Dressing the Slim Toddler

For the last year or so, the girls have maintained their growth trends of being around 20th percentile for weight and 60th percentile for height. In plain and simple terms, I have two slim toddlers. Asides from my occasional worrying over their diet, the biggest issue affected by their body dimensions is  dressing them up. I have had to "learn" the best tips for dressing them appropriately for their stature. My objective of course is to get the best use out of their clothes

Dapper Snappers at work
  1. Managing the waistline: Choose bottoms that have adjustable waists. Most brands now offer this - it's simply an elastic band with buttonholes in the waist for sizing as required. When adjustable waist bottoms are not available, choose bottoms with belt loops so that Dapper Snappers or similar hold-up-the-pants gadgets can be used.
  2. Some brands work better than others. For us, the best brand has been GAP for most items of clothing. With the girls being potty trained, the only brands of underwear that fit are Hanes and Fruit of the Loom (both from Walmart)
  3. Choose one piece sleepwear over 2-piece. With the 2 pieces, I've found that the girls outgrow the tops with the necklines becoming too tight while the pants are still too loose to stay up. My favorite affordable brand of girly nightgowns is Carters
  4. Choose footless PJs over footed. The girls definitely get more wear out of footless PJs as they can wear them till the PJs are too snug around the waist. 
  5. Choose dresses that are designed to fall below the knee. When buying online, some websites will actually specify this - Osh Kosh used to, but as I was writing this post, I couldn't find any example to use. Guess they took it off their website - shame!
  6. Choose capris over leggings. Once leggings get short, they look awkward (high waters). Capris on the other hand can start at the calf and still look ok when they end up mid-thigh
  7. Turn too-short play dresses into tops by pairing them with capris
  8. Jeans: Choose skinny and straight cuts over bootcut. 
  9. Special sizes: Gymboree now has "slim" sizes that are narrower at the waist, hip and leg. PS: They also have "plus" sizes that are wider with shorter inseam. Good on them for recognizing that kids come in a variety of shapes and sizes
  10. Shop across the aisle: Boys clothes of the same size are typically cut longer than girls. It's worth it to take a look and buy some of the unisex pants from the boy section. Case in point, I got all the lined pants the girls wore this winter from the boy section of Gymboree. While all their other 2T pants are now short, these pants still fit them lengthwise.
Thats my list of 10 tips for dressing the slim toddler. I could add an 11th tip that said "Learn to sew" but that's so not happening, I stopped dreaming. 

Fashion Brands for Toddlers' Shapes

Last year I went on a bodysuit shopping spree to evaluate the different brands of baby clothes and the results were interesting. I did the same thing with size 18-24 clothes that the twins just recently outgrew. I bought different brand name clothes for a size and quality experiment.

Why? Because for the first one year, baby cloth sizes change every 3 months on average. For the second year, the sizes change every 6 months. From age 2 up, kids' clothes are sized by year. If the clothes now need to be worn for a year, I need to make the best decision as to which brands work for us - I'm a fairly brand loyal customer when it comes to clothes.

What I tested: Jeans from OshKosh, GAP, Old Navy and Gymboree. Jackets and dresses from those 4 plus Crazy8, Tea Collection and Hanna Andersson

What I didn't test: Children's Place because they already off the list due to the results of the "Great Bodysuit Review". Carters because of quality variance depending of where it's purchased plus not a lot of stores in Calgary

Here's what I found out regarding the sizing of the popular children's clothing brands 

My conclusions
Baby Gap / Gap Kids is a clear winner for us with best fit at decent prices. Bonus points for having a store in every major Calgary mall and a factory outlet close by.

Old Navy is a close second but I'm still not won over by their quality. Their clothes run short but skinny so I would steer clear of pants because my girls are taller than most of their peers

At very good sale prices, I would buy dresses from Hanna Andersson and Tea Collection

I would browse Crazy 8 and OshKosh for accessories

I still like Gymboree but it won't make up the bulk of our wardrbe

Note on Hanna Andersson: Their clothes are sized by kids height and not age.

That does it on my children's clothing brand experiments until I can come up with new reasons to shop. So, whaddya think? Any brands you think I should look into?

Two and a quarter

I wrote this post before I went on break and never publisheded it. Its not too late though

My babies turned 2 and a quarter years old in February and as usual, they leave me speechless just looking at the depth, richness and diversity of their personalities. Here's a short post celebrating their quarter birthday!

