Michael and I recently joined the Brussels Childbirth Trust - a non-profit, English-speaking organization here in Brussels that offers all sorts of services for young families in Brussels. We're starting pre-natal courses through this organization this week, and they also organize playgroups and events for babies and toddlers (and their parents) after the birth. This weekend, they held one of their bi-annual "nearly new" sales, so Michael sacrificed his lunch break in order to dig through tables of baby clothes, toys, books and equipment. Since Michael has a limited lunch break, we set out a strategy to get in and out as quickly as possible. Priorities were English books and newborn clothes that are only ever worn for a few weeks.
The sale started at 1:30 and came with a warning to "show up early in order to get the good stuff", so we arrived at about 1:35. The line to get into the place already reached all the way to the main street, and people were streaming into the line quickly. We waited in the line for 10-15 minutes (luckily it wasn't raining), and paid our €1 fee to get in and join the mob! It was packed wall-to-wall with people clustered around the clothing tables, people trying to manoeuvre through the crowd carrying high chairs or rocking horses or bassinets, and Michael's favorite - people stopped in the middle of a travel lane to have a chat. The first table was the books table, and Michael and I both managed to muscle into a spot and start sifting through the options. Michael's best finds were a dinosaur pop-up book and an "I spy" picture book based on fairy tales. I got two books about fairies and a couple of others that looked like they had nice illustrations.
Next up: Clothing! We started making our way toward the newborn table at the other end of the room, but before we could get there Michael got frustrated by the slow walkers and pregnant women not moving quickly enough and headed off to the rack of 3-6 month clothing. I eventually made it to the newborn table and started to pick out little onesies and sleepers, along with all the other pregnant women asking each other how many hats a baby needs and if it's even worth it to buy socks. Michael eventually joined me with his selections of outfits "for the summer" when the baby gets a bit bigger. We have realized two things: the first is that it is hard not to buy all pink things when you're shopping for a little girl, and the second is that we are both suckers for anything with winnie-the-pooh on it.
At the end of the day we ended up with 10 books and 21 outfits for €72 euros - not a bad deal at all, and a good start to both the library and the wardrobe! The next sale is in March, and we're already writing down the next battle plan.
In the meantime, Finnigan can't wait for the new arrival - she definitely knows that something is up now!