dress up

There are hardships that accompany motherhood that prior to having children, no one tells you about. It’s as if all mothers have taken an oath of secrecy: to not to disclose the unpleasantries to potential parents in an effort to keep the earth populated. The only unpleasantry allowed to be discussed is sleepless nights. We all hear about that. But no one tells you all the other dirty secrets.

Like breast feeding: why couldn’t anyone tell me about children that don’t latch and mastitis and bloody, cracked nipples and the staple gun pain of a breast pump prior to me giving it a try myself? The worst five days of my life were the five days I breastfed. Why couldn’t anyone have warned me? After I had finished and my milk had dried up, every mother had sympathies to offer: how terrible it was for them, too. This is when I heard of lumps and blood and discomfort. No shit, I had it myself. I’m well aware now. Thanks for nothing.

Is parenting some fucked-up game of Taboo? Once the word is said, all bets are off, but until a new parent goes through it, the topic is forbidden? That’s, well, like I already said: fucked-up. Or maybe parents already know that potential parents don’t give a shit what they have to say and always tell themselves, “oh, it’ll be different for me,” as if they somehow, without any experience, have cracked the code on colicy babies and losing baby weight and still paying attention to their spouse once a little one rules the roost.

The surprising struggle for me is what I always figured would be easy: dressing a baby. When Brandon was the size of a peanut, he already had a closet full of jeans and polos and track jackets. I looked forward to him being born so I could dress him like a little stud.

Little girls are programmed to think of dressing people as simple. We’re given paper dolls where you just fold some tabs over her shoulders and one second later, she has changed out of her sweaty soccer outfit into an Easter dress. We’re given dolls that don’t have pesky elbows and whose arms rotate 360 degrees. Dolls’ heads are small – the size of an orange, rather than a head of lettuce. Barbies always have straight legs so pants just shimmy right up them.

But a living, breathing baby is a whole different story.  They have these annoying joints – elbows and knees. Somehow, these creatures can’t see twelve inches in front of their faces, but they know how to use the elbows and knees like no one’s business. Then their heads are massive. The only shirt I would be able to pull over Brandon’s head without pulling his ear down with it would be a J. Lo V-neck. This kid’s head is nearly as big as mine.

All of those cute polos and jeans were purchased before he was born. Afterwards, it has all been one-pieces that zip up. That’s all he wears, day and night around the house. Even those damn snaps that are on nearly all baby clothes are too pesky to mess with. If it doesn’t have a zipper, it’s too much hassle.

But now that he’s going to daycare on Monday, the ONLY part of that that I’m looking forward to is dressing him in the adorable, hard-to-put-on clothes. Because I just have to put them on once. Then some poor daycare worker is going to have to struggle changing his diaper ten times. At least she’ll have something cute to look at. And as soon as he gets home, I’ll change him back into a zip-up.

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