Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby Clothing Chaos

When Quinn was born, I got into the habit of organizing the clothing that was one size up long before he needed it.  I always found that I needed it out of the blue one morning; it seemed everything fit nicely as I put him to bed the night before and nothing fit come sunrise.  It was a good habit to get into, especially with the Mega-baby that he turned out to be.  He was wearing 12-18 month sizes by the time he was 6 months old (you can imagine our concerns with my brother and his Marfan syndrome).  It's a totally different story with my two little sparrows this time around.  Don't get me wrong, they are doing fabulously.  However, they are in stark contrast to the first one; at four months, they are still in the middle of the 0-3 month sizes. Since I was a flu-ridden mess and couldn't be around the babies much this weekend, I took some time to sort out the 3-6 month clothes in their closets and get things organized for the next healthy day that I wash them all up (and trust me, you need to be organized with twins).  Any parent will tell you that kids clothes are also crazy expensive, so you want to make sure that they get the most wear and the most money out of them.  As I was puzzling through everything, I suddenly stopped for a moment.  What the hell was I doing?  Why did this seem so difficult? I looked around at the different neatly folded piles that I was creating while obsessing over brands and whatnot and I came to terms with a fact that is true about most of the fashion industry.
Clothing sizes, specifically for babies under 2, are complete horsesh☠t.

I'm serious about this.  What is up with the variance?  I can understand it somewhat with adult sizes, that this brand of jeans is slightly more snug than the others, but Holy Hannah in a Rowboat, it's night and day with the baby sizing.  Other than "NB" or newborn which is generally self-explanatory (and roughly guess-timated at 7ish lbs), the rest is confusing as all get out.  To begin with, if you are an adult size 7 (and who isn't these days, ha ha), you wear a size seven.  If you are a baby and three months old, you wear 6 months.   Why?  The sizing works in "up to"-s.  The babies are wearing "up to" three months and now I'm getting the "up to" six months ready.  At that point, it will be "up to" 9 and 12 months.  Why is that?  By the time they clear the 24 month mark it is off to toddler land and size 2, which, say it with me, you wear if you are a size 2.  What is with the switchover?  Why then?  WTF?

Those of us that have had preemies also know how hard it is to dress them.  As far as I can tell, there are really two premature sizes:  "up to" 5 lbs and "up to" 7 lbs.  My little babies were big by preemie standards:  4 lbs 13 oz and 4 lbs 1oz.  If they were less, we would have had to put them in doll clothes.  This is an option that many parents have to resort to (and for one panicked hour, I thought I might have to);  thankfully I found prem sizing at Sears, Gymboree, Babies R Us and Zellers.

Then there is the differences between the brands.  There is at least a two inch difference in the jammies between the smallest brand and the largest in the same freaking size.  Two inches.  That's a lot when you are only knee high to a grasshopper to begin with.  So, as it did the first time around with Quinn, every growth spurt is greeted with a frantic comparison of length and width.  Every time I do this and every time I seem to forget.  Maybe this time it's because I have twice the clothing to go through, but I think I've figured out this sizing thing...

Most common brands by size (grouped in ascending order)


Not So Wee

Friggin' Huge 

(This is by no means a total guarantee, but rather a guideline as there is always that ONE outfit!)

I know there are a lot of hot designer brands out there that I have neglected, but I don't shop there and really do not hang with many people that do.  Seriously... if you want to spend $75 on a T-shirt and a pair of shorts for a baby, I really don't think I want to know you.  I can't afford that crap and quite frankly, it's a little on the small side.  Except for Tommy Hilfiger... that sh☠t is huge.  I'd put it around the Please Mum area.

Personally, I don't care how baggy the clothing is on them as long as it is not too short.  My classifications are purely based on length and if it looks too tight, I just toss it in one of the bins I have for outgoing baby clothes.  A few of my Mommy pals have pointed out that the sizing would also depend on your baby, are they long and thin or short and round.  Carters seems to be a better fit for our long and slender babies for example, where some of the other brands might be better for rounder babies.  So you now have a full three dimensions to obsess over.  F☠ck!

