Woe be unto all mothers who enter the Hanna Andersson store

A warning tale if you ever find yourself near a Hanna Andersson store

(An entry into “The Motherbury Tales: Parenting as told in rhyming couplets,” an imaginary book I have started composing while waiting in line questioning my life’s decisions)

Perhaps Hanna Andersson can hire my child as a model and pay her in clothes?

As I go to Hanna Andersson to make a return,
I get nervous. My heart will yearn
For ALL the clothes in the store.
I know myself; this has happened before.
Lord give me strength not to buy
Everything that I spy.

This errand comes as I surmise
Both my children have gone up in size.
And, oh my goodness, it’s a new season…
I seem to be losing all my reason
NOT to buy out all their stock
Of their colorful clothes, and even their socks.
Alas, our budget simply doesn’t allow
For me to go and have a cow.
So as I go and make this return
Maybe this will be the time I learn
To play this errand simple and straight:
Go in, go out, don’t hesitate.

Don’t look at the dresses, don’t peek at the tops –
Once you do you know you can’t stop.
Well…just one quick look, it can’t hurt?
(Since both my kids just had a growth spurt?)
Oh Hanna, you have me once again!
All my money, down the drain!
My kids will look like definite winners
(But it’s beans and franks for all our dinners).

It’s this mom gene I seem to now possess
Where I can’t resist buying that dress
And those pants, and that shirt…
Oh, and fine, just throw in that skirt.
As I stand here, my arms full of clothes
To don my kids’ bodies, heads, and toes.
I recite to myself this infamous line:
“I really won’t let this happen NEXT time.”

My favorite baby cold weather gear

cold cold cold coldDespite the months going at warp speed it is magically still winter. I recognize that I have literally zero rights to complain compared to those people in, say, Chicago or New England so all I’ll say is: folks, I feel ya. I’m so sorry. Hang in there. Eventually all that snow will melt and you will remember that your cities are some of the most beautiful and fun places in the world and there is, in fact, a reason you live where you live.

Does that help? No? Well, can’t blame a gal for trying, n’est pas?

After having lived in Chicago one of my obsessions is cold weather gear. I have these really awesome earmuffs with headphones built into them so I can still talk on the phone or listen to podcasts while I’m out and about. I have more coats than really should be legal, each good for various weather and temperatures. It was only a matter of time before I could start investigating cold weather gear for babies and come up with a few of my favorites. So, without further ado, here are three of my most favorite winter gear for babies that don’t involve 5 extra layers of zippers and snaps.

1. Zutano Fleece Booties

zutano bootiesSo you’re thinking, “Oh, with this lack of sleep she has finally cracked. She has gone off the rails and is now suggesting $21 for a pair of baby socks. HA!”

But hear me out. Please.

These are not just baby socks. These are the most ingenious little baby feet warmers of all time. They snap up and around the ankle (with two different options for width) which is key for a few very important reasons:

  1. They stay on the baby’s feet – which, if you’ve ever clothed a baby you know is close to miracle of God
  2. They are really easy to get on the baby’s feet – which, if you’ve ever clothed a baby you know is also a miracle of God

These little puppies are also adorable, which helps as well. Finally, they are warm, which is actually the entire point, now that I think of it. I really cannot recommend these things highly enough. You only need one pair, and you will love them more than $21 worth. I promise.

2. JJ Cole Stroller Bundler

Bonus: it actually has a little head fleece container thing in case you're a negligent mother who forgot their child's adorable hat and/or it's not actually that cold out.

Bonus: it actually has a little head fleece container thing in case you’re a negligent mother who forgot their child’s adorable hat and/or it’s not actually that cold out.

The concept of these is so simple it’s genius. Essentially this thing is a sleeping bag with holes in the back to put the straps of the stroller through so you don’t have to put your child in 45 layers of clothing because the warmth of the bundler will make him warm.

I had a bundler that was an “infant” size apparently from France that Wee Connor grew out of around 3 months old. I would probably recommend going with the “toddler” size because it’s not so huge as to be unuseful and will last you a long time. For reference: Connor is around 26″ and the “toddler” size fits him perfectly with room to grow.

I bought the “Urban” version (as opposed to the “Original” or “Arctic”) because the outside is waterproof for inclement weather and because all the moms in Chicago seem to have bought that one so I figure if it’s warm enough for them it should be warm enough for North Carolina. I have put Wee Connor in there and he has never been cold, even when we’ve been out for a long time.

(Note: apparently you should never install these in a car seat like you would in a stroller seat because of safety issues. JJ Cole also makes an infant car seat blanket thingy that is meant for that.) 

3. A good (lined) hat that buttons underneath the chin

Please note: no riding up of the hat, baby warm and snuggly, and ears are covered. It's as close to a mom win as I can get.

Please note: no moving of the hat, baby warm and snuggly, and ears are covered. It’s as close to a mom win as I can get.

When it’s really cold out hats are a must. Undoubtedly you will receive a truly unprecedented number of little baby beanies for your little one.

