You know that I don’t get to print out pictures very often, so I’m usually stuck going through thousands of pics and doing emergency 1-hr prints, or taking the picture that day!

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