Friday, August 15, 2008

You're too much, baby

I went to Baby Planet yesterday to exchange a baby sling that D bought for me.

Thursday nights are called "shopping night" since stores are opened until 9-ish, (unlike in America, where any and all stores are open EVERY night and there are all-night pharmacies and supermarkets even in small towns - shopping in Holland kills me). I had the bright idea to ALL go to the store together and look around, exchange the sling, and maybe grab dinner.

(Ironically, when my son was born, they monitored him for a potential lung problem. You'd never have guessed it by the way he screamed last night. We barely got to look in the store, since V had a freakout. So much for shopping so close to bedtime. But that's another rant.)

Meanwhile, they have the most beautiful things there for children, but expensive! I'm talking about 120 euro swings, 80 euro play mats and 800 euro carriages. (We have one of those expensive carriages, and I must say it is really worth it.) It wasn't even a high-end shop for the glitterati, but for average families on regular salaries. I don't know how people afford all this kit for kids here. Toddler shoes and jackets are 70 euros.

Let me just clarify that everyone buys this stuff for their kids unless they are really among the lowest of the low class. Bugaboo baby carriages are practically standard-issue here. People really want their kids to look good, which can lead to a case of "Keeping up with the Joneses" - or "Keeping up with the Jansens," here in Holland.

I am frugal in that I want good quality without paying too much - I love Target, for example. However, I once mentioned to D that I had seen some cute things at Zeeman (kind of a K-Mart) and he was embarrassed. He said that he had promised himself that HIS children would never wear anything from a store like THAT. EVER.

Can you imagine? I mean, kids grow so quickly. Why can't I buy a cheap pair of pants for the baby, knowing he'll probably wear them twice? OK, they look a *little* chintzy, but if anyone has the bad taste to mention it to me, I'll just point to our 800-euro baby carriage, stick my nose in the air, and walk away.

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