Sunday, 17 April 2011

Baby clothes

The ears have it.
Dressing baby is a time for fun... and anxiety. The fun comes with watching your wriggling little worm, gurgle, grin and squeak as you work him into that morning’s outfit. The angst comes with the clothes, or rather the sleeves attached to the clothes.
Marty looked so ludicrously fragile when he was first born that I feared he’d fall apart if exposed to a stiff breeze. With this in mind, the idea of feeding his tiny fingers and skinny little arms through a 3 inch cotton tube and expecting them to emerge unscathed at the other end seemed highly improbable.
Given my own way, I’d have resolved this problem by dressing Marty exclusively in short sleeved shirts, with perhaps a shawl and a bobble hat for the colder days. Alas, “having my own way” is now a phrase from the halcyon days of my youth, a collection of words that has no meaning in these modern day's of parenthood... Sob!
As it is, babies are far more robust than they appear and Marty’s career as a pianist is still on the cards, despite my dressing skills. It’s also been helped by the “popper”, a clever little metallic device that allows clothes to be ‘flat-packed’ and then reassembled around the child, as and when the need arises. They’re astonishingly useful, so much so that you wonder why they make so few appearances in the adult clothing range. Although, on further reflection, they wouldn’t work if you had a beer belly and also enjoyed standing up and sitting down.
Anyway, I digress. What I was really trying to write about were those clothes that have cute and cuddly written all over them – often literally – but are neigh on impossible to fit a baby into without some sort of child equivalent of the shoe-horn.
We have one outfit in particular. I just know Marty will look gorgeous once I’ve managed to get him into it, so I keep on trying, and every time I end up with a screaming baby who has one arm in, one leg out and who’s face disappeared over 5 minutes ago and is probably  mid-outfit by now.
The dip-sticks who designed this suit seemed so transfixed by the design itself that they forgot completely about the poor buggers who’d have to get their babies into it. It comes with two little poppers at the neck and a few at the bottom, and that’s it!
So, you can either try to feed a nappy encased arse through the neck and work baby down that way, or you can feed the babies face up through the bottom of the outfit and see how far that gets you. I’ve tried and failed at both, which is just as well as I have no idea how I’d ever get his arms down the sleeves if I did manage to get Marty into the suit in the first place.
And while we’re talking clothes, what’s with the ears?
I get the impression that parents look down upon their little bundle of joy and have the following conversation:
       “Oh! Doesn’t he look gorgeous!”
       “Yup, as cute as a button!”
       “Yesss.... Cute but... well, you know, not REALLY cute.”
       “I know, I know. It’s the ears isn’t it?”
       “I don’t know why but they just look so ‘insufficient’ “
       “If only he had ears like a baby bear.”
       “Or big floppy ones like a rabbit.”
       “I know! Let's buy him an outfit with big ears built into it.”
       “Brilliant, no one will notice they’re ‘falsies’ and maybe someday he’ll grow some
       huge floppy ears of his very own.”

And so it is that virtually every baby hat or hood has ears built into it.
Bizarre or what!


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