Sweet Baby Jeans
Last weekend, my baby showed up in blue jeans. My grandbaby, that is. And they weren’t really jeans. They had no zipper, no pockets. They weren’t even real denim, but they were denim blue leggings, and it was a start.
These baby “jeggings” were 12-month size with an elastic waist, perfect for a crawler on the move. I heard recently that one clothing retailer is coming out with jeans size 000, which seems a bit over (under?) the top to me. Yes, there are women out there who are no bigger than a minute, but that’s still one minute, isn’t it? 000? It’s like you’re not even there. When some poor soul slaps a pair of 000’s on the counter, the sales clerk should stage a Cracker Barrel intervention and get that girl a slab of pie.
I have no such problem. My jeans are a regular size. I’m not going to tell you which one because it’s a far piece from a 000. I’ve made peace with that, but it took a while. My husband Harold once asked if I would like him to come with me on a jeans buying excursion, and I said, “Only if you want to see me cry.” I’m over that now. I order my jeans from an old lady catalog and when they arrive they fit me and that’s the whole point with jeans.
You grow. You change. Your jeans need to change, too. It’s as simple as that. My granddaughter will go through many blue jean stages. Early on, it will be less about fashion and fit and more about sturdiness, hard, play-induced wear. When Harold was a boy, his jeans always started out cuffed because they were too long and his mother calculated that he would grow into them. In one picture his jeans are so cuffed that the actual knees were somewhere around his ankles.
Once a child has a voice in his or her clothing selection, all that long-range sensibility stuff is over. When my granddaughter does the shopping, her jeans may have sparkles and decorative stitching. They may be purposely torn or faded. They may have labels that make them more expensive than her preschool tuition. But, they’ll be hers. They’ll reflect who she is at the time.
Such is the way with blue jeans. You don’t get that kind of identity from khakis or polyester pleats. Blue jeans are basic, iconic. They’re an age and an era. I wore blue jeans in high school. I wore them to every one of my college classes. I wore them to football games and parties and was very, very excited to be back into them after my children were born. It was important, like becoming yourself again.
Now, I have jeans in many categories, ones that I wear to events with regular people, B-team jeans for trips to the store and jeans that I only wear to clean the garage. Those old ones are my favorites, broken in over many years, with a distinct indentation in the pocket where I keep my ChapStick. When I pull them on, it’s like coming home.
It may be silly to be sentimental about slacks, but life is a blue jean journey, my friend. My dad didn’t wear jeans until he was 80. He bought two pairs at a designated men’s store, had them custom hemmed and took them to the dry cleaner every Tuesday. That was who he was.
And now we begin again with 12-month, toddler-tested, sweet baby jeans. I love it.