If I close my eyes and imagine the Proles I see them about six months younger than they are.

They are both eating like small horses at the moment so I was very pleased when the enthusiastic young man in the supermarket cafe under charged us.
This meant the Proles got the usual macaroni cheese, garlic bread, drink, small chocolate bar and fruit, Prole2 chose a cherry flapjack, Prole1 a fruit scone (no cream, no jam, no butter) and I had fish and chips, a macaroon and a pot of tea for six pounds forty.
In my defence I did say ‘Are you sure?’ to the enthusiastic young man and he waved me away saying it was a meal deal and I got a discount.

Certainly did I thought when I looked at the receipt later.

The Proles ate and drank everything on the table, we did some shopping and when we got home they had an apple each.

This means a growth spurt.

Funny word.
Not sure I like it.

I sort of take it personally when they grow out of clothes.
Prole1 has grown out of what I consider to be his ‘new’ school trousers.
Some times I get a real stab of regret that a piece of clothing they look SO DAMN GOOD IN has got too small.
I have a small bag of memory clothes in a trunk upstairs, first babygrows, tiny hats, first shoes but also those brilliant trousers, that checked shirt and those three piece suits.
Lovely stuff that makes me go all gooey whilst the Proles look on, slack jawed and blank eyed, staring at me holding up old clothes and sighing like I am mad.
Which of course I am not.

That said, Prole2 fell in love with a pair of combat trousers, trousers that were more hole than knee, worn paper thin so if you held them up the light shone through them.
I put them in the bin and two days later found them in his bed with Eeyore ‘sleeping’ in one leg and Puppy ‘sleeping’ in the other.

What to do?

The Proles are getting big.

I had to buy new school trousers.
I don’t have the absolute scruffiest kids in the world but they are pretty close.
It does not help that they have zero sense of style.
I am not one to talk about such things but at least I know to wear my pants inside my trousers, a simple mistake that Prole2 has made twice now.
Perhaps he was just trying to hold his trousers up.
He seems to have no hips.
Since I can remember, trousers have always slid off him.
His style of low slung trouser is often commented on, he looks particularly ‘street’ and I don’t mean Sesame.
He is not exactly cool though, Prole2 is also the only child I know who managed to tuck his tee shirt, his jumper and his coat into his pants and walk out of the supermarket toilet that way.
Prole1 is getting much better and is very good at getting all the clothes on and in the right order but somehow he looks like someone who has read a book about clothes and is trying them out for the first time.

Prole2 inherits all his brother’s clothes, a system he does not seem to mind at all.
One day there will be some kind of mutiny but they seem to share clothes like they share toys.
One or two iconic pieces ‘belong’ to one or another of them, everything else is up for grabs.
Sometimes it works out fine, sometimes they just look odd.

I buy most of their clothes from E-Bay.
I was nervous of this to start off with, you never really know what you are getting and who knows where they come from?
However, in my experience, the sort of people who can be bothered to sell on children’s clothes on E-Bay are also the sort of people who see some sort of intrinsic ‘value’ in children’s clothes and are likely to have looked after them.
This was borne out this last week by the unpacking of Prole1’s latest wardrobe.

Each item in the bundle was individually wrapped in cling film.

They smelled like lemons.

The whites had a bluey white I liked.

They were ironed.

They absolutely did not belong in my house.

I swear I would have paid the money all over again just to get the Prole’s existing clothes looking that way.

I am not a ‘label’ person (partial to a Sherry’s suit and a Ben Sherman shirt but nothing too fancy) but these were all Jasper Conran, Kangol and even the cheap bits were from Next.

Once, Prole2 put on one of the E-Bay jumpers and we got stopped by three people asking where we got it.
Such things were not usually seen in Redruth.

The beauty of the E-Bay system is that you choose how much you would pay for the bundle, in total, including postage.
Personally I reckon two pounds fifty per item including postage is fair enough.
That way, even if the clothes are a bit duff you have not lost out too much.

So far though, we have been really lucky, loads of brilliant clothes.

A week later, you can’t tell them from the rest of his clothes now of course.

The trouble is that this state of bliss is coming to an end one day.
One day they will actually want to choose what they wear instead of just grabbing the nearest thing from the nearest drawer and dragging it on.
They will want to cultivate style and a ‘look’ and suddenly Dad buying second hand clothes off E-Bay just wont cut it any more.
And it will suddenly start costing money.

If they want decent clothes they can buy them with their pocket money.
Their cousin is saving up his pocket money for a Landrover when he turns 18, Prole2 can start saving for a decent pair of slacks.