You would think that centuries of experience dressing babies would have provided the human race, or at least the manufacturing industry of the West with enough knowledge to create clothing which was not only well made and good-looking, but which was easy to get on and off of a flailing infant. You would think. You would think that we could even get two out of three.
The truth is that even with hundreds of thousands of shops selling the stuff, millions of mothers every year buy it and don't complain. One assumes therefore that civilisation has achieved the acme of baby clothing design and there is nowhere further to go on our ascent to garment excellence. This is mind-boggling however as clearly, there are three gaping flaws in this argument.
One: Most baby clothes pull over the head.
Two: All baby clothes for boys are blue and covered in bears.
Three: Pop studs.
Firstly. Babies have soft bits on their heads that one normally steers clear of and that are largely in the way during the descent of bear-covered cloth over body. Babies' heads are ungainly lolly things which are difficult to stuff through an 'envelope' neckline no matter how large the opening. Babies don't actually like having cloth dragged across their face, bunched around their necks and then tugged down their bodies even if ever so gently. A sleepy baby who has dozed quietly through a nappy change can be instantly rendered a flailing red ball of rage if he happens to open his eyes just as the 'vest' is being pulled over his head and a quiet wakey baby instantly goes all quivery-bottom-lippy. Interstingly, all the clothes we bought in France wrap around the body, so what's up with the rest of the world?
Secondly. Why can't we have stylish fabrics? What's with the bears? What's with rainbow bears? He's 5 weeks old for crying out loud, he can't even focus on a bear let alone actually want one printed on the trousers he's just peed on again. And what's with all the blue? The other choice is white - a brave choice to put on an individual whose main occupation is the production of bodily fluids. Other pattern choices stretch to stripes or trains and to have a simple, plain, non-blue-or-white (or pink or yellow for girls) colour is clearly a taboo-breaker, likewise any patterns unless, crucially, they have a bear in them. Or a train. Or both. If you're very lucky, you may get a tractor. Again, the French have it right with back-fastening khaki, beige and some good browns.
Finally and most puzzlingly... pop studs. Everwhere, pop studs. Down the legs. Down the front. Down the side. Pop studs, pop studs, pop studs. Have you ever tried to fasten pop-studs down the length of a baby's legs when he's kicking like a bronco? Well have you?
With up to a dozen poppers per outfit it must be an absolutely massive industry. Pop-stud pressure groups lobbying the garment factories, bribing key baby-design officials, carpet-baggers slinking around the warehouses pushing money into maw of the developers while the crippled and prematurely-aged hands of a miilion seamstresses work overtime attaching pop-studs to cotton. OK so they probably have a machine for that now.
Meanwhile, millions of mothers bend tearfully over changing tables begging their enraged offspring to 'just hold still a moment' while trying to guide a bucking foot into the end of an open 'leg' and attempting to not only fasten a dozen poppers up the inside leg but to not pop-stud a fold of baby-skin in the process. They certainly don't have a machine for that. It's possible to turn a footed sleep-suit into one long tube with a baby inside it and there's always one left over once the baby has been popped into submission. There he is, lying angelically in his little blue suit with one leg shorter then the other and a gaping hole somewhere in the region of his belly where one half of a pop-stud blinks seductively at you and you realise there's been a pop-stud wife-swap and the ugly one has ended up on its own. Even getting him undressed is difficult - some of these studs are like super-glue and take forever to get apart. Even the French haven't gotten this one right, the pop-stud lobby group is clearly international.
The mystery bit is that there are plenty of other fasteners on the market. Why not short ribbons that can tie at his sides? Why not velcro for crying out loud? He's got a little wrist-rattle which secures with the softest, most delicate velcro you've ever seen (which doesn't seem to catch on other fabrics). Why can't we have that sewn into his clothes? Just run your finger up the gap and hey presto - clothes fastened.
In fact, why have fasteners at all? Anyway 'fasten' is a bit of a mis-nomer as it's actually quicker to pull a pair of elasticated trousers over his legs then it is to pop all those studs. And since we're pulling things over his head anyway... t-shirts will do just fine thank you, I just need some first-class bears on that envelope neck.