I've been folding and sorting all these baby clothes people have been giving us. This includes finds from my Dad and sister, pass-alongs from friends, lovely things from relatives, and my own thrift store and yard sale acquisitions. It's quite the bounty, not just the gifts, but the found and passed-on clothing.
As I shake out a pair of wee little pants* to put on my daughter, Mr. Sweetie muses out loud, "Why do they put pockets on pants this small? They can't seriously imagine that babies are going to need pockets!" Why indeed.
*pants= that's trousers for you Brits.
When some clothes look too gender-specific in patterns or colors, or replete with cute little pockets or bows or even bizarre little decorations, I have to wonder, who are the clothing companies making these for?
Certainly, the babies don't care if they look cute. Most of them are already overflowing with cuteness. These design details are just superfluous.
Of the colors and patterns, I can guess that for those early babies, it can be hard to tell the gender of a child without additional cues. The code is: Trucks and Teddy bears and Rugby stripes are for boys and Flowers, Hearts and Butterflies are for girls. Never mind those arguments about how boys should be allowed to wear pink and little girls can wear anything with truck appliques. (Yeeeeaaah, right. Try that sometime and see how many people you confuse.) Or never mind even that we shouldn't be so concerned with gender at all.
Let's just admit for now that we humans are fixated on gender. I have come to accept that humans like to categorize things, and often aren't happy until everything can be placed in its box. I stymie the process with my love of greens and yellows on my little girl, but we have our share of pinks.
Oh, yes. Pink! The love or bane of every little girl. It's true that we have a load of cute clothing, but not all of it is pink. When we heard someone was throwing us a baby shower, I even asked for non-gender specific clothing to attempt to ward off the tsunami of pink. But we do have our share of it, yes, and darn it if it isn't cute, cute! I tell you.
One early favorite was pink terry cloth with a skunk applique. Why a skunk, I have no idea, but it's quirky and it's cute, and someone dear gave it to us. It was also well-worn and reliably soft and fuzzy. Alas, the little Wookie has already grown out of it!
And most of the onesies and sleepers - even the ones in yellow or green - have these adorable little details that the baby is in no position to appreciate. While breast feeding, I have been in a position to examine an awful lot of onesies and sleepers for hours. Most of them have bits of embroidery with ducks or "I love Daddy" or bizarre little bugs and flowers designs. Somebody, I think to myself, went through the bother of designing this schlock, decided it was good, then sent it overseas to be assembled with 6 different colors of embroidery thread. Or they designed these little pockets that needed a different kind of fabric and a matching ribbon. That's serious dedication to cute.
And then there are the ruffles, ribbons, and lacy edges. The necklines and sleeves of little girl onesies often have a line of thread that is stitched in a such a way to resemble a line of lace. It's ingenious, actually. Oh my, the ruffles. There is something about ruffles on the butt that makes people say awwwwww!
One of my favorite sleepers is a lovely shade of deep lavender with dear little tucks across the front and embroidered flower details in plum, pink and green. When the little Wookie wore it, she looked particularly adorable. Not only was it well-designed and well-made, it suited her auburn-ish coloring to a T. I was delighted when she grew into it, and I could hardly stand it when she finally outgrew it. boohoo!
Another of my favorites is absurdly girly. It's pink with a kind of silvery fleck pattern woven in, lacy edgings, a blowzy over-sized cut, and best of all, a couple lines of fabric ruffles sewn across the butt. It is not my style at all, but it is freakin adorable on the little Wookie. It makes me want to cuddle her to pieces, and snuggle her forever. What the heck is it about these soft pink ruffles that render me insensible?
I won't even get into the pink and cream sleeper my aunt sent me. Okay, okay, I will! It's pink with scattered dots of soft-cranberry and pinks with cream details and the cutest little lamb applique in two colors of soft fake fur and plenty of embroidered details. Oh my goodness, this thing is so cute!!
And my daughter hasn't even started pursuing textures to pet this little lamb, or has even learned what a lamb is yet! And yet, it inspires all kinds of feelings.
Since in the two months it's taken me to write this post, she's outgrown this sleeper as well. Boohoo!
I am starting to think that infants clothing is simply an outlet for our passionately in-love feelings about babies in general. Seeing or snuggling a cute baby in an adorable outfit heightens our feelings of love, awe and tenderness just that much more. What a cutie! What a sweetheart! We are often, or if lucky, always, smitten, and the clothing just screams: How insanely adorably can we be? The answer is: very.
I suppose babies are the same way. Little tiny noses, tiny sneezes, rows of perfect toes, ears, baby tears, chubby cheeks with dimples, the way they smack you with their hands or smack their lips after drinking milk to their stomach's content.
So while they are pretty cute to begin with, the details overwhelm us. And once we're insensible, they'll scream mighty decibels into ones ear at close range or klonk one in the head with flailing limbs or skull.
So scream in my ear, make me go deaf, turn purple, gift me with a creative array of fluids, yes and don't forget to kick me in the breast or klonk me in the face. Wear those ruffles and flash your dimples and I'm yours forever. May it be so.