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Stripes Are My Kryptonite

23w5d - These are the glory days of baby shopping. With the holidays shortly behind us—so shortly, in fact, that I currently have powdered sugar on my cords from the panetonne I’ve been picking on since New Year’s Day—I am submerged deep in the winter online clothes sales. Daily, I check the usual suspects (Zulily, Totsy, TheMiniSocial), trying to wade through the pastel newborn duds for what seems to be the impossible: Primary-colored infant apparel on the cheap.

I have Hanna Andersson taste on a Target budget. Stripes are my kryptonite: Big and blocky like Hanna’s, skinny and stark like everything Polarn O. Pyret designs—I love them equally. (Spots, too. Any bold, graphic print, really. Ours will be the kid blending into the wallpaper for his or her entire childhood.)

Someone turned me on this week to the Old Navy $4 sale, and, lo and behold, stripes and dots abound … on onesies! Rompers! Footied pajamas! And what—free shipping over $50? Don’t mind if I do, for the second time today.

I find it curious, our predilection for putting babies in washed-out colors dotted with nascent animals. (I said “curious” and not “tacky.” I DID NOT SAY TACKY.) But I suppose so much of dressing wee people is an arbitrary exercise in foisting our own tastes on our offspring: I don’t wear lavender or butterfly motifs or appliquéd tulips on my own sweaters, so I have trouble envisioning it on this baby, should she turn out to be of the lady persuasion. Likewise, I can envision the Mister, who lives in dark denim and woodsy plaid button-downs, looking something odd carrying a little sir decked in a hooded fleece lion jumper. (With tail. Not intended for Halloween. For serious.)

I know, I know, for someone who feels the decrepit hand of bad luck squeezing her shoulder every time she passes a baby aisle—Be ye not so sure that you get to wander here yet, ill-fated breeder!—I’ve a lot of opinions on what this forthcoming child should be dressed in. As if it matters. As if anything at all matters besides this amazing being arriving to us with working limbs and organs, breathing and screaming.

But what if it was screaming while wearing this hat? I mean, really.

And, of course, perhaps the moment I meet this gendered child my own vision will be clouded with mauves or periwinkles, and I’ll feel tugged toward duckie something or others. I’ve never made it that far to the other side, you see. 

What I definitely could use some advice on is how much shopping-ahead one can feasibly do for the coming seasons. I keep calculating Tersh’s age in the following months, thinking about how cheap snow pants are now … and how pricey they’ll be next winter, when everyone is snow pants shopping … and even though these are maybe a little garish in their (s)lime green pattern, they’re only $7…

Is this just asking for a drawer full of still-tagged clothes that I overlook next winter in favor something that suits our actual baby?