50 'Easy' Steps to Putting a Shirt on a Floppy-Headed Newborn

Ah, a baby's floppy-headed stage. There's nothing more nerve-wracking than putting a shirt on a baby with an elastic neck and soft spots on his head. It's like aiming for a moving target of Jell-O ... on two hours of sleep. Of course your reflexes are off.

You move left ... he flops right. Go right ... and he does a surprise maneuver. His head falls forward and he spits up all over you and that cute little shirt you are trying to get over his head. Game over. That little bugger.

Here are the 50 steps ... yes, 50! ... moms go through to put a shirt on a newborn baby. It's really comical when you break it down.


1. Spot absolutely adorable, I've gotta have it, oh-so-cute shirt for your little man in the overpriced baby boutique. 

2. Ignore fact that the nursery is already full of so many onesies from your shower that no one baby could possible wear them all and buy it anyway.

3. Refuse the receipt. Oh no, no way you're returning this one, baby.

4. Giggle at your stealthiness. You don't need a paper trail that you just bought your baby a $50 shirt he will grow out of in 2.2 seconds. Duh.


6. Tell that side of your brain to shut up. Did you say it out loud? Oops.

7. Remember your baby has no idea his mommy has a potty mouth yet. He's only a baby. No worries, right?

8. Scream hell yeah! because he has no clue what that means anyway.

9. Wonder if your internal dialogue is normal. You decide it is. I mean, when was the last time I slept? 

10. Decide your husband is getting up with the baby tonight. You have emerging personalities. Clearly, you need rest.

11. Put the shirt in a Target bag for good measure. Scurry into your house with your naughty little purchase, undetected. Yeah, you're undercover mother. Sounds like a superhero name, doesn't it?

12. It's about time I get an appropriate alter-ego for all I do on any given day. Undercover Mother to the rescue!

13. Take the shirt out of the hoity-toity tissue paper. Marvel at its fabulousness.

14. Realize there are a lot of buttons.

15. Seriously, seven buttons?

16. Curse the stupid tailor who put buttons on a shirt for babies. Doesn't he know they're a choking hazard?

17. Start to panic.

18. How can I put a shirt on my baby that could kill him? What kind of mother am I?

19. Consider therapy. Your dueling personalities are not playing well in your internal sandbox.

20. Look at your baby's angelic little face. Hold the shirt up next to his bobble head and decide you're going to go for it. You will closely monitor him for choking.

21. OMG. How fragile is this kid?

22. I wish he would stop bobbing and weaving. Or am I making him do that?

23. Oh! If I wiggle a little to the left ... there! It's over one ear!

24. No, it's not. Dammit.

25. Let's try again.

26. Maybe hubby can hold his head while I slide on the shirt.

27. I mean, he has absolutely no fashion sense. He won't know it was $50.

28. Honey! I need some help in here!

29. That walk of shame feeling you had in college (more than once, but who's counting?) washes over you in a wave of humiliation. What would a single mom do in this situation? It's a shirt. And a baby. Your baby. You've got this.

30. An inspirational soundtrack starts playing in your head. "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky.

31. It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight. Rising up to the challenge of our rivals.


33. You realize you are full-out talking to yourself. Singing, too. Your husband isn't home. Are you even married?

34. This freaking shirt has you frazzled. You're questioning who you are as a wife (hope so) and mom (that's confirmed ... baby's right in front of you). Oh, wait, baby is hysterical!

35. Realize your baby is crying because you've been trying to force the button catastrophe shirt over his jelly donut head for 20 minutes. You were rocking out to "Eye of the Tiger." He wasn't. He can't hear "Eye of the Tiger."

36. You counted wrong. There are actually 11 buttons ... there are four little ones on the underside of the sleeves, for extra chokability. That tailor is completely inept. Frankly, he's an a--hole. So is that saleswoman who talked you into buying the darn shirt.

37. Focus.

38. You cup your baby's chin with one hand. YES! He's steady.

39. With your other hand, you try to stretch the shirt out wide enough to get over his head.

40. You quickly realize you're just not that talented.

41. Maybe you need to talk to someone? Your emerging voices are pretty harsh. Therapy sounds dreamy. Dumping your problems on a stranger on a weekly basis. Take that, doc. And that. And that and that and that

42. You flip baby over and lay him down. I've got this under control. I don't need a shrink.

44. This is it! His head is supported by the (disgustingly dirty) floor.

45. You pull the shirt over your baby's head ... finally. It's going ... it's going ... OMG ... this feels great! ... 

46. Oh no! What's wrong, baby?!

47. The price tag is scratching your face! I am the worst mom ever. Maiming my child with the price tag on a shirt decorated with 11 choking hazards.

48. Decide to stick with zip-up onesies. Screw the shirt and its death wish.

49. Call the boutique to beg the owner to accept a return without a receipt. Of course it's store credit only ... and only with a receipt.

50. Make a second call to book that therapy session. It's time.

Have you ever done #14?


Image via © Roberto Westbrook/Corbis

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