Always Real, Silliness, Wal-Mart

Crossing Over

I am a Walmart shopper, this I freely admit.

I did not start out being a Walmart shopper, it just sorta happened to me, sort of in the same way I got pregnant — I have no idea when it happened,  I didn’t plan for it to happen, it just did. One day I wasn’t and then one day I was.  And I still kind of can’t believe it.

Prior to having a child, I had never been in a Walmart that I can recall.  I was a boutique grocery store shopper. I did not buy my t-shirts at the same place I bought hamburger.  I liked the little grocery stores that stock 37 kinds of mustard.

But then I had a child and I no longer needed cranberry sherry mustard. I needed preemie diapers and formula that cost $25 a can.  And as though divinely orchestrated, just before Sean was born a super-Walmart sprang up a short distance from my house.

I understand that some people have issues with Walmart and I even see their point of view.  However, I needed cheap diapers and formula and hamburger all in one stop and there they were, so what was I to do?  My economic ideals are not all that sturdy when it comes to cheap baby formula.

So then, that is my Walmart back story.  It does not relate to anything hereafter other than to say that I have a history with Walmart.

All that to say, not too long ago I was at Walmart, not buying exotic mustard, unless you think French’s is exotic, and as I was strolling down the big wide center aisle, my cart automatically turned into the baby department where I have been a regular for many years.  For almost seven years, that has been my zone – diapers, formula, little socks, adorable little rompers, play clothes, lavender baby shampoo, crib toys, the occasional lullaby CD and other first-time-mom impulse purchases.

Now perhaps you are wondering how I managed to stay in the baby department for six years and I’ll tell you:  Walmart caters to a big baby.  Sean is a string bean of a boy and when he was five, he could wear 2T. Although, admittedly when it came to long pants, a 2T on a tall 5-year-old  makes for a Steve Urkel fashion statement.  But then, we are Walmart shoppers, so obviously fashion is not a huge concern for us.

As it were on that day, I stood there in the baby zone, in the middle of all that luscious nougat baby stuff with my six-year-old who comes up to my shoulder and I realized I was in the wrong place.  The baby zone was no longer my zone.  I glanced across the aisle, towards my new zone, the boy zone with all those big not-adorable clothes, and I dropped my chin to my chest and wept silently. No I didn’t weep, because for Pete’s sake, it is just clothes, but I was sort of stunned.  The thought of crossing over to the other side rocked my boat just a little.  I could see from clear across the aisle that there were no cute little socks or luscious anything over there, just big boy stuff, and I knew that I wasn’t going to like the new zone.

And I don’t like the new zone.  Unlike the baby zone, there is nothing impulse-purchase worthy to be had. One t-shirt is the same as the next.

As a mother, this sixth year has been one of many changes, firsts and milestones.  Most mothers wistfully remember the day they sent their baby off to 1st grade.  I remember the day I had to cross over the aisle in Walmart.

47 thoughts on “Crossing Over

  1. As always, perfectly said….the same thing happened at Target 😉 Hope this year goes very well for you both, and (greedily) that I get to go on some of that journey with you. How is he liking school this week? You?

    * * *

    Thanks for asking! I like the routine of school, I like that we walk to school, I love his teacher. Sean would say he likes to walk to school, loves his teacher and a little cutie named Sarah.

  2. HOW are you NOT one of the “celebrity” bloggers? You are still one of my most favorite writers and I think it’s a crime that people like you are not being offered book deals (unless there are developments of which I am unaware) while others seem to cultivate fame effortlessly using bt appying the Paris Hilton principle to their blogging. Ah well…that said…15 is even harder. You think it won’t happen, because you’ve worked hard at communication, but suddenly, one day, your child us a stranger.

    * * *
    Aaaw, ‘dems nice words BA. I’m not “celebrity” blogger material. My turf is on the fringe.

  3. My big milestone this last week was that I attended my last back to school night ever. My son is in college and my daughter is a Senior. My sister on the other hand is attending her first back to school night this week. Big milestones and big contrasts.

  4. I feel the same way every time we move up a section! I always look at the smaller (cuter) clothes we just left on the other side. And now we’re in juniors. I thought I knew what a basic top or pair of pants was supposed to look like, but these days I find myself saying “what’s that supposed to be?” as I hold up various things with strings and straps and tears aplenty. Sigh! I miss the other side too. : )

  5. I have yet to lose that feeling. I still look longingly at the baby aisle. My kids are older teens–instead of finding the cutest clothes, I have to search for appropriate clothes.

  6. I remember that day. It was the day that I realized my boys would not match on Easter Sunday as they had for the last 3 years. It was a sad day for me too.

  7. I hear you. It’s so disappointing for both boys and girls clothing. Especially the adorable clothing for little girls. It’s tough to find unique things for my 8, 10, and 11 year olds, unless I rummage through the boutiques, and spend a ton of cash.

  8. Michael’s mommy is right there with you on this one. The other stop we’ve been having to make at our retailer is the tissue aisle.

  9. Oh, I remeber crossing over, too. While it’s not quite as much fun, it’s pretty hilarious sometimes, buying skinny jeans for my boy. And deoderent. I could have written a whole blog post about that.


