Julie Lyles Carr: Iconic Jammies

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Iconic Jammies

I've made a purchase for the twins, a very important purchase. Pajamas.

"Pajamas?", you ask. "Really? That's an important purchase?"

Oh, yes, Dear Reader. In the box for each child where I keep their first little Bible and their gorgeous little Feltman Brother's outfit, there is also a faded, stained, seam-stretched little item, one that contains a wealth of memory. And that would be the favorite set of jammies from their toddlerhoods.

1 of 8 had an Esmerelda gown, 2 of 8 had a baby doll gown, 3 of 8 a set of Star Wars, 4 of 8 a pink t-shirt, 5 of 8 a set of Spider Man jammies (with the netting under the arms to look like webs, but which ultimately became tattered and made him look like he had dredlocks of underarm hair), 6 of 8 has been sporting a Princess gown. Pajamas are the first fashion statement of their own choosing. Pajamas become beloved and comforting like a blankie. They celebrate fashion individualism. Around our place, jammies constitute a huge part of the wardrobe--they are school uniforms, early morning trampoline exercise clothing and all-around painting smocks. Coordinated outfits may come and go, but jammies are there for the long haul. Long after pants and tops have been deemed too small, the set of jammies from over two seasons ago is still acceptable in all its wrist-baring, ankle-baring glory. And as the pajama relationship evolves with each child, something remarkable happens; more and more photos show up in the family archives with each child wearing that favorite set of jammies again and again and again. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, vacations, favorite jammies travel and are phototgraphed. Those favorite jammies somehow become that child's brand, the trademark logo for that child and that season of life. Those jammies become iconic. And so when the favorite jammies are finally retired, they go to a well-earned spot in the memory box, elastic sprung, hems ripped, iron-on images flaking. And they become precious.

And so, we now are experimenting with the pajama line-up for the twins. It's a little hard to tell yet which ones will be 'the ones'. 7 of 8 is favoring a pink gown with ballet slippers, while 8 of 8 seems to be leaning strongly toward a green salamander set. I'm already fretting that some fruit stains don't seem to be coming out of 7 of 8's gown. I'm wondering how long the salamander image of 8 of 8's jammies will actually look like a salamander as opposed to a Rorschach blot. They will become stained and stretched, outgrown and faded. And, in time, iconic and precious.
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