My son doesn’t like to wear his socks.
I’m sure that’s not an abnormal comment for a parent of a 14-month-old, but it has been a major factor in my wife’s and my efforts to keep him clothed since he was born.
As first-time parents, we always had him in socks during the first few weeks after we’d brought him home. We also never left the house without putting him in a hat and mittens. The mittens were really because we didn’t want him to scratch himself with his fingernails, but the hat and socks were to make sure he stayed warm.
Then, as it does in Texas, the weather started getting hotter and we worried about him getting too hot in all that gear. So soon the hats went away, but we stuck with the socks for quite a while.
So many people had given us socks and they were all so small and cute that we loved putting them on him. But after a while, it was clear he didn’t need to be wearing socks. So throughout last summer, he rarely wore anything on his feet. In fact, someone gave us an adorable tiny pair of Converse sneakers for the boy, but I think he only wore them once or twice before he outgrew them.
Being barefoot all the time really worked out because he hadn’t learned to even crawl yet, so it’s not like his feet were getting dirty.
Once the weather got cooler and he was again in need of socks, we discovered some of the tiny newborn socks were a little too small for him, but we still had a bunch of pairs that were big enough to fit him. But by the time he started pulling himself up to his feet and walking around while holding onto things, we knew we needed some new socks.
So one day, I went to the store and bought a six-pack of Hanes socks. They had tiny little rubber lettering on the bottom of the foot that said they were for 6 months to 12 months, so I assumed that would give him some grip when he walked around on hard surfaces.
That didn’t really prove to be the case, but the real issue with those socks was my son had learned he could just reach down and pull them off himself. That led to him taking them off and discarding them in the car, outside his crib and throughout the living room. Plus as difficult as it is to keep adult-sized socks together after being washed, these tiny little things seemed to disappear after a couple washes.
I then went back to the store and bought him some longer socks with fancy little designs that I thought would be harder for him to take off, but they also ultimately proved difficult to keep together.
For my third trip to the stores specifically to buy socks, I bought another set of the Hanes socks that I bought the first time as I figured that would give us extra chances to come up with a match after washing. I also grabbed a cheap bag of 12 pairs of white and gray socks that all matched each other.
The plain white and gray socks proved to be the best purchase I made as he found them much more comfortable, so he didn’t try to pull them off and since they all looked the same, we didn’t have as many problems finding a matching pair.
That’s when I learned to bypass the cute socks for the functionality of being able to find a matching pair.
William C. Wadsack is the managing editor of the Herald Democrat and a first-time father. He never realized just how expensive children could be until the birth of his son. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WCWadsackHD.