Sometime during my second trimester, the urge to acquire a sweater dress and leggings gripped me. I think it may have had something to do with the pure coziness of a gigantic sweater, but I can’t be sure. I never did find that perfect ensemble; until Finland. Leggings are EVERYWHERE. Or at least, on everyone. Where exactly the entire population of Helsinki was purchasing said leggings was a mystery.

Having made a few cursory attempts to find them in various stores with Husband, I decided a more in-depth search was necessary. So Little Man and I ventured to Itäkeskus, where there is a ridiculously large mall. I think it took almost ten minutes of walking just to find a store that looked as if it held the possibility of leggings. Eventually, I stumbled into H&M. After striking out in the dressy section, I attempted to maneuver the stroller between racks to another part of the store. Strollers of course, being big and bulky, do not always fit nicely between clothing racks (even in European stores, which seem to be designed to allow easy stroller access).

As I bumped and turned, I realized the rack I was stuck on was full of those elusive leggings I’d been searching for. Finally!! I chose one of each color; dark grey, light grey, and black. This is after all, Finland. I did notice that the sizes only went up to Large. Knowing that I fit into a large on a good day, and without the remaining baby weight, I resigned myself to not being too hopeful. But I might as well try. Lo and behold, they fit! Granted, they were a bit tight, but with a sweater dress over top, who was to know? Besides, I’d decided that since I’d recently had a baby, who was going to tell me what to wear and what not to? Who cares? One thing I’ve learned over the years is that most people are too self involved to notice much about other people. So even if I did feel a little self conscious, I’d put on a confident face and make it work, damn it.

I don’t know if H&M didn’t have sweater dresses, or if I just didn’t look hard enough, but I did manage to find T-shirt dresses. Again, only up to size Large. A bit snug, but then again, I usually wore snug T-shirts. This time, it just showed off my hips.

My search being over, Little Man and I made our way to the Kassa (cash register) to check out. The nice lady (who spoke English, in case you’re wondering; most people who deal with the public speak English), rang me up and I put it on a credit card. (Husband and I had gone to the bank the week prior to set up a joint account, but my bank card had yet to arrive.) The receipt printed and I was ready to sign it. They use chip cards here, and as long as you have a PIN, you don’t need a signature. