Stupid fiddly friggin’ buttons

For some reason this post had been hiding in draft since October of last year. So a little late…

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This is how the inner monologue works sometimes:

“Hey, cool, look at my son, he’s put his hands in his pockets. How awesome is that. He’s put his hands in his pockets for the first time. His hands are in his pockets. His jacket pockets. He’s learning so fast. He’s so smart. He looks so grown up. He’s found his pockets and put his hands in them. For the first time. Walking down the road with his hands in his pockets. Only a year and a half old and there he goes strolling along like me with his hand in his pockets…

Why the fuck are his hands in his pockets? Shit if he falls over he won’t be able to get them out in time to stop himself falling and he’ll really fucking hurt himself and he could cut his lips or his nose or knock his teeth out or bang his head and scratch his face and his mother will fucking kill me and why the fuck would you want to put pockets on a kids jacket anyway that’s an insane idea it’s fucking dangerous stupid fuckingjackettakethemouttakethemouttakethemoutmust get his hands out of his stupid fucking pockets before he hurts himself…

…oh thank christ he’s taken his hands out of his pockets…”

It takes approximately half a second for that monologue to run. The processing power of the average parent of babies and toddlers is fucking phenomenal and if we weren’t so tired all the time we’d be collectively more dangerous than Skynet.

What exactly do toddlers need pockets for? Car keys? Loose change? An iPhone? Should I have given him a wallet with a picture of the family in? Am I failing as a parent? Who signed off on this one? Where was the user testing? What is the user need? Was there any kind of risk assessment in the design phase? I don’t understand what’s going on here.

Ooh but now, look, buttons! Tiny scaled down buttons. Perfectly sized for baby’s tiny fingers. Perfectly scaled to his tiny scaled down form. Only baby is still some way off of embracing the level of manual dexterity required to do up a button, albeit through no fault of his own. Meanwhile Daddy’s fingers, which cope quite well with his own larger person sized buttons, find themselves clunking like clumsy tree trunks trying to negotiate tiny button through tiny button hole.

Hey, look at our cool new shoes. They have laces! Real laces… But hold on, my son’s not going to be able to tie his shoelaces for maybe another two or three years, he’s certainly not going to be doing it before he grows out of these tiny shoes. But his shoes now have real laces. So what are the laces for? I have my own shoes with laces and I know I don’t need to practice on tiny shoes. I mean, they look good but… Oh, I see, it’s so they can come undone and baby can trip over them.

Damn, that’s almost as fun as baby-grows that do up at the back or across the front in some weird diagonal or involve wrapping multiple flaps and folds that look cool in the shop until you realise that trying to dress a baby in anything that doesn’t slip cleanly over the head is like trying to put the peel back on a falling banana.

I have often found myself wondering if the folks who design babies’ and toddlers’ clothing actually have kids of their own or whether they merely harbor deep resentment towards all parents in general.

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