November, I hardley knew ye.

I feel that suspenders are a disappointingly overlooked accessory for boys – I couldn’t find them in stores anywhere, I had to buy them online. (Actually, that’s the reason behind practically all of my Internet purchases. So take that, anyone who wants to complain that online shopping is killing local stores – maybe if you actually stocked good things, I wouldn’t have to take my business elsewhere. I can’t buy what you don’t have.)
I’m still annoyed that girls have much better clothing options than boys, but lately I’ve been having fun choosing things for Devin – it just means I have to be a bit more patient, creative and thoughtful when I buy his clothes.

There was a surprise echidna at Storytime recently – the perks of living in a city with a major zoo. I mean, it was there on purpose, it’s not like it wandered out and found its way to the library.

Not only was she terribly cute, but Devin was one of the few kids who actually wanted to touch her – he was up and stroking her before I’d even finished nodding permission, and went back several times. Understandably, I have to admit – the spikes feel a bit like a broom, I guess, but quite smooth. It was kind of relaxing.

It became quite hot for a little while there in November and we could finally use the pool, much to Devin’s delight. It lasted about a week and things have been cool and rainy ever since…

But, with the wet weather comes visits to the Japanese and sensory gardens. One, it’s nice to go out in the rain. Two, most people don’t venture outside in cold and rainy weather, so the gardens are empty.

And three, the sensory gardens still have some flooding issues (although now it’s more ‘puddles’ and less ‘impromptu lakes’), so Devin can splash around with his gumboots.

Devin decided to take to a shrub with a plastic knife.

When I said, “The tree probably doesn’t like that, Devy. Poor tree”, he gave me this face and stopped his ambitious sawing attempts.

This was supposed to be a Christmas tree – a green triangle with paper woven through. When I’d finished weaving the paper for Devin, he blasted it off into space and gleefully declared that it was a “wocket!” It was one of the most awesomely cute things I’ve seen him do, so I quickly added some boosters and wrapping paper flames. It’s on his bedroom door now.

 

We finished the month with more puddle jumping.

FYI, jumping in pools of dirty water in an uneven driveway is unlikely to result in anything but this –

Not pictured: when he fell over for the second time and cut his hands and arms, effectively ending puddle time.

Yes, my thoughts exactly, Devin.

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Keeping up appearances

If I may have a slightly more light-hearted and self-centered moment…

I think I did things backwards.

Before I had Devin, I mainly dressed in jeans and t-shirts. All the time. Even in summer. There were peasant blouses and floaty skirts in there, too, but overall I didn’t stray far from a pair of jeans. When I went to university in a climate much colder than I was used to, I started honing my creative layering skills – I didn’t have money to buy many new clothes, and I was constantly going between lecture theatres that were either over- or under-heated – but still, I generally went with safe choices.

I don’t know if it’s a manifestation of a subconscious desire to maintain my identity (whatever that might be), but since having Devin I’ve become a lot more… adventurous? Well, no, that’s probably not right.
I’ve become more confident in what clothes I like, and confident in my ability to wear them. I’m not nearly as self-conscious about my body as I was before pregnancy, due in no small part to the fact that it handled the whole thing so well. And look, it’s just a body. Bodies are great and funny things – mine is ridiculously pear-shaped. My thighs and hips and butt need a wide-load sticker (honestly, I frequently swipe things off tables and run into furniture with my hip-al area) and my legs basically skip knees and go straight from thigh to calf, but my ankles are so thin that I have to punch extra holes in sandal straps so that they stay on. It’s like walking on chicken drumsticks. And I think that’s kind of amusing.

Of course, I need to take better care of it. But as far as appearances, I’m not so fussed any more. I just buy clothes that I like and that I think reflect how I see myself.

This is pretty standard Liss, and probably what I feel most comfortable in. I’ve also just realised that a lot of my favourite items of clothing are the ones that I almost didn’t own. I saw that skirt at Kmart when I was out with Devin one day… I came home and gave Jene a summary of our outing (as I often do), and said, “And there was skirt that was SO nice and twirly, but it was forty bucks”. I mean… forty dollars was (and still is) a big deal for us, especially forty dollars for something from Kmart. Jene told me to just buy it. I said, “But forty dollars!” He said, “So? You obviously like it.”
It IS so nice and twirly, and Devin really likes it, too.


Jene made fun of me for buying those gold sneakers, just like he did when I bought the silver glitter sneakers. I was drawn to them but didn’t buy them straight away because they did seem a bit… street. But do they look street on me? Pfft, no.

This style of dress is ideal for me – tight on top, flared on the bottom. When I tried it on here, it was still full price at $80. I couldn’t afford it. I went back to Myer a few months later and happened to find one left on a sale rack. It was my size, and it was marked as $35 but came up as $20 at the register. I like to think it was that exact dress, waiting for me.

