Our four-year-old son is in the throes of yet another phase. And when he commits to a phase, lookout. I have no idea where my kid gets his tenacity from but, strangely, my husband said he knows.

His last phase was wanting to wear jammies All. The. Time. We couldn’t leave the house before he was asking if he could put on his jammies when we got back home. I guess I should be thankful that he only wanted to wear his jammies at home and not to school, the park, out to dinner, etc. Thank goodness for small mercies.

His latest phase is wearing red pants. Red, fleece pants, to be clear. In December he started asking to only wear “soft” pants. OK, kid. Sure, I thought, no problem as I’d stocked his dresser with a variety of jogging pants for the cooler weather. He seemed to prefer “soft” pants to jeans and as long as he was covered and not cold, what did I care?

But not long after “soft” pants became a daily requirement, he also began insisting on only wearing his red pair. And, if you know four-year-old boys like I know four-year-old boys, you know that their pants get stained, dirty, and even ripped within seconds of putting them on. To avoid knock-down drag-out tantrums in the mornings when red pants were demanded but were too dirty to wear, I started doing a load of laundry every night to make sure the red pants were always ready to wear. Nevermind that his preschool teacher probably thought my kid only owned one pair of pants. I just wanted to avoid the crazy, relentless tantrums.

About two weeks into the Red Pants issue I finally got tired of doing daily laundry. I went back to the store where I’d bought the first red pair and, lo and behold, they had more red pants and they were on sale! I stocked up. I bought several more pairs. And I even bought another pair in a larger size. Not knowing how long this dagnabbit phase would last I swore I would not be caught with my pants down (!) next year if the “soft,” red pants phase continued.

During this entire phase my husband and I couldn’t figure out why soft pants (and red ones at that) were of such importance to our little guy. The obvious reason was some sort of sensory issue that prevented him from donning jeans. But we ruled that out. What was left? Nothing we could figure out. Until, that is, yesterday.

On the way home from school, he finally revealed the allure of “soft” (although not specifically red) pants to his dad:

“Soft pants? Are easier to pull up and down at school? When I have to go potty?” he explained (using questions instead of statements because? That’s how he talks?) “My friend? Wears jeans? And he gets his penis caught in the zipper all the time? I DO NOT want that to happen to me.” (And, yes, that last one WAS actually a statement. Really, it was more of an exclamation. For obvious reasons.)

Touche, kid, touche. Seems like perfectly good reasoning to me. Now, if we could only figure out why the “soft” pants have to be red…