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Semele's Riches: So, what's with the mismatched socks?

Semele's Riches

Adventures in handmade childhood.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So, what's with the mismatched socks?

I'm sure you've noticed that in a great many of my photos, Ian is wearing mismatched socks.  This may have led you to conclude that we dress him in the dark, that we let him sort his own laundry, or that we have decided to dress him as Dobby daily, because Halloween is not just for October 31st any more.  Not quite.

First of all, let me lead into this by saying if you know anyone with an infant, go directly to the website and order them a dozen pairs of IDENTICAL toddler socks.  Not infant socks, I want you to work ahead  Choose size 12-18 months.  You're looking for the ones with the roll-down cuff.  They should run you about a dollar a pair.  I'll wait.

Now.  As for what's up with the mismatched socks.  It turns out that baby and toddler socks get lost a lot.  When your child is an infant, this is no big deal, since you can do without them.  Just use those cute little outfits with the feet built in.  If you have a summer baby, let their adorable little tootsies hang out so everyone can exclaim how cute they are and then tell you that they never got sick as a baby because their mother always put socks on them.  Then hold up one teeny, weeny, little sock as evidence of your diligent parenting, and ask if they've seen the other one anywhere.

Once your kid starts wearing shoes, however, all bets are off.  They're going to need socks, and lots of them, because you can throw a lot of kid stuff into a hamper before it's full enough to make it worth running the washing machine.  Plus Daddy can't tell the difference between Mommy's socks and baby's, so you'll never find them again, because you don't know they are in your own dresser.

Then, the washing machine apparently has an insatiable appetite for baby socks.  You can buy new socks every time you make a diaper run, go broke,  and still have no socks for this kid.  Or rather, have a drawer full of SINGLE socks. Because it is against laundry machine union rules to eat BOTH socks in a pair, so if it accidentally gets two the same, it spits one back and keeps fishing. (Remember when I said to buy a dozen pairs of IDENTICAL socks?)

I eventually broke under the pressure.  That's right, I knuckled under and realized that if my kid was going to wear socks seven days a week, I was either going to have to wash his one remaining matching pair of socks every night, by hand, blow them dry with the hair dryer, and then safety pin them together and hide them in my bra to protect them from my husband and the washing machine, OR, let him wear mis-matched socks.  So when I spotted a HUGE bag of mis-matched toddler socks at my favorite children's consignment sale for a quarter, I snatched them up so fast you'd have thought they were Beanie Babies in 1997.  Except no one wanted them but me.  I threw them in Ian's sock drawer in hopes that they'd breed with our existing collection of singleton socks and create at least seven pairs of socks that fit him.

The result is that we have created a child who doesn't realize you are supposed to have two of the same socks on.  If he selects his own socks, he picks whatever two take his fancy.  When Mommy does it, she just picks two that fit him and the color scheme of his outfit.  So if you see him in matching socks, you know Daddy dressed him today.  When we go to Ft. Belvoir, Daddy specifies that Ian must wear matching socks because, and I quote, "people judge you, you know."

I see many advantages to my approach.  One, I can always pick my kid out of the crowd on the playground even when I can only see him from the ankles down.  (This comes up more often than you'd think.)  Two, he picks out some fun combinations, and I think it's hilarious.  Three, I can solve the world's single sock problem from here on out.  I am currently accepting single socks in sizes 24 months and up.  Just email me and I'll tell you where to send them.



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