  10. In a couple of years, I will be crossing over for not the first time, but for the last time. My baby is growing up so fast! 🙁 About the same time that happens, I will start buying clothes for my oldest son in the same department that I buy clothes for his father in. I might weep at that point. The days are (sometimes) long, but the years… they are SO short.

  11. Mine was in a Foley’s (I don’t think those even exist anymore… consumed by some other store-in-a-box) when I realized all of my children were out of toddler clothes. I call “across the aisle” the “stinky boy” section — as evidenced by Amy’s remark. I still gaze at the little people clothes. Maybe I need someone else in my house that will fit in those…

  12. I am almost to your point of crossing over, AM. We haven’t done it yet, but I can see the writing on the wall.
    As for my big girls, I am having to buy training bras for the oldest. Talk about your moments!

  13. I feel ya sister. For me it’s Target rather than Walmart, but the rest is the same. The day 5T’s no longer fit my firstborn and I had to go across to the “big boy” side was a sad day indeed. I’m out of shampoo for them half the time because they only put baby shampoo (which really works best on their hair still) in the baby aisle and I now have no need to be there on a regular basis.

    I miss seeing the latest, greatest sippy cup or toddler plate, not to mention improvements in diaper bags and such.

    And you’re right, big boy clothes just don’t inspire impulse shopping (my checkbook is grateful). There’s nothing sweet or cozy about the shirts with superheros or cartoon characters from shows which aren’t age-appropriate anyway.

    Just like the only time I miss having a girl is when the aisles are filled with holiday-confection dresses, the only time I miss having a baby is when I see those infinitely soft, snuggly, built-in-baby-scent little clothes.

  14. It’s funny, I was in wal-mart the other day and sorta realized that it has been a long time since I was in the baby aisle. (my oldest is brick shaped). It happened so gradually I didn’t even notice.

  15. Tom is correct. I am right there with you. I want the “Mommy’s little monkey” T-shirts but he just doesn’t fit in a T4-5 anymore. Not to mention the other kids at big boy school will make fun of him. Take care and know that you are not alone.

  16. I’ve had two moments- when I realized that I had not been to BRU in months (they _knew_ me there) and this past weekend I was at Gymboree. I love Gymboree and when my daughter hit size 3 was thrilled I could find stuff for her on either side of the girls area. This weekend it dawned on me this is probably one of if not the last time I’ll be getting her anything from the Little Girls side.

    My baby girl is one of the oldest kids at daycare now. She’s doing so many things and just so interesting and if it was possible I’d think I was even more in love with her now.

    Still bittersweet though- because she was such a wonderful baby as well and she’ll be our only one. I love seeing what tomorrow brings but they just seem to come too fast.

  17. My Wal-Mart is Carter’s. I love walking into that store and drinking in all the cute and adorable and sweet innocence.

    This fall, for the first time, my oldest can’t fit into Carter’s clothes. My six-year-old isn’t far behind her. My best guess is he has one year left.

    It’s part of the reason I have two more kids (ages 4 months and 2 years). I wasn’t ready to cross over yet.

    * * *
    Carter’s has the best ever slogan: If only they’d just stay little longer…

  18. Oh you just brought back a flood of memories for me – beautifully, I might add. I remember the sadness when my boys clothes’ sizes no longer contained a “T”.

  19. I remember when, after my sonogram, I had to cross over from the baby girl dresses side of the store to the little boy pants and shirts side and I was rather wistful.

    Now I’m shopping in the men’s section for my teen and wearing his hand-me-downs.

    And how about when they outgrow Toys R Us? That store used to be our big day out place. But not any more.

  20. Oh AM, I just love you but you’re killin’ me (in a way for which I will return many, many times all the same…)

    My sweet boy will be four in–oh no! at the *end* of this month!–and his sister is not quite two. STILL, I watch him, I watch her, I watch them together, and I think, “how in the world are you already this old????”

    I am totally dreading the crossover. I dread every single one of them. (But, then, the other side always seems to have lots of good stuff to miss when it’s gone, too. Thank God for every second of all the mundane and blessed good stuff!)

    Thank you!

  21. I remember crossing the aisle with my older son. It was at a Boscov’s and the bigger boy section was actually across the store. It was such a long walk over there. When I finally arrived, I was literally standing in one place looking around, taking everything in, and trying not to cry. A saleswoman came over and asked if I needed help. I told her it was my first time and I just needed a moment. She said it happens to every mom on their first trip out of the baby section and to take my time until I was ready. How sweet and knowing she was….

  22. Just wanted to say “hi” and that I feel your pain. The house is quiet again after a busy summer. It takes me a week or two to know what to do again.

  23. I just have to say I agree with Cyndi – the second commenter(is that even a word?) I don’t know how else to say it – but your words are so good! You have such a gift of taking the ordinary, understanding the importance of it and expressing it so beautifully. You are one of the few bloggers I have bookmarked and look forward to all of your posts. I admit – when I have to wait a week I’m disappointed – but never disappointed when you do post. After all – you do have a life! LOL Glad Sean is loving first grade.

