Small Change
If you're still buying brand-new clothes for your kid, you've gotta be a brand-new parent. Early in the game, we learned that it's pointless to dress up little Sophie in that $75 Baby Lulu dress with matching hat and diaper cover. Five minutes later, the dress is drenched -- either from the top of Sophie or the bottom. But we still love Baby Lulu and all the other fabulous baby clothes taunting us from department store racks -- so when we're jonesing for a junior designer fix, we head to Small Change. This used baby/kids' clothing store is strategically located in the heart of Scottsdale, right near all those moms silly (and wealthy) enough to buy retail. For just a few bucks, we can snatch up a nifty, barely worn outfit (the buyers at Small Change are very picky, we learned when we tried to sell them Sophie's soiled castoffs) and have some money left over for the toy and video section. Small Change also has a nice selection of maternity clothing and big-ticket baby items like strollers and cribs.

Teach those babies how to shop early!

BEST WAY TO KEEP THE KIDS HAPPY DURING DINNER

Wikki Stix

Some people have nightmares that they're back in school, naked, about to fail a test. We have nightmares that we're out to dinner with our kids. Let's face it: Fine dining isn't big among the toddler set. And so when we do venture out, we bring along a suitcase-size bag stuffed with art supplies and toys. Usually, that engages our youngster until the menus arrive. The crayons most restaurants offer are under the table by the time the chairs are pushed in. That's why we were delighted when the hostess at P.F. Chang's handed us a package of Wikki Stix on a recent visit. The "twistable, stickable, buildable, playable" sticks -- the brain child of Phoenicians -- look like brightly colored, oversize candle wicks. Turns out, you can twist them into all sorts of shapes, then untwist them and do it again. They're non-toxic, so it was okay when one disappeared.

Next time, we'll ask for two packages. We wanted to play with the Wikki Stix, but the toddler didn't want to share.

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