Rockin’ the Glasses

Angelina and sons

I need to focus on some children other than my own right now.  Especially since mine just spilled his drink all over his father’s library book   And so I give you Maddox and Pax Jolie-Pitt.  I never realized, but I wonder if they purposely named them both so their names ended in x?  I know, I have way too much time on my hands.

This picture is what life is all about.  This is exactly the kind of super fantastic-ness that the Manolo alluded to in his introductory post.  When the world becomes a place where a kid can’t parade around in silly glasses, then that’s a world I don’t want to live in anymore.

And, how much do I love Maddox and his bad self?  Pax is a cutie as well, although I think that with all the hauling around of children that Angelina does, methinks she has no need for the gym.

Panic! At the Clothing Store

When I found out I was going to have a boy, (and yes, I was one of those anal people who had to know in advance what gender of child I was having) my heart began beating a bit faster.   Mostly due to panic.

Panic, of course, because I was going to have a baby and during that first pregnancy, your mind just sort of boggles around the concept.  You try to grasp what is going to happen to your life, but most imaginings fall short.

And panic because I knew that there were just no good clothes out there for boys.  Well, perhaps there were a few, but I wasn’t sure my bank account was willing to give up quite so much for something that would be outgrown in four months, tops.

Before the parents and people with girls in their lives jump all over me, just stop and think for a second.  When you walk into a children’s clothing store, what do you see?  Are your eyes greeted with hangers upon hangers of rugby polos, or are there dresses and stretch pants and bubble skirts and any other variation of clothing the manufacturers can think of that pertain to feminine dressing?  This was also sagely noted by my esteemed co-blogger, raincoaster.

The bulk of the store always contains girls clothes, usually with the boys relegated to some dark corner in the back.  And depending on the retailer, with or without cobwebs.

It’s sort of like being invited to a party, but when you get there, everyone else is being served caviar and champagne.  You, on the other hand, are lucky to get some stale crackers and warm juice.

Why is this?

The women in these little boys’ lives are plenty willing to spring for nice clothes.  If only we could find them.

Oh sure, there are a few clothing lines that try to tweak those standard polos, graphic tees, and cargo pants.  But there aren’t nearly enough.

Part of my mission here at Teeny Manolo is to help shed light on clothing for boys that is made with style and quality, clothing that sets itself apart from the clones found in countless stores.  But, not too different.  Too different leads to being made fun of and not being invited to birthday parties. 

So, even if it takes me hours days weeks a while to discover clothes that meet the Glinda stamp of approval, I promise I will find them! Eventually!

Thinking Out of the Box, As it Were

I remember my school lunches very vividly. My mother was cutting-edge in the seventies in that she latched on to the health food movement when all of perhaps 1,000 people in the United States were doing it.

I went from bologna sandwiches and chips to peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat with an apple. I was devastated because who wants to trade their Twinkie for an apple? Nobody, that’s who.

I also remember hating my lunches because they sat in my lunchbox, moldering all morning long in the coat room. By the time lunchtime rolled around, anything that was supposed to be cold was nowhere near, and anything that should have been warm was no longer. That seems like it should defy the laws of physics, doesn’t it? How does a cold thing get warm and a hot thing cold in the same box? I say the government should spend some of those research dollars on this topic, don’t you agree?

Anyhoo, lunches have evolved greatly since those days, and it’s high time they did. The paper sack was discarded in favor of a lunch box or reusable bag. Then, the reusable bag/lunchbox added insulation to better ensure that food temperatures stayed true.

Apparently for the hip moms, even those are passe now.

It’s all about the bento. And listen, the debate on whether kids today are more spoiled can be for another day. Today I’m all about the lunches.

These are not necessarily the laquered kind served to you in Japanese restaurants, or even the kind that Molly Ringwald had for her sushi in The Breakfast Club. No, some of these babies are pretty high tech.



I kind of like this because it looks fairly indestructible. You can stack the lidded bowls in the stainless steel canister. To me, stainless steel spells long-lasting, and if I’m going to spend that kind of money on a lunch “system” it had better make it through a year of dropping on the floor by accident. Which as we all know happens way more than you would think. Or perhaps my kid is just a klutz. Don’t answer that. Even on sale, it is a bit pricey.

Or you can be creative like my bloggy friend J, and create your own bento with brightly colored individual containers. Behold the beauty of this balanced lunch:


So, this year, try to do something different with lunches. You just might surprise yourself with your brilliant ideas. And if you have any, please share them with the rest of us!

It’s That Time of Year Again

Sooner than we realize, it will be time for the dreaded school picture.

It used to be that for the rest of eternity, only the top half of the outfit was to be visible.  All the parents of yore had to do was convince their child to wear at least a semi-decent shirt or sweater, and comb their hair.  Depending on the age group, both of those things can be tough. They were then good to go, and the biggest worry was that whatever was deemed in fashion at the time wouldn’t look supremely horrible in twenty years.  Although I think it is some sort of family tradition to go through the photo albums and make fun of the way your parents looked.   And no, I won’t be posting any of my class photos, thank you very much.

The class picture is a torture that everyone at some point is forced to endure. There are basic pointers to follow, such as avoiding white and making sure the remnants of your lunch and/or breakfast are no longer adhering to your face. Even with these well-known safeguards in place, there are those who still manage to bungle it. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you an example of how not to look for the class picture, courtesy of none other than Mr. George Clooney, circa whenever-bad-bowl-cuts-and-large-glasses-may-or-may-not-have-been-hip.  My friends, study this example and learn from his mistakes, I beg of you. 