This was my first foray into what’s a pretty common default for me now. And those stockings… I’ve been through four pairs of those exact ones. I’ve given up now, the quality became crappy and the last two pairs ripped the first time I wore them.

Shirt tucked in to floral skirt, incarnation #89.

Well, that is purple suede clogs (Funkis) with white floral stockings and a green paisley wrap skirt. Don’t think I’m not thinking it when I put these kinds of things on… I absolutely look at myself and think, ‘this is a bit silly/whimsical/odd/mismatched’. And I wear it all anyway.

See?

I dig interesting stockings/tights. I bought these ones (that you can barely see in this photo) from We Love Colors when they had free shipping to Australia and…  I’m a bit disappointed in them. The silver paint flaked off all over the place, and there was none left on the upper legs by the end of the first wearing. They look a bit weird now, half-flecked and half-plain.

The purple stockings are another We Love Colors pair. I’m pretty sure the colour is Rubine. (Here they’re worn under a separate patterned pair.)
I read some iffy things about quality after I’d ordered from there, but I’m pleased to say that these are still completely intact and in shape after repeated washing and wearing. Good thing, since I waited for-freaking-ever for them to arrive from the US.

And the final pair of We Love Colors tights. (Again, under a patterned pair.) Comments as above, so below. These are Olive Green.

Mixing patterns? Yeah!

My high school group of friends once had a 70s themed party, so we all went op-shopping together and one of the girls found this skirt. She bought it for something like $4 and wore it to the party, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it as everyday attire. I sidled up to her at the party and said, “Ellaaaa? Do you think I could buy that skirt off you after this?” She told me not to worry about buying it, I could just have it. It’s a wrap skirt from Malaysia. Still one of my favourites.

I don’t often wear the green tights on their own, partly because my thighs make them so sheer, partly because I feel like She-Hulk in them. Every time I wear them I ask Jene, “Are you sure I don’t look too Hulk-ish?” (Which seems to imply that I’m ok with a certain level of Hulk-ivity, just not too much?)
He always replies, “You just make me want Jolly Ranchers.” Which is unfortunate, because I don’t know where to buy Jolly Ranchers in Australia.
It was Jene who put the Hulk idea into my head in the first place, by the way. Because somehow I missed that connection on my own.

I am still a bit partial to jeans and graphic t-shirts, though.

Individually, we get a fair amount of second-glances when we’re out. Devin is a two-year-old boy with almond-shaped eyes and an unusual hair colour. I’m a young (and even younger-looking) mother with orange hair and a penchant for wearing lots of things at once (be they patterns, colours, items of clothing or all of the above). Jene is a long-haired, army-pant- and metal-band-shirt-wearing Asian. We don’t seem that odd to me, but we also live in a fairly conservative and insular country city. When we’re all out together, goodness me… It’s not like it’s gawking as such, it’s more that we garner a bit more interest and attention than most others.
And I cop plenty of up-and-down looks from other women.
Our previous town is much smaller than this one, but it’s a university town – there is a lot more cultural and personal diversity, and we didn’t stand out there.

Naturally, somebody thinks I take too long deciding what to wear, and that I should just “pick something and put it on… and keep it on.” It’s so easy for some people who have straight bodies and wear the same thing every day…

😉

Hey, big spender.

With so many disasters and atrocities in the world right now, it feels a little shallow and wrong to be thinking about material possessions. But, this is my life, the society that I live, my brain, my experience. I know my priorities, but yes, I also like things, and I am pleased greatly by things that are aesthetically appealing.

This is my ‘if I was so financially well-off that spending $50 was like spending $10’ list. It’s not so much that I have expensive tastes, but that affordable options are so bland and tacky. I’m sorry, I’m just not content with Thomas the Tank Engine t-shirts out the wazoo.

Space Tee by aarrekid – $40 @ Baby Goes Retro

Auto Scrapyard by molo – $35 @ Baby Goes Retro

Flying High by molo – $50 @ Baby Goes Retro

Train tee, black sleeves by molo – $50 @ Baby Goes Retro

I’m sure many might think the above three are ugly. I think they’re a little bit ugly, and a little bit awesome.

 

Handmade Vintage Super Hero Cap – $36 @ The Baby Gardner

I cannot think of a practical application for this hat. Also, Devin would never keep it on. But, cute!

 

Why Don’t You Turn Off The Television and Do Something Exciting Instead – £23 @ No Added Sugar

This would cost me $76AUD! Because shipping is £25! Holy moly. That’s a lot to pay for a pretty simple and obvious statement. What a shame.

