My kids are staying home with me today and we’re all feeling poorly. Achy joints, low-grade fever, general ickyness. But since it’s one of my eBay listing days, I’m still here at the computer instead of sleeping like the children. Wheeee!
And you know what I’ve noticed? This is no big revelation, of course, but kids everywhere trash their clothes. I’m standing at my work table, ripping threads out of a young girl’s kimono that somebody decided to wash without taking it apart first (big no-no with kimono), and thinking back on all the times I’ve had requests for children’s kimono at shows and events. Most often the ones I do have are stained, torn, or in pretty bad condition one way or another. This particular one would have been fine, but washing a silk blend fabric when it’s sewn to a cotton lining and has some bright red synthetic parts in the lining too… well, that’s not very smart. Everything either shrank or didn’t, and no amount of ironing was going to fix it. Now my seam ripper and pliers are back in action, teasing out the tight little stitches that also shrank and don’t want to let go.
Some of the girls’ kimono that I get have wonderful patterns on them, flying cranes among flowers and bamboo, or delicate origami cranes and plum blossoms, that sort of thing. I would love to dress little girls in these kimono and see their parents’ faces as they gaze upon their little princesses, but this rarely happens because so often the kimono are pretty far gone. Stored improperly and attacked by bugs, left unwashed for 20 years, or just plain worn too many times, these kimono have definitely seen better days. And what days they probably were! Considering that children in modern Japan rarely wear kimono except for very specific occasions (such as Shichi-Go-San), they probably got smeared with sticky candy-covered fingers, runny noses, and dirt from running around in circles as happy children sometimes do. After that, perhaps they were used for dress-up games, or even put on the family cat. Who knows?
Some things will never change, but I guess I find that in this case, the idea of children as walking, talking clothing destroyers isn’t really that bad. It certainly helps when you hear a sleepy “I love you mommy” from the next room.