Kids hate clothing. In my short four years of parenthood I have not yet found a deviation from this hypothesis. Every morning begins with telling the four year old to get his day time clothes on, repeatedly. As for the baby, that is a mess of finding his shirt and pants, wrestling him out of milk/formula soaked pajamas and then dodging legs and flailing arms to get him into a fresh outfit. This is the way things are. I have accepted this.
What I learned this very morning though, brought to light an entirely different aspect of the morning clothing change routine.
The four year old was in his room pretending to pick out shorts and a t-shirt (while actually playing a toy atop his dresser). My wife was readying for the drive to day care and I had the baby. The baby and I had been awake for about an hour at this point. He spent the morning happily finding shelves full of stuff and relieving said shelves of their duties. He cackled around his pacifier as toys and felt fruit plummeted to the carpet below. He had an appetite apparently. An appetite for destruction. <-could not resist, sorry.
The baby was wound up. As I carried him into his, I knew the changing process was going to be extra difficult.
Generalizations about the differences between motherhood and fatherhood are pretty pointless. More often than not the differences between the two roles are little more than differences that exist between two people. So I want to talk about how the mother and the father in this house approach the morning clothing change.
Holding the baby in one arm, clinched to my chest to prevent a wiggle related dive to the wood floor, I open the t-shirt drawer and grab the top most shirt on the stack. The baby grabs the shirt from me and promptly tosses to the ground. Giggles. Repeat for the pants drawer; open it up and grab the top most pair of shorts. The baby allowed me to retain possession of the shorts.
Then the squirmy guy gets the better of me and I set him in his crib. This is the worst possible place to change a child. I picked up the shirt from the floor and put it on his changing table (useless at this point) and began taking off the footed pajamas despite great protest.
My wife must have heard the scuffle and came to my aide.
“You’re driving your daddy crazy!” She said in the slightly high pitched voice that must be spoken to babies.
“That’s one word for it,” I said. He was finally free of the pajamas.
I must have forgot about the already selected clothing sitting on the changing table and turned to grab one of the button shirts hanging from a bar in his closet. The closest one, a blue button up tee with surfer iconography patterned on it, really pleased him as noted by his little, “cooo.” I sighed. Button shirts and babies do not mix well.
As I try to put the shirt on the little one, my wife goes to find a specific pair of shorts to match. I suddenly remember the shorts and shirt on the changing table and say, “oh yeah, there’s shorts out on the table.”
“But these match,” is the reply.
It had never occurred to me to match the clothing. I told my wife of my clothing selection practices, grab whatever is on top of the pile. She laughed and through a long sigh said, “that explains so much.”