While I'm here, I might as well spout off about my favourite brands as well.  Let's face it, I clean up an awful lot of poop and spit up in a day, so I am looking for wash and wear-ablilty.  So far, in the jammies department it is Joe Fresh, babyboots, Carters, Gagou Tagou, Pekkle, Love 'N Cuddles and George.  My clothing votes fall around the same, although I have had some very cute, very washable things from Gymboree and I cannot overlook my longtime love of  Please Mum.  A lot of the designer-snob people turn up their noses, but I love this brand.  Not only is it Canadian, but damn cute.  Quinn has worn a ton of Please Mum over the years and will do so until the day he decides he's too big for it.  :(  Hopefully, that will be a long time from now; until then, I can continue to dress my little rock star there.

I've mentioned this theme before, the gender bias against little boys when it comes to clothing and bedding and the like. Since my original post 2 years ago, I must say that it has improved slightly.  Very slightly. I am seeing a little more in the neutral category (a few more colours than just yellow and mint green) which has been great with my twins as whoever needs the outfit/jammies can wear it.  Baby bedding designs have also improved, assuming you live anywhere else but Canada where you are limited to basically Sears, Walmart or Babies R Us (all of which have less than half of the selection here that they have south of the border.  WTF?).  As you can see by the linen and the dresser I painted to match, I was able to pick a neutral pattern that would compliment both of my babies.

Finished Dresser
My Art Therapy

...and I had to fight for it.  Sigh.  I guess Rome was not built in a day, but I am glad to see some movement in boy's clothes.  Even unpacking them yesterday, I was amazed at how blue Wyatt's side of the closet still was.  There was some pink on Zoe's but also green and brown and anything else you can think of.  Baby steps, I guess.

I have a f☠ckton of clothes for these babies and for that I am grateful;  very grateful for friends and family that mobilized on the news of their impending arrival.  So many gifts and donations came in that I did what I said I would do, I paid it forward, as I will do with these clothes when my babies grow out of them.  These babies are my last I'm afraid, so it will be time to pass it all on.  In the meantime, I have to keep wrangling them.  The dresser you see above is currently full of their current clothes (minus sweaters and hang-up outfits), towels and washcloths, receiving blankets, bottom sheets and blankets.  Their closet is small and the room is long and narrow (especially with two cribs, a huge dresser and a futon in it) so I had to maximize the space that was there.  Enter Babies R Us.  In one of my half blind stumblings around the store, I found some closet organizers and with the help of a few gift certificates have started to set up a pretty nifty closet for them.  I started with four canvas bins from Koala Baby, two sage and two natural;  I then added the natural closet organizer and the 6 shelf organizer.  I started sorting out their hang up clothes, each getting a pocket and colour coded hangers (hers are white, his green).  I figured out early on that one of the boxes will fit on each side of the closet organizer and I put the green ones there for shoes, hats and little things that tend to go missing easily.  The other two I have underneath stocked with diapers and more wipes that are ready to go.  Next time I plan to pick up another closet organizer and have the second full of the "next" clothes and use the closest one for the current stuff; as they get bigger, that one drawer is not going to hold much.  I'll take some photos when it is finally done and straightened up, as I hope to finally (!) finish the nursery at some point in the near future. 

Raising a baby is hard.  Raising two babies is really hard.  Managing to keep on top of everything is even harder.  At least I know I have one little corner of organization in my house of constant chaos.  I may not have anything clean or wrinkle free to wear, but by god, they do.  My elder son may rain craft supplies and little pieces of paper wherever he goes, but when I run out of diapers or wipes, I am fully stocked and grab more.  Much like comfort, you have to take the small victories where you can find them.  Now, if I could only find  a clean shirt, I might be getting somewhere...

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