Even though I am slightly traumatized by this picture, I want George to know that I totally blame his parents.

There will be a quiz on this later.

the cure for the baby birk

BirksWe are agreed, are we not, that however comfortable they may be, Baby Birkenstocks are no more aesthetically pleasing than the adult version? They’re also significantly less fun than typical children’s shoes as well, looking very much like what your stern Germanic podiatrist forces you to wear to correct the problems that surfaced after thirty years on a chorus line.

We are further agreed, I’m sure, that babies and toddlers have the right to comfortable shoes that help their little feets grow straight or curvy in the ways and places that Nature intended, and that such shoes shouldn’t cost a fortune.

Check out poor little Suri Cruise here. She may be smiling on the outside, but you just gotta know that she’s crying on the inside, and no wonder; those shoes belong on the feet of a Thirteenth Century Flemish serf. We at TeenyManolo have scoured the Internet (really, it’s sparkling!) and come up with an attractive, supportive and practical shoe that even a podiatrist’s overprotective mother would love:
the Papush walking shoe:

the Papush

And Francesca at ManoloBig has found the Stride Rite Marissa, a shoe that’s also comfy and supportive, but is as pretty as a pink unicorn as well.

Zappos floral toddler shoes

Practically Perfect

Oh the mandals!

I love almost everything about this picture.  The adorable sleepy baby, the very awesome diaper bag, her purse, the hand holding, the fact that Liev is tough enough to wear his baby in a sling.  So many beautiful things.  Except for one, those mandals! As the Manolo would say, “Ayyyyy!”



Germaine Greer Wants YOUR Teddy!

Well, she doesn’t want it for herself; she simply wants to take it away from your child.
Germaine Greer, Angry Teddy Bear Hater
As she explains in her article in yesterday’s Guardian (titled Cuddly toys are ugly monstrosities – and it’s time we stopped our kids from fetishising them, I kid you not) she grew up without teddies, and just look how she turned out! Why, her interpersonal socialization skills are legendary.

Children haven’t always screamed themselves into conniptions if Teddy or Bunny or Cuddles got left behind. Nowadays, cutesy effigies of animals are apt to turn up almost anywhere; they gaze soulfully from car dashboards, loll in heaps on undergraduate beds, peep out of rucksacks and grace restaurant tables. Teddies and bunnies are taken into exams and sat on the desks, as if to be without them for three hours would induce hysteria and fainting spells. Soft toys are left along with the flowers at the scenes of fatalities. Wherever they are, they are truly hideous, beyond kitsch. By making our children fall in love with such ugliness, we are preparing them for a life without taste…

How to respond…and yes, she’s obviously hoping for a response; for someone so famously elitist, she is startlingly dependent on the masses, otherwise she’d have published that screed at Blogspot, not in the Guardian, or just done what most other people of such inclinations do: xerox a hundred copies at the drop-in centre and hand them out at intersections.

Manni Teddy by Gund

Well, I have puzzled and puzzed till my puzzler was sore, and I think I have come up with the proper response. My first, contrarian impulse was to suggest we pummel the bitter old weasel with an avalanche of sock monkeys and teddys whenever she appears in public.

My second, better suggestion is this: that, to save future generations from turning out the way Germaine Greer has, that we toddle ourselves off to the local toystore (or craft store, if you’re crafty) and purchase/make a stuffed toy, which we donate to a local children’s charity.


Any Children’s Hospital

Project NightNight

Artists Helping Children

Additional suggestions in the comments, plzthxkbai.

There is No Known Cure

I hadn’t expected it really.


But it is that time of year, and of course, there it was.


The Back-to-School sale.


Now, my son is still in preschool, so I had planned on carrying over into fall the majority of his summer clothing. Because where I live, you can wear shorts during the day well into October and sometimes November. But, he had the nerve to go through a growth spurt just at the wrong time.  I scolded him on the way over to the store. “Don’t you know,”  I glared at him through the rear-view mirror “that you are only allowed to grow when the weather has changed?  No more growing in the off-season, Mister!”


When we arrived, I begin looking through the racks, and suddenly, I was no longer aware of my surroundings.  My son could have climbed out of his stroller and attempted to hitchhike his way across the state, and I would have been none the wiser.


The colors and styles of the clothes began to blur, all I could comprehend was that they were 60% off.

And before I knew it, I was standing there with six shirts, four pairs of shorts, a sweater, and a waffled long sleeved Henley.

Nervously, I looked across the rack and saw another mother clutching even more clothes than me.  Her breathing was shallow, and she looked as if she didn’t know exactly where she was.


We had both fallen victim to what experts like to term the “Sale Induced Trance” or SIT for short.  SIT gives us the ability to sort through dozens of items placed in the wrong section with lightning speed.  It also gives us an almost superhuman ability to work out proper percentages in our brains, even if we have to use a calculator to tip at a restaurant.


By some stroke of fortune or perhaps just too much caffeine, I was able to shake off the effects of SIT.  Because even though the Ralph Lauren shirt was only six bucks, it was pink, orange and blue.   Even Mr. Lauren can’t make me purchase something so badly color-coordinated. I put it back on the rack to join its fellow ugly brethren, of which there were more than just a few.


At the checkout register, I caught a glimpse of that same orange, pink and blue combination.  It was my fellow shopper.  I sighed and walked out of the store. SIT had claimed yet another victim.


Sale Induced Trance

Woman exhibiting a classic SIT symptom: the glassy-eyed stare



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