 

Rock ‘Em jacket – $35 @ My Rocking Wardrobe

Am I making my tastes obvious, yet?

 

Tartan leggins by LilSpunk – $19 @ Little Styles

Master of Disaster raglan by LilSpunk – $25 @ Little Styles

 

Brussel Sprout tee by Well Spotted – $35 @ Baby’s Got Style

I think silly phrases like this are funny, and I almost bought that shirt. But, one, it’s thirty five dollars and two, it is technically a Brussels sprout. My bank account: saved, once again, by my irrepressible grammatical integrity.

Tastes Like Chicken by Monster Republic – $34 @ Baby’s Got Style

All right… I did buy this one. I squirmed and ummed and ahhed, I added it, I deleted it, and I went to the checkout three times before I thought, ‘well, screw it, I really like it, and I never buy things like this.’ It arrived today, and I’m excited for Devin to wear it, even though it’s a size too big.

 

T-shirt – $9 @ eBay

I also bought this one. It says ‘we enjoy all the challenges, bravely robots, something difficult. Please do not fear evil because justice always with us.’ In fact, it says that twice. It also says, ‘rey can move by battery’, and really, who doesn’t like a bit of Engrish on their clothes?

 

Robot Warrior by Tommy Rocket – $40 @ Looking At You Kid

I like robots. I like music. And I’ve always wanted a son who looks like a robot made of cassette tapes and stereos.

 

 

Chef check pant by Chalk and Cheese – $55 @ Bubba Funk

I like pants that are different, either with patterns or colours. He’s a kid, why not?  Hell, I would love to wear pants that weren’t blue jeans, if someone would make them to fit my body.

 

Ok, I’ll end it there. All this looking is just reminding me that most of the choices I have are terrible. I know there are much worse things in the world. I’m thankful that I can even sit here and write about this. I’m just getting bored with dressing Devin in the same blue and green t-shirts every day.

Shoes and clothing damage our ability to survive naked in the wilderness.*

* Which is a situation we’ve all found ourselves in.

I am completely fed up with boys clothes. Who knew that the biggest drama I would have with a boy is the constant quest to find decent things to put on his body?

Shirt: Target (on clearance for $1.88) / Shorts: Hundreds & Thousands @ Kmart / Jumper: H&T @ Kmart / Shoes: H&T @ Kmart (I bought two pairs)

The stores that are available to me now, like Target and Big W, sell cheap clothes. The most you’ll pay for something is about $20, and that’s for things like thick jumpers. Cheap is all I need for my little growing person who has no need for long-lasting quality.

Shirt: Target / Shorts: Dymples @ Big W / Shoes: Coles (really)

But. Just because I need cheap, doesn’t mean I need uggers. My choices for Devin’s clothes in these stores can be broken down into four categories – sports, machinery, licensed characters and lame words like ‘Mummy’s little rockstar’.

Shirt: Mambo @ Big W / Shorts: H&T @ Kmart.

Most of Devin’s clothes are plain block colours or striped because I have no other option. I had quite a bit of luck at Kmart with shoes, checked shorts and graphic shirts that were cute but not twee, but there is no Kmart in our current location.

Shirt: Dymples @ Big W / Pants: Bonds @ Big W / Shoes: Munchkin @ Big W.

There is a Pumpkin Patch here, and another boutique store, but they’re unreasonably expensive and too preppy for my tastes. I don’t really get the big deal about Pumpkin Patch.

Shirt: ? gift
Shirt: ? gift / Pants: H&T @ Kmart

Of course I look online, and while I have slightly better luck finding things I like, finding things I can afford? *insert thumbs down and raspberry noise* I mean, $40 for a kids t-shirt? Are you serious? I don’t like paying that for a shirt for me, and I’m not perpetually growing.

Shirts: H&T @ Kmart

The thing is, I know I’m not the only one having this problem. All you have to do is look at the online stock levels of good boys products compared to girls to realise how desperate people are to snap up something nice for little boys. There is a glut of pretty things for girls. Everywhere. And it’s not all pink. But, for some reason, manufacturers still haven’t picked up on the unbalance.

Shirts: Dymples @ Big W / Pants: Dymples @ Big W (I think) / Broom: $5 @ Bunnings

So I’m at a loss, now. Should I take up screen printing and sewing? Actually, I would like to do both of those things, but because I want to, not because no one seems to be able to make tasteful childrens clothing.

Shirt: Target (clearance) / Shorts: H&T @ Kmart / Baby duck @ Japanese gardens

Maybe I should just tie an old singlet on him for a joke and then have him throw a tantrum when I try to take it off because he actually likes it.

Oh, wait, that already happened.