Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hand-Me Downs

When I was growing up, my parents struggled financially, as most middle-class families with three kids do.  We weren't strangers to left overs.  We never went to Disneyland or on "destination" vacations.  We didn't go out to eat very often.  In fact, the once in a blue moon McDonald's trip was a real treat.  And when we went, we didn't usually get Happy Meals.  We did get sent to my grandparent's farm every summer, but I suspect that was more for my parent's sanity than anything else.  So it should comes as no surprise, that we embraced the concept of hand-me downs.

Now, my sister was 10 years older than me, and 8 years older than my older brother.  So, she didn't really hand much down in the way of clothes to either of us.  However, my brother and I were so close in age (only 2 years a part - I know you did the math up there at the top of the paragraph, but not all of us are such math wizards!  I like to speak out to my math-challenged people) that I got all of his hand-me downs.  Needless to say, I wandered around a lot in jeans and football tees.  Jammies weren't frilly night gowns, but hand-me downed long johns.  And to be honest, I never minded because I was such a tom-boy. 

Of course, now that I'm older, I wonder if I was a tom-boy because of my personality.  I mean, if my brother had been a sister hand-me downing frilly dresses with ruffles, would I have been more of a girly girl?  The world will never know.

Now that I'm a struggling middle-class mom, I'm also no stranger to hand-me downs.  LW didn't really get to experience this as the oldest, but GG got it in good measure.  Not only did she get LW's saved (for 7 years people - have I mentioned that The Hubs is a pack rat?) hand-me downs, but she also got ebay hand-me down purchases.  Now, some people might call that gently used clothes, or second hand clothes, but I consider them hand-me downs, even if I had to buy them.  I would search out "huge lot" clothing auctions where I could get an entire year's worth of clothes (in two or three seasons) all at once for a steal.  When the boxes would arrive, it would be like Christmas at our house.  We usually ended up with name brand clothing  in near mint condition that we could never have afforded brand new.  GG got to try on all of her new clothes the minute the box arrived and the fashion show that followed was always well worth the primp time required between each outfit.  GG still loves to take hours and hours to prepare for her "audience"!

We didn't save any of GG's clothes, space being at a premium in our 1200 SF house, and me not being a pack rat.  So when we had Bunny, I was so grateful to have a few friends giving me clothes for her.  We got a lot of new stuff at her baby shower, but newborns don't stay that way for long.  One friend in particular (Hi Laura!) was more than generous with her hand-me downs.  Some came with tags still on them!  When Bug came along, my friends, thankfully, stepped up again, resulting in me having to buy very little in the way of clothes for either of the two kids, even though it looks like I do.

Now, I want you to know how fully I aware I am of the hand-me down karma.  I have been so blessed by such amazing friends, and I have certainly passed along my own hand-me downs.  I have a very good friend who had a little girl just after I had Bug, and a little boy about a year later.   It's worked out perfectly handing down Bug and Bunny's clothes (some still with tags on!) to her kids.  We also have a cousin who had twin boys who we also hand-me down clothes too.  Honestly, I have no idea how people manage without hand-me downs in some form.  Kids grow so fast!  They wear an outfit once or twice, and then they out grow it.  Such a waste if you don't pass them along.

In two days, I'll be attempting to supplement Bug and Bunny's wardrobe.  The hand-me downs have been amazing, but most of Bug's hand-me downs are still a bit too big (stored in the attic) and this size of hand-me downs for Bunny must have been short lived, or girls are just hard on clothes at this age, because there weren't many for colder days. 

So, in two days, I'll be attending the LA Kids Consignment Sale in Burbank, CA.  They have 550 consigners selling over 50,000 gently used kids clothes, toys, books, art, high-chairs, swings, strollers, etc. etc.  If kids need it, they have it.  This will be the second time I'm attending one of their events and let me tell you, the deals are incredible.  The clothes I get usually run around $2 each and typically are named brand (not that I care about that stuff, just that typically they tend to be better made than their cheaper counter parts - but I still shop at wal-mart and target too, so I am not a snob by any stretch of the imagination)

Tomorrow I plan to do raid the kids closets and drawers and make sure the list I already have going is going to completely fill in The Tweedles wardrobe.  I'm hoping to spend no more than about $40-$50 to fill in what's needed, and I'm hoping that none of the cute toys will call my name.  This should be easier this time, since I plan to leave the Tweedles at home.  Last time I got roped into several toys including a new stick horse and a mini electric piano and a mini electric guitar!

Wish me luck!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

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