The Kitten has a particular sleeper—you know, those one-piece pajamas with little footies? Despite being pink, this sleeper is a favorite of mine. The pink is mild, and the fabric is thick and soft, with just the right amount of stretch and no princess frills. We’ve also discovered it resists poop stains, so double-plus good. Its legs are held closed with the silver snaps that are ubiquitous on baby clothes, but from the midsection, up, the manufacturer sewed on buttons. Itty bitty little pink buttons. They’re adorable, but I’m surprised to see them there. Aren’t buttons on baby clothes criminal?
More disconcerting than the buttons, though, is my reaction upon seeing them: Astonishment, curiosity, and finally, nonchalance. (Also annoyance, because they’re really stinkin’ small. Murder on the fingertips.) My line of thinking went like this: Gap is the manufacturer, and surely Gap covered its ass, liability-wise, right? Surely Gap ran the data models, assessed the risk, yada, yada, yada? And even if those data models showed that the profit gained from selling sleepers decorated with choking hazards dwarfed the risk of lawsuits from parents of asphyxiated children, surely their lawyers advised them that the social hit from one dead baby would devastate their bottom line. Surely Gap sold that sleeper safe in the knowledge that the buttons can’t hurt my baby. The buttons are either hermetically attached or dissolve in saliva, right?
I know, quit calling me Shirley.
My point—and I think I have one—is this: My parental instinct told me not to put a sleeper with buttons on my baby, but my assumptions, my faith in American consumer protections overrode those instincts. My complacency shocks me. Not enough to discard the sleeper, of course—it’s so cute—but… wow. It’s kind of I, Robot, you know? The Three Laws of Robotics lead to only one logical conclusion: Robots should “keep” their human masters as pets. So, too, our caveat venditor mentality leads, logically, to obedience on a scale that…
If I appear to be rambling, it’s probably because I’m on maternity leave and I nonetheless lost my job.* I’m not sure of the Latin phrase for that one, but it’s undoubtedly a doozy.
GOD I hate job-hunting. It’s all about networking and I suck at networking. I hate networking. Which came first: the sucking or the hating? Who cares; I need a job. Where’s the job-application process for introverts? Why spend so much HR-energy finding extroverts? They’re just going to spend their work hours networking. Introverts will get the work done. Just give us the damn jobs.
I know, I know… stop whining and start networking. The core tenet of my maternity leave is now this: Sleep Network when the baby sleeps.
*Sorry about the deus ex machina, but I didn’t know how to wrap up the monologue. (Or was that a soliloquy?) Plus, I lost my job, so cheap dramatic turns should be tolerated.
Also, thank you, in advance, to all of you who want to refer me to legal channels. Dear Husband is double-checking my employer’s approach to this maternity-leave lay-off, but it does seem to be on the up-and-up. I’ll still get my full leave, plus 30 days upon my return-to-work date to look for another position. It’s the same deal everyone else gets in the lay-off, only my being on leave buys me some time.