I have a bit of a tom boy. She does not like dresses, tights, nice shoes, fancy hair things, or anything remotely restrictive in her attire. Shopping for the dress that will be second in importance only to her wedding gown with this child is not going to be fun.
To make matters worse, this child is not your average sized kid. She is, after all, my child. I believe her pediatrician calls her an “efficient absorber” – meaning that what she consumes is absorbed very well, and stored for future use. She would make an excellent caveman.
We began shopping on Saturday with my ever patient stepmom. We went to a dress shop I’ve been going to for special occasion dresses for as long as I’ve had children. I called ahead of time to see how they’re selection of half size dresses was, and was assured they had plenty. After a frustrating hour or so, we left empty handed, with a disgruntled kid who wanted no part of any more dresses. She was begging at this point to consider converting to Judaism, and when she found out about Hebrew school and a Bat Mitzvah, I swear the child renounced God altogether and declared herself an atheist.
I took the the little heathen next to David’s Bridal. They had a ton of white dresses, none of which were Eilis’ size, but some of which could be ordered in her size. They could not tell me which ones could be ordered in her size, and squeezing her into dresses that were clearly too small was no fun. At some point, she suffered a complete meltdown, crying in the store and attempting to walk home. I told her she might get picked up by Baptists, and be forced not only to attend Church AND Sunday school, but also not be allowed to drink or dance or whatever it is that Baptists do and don’t do. That kept her with me – although still in tears.
At the mall, we found out that Sears had NO Communion dresses, and Penney’s only had regular sizes. Boscov’s and Macy’s had none, either, much to Eilis’ sheer delight. We ended the disappointing day with lunch. How’s that for a fat mentality?
Yesterday, armed with renewed hope and my mom, who was spared the torture of the Saturday experience, we headed into South Philly – which I have been told is the First Holy Communion dress capital of the world. We went into the St. Jude Shop with such optimism, only to have all hope dashed when they had such a small selection of plus sized dresses, but then again when the size Eilis fit into perfectly on Saturday was not fitting her here.
As we turned to leave the shop, one of the women who worked there recommended we try Edie’s Children’s Corner at 2nd and McKean streets in South Philly. With nothing to lose but time, we headed over that way. The shop is jam packed with everything you might need for a child. Clothes, hats, pajamas, school uniforms are bulging out of every corner and off of every shelf. The best part was the woman who worked there. She was so incredible, and so understanding of the difficulties of shopping for a plus sized child. She made recommendations and reassurances, and she was so prepared for Eilis to be crabby and uncooperative. They gave us a soft cotton slip to put on Eilis so she didn’t have any itching or scratching going on from the dress. They put gloves on Eilis so she was free to touch things. They let her stand up, sit down, twirl in the dresses to make sure they were comfortable. And best of all, when I said we needed a size 12.5 for Eilis, she didn’t believe it! And she was right. We got a 10.5!
So here’s the dress and the veil. I couldn’t get Eilis to put it on to model it – you’ll have to wait for the actual event to do that.