January 2014

I’m not too fab for a nice hand me down.  My husband once freaked thinking I might be bringing home lice when I brought home amazing goodies at a kids consignment store.  But really, once you wash them there should be nothing to worry about.  I’ve happily welcomed hand me downs from friends too and have added to Juliet’s wardrobe on the cheap in this way.

So when I heard about this NYC event where it’s basically a giant mommy trading event, I had to check it out.  Little Swappies granted me a press pass (thank you!) and today I excitedly trekked over there in hopes of a good scavenger hunt.  The anticipation of a good deal and the adventure of heading out on my own for once, without baby and without husband was like adrenaline in this shopaholic’s body.

 

little swappies

 Photo credit:  Sofia Lynn Photography

Here’s how it works.  You bring in a minimum of 5 pieces of like-new, clean baby items 0-6years old or maternity clothes, kids toys or books.  ( I went way over the minimum and brought in an entire shopping bag full of stuff and the other moms that I noticed did too).   Pay a non-refundable $20 in advance or $25 at the door, check out the sponsor booths and enter raffles while they organize the drop-offs by size, then browse the selection and take whatever you need (they give you a tote bag to collect items and bring them home with you).  Reception and organization is 10-11:15 and the doors to “shop” open until 12 noon.

Before attending, I worried that it would be like one of those infamous Filene’s Basement bridal sample sale rushes where you get stampeded in the process.  It is NY after all.  Much to my surprise though, the crowd was civilized … and this was basically a free for all.  I’ve been to NY sample sales where the women clawed and jumped over their own kids to pay hundreds of dollars on the last designer item. I even have a sample sale battle wound as a result of the vulture-like craze near freebies can engender.

Perhaps it was the speech right before opening the doors that reminded us how the partner charity was benefiting from the event.  Perhaps it was too early in the morning to get that feisty.  Or perhaps it was because it was a holy Sunday.  Nobody tripped anyone else, no one ran, and no one stole anything out of my hands.  People were shockingly courteous from what I saw.  Here’s a snapshot of one table area.

 

little swappies event in nyc

little swappies

Here is the raffle table (everyone gets one raffle ticket and can enter to win a raffle of their choice).  I entered to win a free baby photo shoot but there was really no chance in winning that since I didn’t stay til the end.  I started feeling guilty for being out and leaving the babysitting duties to my hubby so I took off early.  little swappies

They also offered free babysitting and stroller parking as well as a coat hanging area (leave all of the above at your own risk).

little swappies nyc

And then for those who really love freebies, there are sponsor tables that you can browse to pick up more items (as if the goody bag weren’t enough).

Here is what I came home with.

little swappies new yorkbaby clothes

I was most excited about the items that were apparently never  used and brand new.  The blue summer smocked outfit, the red heart long sleeved shirt, the elephant toy and smaller blocks all had tags and or were in their original packaging.  Score!!

So here are some of my Little Swappies tips:

  • Know before you go.  Review your child’s closet to see what she has and what she needs.  Make a mental list. I for instance, knew I needed outfits in the 18month -2 year range but would also take any cute shoes in the 12month+ range.   Having also done  my research on age-appropriate toys, I knew what the next developmental toys in Juliet’s collection should be.  Search for blocks and see if there are any interesting board books to add to her collection.  She loves to turn pages and I need them to be sturdy enough for her little hands not to rip.
  • Leave the kid(s) at home unless you are OK with leaving them with the free babysitting service.  It’s too much hassle to lug around the extra weight for the two hours you are there or navigate narrow aisles with a stroller.  And you don’t want anything to slow you down.  The tables 6 months and up empty out pretty quickly so you have to look and act fast.
  • Skip the Starbucks stop on the way there, save yourself the money and just show up because they have free Starbucks waiting for you there!  There are most likely also going to be some edible samples from the different companies that are trying to promote themselves too.
  • Leave the hubby behind.  It isn’t fun to be surrounded by so much estrogen.  Plus there aren’t many chairs in the waiting lounge area so he’ll either have to stand around wishing  he was instead home in front of the TV or follow you around like a sad puppy.  Give yourself some me time and relish in the girly hunt!
  • Enjoy the sponsor tables but make sure to head to the entrance doors around 20-30minutes before they open otherwise, you’ll be in a panic at the end of the line wondering if your sizes will have run out by the time you make it through the doors.
  • Most moms live in them already but just in case, wear comfy shoes.  Standing on your 4′ heels is no fun when in line.   And hello, this is a mommy swapping event.  There is no need to dress to impress.  Who are you kidding?  We all know you live in leggings and flats everyday anyways!

