When our first baby was born fourteen years ago (seriously, fourteen years?) a good friend made a pair of booties for him. I was new to so many things back then -- diapers, sleep deprivation, making dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) -- that I didn't fully appreciate the boon that a good pair of booties could be. They were just one of the many new things I could play with, dressing and redressing that boy half a dozen times a day. I offered my friend a round of heartfelt thanks, but I don't think I came anywhere near expressing what I have come to feel about that gift. A decade and a half later I am wishing I still had her phone number. I would like to call her today and let her know just how superb those particular booties have been, and how appreciated and well loved.
We didn't know the gender of Baby #1 pre-birth, and consequently these booties were offered in a lovely marbled yellow. Of all the many pairs of infant footwear we have had over the years, these were hands down the Grand Champion Extraordinaire. Exceptionally soft and fuzzy, in a color that went with everything, they even managed to stay on. Yes, that's right -- booties that stayed on. Stayed on, as in, never fell off. Ever.
Our five babies wore them, my nieces and nephews wore them, and still they soldiered on. After the now-five-year-old outgrew them, the booties were sent off to a baby elsewhere in need of warm feet (along with pretty much everything baby-related we owned). When Baby #6 surprised us with his appearance, I went looking for a pattern that might produce something similar. And to my very very very grateful surprise, I found one. Although they aren't made in a yellow merino, our boy's new booties are soft, and they stay on. More importantly, they remind me. Every time I look at them I see another little boy, long before his feet outgrew mine and his voice dropped, and I remember what he felt like and how hard he tried to kick off those booties. Then I see the next boy, and the three girls that followed, each one smiling and sleeping and kicking. The one baby becomes the many beautiful babies that have graced our life. What a gift, the simple things that remind.
And just like that, these booties are my new favorite New Baby Gift to give.
This black pair went westward last month.They may not be soft yellow, but they certainly look good with soft yellow, don't you think? After all, even on a baby (and especially on such a manly little man) black is, well, the perennial black.