When my kids were speechless (not noiseless, mind you!) infants, Manchild and I watched them smile and listened to them coo and gurgle. We wondered aloud, “Do you ever wonder what s/he’s thinking?”
Apparently a clothing executive wondered the very same at some point, and decided to create onesies and t-shirts that proposed to answer that question. Some of the quotes on these items seem to fit the infants’ facial expressions. Quotes such as, “Daddy Makes Me Smile” and “Mommy Has the Key to My Heart.” No one can argue that while a bit played out, these shirt quotes are occasionally cute or amusing.
However, I suspect a group of garment executives, after watching some Real Housewives and maybe snorting something special, decided that babies and small children need to wear some of the dumbo messages their parents wear. And at first these little snarky messages on babies’ chests were chuckle-inducing. You would hear older ladies on the street having conversations such as:
“Ha! Did you see what that kid’s shirt said? It said ‘Ladies’ Man’! That’s hilarious!”
“Haha, fantastic! My grandson has one that says ‘Eligible Bachelor’!”
“Oh my goodness, the things people come up with these days!”
And then like gremlins, the sayings multiplied and got awful. And dumber. And crazier. T-shirts such as: “I’m a Princess Like My Mom” and “Daddy’s Got My Back”.
While the creators of these wardrobe items should be ashamed, we as parents need to take responsibility for the clothing we purchase for our offspring. C’mon, Mom, you’re not a princess. Children of royalty do not wear t-shirts. And you’re not even a metaphorical princess; you’re more likely suffering from a case of entitlement that will swiftly crumble when you realize you should have been saving for little Billy’s college/your and Bills Sr.’s retirement instead of splurging for the Louis Vuitton bags that turned out to be fakes. And Dad, in what circumstances do you find yourself needing to state that you have your infant son’s back? Does your speechless infant make rude faces at strangers, thereby provoking fights in which you must intervene? Isn’t the constant guard of your child implied by his infant dependence and innocent nature? Is it more the case that you, Sir, are indeed looking for your own fight, and are willing to make your heir the subject of such?
Even less annoying t-shirts like “My Dad is Awesome”, “My Dad is Cool and My Mom Rules”, and “Strong Like Daddy” are nonetheless…annoying. Parents, you really want your babies wearing billboard statements like this? This is your passive aggressive way of propping up your own confidence? Would you wear a shirt that says “I’m Awesome”, “I’m Cool and My Wife Rules” or “I’m Strong!”?
Never mind, maybe you would. A few years ago Girlchild and I were in a Mommy & Me gymnastics class. A 4-year-old male classmate wore a shirt that said “My Mom’s Out of Your League” on the same day his mom wore the shirt, “I’m So Bored.” Needless to say the mom didn’t look like she was bored due to her recent discovery of the Higgs particle and subsequent lack of challenging undertakings.
Anyway, consider this blog entry a public service announcement: If you have something to say, at least say it on your own damned shirt. Don’t put your opinions, slogans, slurs or nonsense on the speechless: babies, small children, and even dogs. None of these innocents should be wearing things with rear ends that say “JUICY” either.
Or else you leave me no choice but to start my own novelty tee company with shirts like, “Lack of Talent Show Skills Aren’t the Only Thing that Kept My Mom out of Pageants” and “I Have a Secret Half-Brother Living in a Trailer” and “Son of a Community College Alum”. And I’ll hand these shirts directly to your kids. They’ll have sparkly unicorns and superheroes on them, and come with a free cookie.
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