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Shopping for My Girl

By Allison Slater Tate, who can also be found blogging at allisonslatertate.com/

When my first baby was a boy, my husband breathed a sigh of relief – not because he didn’t want a girl, but because he was under the (somewhat mistaken) assumption that I would spend less money buying clothes for a baby boy than I would for a baby girl.

I swear I’m not a completely shallow person, but I love me some shopping. I can’t help it. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink… much. But shopping is cathartic for me. I try to window shop, or the Internet equivalent, most of the time. I try to be practical. But I admit it: I do love shopping. Since having kids, I love shopping for my kids. My poor, frugal husband has had to accept this fact.

As we proceeded to have baby boy number two and then baby boy number three, he believed he was largely in the clear. As much as I did and still do enjoy shopping for my boys, I was forced to pare down my shopping habit and embrace the concept of hand-me- downs. I mean, I’m not completely ridiculous. Ahem.

Tracy Hougham PhotographyBut then it happened: our last baby, born in April 2012, was a girl. Lucy.

Game on.

My husband’s saving grace is that this baby is my fourth and not my first. I am now at a point in my life when I appreciate less STUFF – less laundry, less clothing, fewer toys. I have six mouths to feed now. We are staring down four college tuitions. I’m ready to be pickier about my shopping habit. I still enjoy shopping just as much, but now I am ready to find things I love and can afford.

[My girl Lucy photographed here by Tracy Hougham Photography. Find more here: tracyhougham.com]

I was familiar with zulily before I had Lucy. I bought a few gifts – I love the personalized plates, for instance – and I had bought the boys several super cute T shirts that stood out from the pack of usual boy clothes fare (stripes, stripes, and a side of stripes). But after Lucy was born, zulily became my playground.

For years, I had pressed my nose against the store windows, both virtual and real, staring longingly at the dresses, the tights, the bows, the little ruffled bottoms and the bloomers and the tulle skirts that only belonged to the girl side of the aisle. I dreamed about tiny ballerinas, fairy gardens, and mary janes. I memorized the names of the girl brands I loved – Baby Nay, Baby Lulu, Jelly the Pug, Trumpette, Mud Pie, Kissy Kissy.

The past six months, I have been a kid in a candy store. I have the sweetest baby girl, and I have had so much fun snuggling her and learning who she is. But I cannot deny that I have also had a ball dressing her. Thanks to zulily, I can afford to buy her some of the special things I used to covet: Hair bows. Smocked bishop dresses. Ruffled floral rompers. Lucy now has quite an impressive closet, stocked in a variety of sizes and colors and styles. I adore every single piece.

I still love baby boy clothes, and I find dressing my boys both a challenge and an adventure. I still hunt for the perfect witty T shirt, sweet corduroys, and fun hoodies for them. But now I have the baby girl I had started to believe I would never have… and the tiny hair bows and the ruffled bloomers never get boring. Neither does the precious baby they adorn.

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