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Posts Tagged ‘clothes’

Even for a toddler, the Rocket is pretty small. Of course, this was of much consternation for me when she was younger and all of her problems felt like my fault even when no one explicitly said so (because how good are parents at feeling guilty, amirite?) and that I didn’t feed her enough or maybe I should stop stacking books on her head. At last check, she was in or below the bottom 3% of the population in regards to general length/weight/giganticity of head. But then I had the bright idea of seeing where I was on a graph, and after a lazy Google, it turns out that I am in the bottom 3% of height as well. Teach comes in at a nice round 50%, the Australian male average for height, but let’s face it, odds are not in the Rocket’s favour that she will be 6 foot 7. Though then at least someone could change the light bulbs in the bedroom without a chair.

Along with the maternal miniatureness she inherited was the bane of my existence: tiny feet. At 31, my feet are a size 5 and still aren’t big enough to fit into shoes at most shoe shops or even Target/Kmart unless I buy from the kid’s department. (Which I do. And which is cheaper, by the way.) It’s why I was never the person to squeal about shopping for footwear. It’s too depressing. So with the Rocket the size of your average ten month old at sixteen months, she can walk like a champ but it is goddamn impossible to find shoes for her. I’d always sighed over ads and people’s angst about shoes for kids. Who cares? I would think. Just buy sneakers! (You will understand here why I have never been a style icon.) Well, now that I’m a parent, I get it. Shoe shopping is a fucking pain in the arse, and apparently I’ll have to do it for her MORE THAN ONCE.

It was so hard to find shoes for her that met my fairly basic requirements that I am going to explain where I found them here, lest some other small-footed babyparent need this probably very obvious information.

My needs were:

1. Hard sole for running around in grass/damp.

2. Size 2.

And that was it. But lord, you’d think I was a diva with nineteen requirements for how I want water in my trailer with the amount of difficulty I had with it. But I tried. Where? LET ME TELL YOU MY TROUBLES, INTERNET.

1. Clarks. Upon the recommendation of some friends, this was the place to go for appropriate, long-wearing shoes. And they had very tough-looking shoes, albeit not pretty but who really cares? Well, sadly, they didn’t have them in a size 2, which wouldn’t have mattered anyway as they were SEVENTY FIVE FRICKING DOLLARS, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? FOR A SHOE THE SIZE OF MY HAND? A shoe made of chocolate would last about the same amount of time as it takes a kid to grow into a new size, and would cost like 10% of that AND I could eat them. I couldn’t even stifle a laugh, I just barked hysterically about it while pointing it out to Teach. Then we ran away.

2. Other proper kids shoes stores. (i.e. Betts, etc.) Still nothing with a hard sole under a size 4. Most of the shoes were still $60. Let’s be honest, there is no way I’m paying more for shoes for the Rocket than I’d pay for my own shoes. $60 is ridiculous, and Teach works full-time and I work part-time, so if it’s even out of our range it’s completely frightening for a significant part of the population.

3. Target/Kmart/Big W. All of these are useless for us 3%ers, as we are now known. (We, currently, being me and the Rocket, and she can’t talk yet or even type, so let’s face it, it’s just me.) Kmart starts at a 3, so comes out a clear winner, if not actually helpful at this time. I did buy her a pair of size 3 boots, which hang on to her calves like my size 6 boots do, but I think they restrict her ankles too much so I am not their biggest fan. Up until yesterday, they were The Best I Could Do, so she wore them anyway. (Target also start at a size 3, and I bought some fire engine ones for her in excitement, but she fell out of them after three steps, which isn’t entirely useful.)

4. Pumpkin Patch. Nope. Everything is cute, but hard soles start at a 4.

5. Zara. Unexpectedly, their shoes are super-cute, reasonably priced in comparison to Clarks, and start at what I estimate as a 3. (A European 18.) I hadn’t been able to get back with the Rocket in tow to try them on, but I’d like to – most were under $40, which is still a bit steep, but once you’re sick of looking it becomes quite reasonable, actually.

6. Your Friendly Asian Kids Shop. Let’s face it, a place I am likely to find stylish shoes is in Asian clothes/footwear shops, so it stands to reason that I could maybe find some in a kidswear store. My local favourite is one called HoneyBaby, which has the bonus of a Thomas the Tank Engine table for the Rocket to get into fistfights over. And lo, I found a hard-soled shoe that FITS, much to my delight, and to my HAPPIER DELIGHT, they are shoes that SQUEAK, so I can hear her wherever she is, AND they have SPIDER-MAN on them. Her face when she first put them on was one of the most lovely things I’ve seen, so, no regrets, but let’s face it, the flaws are a) Marvel are probably not getting paid for the use of the image on these five-dollar knockoffs, but mostly b) they are open-toed sandals. Great for summer (though please let her have grown out of them by then) but not so great in winter, when the grass is perpetually damp. But SO CLOSE. She wore these to a beachside playground during the school holidays and other kids went nuts for them.

