I recall with amusement how it was shopping clothes for my sons when they were very young. Unlike most little girls who seem to enjoy shopping, my sons were never really into this activity. Even if they could spend hours and hours running around tirelessly, it was a different story when it came to shopping for clothes. They were quick to say, “Ma, we’re tired what time can we finish?” even if we were just on our second store. All they wanted was to get the activity done and over with so they could do the next promised activity in the mall – go to the arcade, eat, or even just go home. When choosing the shirts they would readily say, “This is good.” When trying on shoes, they would run around to fight off boredom, even if I just asked them to walk around to check the comfort. Sometimes the sales lady would give me a concerned look, “Ma’am bibilhin nyo na po ba?” (“Maa’m are you going to buy those?”) but with a tone that sounds more like, “Ma’m kailangan nyo na pong bilhin yong sapatos!” (“Maa’m you have to buy those shoes now!”) Multiply that by 3 and shopping ceases to become a fun activity!
This made me devise a system for shopping clothes and shoes for my young boys. I took them out of the equation! Yup, I shopped for their clothes and shoes without them. It was more peaceful and I could take my time choosing. How? I always carried in my bag the following items – cut out drawing of each son’s foot, their measurements for waistline, hipline, shoulders, pants length, shirt length which were written on the cut-out foot drawings. And these I updated quite regularly back then. Always having these handy allowed me to buy them clothes and shoes I chanced upon on sale.
Things changed when they got tired of Mama’s terno-terno (super coordinated) outfits! Right now, they actually enjoy shopping for their own clothes and shoes. Now they have very strong opinions on what they want to wear and also the patience to really choose before buying. And if schedule allows, they would rather shop with Papa than Mama. And why is that? Because Papa is more lenient with prices! My husband usually computes this way: Price tag divided by 3 because the boys borrow from each other. In fact, if the item is really pricey he can justify, “Divided by 4 because I intend to use it too!”
So now I don’t have those cut-out shoe sizes with clothes measurements in my bag anymore. But when I travel, the boys sometimes remind me if I want to bring their cut-out shoe sizes, just in case I see something nice for them.
A lot of parents name their kids using the same first letter. We have a friend who named his four sons with the same second name and the same first letter in their first names so all of them have the same initials which happens to be the same as his!
Even before we had our first baby, I resolved not to have the same initials for our children. And it was not because of this friend’s experience but because…I’m not kidding when I say this, “Because I didn’t want to confuse my future kids with their socks!” I probably remembered that my socks had the letter R and my siblings also had the first letter of their names on theirs. All four girls have either a Maria or a Mary as our first names but we used our nicknames which were derived from our second names so there was no confusion in our socks and other undergarments as well.
So for my sons we labeled their clothes with M, E, A.
Early on, I discovered a better way of labeling their clothes. From M, E, A, I shifted to I, II, III. This way there was no need to take out the original label to replace with the new initial when handing down clothes. Here’s how. When Martin handed down his shirt to Enrique, instead of taking out the “M” and replacing it with an “E” I just added another “I” to change from “I” to “II.” When Enrique handed down to Anton, instead of taking out “E” to change to “A” I just added another “I” to make it “III.” These labels were very helpful especially during the days of terno-terno.
When they were younger, the three of them wore different sizes. Today, they usually have the same size, especially for shirts. And since they borrow from each other’s closets quite frequently, they themselves sometimes get confused who owns what. Gee, maybe it’s time to bring back the labels! What they do now to avoid confusion in their undergarments (maybe the only things they don’t borrow from each other) is to have one brand each. So the undergarment brand becomes their “label.”
I hope this short article gave you a tip or two as we approach the heaviest shopping season of the year.
Happy shopping! Happy parenting!