Thursday, 21 February 2008

The God of small socks

I have 29 odd, small socks in my laundry basket. I've just counted (it's a slow day). Why? Why? Where are they? Who has taken them? Is there somewhere, in a parallel universe, another laundry basket with all the matching pairs in? I want to stage a protest outside Mothercare, Gap, Next and anywhere else they sell baby socks. Stop selling them, they don't work! I'd like to meet anyone, anyone! who has ever held onto a matching pair of baby socks (and it's cheating if you bought lots of pairs of the same socks). No matter what you do, however carefully you apply said socks in the morning, by the evening one of them will be gone. And that's the weird thing, it's only ever one of them. I'd understand it more if it was the pair: obviously someone is stalking me secretly and stealing the socks from Jack's feet when I'm not looking. But one? No, that doesn't make sense. Who would stalk me to steal only one sock, only a crazy person and the only one I know is my mother. But she hates socks, so it can't be her.
I have tried to observe at close quaters the transition from socked foot to un-socked foot that occurs through the day but to no avail, yes, sometimes I catch a live one just about to drop and deftly return it to it's correct positioning but the euphoria is short lived. However vigilant I am the sock always manages to exploit a weak moment (usually involving chocolate) and escape with admirable speed and skill.
I do know that Jack has especially wriggly feet, in A&E (ER to my American readers) yesterday (oh so much you don't know, more of that another time) the nurse tried valiantly to take his blood pressure with one of those things that attach to your finger. Only with babies they put it on their toes. Jack kept the non monitored foot very, very still but wriggled his monitored foot with gusto, not what you want when trying to accurately record data. I held his foot, he wriggled only the toes, I held his toes except for the monitored one, he wriggled the monitored one. Fab, we had a quick guess at what his blood pressure might be and reached the conclusion that he was fine. Anyone who could wriggle their feet with that much vigour can't be particularly damaged. (Or can they? Cue the dark of night, lying awake, and the thought that wriggly toes might be the first sign of brain damage doesn't do much for insomnia. I also worried about a future of arthritic toes, it was a busy night).
Anyway, while I acknowledge Jack's excessive toe wriggles I don't accept it as an explanation for the phenomenon, simply because Isla's toes were literally comatose (sorry) in comparison, and she reached the heady heights of losing two-socks-a-day (not matching ones, she was my first child and I stupidly replaced the missing one with a new matching pair, my mother has never recovered). So the parallel universe theory still stands I'm afraid. And before you think you can come up with another, less other worldy, explanation, hear my final argument: you never, ever see single socks while out and about. Think about it, how many times have you come home and noticed the baby has lost a sock again? Answer: Lots. But, how many times have you been out and found single socks? Answer: Almost never (never in my case). So that proves it, there must be some big, black hole that suctions up any baby sock the minute it's wrested free from a tiny foot. It's the only logical conclusion. Can you think of a better one? Me neither.
I have a solution though, I've tried and it works: every new pair of socks you buy, sew a long piece of string (or wool, it's your choice) between them, therefore attaching them to each other. Genius. Then, when dressing baby, put one sock on and thread the other sock up through the trousers (or skirt, it's so much easier with a skirt, who cares if people call Jack she?) and down to the other foot. Place the second sock on this foot. Do you see? It's fool proof, if ever a sock drops off it's attached to the other one, and, if the child's in trousers, trapped in the clothing. Let's say one did get lost (it's unlikely but not impossible) it will never just be one, the second will have to go with it, this renders the odd-sock-laundry-hamper useless, and is beginning to save my sanity. It's perfect. The only place to go with the idea now it to apply it to my husband's socks, although I'm not sure how well he'll take the string intrusion.

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