7. Best and Less. SUCCESS. Oh my god, my face when I saw they had entire racks of hard-soled shoes that started at a 2 and soft-soled ones up to, I think, a 5. (Because surely the opposite problem happens too – bigger or older kids that can’t walk, which is totally normal.) And they had them in different colours and styles and well it was amazing. The Rocket, bless her very tiny cotton socks, loves trying on shoes (it is insufferable to mention it though because people will be all “LOL LADIES AMIRITE” no sir, no you are not) and was very tolerant of me putting all of them on her. And we found the perfect-fitting pair which were cute and they were, happy of happies, twelve dollars. And so I went to buy them, and by the time we got to the cash register the Rocket had taken her old shoes off and was offering them to me in exchange for her new ones, so, you know, a good sign. Sadly, they didn’t have any full sneakers in the “girl” rack – they were all mary janes, though at least with decent cover – but the “boy” side had heaps.

They are black, with many different colours of flower, so I can pretend they suit everything! But sadly, when you have a kid, you realise you must throw all accessory-matching out the window, and just be happy if every item doesn’t have chew marks on it. Though I’m hardly one to talk, as I buy one pair of Vans per year and wear them every day.

So if this problem pertains to you, go straight to Best and Less. Yes, it smells like over-laundered granny knickers, but it works. DO IT.

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As soon as you get too pregnant to fit into your normal clothes, you are doomed to a solid six months to two years of Difficulty Getting Dressed. And if, like me, dressing like a normal person was a struggle in the first place, that basically sucks. Pre-baby I didn’t wear any dresses apart from my school uniform until I was about twenty-four, thinking I looked stupid in them, until I went travelling to Japan in summer and all I had was jeans and sneakers and we walked everywhere and I realised: self, you are ridiculous. After that, I wore dresses in summer, and the rest of the year I existed purely in jeans, slip-on sneakers (because laces require time), and tank tops, t-shirts, or jumpers. Or all of the above. Then I got pregnant and UGH, everything was ruined. But here’s my brief advice for a basic wardrobe when you’re having a baby, if you are me. Stylish people may want to look elsewhere.

First, obviously, I needed jeans. I tried on many a pair but ultimately my favourites were from Jeanswest–I got two pairs, one in the size that fit when I was three months pregnant and one another size up (they were two for $100 at the time), which meant they lasted until I had the Rocket and then as I slowly downsized again. It took me six months after she was born until I fit back into my normal jeans. These were almost all I wore. They come in a variety of cuts and shades (more now than they did last year when I bought mine, so hooray!) I went for the dark blue because I look washed out in lighter blue and black is useless when you have a cat, unless you want to look like your pants are made of fur.

Then I needed some frocks. I picked up a few successful ones from the excellent ASOS, who ship free to Australia (they actually have an Australian warehouse now, too.) Above is the exact favourite black dress that I wore almost every day, just accessorising with brooches or necklaces or all those other things I no longer wear due to wanting my kid to retain her eyeballs. It’s less clingy in person (unless it’s a slightly different version this season.) These ones also look cute.

I also picked up a bajillion tank tops in a variety of colours from Giordano. (The website lists two colours, but instore they have them in all of the shades.) These fit perfectly until I was about eight months pregnant and imploded into a whale, and could barely fit in the car. (Target also have some nifty maternity tanks and t-shirts that then turn into nursing tops. They were great as tanks/t-shirts right up until birth, but I really cannot deal with the nursing angle. They just do not stay open around the boob. Frustrating. Perhaps I need double-sided tape.)

More excellent finds turned up at Mothercare, too–keep an eye out for their specials because the full-priced stuff, while ace, can be a bit eye-wateringly expensive for something you only wear for a few months. I had a voucher so I went a bit nuts–two frocks, two skirts, and bathers. Instore and online can have different stuff so check both if you can! I probably would have worn the above a whole bunch. Bathers were a great idea too, because swimming felt AMAZING. Mothercare had and has a tres cute selection.

I can’t offer advice on the bra front because I don’t think I ever got it quite right, what with them changing shape every time I lost eye contact with them, but Mothercare also has a big range, people who can measure you, and these cool two-packs that aren’t too expensive. Underwire doesn’t cut it when you’re pregnant, which is a bit sad for those people *cough* who wear push-up bras all the time, and who thus lose a cup size rather than gain one when I they have to start wearing normal bras.

Lastly, seriously, buy thongs. When you suddenly and alarmingly expand all over towards the end, you will be glad I said this.

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