High-Tops & Onesies…

I never realized the numerous changes that’s occured in child rearing until I started working in a daycare in 2016. Mind you, I’ve not given birth in closer to 4 decades than I’d like to admit. But still. Some things you know will just NEVER change. Until they’re seen as hopelessly outdated, antiquated and obsolete.

Let’s start with under shirts. As babies, Shannon and Joshua wore 2 different kinds. One was a pullover. All babies hate having anything pulled over their head. The other type was more expensive but easier to use and baby-friendly. It resembled a vest, but with short sleeves. There were usually 3 snaps, one underneath to help keep the shirt in place. Plus 2 with the material that overlapped the bottom snap. Dang that’s hard to explain. Harder to visulize I’m sure. Sorry. Baby under (t) shirts came in a wide range of colors and fabrics, as long as they were white. And cotton. Back in pre-historic times, ALL babies/toddlers/pre-schoolers/elementary kids/even bigger ones wore undershirts at least 6 or 8 months a year growing up in Iowa. Until they hit puberty. Or got their period.

With the modern invention of the onesie, mom’s all over the world now had time for another load of laundry, or whip up an extra course for their supper menu every day. Why? Because 47 minutes per day were saved by not having to tuck babies t-shirts in 153 times! Imagine, a t-shirt that stayed neat and tucked in by itself. Without velcro attached to their hides. I jest. Velcro had not yet been invented. We were still losing 38 minutes re-tying shoes 72 times. More on that in a minute. Adam, my last baby wore onesies. I could not believe how convenient and cute they were. And they came in pastel colors. Mint green, soft yellow, baby blue. Why? Because pregnant women didn’t know if they were having a boy or girl until those little parts were displayed and announced by the doctor. Your layette consisted of pastel, gender friendly one piece sleepers if you had a shower before the baby was born. While you were in the hospital after giving birth, that’s when you got girl or boy clothes. Nursery’s were usually done in soft pastels too.

Under shirts/onesies must not be considered a necessity anymore. Very few babies at daycare wear them, even during the winter. Just doesn’t seem right. I lay a baby down on the changing table (plastic covered foam), unsnap, unzip or tug down their sweats, skinny jeans (so cute) or sleeper. A little gasp escapes me when I spot their bare belly. Don’t they get the shivers? If wearing a shirt and knit pants, the crawler’s bellies are actually cold to the touch because their tummy is on the bare floor much of the time. The other extreme is what I nicknamed double onesie kids. Self-explanatory, they might have a long-sleeved onesie under a long-sleeved onsie. But most wear a sleeper, or just knit shirt and pants. And a diaper, maybe socks in the younger babies sleeper feet.

There once was a woman/wife/mom with no name (seriously), who never got credit for a pretty fantastic invention. Let’s call her Patience. She was going about her daily chores (cooking/cleaning/laundry/kiddos) when her (pretty famous) husband waltzes in through the door of the tent. “I’m almost done with the boat. The planer broke so the floor boards are full of splinters. Don’t tell me to buy a new one, there’s no time and I’m flat broke. Cost of living, inflation, the exorbitant cost of new power tools, everything’s so expensive. By the way, we have to be ready to go in a couple of days.” This little conversation almost made Patience lose hers. Not one to give Hubby any lip, Patience pondered what on earth she should do. Stuck on a boat for several months-with her flock of kids-(Hubs was not high on birth control either) and those bare little tootsies on that rough floor.

That night a bulb went off as she drifted to sleep. In the morning Patience put everything, packing food and clothes, forwarding their mail on the back burner. She now had one (sole) purpose. Inventing white leather high-top baby shoes before breaking that bottle of champange on the bow of boat. Using only the best leather, she fashioned each one of her kids under 5 custom white high-tops. FYI, 2 of her children would become rather well known in their own rights. Shem joined a vaudeville act after adding a ‘p’ (after his dear mum) at the end of his name. Middle kid started ‘acting out’ in high school, but in a positive light and was deemed ‘the class clown’ or Ham. Patience used white leather because cheap white shoe polish was readily available and she signed an exclusive deal for 20% of the profits for 99 years). Patience was very proud of herself. She wanted to gloat/mass market/advertise/patent (oh good heavens, another light bulb-‘patent’ leather shoes for the Sabbath) but now she was seriously behind with her chores and the clock was ticking. OK, sundial. Whatever.

