I am coming out of nursery as a little toddler is entering. He is wearing quite the most ridiculous hat I have ever seen and I am transfixed. In fact, I am not sure the term ‘hat’ really covers it. It is absolutely huge, vaguely spherical in form and predominantly orange with black stripes. And ears. Oh, I get it – a tiger. But christ, it’s got long, black sodding whiskers poking out of the front, for crying out loud. I am somewhat mesmerised and more than a little appalled.
Now, I am the first to admit that I have a bit of an issue with some kids’ clothes. Actually, that may be an understatement. Some clothes designed for babies and toddlers make me want to violently vomit, but not before I have poked the eyes out of the adult responsible.
It is true, I am fussy… or perhaps just have a modicum of sartorial common sense, depending on your view of how ridiculous you want your offspring to look. I don’t like anything with ears on. We already have a pair of ears on the side of our head, why would anyone need to sport a further, redundant pair? You never see a pair of trousers with another two legs sewn in, flapping wildly in the breeze. So what is this horrific compunction of hats and hoods with sodding ears on? Just bloody stop it.
And I vehemently dislike any item of kids’ clothing that is overly fluffy or furry. I know what clothes like this are trying to do, they are trying to make your baby or small child seem like a pet. And whilst babies may sleep in baskets and need toilet training, that is where the similarity ends. I don’t like garments with ‘cute’ animals on, because they are invariably not cute and more often than not involve a disgusting palette of pastel colours. I am positively allergic to any item of clothing that implores you to demonstrate love for the unfortunate wearer (‘Cuddle me!’ ‘Hugs please!’). And I can barely bring myself to even think about those hilarious slogans that deface otherwise quite wearable tops that make an oh-so-witty remark about its owner: ‘Look out, I’m trouble!’ ‘Cheeky Monkey!’ ‘I’m momma’s little hell raiser’. No you’re not, you are just a child with a parent whose friends have no taste in presents. ‘I’m so cute!’ No, you are not so cute, you are so un-cute your parents felt it a necessity to put you in that ridiculous tee shirt to make themselves feel better about the fact you are so damn ugly. When E was first born, he did receive one item of clothing as a present that nearly achieved the Awful Present Bingo full house: a furry jumper, with ears and a cutsie-wutsie embroidered teddy bear on the front. In pastel blue. It nearly brought me out in hives just unwrapping it, so I opened the bottom drawer of E’s tallboy with my foot, dropped the heinous jumper in and sealed the drawer with crime scene tape.
So I shudder involuntarily at the tiger-hatted toddler, and then I see his older brother who is following behind. Holy shit. His head gear is simpler in execution, but significantly more alarming. It is a furry brown hat that wraps around his head. Sprouting from the top are two, pink, furry ears. Now already I feel nauseous: pink and furry: right there is my axis of evil. But rather than being perky, upright ears, they lay limply on the hat, flopping reluctantly as he moves. Whichever way I look at them, and believe you me, I cannot take my eyes off this milliner’s monstrosity, they look just like a pair of flaccid penises. Or should that be penii? To be fair, and without wishing to sound like I have lived a sheltered life, I have only had to deal with penises in the singular at any one time up until this juncture, so I am not quite sure of the grammatically correct way to describe a pair. Never before have I encountered a hat so in need of a dose of Viagra… it the worst case of erectile dysfunction I have ever seen. As he passes me, I steal a final glance over my shoulder. No, they still look exactly like limp willies from that angle too.
So in one fell swoop, the comedy hat brothers have arrived. A huge, ginger be-whiskered tiger and a floppy cock head. Then comes the mother. She is not wearing a hat; just a ludicrous smile that seems to say ‘I know, look how impossibly cute and simultaneously amusing my boys look’ but should say ‘I am on medication, please don’t leave me in charge of the coat rack in the mornings’.