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Take My Credit Card. Please.

There’s nothing more fun than buying clothes for a baby girl.

Or, if we’re being honest, more unnecessary.  Unnecessary, because every grandparent, uncle, and co-worker is buying your daughter cute little outfits.  No one can resist it!  I happily change her three times a day, pretending she’s got something on her clothes, because she looks so cute in everything.

I love to shop – used to be a personal shopper - and seasonal sales thrill me to my very core.  They combine two of my favorite pastimes – shopping, and saving money.  I get a big thrill out of what I imagine is my triumphant victory over retail companies when I spot something cute and stalk it for a few weeks, waiting for that moment that only lasts maybe 24 hours when the item’s cheap enough to justify buying but not so cheap that your size is completely sold out in minutes.  You’ve all done it.  And every year when it’s time to change over my seasonal wardrobe, I hit the outlet malls and buy what I need for next season; for example, if it’s late spring, I pick up a sweater or two to replace the ones that are so pilly they look as if they’ve got decorative balls hanging off them.  If it’s early winter, I buy up some new basic white tees to take over for the hopelessly stained ones in my drawers.  I pack up the new items with my off-season clothing, and when I unpack them six months later, voila!  Instant new clothes without the pricetag!

This doesn’t just work on clothing, either; let’s talk about the after-Christmas sales for a second.  December 26, 8 a.m. eastern standard time found me standing on 6th Avenue, face anxiously pressed up against the display window of the Container Store, willing time to speed up so I might run in and buy.  Lest you think I was alone, if you had looked to my left and you’d have seen my girlfriend Abby’s breath fogging up the glass next to me.  Our babes were at home with our nervous husbands – not nervous about watching the babies; they’re pros at that.  Nervous about the amount of damage we’d do to 1) to our bank accounts, and 2) to any poor person who got between us and the Christmas Clearance section.

You see, December 26 is when I do all my shopping for homemade gift-giving for next year.  I buy all my plastic cookie tubs and decorative gift bags and cloth ribbon and chex mix jars, and store them in my basement for a year.  I save a ton of money, and have a great time doing it.  And let’s not forget the wrapping paper – once you’ve used the lovely, thick paper they sell, you’ll never go back.  And if you pay full price for it, you can’t afford to buy anything to wrap with it!   So again I stock up and store the rolls, ready to serve in 11 months.

Have I mentioned I love the Container Store?

But back to the baby clothes thing – I’ve been doing a bit of clearance-rack browsing the past few days for Madeleine.  She’s between sizes right now: the 0-3s fit everywhere but length, so she’s in a mish-mash of sizes every day when she gets dressed.  There are a few Carter outfits she has that I love her in so much I can’t bear to give them up, so I keep looking in stores to try to find them in the next size up, even though I bought them six months ago.  And if that’s not bad enough, I have grandparents in three states searching their stores for the same outfit.  “Do the overalls have ruffles on the bottom?”  “No!”  “Is it a onesie or a sleeper?”  “Sleeper!”  It’s a refined operation.

I find myself trolling the sales rack of bigger sizes, trying to do what I do for myself and buy for next year.  I made the mistake of doing that before Maddie was born; I assumed the sizes were accurate and she’d follow the mold perfectly, so I bought winter things in 6 month sizes and so forth.  Of course, I know now how foolish that was, but I’m still frustrated that it robs me of that fun of clearance shopping for the year ahead.  So I look for that deep-markdown rack of onesies – only $2! – just to satisfy my urge.

And you want to know the worst thing?  I can’t believe I’m confessing this.  Thanks to a very generous fellow mommy, we’ve got six bins of baby girl clothing in our basement, size 0-3T, given to us to use in good health.  So aside from a few odds and ends, I don’t really need anything for the next three years.  But I can’t help myself.  Every time I buy something for her, I imagine her smiling at me in it.  I’m thinking of her the whole time I’m shopping, and I love that.  I know her long-distance grandparents purchase a little sleeper, imagine her dreaming in it, and feel a little bit closer to her everyday life, feel as if they’re vicariously holding her by wrapping her up for the night.  I totally understand that; I’m the one without the excuse, not them.

So seriously.  Take my credit card.  My husband will thank you.


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