First shopping trip – Clothes for the kids (Success!)

Mr. Research (my husband) and I packed the kids into the minivan and made the 15 minute drive to the mall. SillyMonkey was determined to skip his nap and DramaLlama had just woken up from his morning one. As predicted, SillyMonkey fell asleep in the car while DramaLlama was cooing and screeching to the classical music playing through the minivan speakers.

SillyMonkey was in desperate need of new socks.

Finding a matching pair of socks for him (or finding any socks at all for that matter) was starting to become a very difficult and elusive task. Mr. Research and I would play the unspoken game of slyly trying to make the other one go on the hunt for his socks.

“Hey honey, I dressed SillyMonkey and all he needs are shoes. Can you put them on him while I finish dressing the baby?” (note: I never said the word socks or he’d be on to me like white on rice)

“Does he have socks on?” (oh he already knows what’s up)

“Just find him a pair and put his shoes on, I’m getting DramaLlama ready.

“Oh don’t worry about the baby, I can take care of him. You got SillyMonkey ready so I’ll get the baby ready.”

“No, no, no. I already started getting him ready. It’s fine. Just help SillyMonkey.”

“Really, I don’t mind. I’ll dress the baby.” says Mr. Research while reaching for the baby.

What both of us is really saying is “I don’t want to look for those damn socks!”

The point is, SillyMonkey badly needed socks. DramaLlama needed pants and both needed a couple of shirts.

We arrived at the mall and SillyMonkey arose from the dreaded 5 minute car ride nap and perked right up like he’d been asleep for hours. He knew within the depths of the mall lay a small train that can take you twice around the food court and charge you $5.

“I wanna ride the train, mama!” exclaimed my 3-year-old.

“Sure, but we have to go to the store first to find you some socks and new clothes.”

Mr. Research and I buckled the kids up in the Sit and Stand stroller and made our way into the mall. This marked the first shopping trip I was taking while truly being serious about not buying any clothes made in China. So yes, I was totally going to be looking at every label. The kids were actually being extraordinarily cooperative, which was a blessing! The first store I went into was Benetton. It’s usually on the pricey side for kids clothes but sometimes they have awesome sales and I usually take full advantage of them. So we walk in and I start browsing, I’m not seeing anything that catches my eye. The one sweater that I might have thought about buying was $56 and totally made in China. So that’s a big fat “No” on both price and where it’s made.

I decide to go to Hanna Andersson. I think to myself, “This is going to be totally awesome, it’s all pricey Swedish organic cotton stuff, I’m going to have to distract Mr. Research so I can buy whatever I want!” Yeah… was a total bust. There was plenty that was very cute, but every single item I touched was Made in China! Ugh! It was actually pretty frustrating. The only thing I picked up in the store that was actually made in Sweden was a pair of moccasins. How can companies be charging so much for their clothes and claiming to be all organic and Swedish and then be made in China? I must be missing something, but it was sure eye-opening.

So there I was having just walked out of two children’s stores and still totally sockless. I decide to go to the next closest store, which happened to be Janie and Jack. Ah, for sure this expensive children’s store would have what I was looking for. I saw a cute yellow rain jacket (that we totally didn’t need but it was seriously too cute to not contemplate buying) and it was made in China. And so were the other 5 knit sweaters I looked at! At that rate I was going to be leaving empty-handed yet again. Socks, mittens and hats were all made in China too.

By now SillyMonkey was itching to run around the mall like a crazy person. He wanted to go up and down the escalators so Mr. Research grabbed him and they both went to have some quality daddy-son-escalator time. I kept browsing because I couldn’t believe that everything in that store was made in China. And I was right. I found two pair of pants and a button-down shirt that were made in Bangladesh. Not bad, pretty sure they don’t have to install suicide-prevention nets in Bangladesh factories. ***runs to research and make sure*** I’ll take them!

I got out of the store and SillyMonkey and Mr. Research were nowhere to be found. I stood around waiting for them to emerge and then DramaLlama started to lose it. I unbuckled him and we played around until Mr. Research and SillyMoneky appeared bearing Auntie Annes Pretzels. I’m totally jealous but I’m on a boring low-carb diet so I can’t have any. It’s not organic but there were no organic options at the mall so we continued on our merry way. SillyMonkey was insisting on walking, and he was being really good the whole time, and DramaLlama declared his hatred for the stroller and refused to go back in. So I was holding a baby and pushing around an empty behemoth of a stroller. Awesome.

Gap kids was our next stop. The first 5 items I was interested in were all made in China, including this adorable navy blue chunky knit sweater on super sale for only $15! I would have bought it in a heartbeat if it were made anywhere else. Sigh. But I did manage to find a pair of pants and overalls for DramaLlama. Another success. I was getting hungry and SillyMonkey was begging to go ride the train so we decided to go up to the food court and split up. I took DramaLlama along to find something to eat and Mr.Research took SillyMonkey to go ride the train and then play in the indoor play area.

Slim pickings for this mama who’s on a low-carb diet. I got blah food and sat down to blah eat it but DramaLlama had other plans. After much struggle, I was able to eat about 40% of my food and entertain the baby at the same time. He ate organic puffs and flirted with every person who cared to look his way. He’s a cute one and knows it, so it’s pretty funny seeing him work his baby mojo and get people to fawn all over him. Nothing makes a mama more proud than people fawning over her kids.

Mr. Research and SillyMonkey made their way back to my table and we set off on one last stop. H&M usually has really cute and trendy kids clothes for unbeatable prices so I was a little worried it’d all be made in China. Admittedly, I’d never bothered to look before. We made it to H&M and of course the line at the register was ridiculously long as usual. I was unphased and I continued to the children’s section to start my browsing. Success! Almost everything I was looking at was not made in China! Huzzah. Socks! Glorious Socks! Thank goodness they were made in Turkey. I bought two packs along with a few sweaters for SillyMonkey.

DramaLlama fell asleep in 0.2 seconds after being strapped into his car seat…… my goal in life is to get these boys to nap at the same time. Maybe one day…

If I were to rate the difficultly of finding clothes that were not made in China, I’d have to say it was very mild. Actually it was more mildly annoying than it was difficult. There were plenty of clothes that were not made in China, and plenty of alternatives and options so it really wasn’t challenging at all. The only difficult thing about it was having to walk away from a seriously cute piece of clothing that I would have bought in a heartbeat if it were not made in China. There didn’t seem to be one particular store that had all its clothes made in China or not made in China, so really no consistent pattern, I just had to look at the label of every single item I picked up regardless of the store. Inexplicably, it seemed like every knit sweater I picked up was made in China. Totally random and weird but I seriously could not find one knit sweater made elsewhere.

Overall, I’d call the shopping trip a great big success!