 

 

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Being new to the mom scene and having to make new mommy friends is much like dating online.  You have to put yourself out there to find a companion, or better yet, your soul mate.  After 10months of physically being away from NYC and then being too busy dealing with the apartment renovation to really socialize, I’m excited to branch out and bond with other moms.  At the risk of sounding corny, I need a friend – a mom friend.  And just like when I was single on Match, I’ve got my list of base criteria.   I don’t want  just any mom.   I want a mom who lives in my neighborhood, a mom with kid(s) around J’s age, a mom with a sense of humor and style and a mom who is in her 30s like me.   Is this asking too much?

So I did a little research, signed up for some appropriate meetup.com groups, eblasted my apartment database with an introduction and play date interest and paid a $50 due for a neighborhood mommy database all in hopes of meeting Ms. Right.  My husband accused me of being pitiful.  I’m not.  Am I??  Isn’t this what new moms do?!

I’m having flashbacks to my Match.com days, as I find myself writing my online profile.  How do I present myself without seeming too needy or desperate?  Did I say enough?  Did I say too much?  Will I attract the right kind?  How many first dates will I have to go on before finding “the one?”

nyc mom

I think I really screwed things up the other day.  I met this woman who seemed every bit what I am looking for in a new friend:  confident, fun, smart, motivated, stylish, hip, pretty even and woah my neighbor!  I excitedly got her number under the premise of following up on some information she had given me and possibly too eagerly texted her a follow-up and invite to have coffee sometime.  No response.  My heart sunk a little when a few days then a week passed and still every time I looked at my phone like a rejected teenager, there was no response text, no call, not even a break-up, you’re-not-my-type answer.  Then, one day I bumped into her in the elevator and while I played it cool, she akwardly explained she had been too busy to respond.  I conscientiously prevented my eyes from rolling around like they so wanted to and listened to the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech.  Of course, I couldn’t get my husband’s voice out of my head..”this is pitiful” he would retort.  Then revealingly, she mentioned being sorry she couldn’t respond to my 10 texts.  “10 texts?!”  I sent her 4 sentences in one text and a follow-up one after.  What a diss!  Was she making fun of me with this exaggeration?  Is this how I turned her off from ever responding? Or was she truly that busy?   Ouch.  And oops.

I guess, all I can do is pick up my head and move on.  There are after all, plenty of fish in the sea as they say, right?  In fact, I’ve already got some new mom contacts that I’ve been emailing through the paid network which has my hopes up high.  But now I’m second guessing myself.  Is it too soon to respond to the email?  Will I seem too eager?  When is it OK to ask them out on a date?  And when is it appropriate to bring them home?

So many questions.  I need a Hitch for the mommy dating scene.  ‘Til then, I guess I’ll be learning through more trial and error.

 

 

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It’s been 10 months since I’ve had baby Juliet which basically means that by now, I am very very tired.  That’s what months of sleepless nights, relentless parenting and constant worrying will do to you.  New Years Eve served to amplify how my life had changed.  The old me that used to take a nap during the day, dress up to go out and spend the wee hours dancing the night away was nowhere to be found.  When hubby agreed to watch the baby, I actually jumped at the opportunity to clean the bathroom.  (You never  have time to finish all your to dos when you have a baby).  Yea, I cleaned the bathroom on New Years Eve.  And instead of getting dressed up, we hung out in pajamas all night and found ourselves surrounded with milk bottles instead of champagne.  Baby was the only one drunk.  And at midnight, she vomited and made us clean it up.

black and white dress

As if that weren’t lame enough, we spent new years period dealing with shit – literally.  Hubby clogged up our bathroom toilet so bad that two different maintenance guys couldn’t clear it up.  We even bought 3 plungers and nothing worked.  What’s worse is that when we plunged the toilet, poo came up the shower drain and left the most disgusting puddle.  This of course had to happen when my out-of-town friend came to visit.  My hubby and I lamented at the “crappy” timing and figured we were “shit out of luck.”  I had no idea what we were going to do when she wanted to take the full house tour when she stopped by.  Then brilliantly, out of the blue, hubby looks her in the face and busts out the perfect line, “We’d show you our new bathroom, but we keep all our shit in there.”  I just looked up at him incredulously and wondered how he had crafted such a perfect excuse.

In the end, we celebrated: surviving our first year of parenting, the accomplishment of having changed thousands of diapers, and being able to keep the baby alive – together.  We did it.  And there was a lot to be thankful for.  We had a cute, healthy baby with an easygoing temperment, beautiful new apartment and the ability to renovate it to match our dreams -not to mention tons of fun memories from 2013.  The cliche’ is true.  Parenting is hard but it is rewarding.  The life changes and sacrifices you make are ones you never regret.

How did you celebrate?

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