  24. For me, that realization hit hard when I passed Babies R Us. And I had NO REASON to shop there, except for other people’s baby showers.
    Even though I have other (older) children, it’s especially difficult knowing that THIS IS YOUR BABY that’s growing up, and there are no more behind him. I try to cherish every moment.

    But I still hate Walmart.

  25. Kay, I agree with you about juniors. Such tacky, ugly clothes and expensive. We have a resale shop that supplies a lot of clothes for my daughter. We are able to find designer petite misses that are more conservative.

  26. It is so good to be reading Antique Mommy again! I so look forward to your posts. And it is nice to know that I am not alone in raising a sweet stringbean! My son is 7 and can still wear his 3T pajamas. So they’re a little short, the waist finally fits! That is the problem with crossing over, I think the retailers expect the kids to have gained 30 pounds once the aisle has been travelled. Thank heavens for adjustable waist pants!

  27. Grandmas feel the same way. Nothing cute in size 7 for boys and nothing that covers much in size 10 girls. I sometimes just go and act like I belong there. My daughter wants footed pj’s for Christmas. She just turned 42 so maybe things go around?

  28. I love the way you write. You make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. And although my children are teenagers already, I love to reminisce with you of life in the “diaper aisle.” I was just like you! My son is now 14 and he wears a size 11 men’s shoe. He towers over me and I silently weep inside that he is not a baby anymore and I haven’t been able to carry him for a very long time… (sniff)

  29. The “fringe” is the prettiest and most striking part by far of garments lucky enough to be adorned with it.

    I get this! We crossed over for the my daughter this year, too. Only we crossed over at Target, and I had to walk right past the sexy lingerie dept (clearly designed and marketed for the small derriere’d young chickies) to get there. So I left feeling sad that dresses Bean’s size no longer come with cute matching bloomers, AND that as she EXITS the bloomer stage, I’m headed back into it. *SIGH*

  30. Loved your post. . .MY boy was wearing 18 month clothes at 6 months. . .it was hard to keep him sweet and pastel like I wanted. I feel your pain. . .mine is now using DEODERANT. Has been since last spring when I realized that it was no longer ripe 8 year old I smelled, but 13 year old basketball player. He’s not 13–he’s only 9, but evidently I had to jump from lavender chamomile to Old Spice pretty fast. Ugh.

  31. Just be thankful he is a boy. The cross over at size 5T girl is to teenage looking clothes that show to much, advertise the wrong attitude and push everyone to grow up to fast. At least with a boy you can still buy just a plain t shirt and jeans.

    * * *
    Oh I know. Even when I have to buy a “girl” birthday present I find there is not much of which I approve. These days I opt for the art kits instead of the Barbies and such. It’s safer that way.

  32. I’ve been crossing over all summer. Suddenly a trip to the bookstore isn’t “fun”, the walmart toy aisle holds no interest, no one wants to swing or slide at the playground, the dollar store isn’t disneyworld… and i don’t know what to do. It makes the baby zone a place I want to hide in while my teens are busy at newbury comics and gamestop. Sigh.

  33. I love this post. I’m a new mom to a 5 month old (who’s almost grown out of his size 9 months clothes!) and every time I have to pack up a size he’s grown out of, and put the new bigger clothes in his dresser drawer, I get a little weepy. Which, of course, makes my husband laugh.

  34. the worst, absolute worst is when you leave all the toys behind- sniff. I miss Legos. Now it’s all ipod, and itunes, and ipad, and iphone………..sigh,

  35. And here’s something else. Those clothes are suddenly more expensive (as well as being not cute and not luscious). A 5T t-shirt is considerably cheaper than a 5 t-shirt in the big kids section. No fair.

  36. Such a well-written post. Thank you.

    Wal-mart, along with lots of other stores, do cater to a rather square-shaped child. We have to look high and low for clothes skinny enough for our stringbean.

    One good thing about girls – this summer at 3 1/2 my daughter wore her 18-month size long pants as capris. She was still fashionable!

  37. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and so enjoy reading it. I experienced a similar sadness when my little one, now 6, made the move from “Toddler Girl” to “Girl” at Target. It was when I realized she was no longer my baby. I’ve never shopped at Wal-Mart, mainly because I have never lived near one. I had never been to Target before I had children eight years ago but I am now a die-hard Target fan. I even – horror – buy groceries there! There is something about becoming a parent that makes us more practical.

  38. I can so relate to this. It’s been a while since we left the baby section. My recent adjustment came in the form of having to buy bras for my girl, and those “other” products that will go unnamed. And as the mom of an only child, like yourself, these transitions seem so much more difficult because THIS IS IT. Sigh …..

  39. Oh my goodness!! I had the same experience a few years back – love that you put my thoughts/feelings in writing for me! ha!

    Love, love, love your writing – it’s been a while since I stopped by. And I’m so glad to be back! 🙂

  40. I hated that moment! It’s leaves a little hole. And I have been plugging that hole by buying baby gifts for other people, haha! It’s all just so bittersweet, isn’t it?

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