Little people, big bucks 

Touring higher-end baby shops

click to enlarge CRIB IN THE ROUND: At Stork Shop.
  • CRIB IN THE ROUND: At Stork Shop.
OK, so I promise I’m not going to be one of those pregnant women/new mothers who completely loses the ability to talk about anything but the little monster — excuse me, miraculous new life — that’s on its way.

However. Since it seems like about 80 percent of the women I know between the ages of 25 and 40 are either pregnant, working on it or on maternity leave, I don’t feel quite so self-centered writing one tiny little shopping column about baby stuff. Besides, as dreary and gray as January has been, we could all use a healthy dose of squee.

So let’s start with the most squeeful item of all, from the Stork Stop: A big, round, canopy crib, outfitted entirely in ruffly pink from top to bottom. It’s just the thing to satisfy the most out-of-control of princess obsessions. (And currently on sale for only $1,095.)

There’s plenty more at the Stork Stop, which opened last summer at Markham and Chenal by Firehouse Subs. Unlike the other local baby shops, this one carries things like strollers and car seats and baby-proofing hardware as well. There’s a lovely wooden high chair ($217), which just looks so much easier to clean up than the padded plastic kind with all the little crevices. But I spent most of my time looking at the strollers — from Combi. I really like them because they’re a more streamlined and stylish than the hulking behemoths I’ve seen at Target and Toys-R-Us. They’re a little more expensive — the basic models run $99 for the stroller and $179 for the matching car seat — but I’d pay it, they look so much easier to deal with. If you’ve got bargains on the brain, they had a couple of fairly large racks of clearance clothes too.

On the less practical front, a beautiful silk christening dress also caught my eye — although after seeing the havoc an exploding diaper once wrought on a friend’s heirloom christening gown, I’m thinking of fashioning something out of a white trash bag when the time comes. Cut a couple of armholes, cinch it up around the neck — no worries.

Moving on: Next stop, Tuck and Cover (315 N. Bowman). This store is also fairly new, and carries furniture and decor for older kids as well as babies. All in-stock bedding and furniture is 20 percent to 70 percent off through the end of the month, including 30 percent off all chairs and table/chair sets.

My favorite items here were the DwellBaby crib bedding sets. They’re on the pricy side ($350 or so for a 4-piece set), but if you’re not so much into frou-frou, they’re great — modern prints and colors, designs you wouldn’t necessarily mind having in your own bedroom. Plus, they’re on sale.

If you’re looking for a fun gift, check out the Bella Tunno bib/burp cloth sets ($30) — in all sorts of crazy patterns, from stripes to dots to ’60s florals.

I also found something that will definitely find its way under our Christmas tree a little further down the line: A wooden Wheelybug ($78), the hands-down cutest riding toy I’ve ever seen. Choose from a ladybug, a bee and what I’m fairly certain was a cow.

Speaking of things for later: I can pretty much guarantee that at some point my husband will drag home the kids’ loft bed with slide ($300) from the Unpainted Furniture Center (12111 W. Markham). In fact, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t build a grown-up version for himself. The store actually has a huge selection of cribs, changing tables and other baby-related furniture at decent prices — it’s worth checking out. Cribs start at $300, changing tables at $179, from what I saw.

My final stop was Lads and Ladybugs on JFK Boulevard in Park Hill. A big sign in the window advertises a semi-annual clearance and floor-sample sale, which lasts through the end of January. Among the bargains: 25 percent off fur-trimmed leather Robeez booties (regularly $37) and 50 percent off Bumble Bag diaper bags (regularly $125) — lots of fun, mod patterns, no chicks or duckies here.

The store also has several unisex crib bedding sets — increasingly hard to find these days.

On the gift front, there’s a $20 “baby on the go” snack set, which includes four sippie cups, two bowls, two snack cups and two sets for forks and knives all packed in a zippered pouch. And at the risk of incurring months of mockery from my co-workers, I’ll admit to being a sucker for anything designed to make babies look like animals — so I barely resisted grabbing a pair of Flipper Slippers ($10), soft little velour booties that, yes, look like frog feet.

• A brief note: the three RK Collections stores — RK, Splurge and Impulse — are having a “spring cleaning” sale, with 30 percent off lots of regularly priced denim, winter and holiday merchandise, and an extra 15 percent off clearance items. The sale ends Sunday, Jan. 28

Don’t judge me.





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