However, put them away until you meet warmer days. What you actually need when the going gets cold is a hat that – in some way – can be fastened underneath the baby’s chin. Not only does this mean his ears are entirely covered but the hat can’t come up and off in car/stroller/baby-wearing rides.

When the stores aren’t busy switching out for summer gear despite everyone still being in total winter mode these can be found everywhere. I got mine from Nordstrom and it was a Mini Boden. LL Bean also makes some adorable hats that are warm and perfect. The one I bought is fleece-lined, adorable, and worth every penny of the $20 it cost. Also, it came with little matching mittens that I can’t seem to figure out how to make stay on my baby’s hands.

The list is short, but those are my most favorite cold weather items for the baby that don’t involve 15 extra layers that you immediately will need to remove due to a diaper change the moment everything is zipped up.

Do you have any others? What are your favorite winter weather items?

The guide to the different kinds of baby clothes

Have you ever wondered why there are so many configurations of baby clothes out there? It seems the combinations are neverending: snaps, zippers, buttons, snapping at the bottom, down the front and side, three snaps at the bottom, zippers down one side and so on and so forth?

I always thought it was to pander to people’s personal preferences until I realized the different configurations of baby clothes are entirely based on what you want to happen to them once you put them on the baby. It has nothing to do with ease of use, logic, personal preference, or cuteness. No, friends, there are powerful karmic elements at play when you dress and subsequently undress your child.

Allow me to explain what the different types of clothing configurations will mean in real-life terms.

Onesies that you pull over the baby’s head and have three snaps at the bottom

onesie napYou know the ones. These are the bread and butter of the baby world. The simple snaps at the bottom mechanism mean that your life while the baby is in the outfit is pretty much gravy. Changing is a snap (pun intended, because I’m a cheesy mom who makes cheesy mom jokes now). However, babies aren’t too thrilled at the whole “pulling clothes over their heads” thing. This fuss you will receive thrown in your face is your payment for future ease of use; it evens out. There is a reason these outfits are the ones you see on babies all the time. They are the only ones that are karmically even in the universe.

ALSO, I just learned something about these onesies. You know how they have that envelope fold over the shoulders? Well, it turns out that’s so you can take the onesie off down, instead of pulling it up in case of extreme…circumstances. Don’t say you never learned anything here.

Here’s a video explaining what I’m talking about. Try to not let your head explode.

“Wow, there sure are a lot of snaps to get this outfit closed!” 

Your baby will suddenly now go through more diapers than you could have ever imagined. I am convinced the true cure for baby constipation is a complicated onesie with a lot of snaps on the lower half of the outfit. Your reward, however, is that the outfit will stay on for a very long time.

“This zipper down the front sure does make it easy to get the baby into the outfit and to change him in the middle of the night!”

Spit up. Lots of spit up. Immediately. On the bright side, the zipper that makes the outfit so easy to get into also makes it super easy to take off.

“This is the most adorable outfit I’ve ever seen! Squeee!”

Please note the buttons at the neck area are not fully buttoned. However, I literally cannot put this sweater on my child without literally saying the word "SQUEEEEEE!" multiple times. Because seriously: SQUEE!

Please note the buttons at the neck area are not fully buttoned. However, I literally cannot put this sweater on my child without literally saying the word “SQUEEEEEE!” multiple times. Because seriously: SQUEE!

This is harder to predict, but this sentiment means one or both of the following two things:

  1. The outfit is almost impossible to put on. It is your penance if you would like the outfit to stay on. I apologize for this.
  2. You will never get out of the house with it on.

Also, the more adorable you find an outfit is exactly how unlikely it is that people will comment on how flipping adorable the outfit on the baby is if you do manage to make it out of the house. There have been times where I have all but screamed, “BUTTONS, PEOPLE. I MANAGED TO USE BUTTONS ON A SQUIRMING NEWBORN AND NOBODY IS COMMENTING ON HOW OUTRAGEOUSLY ADORABLE AND OBVIOUSLY WORTH IT THE BUTTONS ARE.” Clearly this isn’t an often occurrence because buttons on a newborn outfit are actually Satan’s handiwork quite difficult.

“Wow, this outfit is SO adorable AND SO easy to put on AND change the baby in!”

Admire this outfit from the changing table, friend, since that’s as far as that outfit is getting. Prepare yourself for every possible liquid exuding from the baby simultaneously and there is simply no way that any diaper is going to hold in the blowout you’re about to witness. Sorry.

So there you have it. These are pretty much all the occurrences I can think of while dressing a child and what the outfits spell out for the immediate future. The fact of the matter is this: babies are messy. They kind of just drip various liquids from different areas of their tiny little bodies all the time. The key I have found is to just remember to take it in stride and that a good stain remover (I like Dreft, the baby laundry detergent maker) handy by the changing table.

And to take pictures as quickly as humanly possible of the cute outfits because, again, I can assure you they won’t be on long.