This is my home-game entry this week for therealljidol. There are now two weekly topics because of the new batch of Second-Chance Idol contestants. I am not competing this season but invite you to read and vote for the original contestants and the Second-Chance Idol contestants. This week's regular topic is "Haute," while the Second-Chance topic is "Crunch." I combined the two topics, for simplicity's sake.
When our Kung Fu Panda was a newborn, his wardrobe was simple: a short-sleeved onesie and a diaper. When I took him outside, I covered his feet with light cotton socks and his legs with a light blanket. On his head, he wore a giraffe-emblazoned sunhat (a big hit, in part because of its Hunter S. Thompson look), and his arms were protected by the sun shield I used with his stroller. Gone are such simple days.
Now, my more mobile baby requires less passive protection from the elements. At 7 months old, he is currently cruising around the coffee table, jamming a coaster in his mouth. You can imagine how much fun it is to keep him comfortably clad for a snowy winter in the Northeastern U.S.
The well-dressed baby must wear the following winter attire, at minimum: a long-sleeved shirt or onesie, pants, socks, warm booties, mittens, a coat, and a hat. In addition, it's good practice to wrap a blanket around him in his car seat. Some parents invest in a snow suit, but we thought it would be too much trouble. Of course, with the amount of dressing and undressing I currently do, I doubt a snowsuit would be much of a difference!
When I first put pants on KFP, I tried to make it exciting. That Fall day, a chill had crept into the air, so I introduced pants by exclaiming, "You're going to wear pants!" He smiled at the tone of my voice, and as I slid the pants up his legs, I told him, "Wow! You look great in pants!" His first pants experience, at least, was a good one.
I wish such techniques still worked. Pants have lost their charm, and especially when he's tired or cranky, KFP rebels: actively kicking my hands to try to keep me from pulling up the hated clothing. Similarly, he twists and cries when I try to work his wide hand into his shirts (which appear to be rapidly shrinking). I find myself saying things I never thought I'd say: "As long as you live in this house, you're going to wear pants!" I'm thoroughly convinced that one day he will be a nudist.
The only clothing he can currently remove happens to be socks. Since he was about three months old, he's been perfecting his technique: rubbing his feet together in an action we call "cricketing" until the socks pop off his feet. Of course, he is gifted with wide, muscular feet I've nicknamed "hobbit" feet, which are also, it would appear, sock repellent. If it were summer, I could permit such footloose behavior, but while the cold weather holds, we fight a never-ending Battle of the Socks. On the better days, it's a draw.
(I took a break after that last paragraph to take an afternoon nap with my cranky KFP. Still with socks on the brain, I dreamt of leaving him at a daycare service, only to have them return him with absolutely filthy socks. The daycare employee explained it had something to do with his sudden interest in hummus and a bad diaper change. I think it's going to be a while before we try hummus...)
It's as if KFP is a fashion designer, determined to realize his haute couture vision. "No socks on my runway!" he screams to a befuddled assistant (me) who keeps reminding him it's winter. "My collection is about connecting with the world. You must experience it through your skin. To really FEEL the cold, you must dig your toes into it. In other words, NO SOCKS!" This would be coupled with a dramatic arm flourish, as well as a determined grab of his ear.
His collection would no doubt involve one of his other favorite sensations: taste. Now mind you, the clothes don't actually have to taste any different than regular clothes in order for them to suit his palate. He will nom on anything, even items of clothing he is currently wearing.
"I want the sleeves extra long so you can chew on them," he insists to his assistant. "The shirts should have irregular dark blotches on the front so that damp patches will blend in." After testing various fabrics, he would go with the one that looks best when dampened with drool.
KFP's line would also include flavored booties, so that there's more of a reward for babies who remove them and pop them in the mouth. On the runway, his models would carry the booties and, at the end of the runway, stick one in their mouths while gumming them and intoning, "Dee TIE dah!" The collection would be called Haute Crunch.
The best part of KFP's collection: all the items would be breakaway. Tired of wearing your pants? No problem: a simple tug, and they fall off. Frustrated with shirts? Grab them in the middle and rip them off. Wave them high above your head and wriggle back and forth in baby bliss.
If only he knew how difficult this is for me, as well. I am as tired of his twisting and kicking as he is with my tugging and pulling. I wish there were an easier solution, but even if I turned our heat up to sauna levels, he'd still need to bundle up to go outside. Just like the never-ending Car Seat Troubles, the Clothes War is a necessary learning experience. While he's learning that adult rules must be followed, even if they make no sense, I'm learning to stand firm even my heart breaks for my unhappy baby.
In the meantime, I eagerly await warmer temperatures when we can run through the house barefoot. Pants of some kind, however, will remain mandatory.
Babies prefer to go au naturale.