When I first heard of an "I love you" shirt for kids, I assumed it was some sweet Etsy creation or a cool new DIY project for grade schoolers. Nope, I was way off. If you ever hear a parent mention an "I love you" shirt, it's likely a threat to a pair of spatting siblings.
Alexis Tillman introduced me to the shirt by way of a viral Facebook video. In it, her two kids — 10-year-old Dominique and 8-year-old Tyler — stand face to face, their four arms through the two sleeves of an oversize white shirt. The collar has been cut open so both their heads can fit through it. For them, the shirt is an extended hug, a form of punishment. The cause for this "I love you" shirt session, which shows them solemnly "slow dancing" and holding hands? They were fighting over an iPad.
For Tillman, who couples the shirt's appearances with gospel music, it's her way to remind them that family sticks together.
"Y'all got' stop arguing every day," Tillman wrote on Facebook to her kids. "I refuse to have my children distant or not getting along with each other because after Momma gone, your siblings are all you have!"
After all, nothing says "I love you" like forcing two bickering kids to wear the same shirt while a power ballad is blasting in the background.