Today marks my semiannual shopping binge at Rhea Lana's consignment sale. I spent almost exactly $200 and outfitted my kids for the next six months -- if I bought the right things in the right sizes.
The first weekend of this seven-day sale is always a madhouse. People line up and trade passes to get in for the preview nights. But by Monday, it's a different story. That's the day that the racks are restocked with new merchandise, everybody goes back to work, and the giant retail floor is wide open for business.
My kids are at awkward ages. Cady Gray seems to have been put in the stretching machine; she's all the sudden taller and skinnier, and shirts that should fit expose are suddenly too short to cover her belly button. Archer keeps getting taller but isn't getting any wider, and it's a challenge to find pants that are long enough to be decent but don't fall off his hips.
I split the difference for Archer by making sure the jeans I buy him have the elastic bands in the waist that you can shorten with buttons. Never really noticed them before I had to buy clothes for my kids, but they're lifesavers. For Cady Gray, I've got no strategy; she's not tall enough for pants that are the same size as the shirts she needs. So I just hope that I bought enough pants last year that didn't fit then but do fit now. And the pants I bought today might have to wait until third grade.
Some people -- normal people -- do this more than twice a year. How they keep track of the vagaries of their kids' sizes, I have no idea. It's hard enough for me to increment them up a size every time I go. Ask me what their shoe sizes are, and I don't have the vaguest idea. Sometimes I think to myself that an organized mother would have a card in her wallet or a note on her smart phone with that information, just in case she happened to stop into a store and saw something she liked. I don't, but maybe it's not because I'm a bad mother. It's because I never happen to stop into a store and see something I like -- because I only buy clothes for my kids every six months, in bulk, at a consignment sale.