Sleeps with her bear, her monkey, her giraffe, her duckie and her puppy
Licks her lips when she eats yogurt, pineapples and cheerios
Enjoys watching the Backyardigans and the Cat in the Hat
Sings like no one is watching even when no one is watching
Talks up a storm with her now 4 word sentences
Recognizes all her colors but not her letters
Loves the color purple (the actual color not the movie)
Scolds mommy when mommy tells her she's being naughty
Will not talk to strangers unless she deems them worthy
Allows her sister to get away with stuff and make her cry; but occassionally
Shakes her sister real good and puts her in a wrestling body pin
Dresses up in princess clothes, mommy's jewelery and daddy's hat
Is the coolest little girl I've ever met.

Sleeps with her bear, her monkey, elephant but prefers they stay in the corner
Licks her lips when she eats yogurt, strawberries and fries
Enjoys watching the Backyardigans and Elmos
Knows the names of all the pictures in her word book
Talks in one phrase words (she sounds like she's forming sentences, but she's actually using the sentences as one word)
Recognizes all her letters and numbers but not her colors
Loves the colors purple, green and pink (and anything in those colors belongs to her)
Laughs and/or cries when mommy tells her she's being naughty
Will not talk to strangers unless she deems them worthy
Goads her sister with a scary voice and makes her cry but
Will not tolerate a third party coming between her and her sister
Dresses up in stickers, mommy's ballet flats and anything purple
Is the goofiest little girl I've ever met.

State of our Union - Potty Training Edition

Potty Training Twins - Month 5

I started potty training the twins this January when they were 26 months old. Today, they're 29 months old and I'm happy with where we stand; which is

The girls are now fully potty trained both at home and in the daycare. The use of diapers is restricted to naptimes only. Accidents are very few and far between. I'm currently trying to get them to fully ditch the pottys and use the toilet with a soft seat installed on top. BEST BUY TIP: The soft seats that have handles are great as they give the girls something to hold on to when they feel like they're going to fall in the bowl. I've seen them sold under the First Years and Ginsey brands in both US and Canadian Walmart, Superstore and Amazon.

There are nights when Spice wakes up with a dry diaper so I know she's ready but mama is not. Neither is Sugar. I'm currently stocking up on disposable bed mats but I don't think I'm ready to night-train them before they are in toddler beds and that won't be till end of the year if I have my way

On the road:
Going to and from school, the girls were big girl undies and there's been no accidents. On Sundays  I put them in pull-ups for church. I have a potty in my trunk that I've never had to use yet. It's more for eventual long road trips where I envision pulling to the side of the road for a quick potty

On vacation:
For hotel use, I packed the Folding Travel Potty Seat I got with my Huggies rewards points. It's a pretty decent solution. Tip: If you feel a bit queasy about this being in contact with the rest of the stuff in the suitcase, keep it in a ziploc bag. 

In public places:
Our first use of a public restroom was unplanned. On a whim, Dad and I decided to go hangout in the mall with the kids after work. They rode on the  carousel, ate a hearty meal, drank some milk and then uttered the 3 words that made my germophobe-heart sink to my diaper area: "peepee potty mama!". Luckily, the mall had a family room but still I found the whole experience severely traumatic. I have since stocked up on disposable toilet seat covers which I keep in my handbag and in the car for any future excursions to a public restroom.

Potty Training Mama
You know how the experts say having your kids watch you use the restroom is one of the ways to get them comfortable with potty training? Well I've been doing that and nowadays, when I'm done, the girls tell me "Good job Mommy! Now flush! High Five!". A sweet reward for loss of privacy and dignity won't you say?!

Have a great weekend peeps. It's going to be 20degC in Calgary! Can I get a WOOT!

Resuming Programming

Well hello! It's been 90 long days and longer nights followed by 10 hours of exam writing. I'm worn out, hopeful, rejuvenated and super excited about summer (for the first time ever). AND I'm back to blogging.

When I decided to take a break, I wasn't sure I would actually resume blogging. Life with 2 toddlers is busy. Throw in working 40+ hours a week and doing home stuff and I just wasn't sure there was room in my life for blogging. There isn't! All the more reason why I shouldn't stop blogging. I need this outlet. 

So I'm back here, my little haven on the internets, ready to gist about the mundane things that keep me happy and sane
  • like how I finally figured out the different children's brands of clothes
  • and also figured out how to dress my skinny toddlers
  • and built my list of 5-minute meals
  • and figured out how to shop smarter in Calgary
  • and bought the girls their first tricycles
  • and got more intentional about life and parenting
What I won't be sharing with you? Crafts! The exhibit below - our attempt at making and decorating a reindeer hat - is proof that I have a lot of callings, crafting's not one of them.

So peeps, how have you all been doing? It feels so good to be back

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