I was born near the end of 1942. In my earliest baby pictures I am
wearing dresses and "soakers." When I got married, my mother gave me
one of my old baby dresses. It had been lovingly hand made and was
lightweight, pink, had scallops around the short sleeves and hemline,
and hand embroidery around the yoke.
As far as the color is concerned, I have no reason to believe my
mother wante a girl when when she had me. My father was overseas
in World War II, and since I was his first child, both my parents
wanted a son to carry on the family name. The current color
convention of blue for boys and pink for girls, which seems like a
law of nature to today's parents, had simply not yet settled down
in the early 1940's.
I believe that the reason for the dresses was the "soakers," which
I wore in lieu of rubber pants. Since the only people who could say
for sure are now dead, I cannot be certain, but I believe my parents
avoided rubber pants because they felt they were "unhealthy" and that
the diaper region needed to be able to "breathe" in order to reduce
the risk of diaper rash.
Soakers were absorbent (frequently woolen) knit leggings that went
over a baby's diapers to absorb the moisture generated when the baby
wet. Since my dresses were rather short, they stayed out of the way
and did not get wet as often as my diapers or soakers, and did not
need to be changed nearly as often.
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