The skies were definitely clouding up. A frown crossed her brow and she bit her lower lip, deep in thought. Something was troubling Patience. What was it? Bingo. The animals. That’s it! Why did I make the bottoms of the shoes leather? I should have used something grippy like a Vibram sole. Shoot, no time to invent that before the floodgates open. The kids will surely slip and slide through all the pig-horse-cow-zebra-antelope-lion-unicorn-bear-pigeon (I’m gonna stop here, you know where this is going) poop. Another time-sucking trip to Walgreens for stupid white tape that hold bandages in place for big boo-boos. Patience carefully placed white tape strips on the bottoms of her dozen pair of assorted sized white high-top shoes. There, that ought to do it. From what I’ve learned reading this interesting piece of history, Patience’ husband was very impressed with her cleverness. Her hand stitching would have won a blue ribbon at the fair, except for the Weather Channel’s (on the 8’s) forboding indication of impending rain. Heavy at times. And now you Noah the rest of the story.

This was a tried and true tradition for thousands of years. As a new mom, I never gave baby shoes a second thought. Everybody knew when your baby wore white high-tops for the first couple of years, they would certainly be less likely to suffer from foot issues as adults. Duh. Now just a few decades later, white high-tops are not what’s used to help babies master the art of walking. Glimmer, glitz, sparkles, velcro, and Nike are all the rage to adorn your babies feet.

If the babies wear shoes at all. Most don’t. They do wear socks which stay on for about 10 seconds. Lots of problems with babies and their socks. It seems to be their yummiest chew toy. They all like to chew on their own or other baby’s socks. This is a favorite baby past time. We pick up wet, soggy socks off the floor constantly. Plunk them on a heat register to dry, then they’re hard as little bricks from the spit. For the older babies, slipping their socks off helps with self-preservation. As they develop and start trying new things, pulling themselves up, standing, (or clinging to your leg when you’re standing, holding someone, my fave) or start walking around furniture, it’s down right dangerous when they’re wearing socks. Socks cause more slips, slides, spills and splits than you can imagine. Everyday.

The safety of infants is tatamount these days. It’s not that we didn’t care deeply for our children, but raising them was a little more loosey-goosey. Hubs and I were just talking about a trip we took to Minneapolis in 1979. We went with John’s sister Elly and her husband Dewey to antique and see a Viking’s game. Shannon 8, Joshua 4-1/2 stayed with my folks, but Adam was 6 weeks old. And the only baby I nursed. So leaving him was out of the question. Dewey drove a 1972 Chevy Caprice station wagon which is the approximate size of the house we now own. We put our bassinet in the back of the station wagon and Adam slept in it. All the way from Iowa to Minnesota. On his belly. Oh boy. Adam’s our only kid who had a car seat (and I use that term loosely). It reminded me of one of those old time carnival rides. Remember the swing ride? Like a safety swing at the park with a bar across your middle, a rod in between your legs so he wouldn’t slide out. And it had 2 big u-shaped hooks that went over the seat. Of course it went in the middle of the front seat. How else could you keep an eye on him or take him out to feed or change him while Hubs was tooling down the road at 60 or 70? I didn’t think we took any big chances with our kids when they were small. But they rode bikes, skate boards, and roller skates without helmets or pads. They rode in our cars and trucks unemcumbered by any safety measures. Sometimes laying in the back window or the bed of the truck. Amazingly, all three lived through their perilous childhoods and continue to thrive…

For your daily smile. Jovi, 4 months at bath time, just because…

4 thoughts on “High-Tops & Onesies…

  1. I too, worked in an infant room…my favorite group by far for all the snuggles, coos, baby cheeks, and slobbery kisses…I was sick a lot as every square inch was covered with poop, slobber, snot, sneeze sludge, and various forms of regurgitation, and sprinkle-spotted with bleach spray at the end of the day…..but what the heck! It was the lowest paying job I've had in 37 years but I went home every night feeling th hat I was dying something vastly important in making those little cuddle-ball feel loved, safe, and ppreciated…I still miss them! Nothing makes me smile more than a baby! Ya, the times have changed……thank God for velcro!


  2. I too, worked in an infant room…my favorite group by far for all the snuggles, coos, baby cheeks, and slobbery kisses…I was sick a lot as every square inch was covered with poop, slobber, snot, sneeze sludge, and various forms of regurgitation, and sprinkle-spotted with bleach spray at the end of the day…..but what the heck! It was the lowest paying job I've had in 37 years but I went home every night feeling th hat I was doing something vastly important in making those little cuddle-balls feel loved, safe, and appreciated…I still miss them! Nothing makes me smile more than a baby! Ya, the times have changed……thank God for velcro!


    • I was still going to the laundromat during most of my babies cloth diapers/rubber pants days. I ruined several pair because the dryers were way too hot and they half melted. The only time we used Pampers was when we were going away for the weekend, and there were no sticky tabs, we used diaper pins. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting Margaret.


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