As my wife and I have begun registering at Babies “R” Us and Target, a major theme I couldn’t help but notice, particular to boys’ clothing, is the fact that wild, vicious animals are strangely friendly and helpful. Smiling crocodiles. Laughing gorillas. Silly snakes. Chipper tigers.
In real life, there’s no way I would let Jack near any of those animals unless it’s at the zoo. (Nor would I want anywhere near those animals unless I was at the zoo). Crocodiles, gorillas, snakes, and tigers all represent wild and dangerous elements of life. But to a baby boy, these creatures resemble how he himself is adventurous and “in to everything”. Of course, in a world where the baby boy is loved by all and has no concept of enemies, these dangerous beings become neutered, tamed, and enchanted to the point that they all want to be his friend.
The irony- as his parents, my wife and I will be Jack’s supreme protectors and guardians. We will become the smiling crocodiles, the laughing gorillas, the silly snakes, and the chipper tigers: the paradoxical mix of strength and safety with love and happiness. Even more ironic- Baby Jack won’t understand all this stuff about friendly yet wild animals and how his parents represent them to him. All these “cute outfits” are for the adults to enjoy. But we like to pretend Jack is aware of the fact that his shirt has a picture of a goofy blue beast on it with the caption reading “Mommy’s Little Monster”. My, what imaginations we adults have!
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: