Every year, the girls get bigger... and they start to outgrow their gear. Shoes, clothes and bikes... all of these things need to get bigger with the kids, but unfortunately, it isn't the sort of thing that happens organically. Perhaps there will be a future where the various bits and pieces that they use grow together with the child.... but for the moment, it is a yearly expense to upgrade and grow the kit along with the children.
Sometimes, we splash out and get something really new as a treat... something that probably happened more often with the first child, as you don't have the stuff already. Mostly, we've bought things like bikes on the Dutch second hand market. The Dutch do have a pretty decent second hand, reuse culture... so, quite often you can pick up some nice things there. However, despite that... these things are always a bit pre-loved!
Recently, we had to get a larger bike for the older child. She was too big for the bike that she was using, and so it was next to impossible for her to keep up on bike rides as her legs would be at the wrong angle for efficient power transfer. So, after scouring Marktplaats and unfortunately missing out on a bid for a different bike.... we managed to pick up this nice mint green beauty.
When we picked it up... the guy was telling me how he had bought it for his child from a friend. He was there at the door with his 4 year child, so I was asking if he had an older child. He sheepishly told me that he had completely misjudged the size for children's bikes... and bought this 22 inch bike, one that was about the right size for 8-10 year olds! Even with the seat all the way down, it was WAAAAAAYYYYYY too big for the 4 year old, who was his only child!
Anyway, the bike isn't quite in top-notch condition everywhere. The seat, brakes, whiles and the handlebars are in tip-top condition. But the light needs to be replaced, and the paintwork is chipped and rusted in places. I have to touch up the paint on the bakfiets and the e-bike anyway, so I had to look up how to do that. The kickstand is also quite useless... although, I'm not sure that I have the tool to remove and replace that... I might need to ask a neighbour to see if they have something... or take it to the bike shop.
Thankfully, my kids are really quite grateful for what we give them. Even if it isn't the newest and shiniest or the latest and greatest. I know other kids that are less generous to their parents... and I'm really really happy that mine aren't like that.
My older girls was over the moon about getting a new bike, and is looking forward to touching up the paint with her father. I guess that the act of touching it up and repairing the little bits of rust will give her more attachment to it as well, it really will be her bike that she has fixed up a little bit with some time and care.
Meanwhile, our little one gets so many hand-me-downs from friends and neighbours, and her older sister. Almost all her clothes, and many other things are all second hand. Still, she loves getting "new" things... and the joy is still there, these things are new to her... and it doesn't matter that they have belonged to others in the past. I keep reminding my older daughter to not mention that she had worn something else or that something used to be hers.... The little one will find out one day, but at the moment, there isn't any need to break that spell of excitement!
Hopefully, this sort of appreciation of things will carry through their lives... the idea that new and shiny doesn't always have to be for everything. Only the things that you really value... and that makes it so much more of a treat when you have it in mint-condition!
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