Friday, December 3rd, 2010
For the past couple of years, my shopaholism has been, if not cured, at least kept somewhat in check. I still have too many shoes, but I rarely buy new ones. I’ve had the same cell phone almost three years. My maternity wardrobe was unvaried and cheap, and my current post-baby, flab-hiding wardrobe is patched together and pitiful. I tried (with some success) to restrict my pre-baby shopping to cloth diapers and a few clearance items.
But something about the holidays – the constant bombardment of sale e-mails, commercials, fliers and billboards? the permissive, spend-spend-spend-it’s-good-for-the-economy-and-also-for-mankind “spirit” of Christmas – makes me lose all self-control. Last week, I had some time to kill one afternoon and went to my favorite local store Downtown Baby to look for a “lovey” for Ruby, as recommended by The No-Cry Sleep Solution. Somehow, I came home with $90 worth of lovey and lovey-type items (including our promptly renamed from Sophie Geraldine the Giraffe … seemingly overpriced but totally worth it for how much Ruby adores it).
Last weekend, we went to Lowe’s to buy a pre-lit Christmas tree and ended up coming home with a new front-load washer and dryer that were on clearance. (Also, a Christmas tree.)
Tuesday night, D, Ruby and I went to the mall to shop for a Baby’s First Christmas ornament and came home with (after much deliberation) an ornament, two pairs of baby mary jane shoes (brown and black), baby socks, a reindeer-themed baby sleeper, two used Wii games for D and Just Dance 2 for me.
Wednesday, I bought a red sequined stocking embroidered with an R.
Thursday, now fully infected with the shopping bug and itching to buy more stuff, I went to Ulta for eyeliner and mascara, then Old Navy, convinced Ruby needs more warm clothes since my now small-fry girl (25% percentile for length, weight and head circumference at her 6-month check-up) doesn’t yet fit in all the wintry 6-12-month stuff I bought on clearance last year. At Old Navy, I spent another $90, this time on such things as lined pants, a fuzzy hat with teddy bear ears, and a red wool pea coat, because what 6-month-old child living in the chilly climes of Alabama doesn’t need a wool pea coat? (I have one too, you see. That’s how I convinced myself. We will match.)
Need I even mention the fact that none of these items is in fact a gift for someone else? I’ve bought a (yes, a singular) gift for my sister, and that’s it. My sister handled the ordering of our joint parents, grandmother and aunt presents (on Cyber Monday, of course), while all I have to do is kick in some cash. I haven’t bought anything else for my sis, and nothing at all for my two gift-exchanging friends or for D’s parents, and to tell you the truth this is the first moment it has even occurred to me.
That’s what happens when I get in credit-card-happy mode. I buy everything in sight but somehow never manage to get anything for anyone else. Though I’m no longer buying excess clothes and shoes to fill up my own closet, Ruby’s is looking pretty jam-packed right about now, and at this point stuff for her is really for me. She doesn’t really care about much other than eating carrots and trying to eat my hair, so all her pretty outfits and adorable shoesies are for my benefit (and that of her adoring public).
When we were at Old Navy, we met another baby girl, 7 months old and dressed to the nines – black hairbow, pink and black striped sweater, black corduroy pants, white ruffled socks, and black mary janes. Meanwhile, Ruby was in a warm-but-not-my-style, hand-me-down outfit with slightly-too-short pants, mashed peas on the collar, and a streak of hot-pink Tylenol on the front, and – I realized later when we were in the checkout line – she was missing one sock.
I admit seeing this dolled-up infant compared to my momentarily ragamuffin-y child made me start chucking stuff in the stroller with a bit more abandon. My child needed a pink sweater with a star on it and, by God, a red wool pea coat!
Of course, Ruby didn’t have a clue she wasn’t looking too chic, and the other little girl grinning at her and waving her hands didn’t appear to be thinking, “Damn girl, who dressed you?”
So yeah. I can admit it. The baby clothes are for me.
Despite that, I don’t even feel that guilty. I’ve been waiting to Christmas shop for my kid (and for myself, for my kid) for a long time. Even shopping for the Angel Tree kids and my nieces and nephews had long ago stopped being enough. Besides which, for the past few months, I’ve been cooped up in this house too much. I’ve been working too much. I’ve been stressed too much.
So for this month, a-shopping I will go. I will strap Ruby in her stroller and wade into the sea of shoppers, I will breathe in the overwhelming potpourri of mall fragrances, listen to the tinkling of Christmas music over the cacophony of people talking, eat Santa-shaped mall cookies, and drink red mall Icees, and I will love it, every minute.