A local friend once lamented that what
Then I realised; my friend has two girls. And little girls actually care about what they wear. The Littleboys, like most men, are indifferent to fashion. They might occasionally have a yen for a particular colour, but mainly, clothes for them are about keeping warm and spilling food on. And putting them on in the morning is often the last thing they want to do; much more exciting to carry on building a Lego castle, watching Lazytown or throwing Shreddies around the kitchen. They have to be bribed and cajoled into putting on their clothing (the threat of ‘well, if you don’t want to get dressed, we won’t be able to go to the park’ usually does the trick.) Only this morning, Littleboy 1 ran into the kitchen stark naked at 9am and confronted the Ocado man with a cry of 'What are you doing, Man?
But then I discovered the scary power of branding. And guess what? If it’s a Bob the Builder jacket, or a Mr Men shirt, whaddya know? They want to wear it.
I was initially loathed, however, to go too far down this route. Although I’m not one of those mothers who dresses up little boys in old-fashioned brogues and stripy shirts like mini country squires (although I do have a weakness for stripy pyjamas from The Little White Company), I don’t want to see them kitted out in branded gear all the time.
And then the Doctor’s cousin, H, got a new job. When we first heard where, we couldn’t actually believe it. He is a product designer, and has worked at numerous cosmetics-type places over the years including The Body Shop and Revlon. But now…well, he managed to wangle himself a job at the BBC working on In the
It sounds either like a dream job or the job from hell, (depending on how much Iggle Piggle you can take). For ‘research’, he walks around toy shops or watches episodes of ITNG. He got to meet the famed creator of ITNG and Teletubbies, Andrew Davenport. I imagine there are a few editorial meetings he has to attend regarding plot and character development. But how difficult can this be, considering that 95% of the show is the same every day? I mean it’s not going to be, OK this is ‘the one where Makka Pakka sleeps with Upsy Daisy because she and Iggle Piggle were on a break’, is it? Or ‘let’s have the Pinky Ponk crash, leaving the characters on a desert island inhabited by polar bears?’
In fact, Cousin H takes it all very seriously. The last time we met, he accosted me with a copy of Charlie and Lola magazine and started quizzing me about the Littleboys’ favourite TV programmes. (This seemed particularly surreal coming from a 35 year old single guy-about-town who has no kids and previously used to devote himself to Arsenal matches.)
But best of all, he gets access to all the gear. Last time he came to supper, he turned up with a great armful of Makka Pakka sweatshirts and Iggle Piggle tops. The Littleboys, who are big fans of ITNG, were delighted.
So getting them dressed when they are not in the mood for it is no longer a chore. If I ask them what they want to wear, they think for a minute and then declare ‘Pakka!’. Not only that, but they attract attention from other kids in the playground, who take delight in pointing out the characters. Instant popularity.
So I might just have to give in to the power of branding….and meanwhile Cousin H will be getting plenty more supper invitations.