Friday, 15 May 2009

My Mother Kept These 'Just In Case...'

'Just in case' of what, she never elaborated. Certainly they weren't even fashionable when I was a size 0 (-6 months).

This is the sort of humilation a baby could expect to be subjected to in the early 1970s. Only worse. If only I could locate the snaps of my infant self dressed in my grandmother's bobble-hatted nightmares and cruelties-by-crochet (honestly, you'd call the NSPCC retrospectively!)

Unsurprisingly these days I have developed a real chip on my shoulder when I see infants wearing better clothes than I can afford.

Death by designer cuteness makes me sick.

I mean a baby 'surf suit' for heaven's sake!

Even their buggies look more like Formula 1 racing cars and bear macho names such as 'V6 Explorer'. My sister and I were ensconced in a no-frills stripey fold-up pushchair of the most basic kind. Not a hint of padding for our darling baby bottoms. Even a hole or two through which we could see the tarmac passing beneath us.

But hey, the mittens-sewn-onto-sleeves and bobble hats may have been awful but they were character-building. What chance have the spoiled little Emperor brats of today got of escaping a bland and bored existence with nothing to rebel against? And every parent who succumbs to the temptations of Mini Boden (or if they're really rich, Baby Bateau), is making a rod for their own backs on the pester power front for the rest of their lives.

Something else these kids miss out on is the chance to revisit knitting in later life (ok, so my therapist made me) and discover it's not all bad...


Tessa said...

I suspect your mother was keeping the wee woollies 'just in case' you had children. When my son was born, my mother produced a little cardigan which had been mine as a baby, which she had kept wrapped in black tissue for 30 years. She whisked the pink ribbon, substituted with blue, and Bobs your uncle, new baby had a new/old cardigan. And guess what? I've kept it 'just in case.' After all, at this point it's a family heirloom.

My generation of babies used to wear knitted matinee jackets. I still don't understand what they were for. Taking them to afternoon theatre performances?

My mother was a power knitter, she would tear through two or three jumpers in a day. And she made two versions of everything, one in red/white for my sister, who had dark hair, and one in blue/white for me, the blonde. And always the same damn' pattern. We hated them with a passion.

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh Laura:
I soooooo want the pattern for the candle, do you have?
I'm such a retro. I just knitted a baby blanket for my pregnant 22 year old niece. It's like my evil knitting twin takes over and I hafta hafta. And guilty as charged on ickly little sweatery thingies with leggings and matching hats with one big BUT - always always dynamic colours.

Steve said...

Now having a young 'un of my own I actually genuinely react with "awwws" and "cooos". Must admit we've kept back some of Tom's cuter items... not "just in case" but because we want to look back and remember when he was that small...

garfer said...

Make them wear bin liners and get them cleaning chimneys I say.

Grasping little scrotes the lot of them.

Do you knit willy warmers?

Geoff said...

They should all wear Devo outfits.

Nota Bene said...

mention to your mum, they just won't fit you any're a big girl now. Or have I missed the point??

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Tessa, I fear you are right. Your family cardigan sounds groovier than mine though! Yes, I've never fathomed the Matinee jacket either, though at least if you are in hospital you might be going to the Theatre! Scary people, knitters.

WWW - the knitted candle was an image I nicked from Flick'r while looking for a far groovier blue Wee Willie Winkie version I had seen months ago - search Flick'r for 'knitted candles' and you will probably find the owner quite easily. Oh dear, not you as well.

Steve, that's what cameras are for! Plus how do you know your idea of 'cute' might not prove his idea of humiliation that he doesn't want to be reminded of?

Garfer, I don't knit anything, not even willie warmers (is it really that cold in Scotland? brrr). I think children only become grasping little scrotes when parents let them and give in to their every demand.

Geoff, quite.

Nota Bene - You are quite right I'm a big girl now and would not at all fit them any more. I've moved onto that altogether more salubrious designer label known as e-Bay!

A Free Man said...

Tell me about it, kitting out a baby is a multi-billion dollar scam. We spent more on a buggy than I did on my first car, or second for that matter.

I'm a former Oxford resident, albeit too briefly, just wanted to say hello!

teeni said...

Are you knitting now? If so, I would love to see what you are up to. My niece had her children's first baby "dress-up" outfits framed and hung on her wall. I have to admit they are cute but I am not sure that the kids will want them passed down to them when they are older. LOL.

小貓咪 said...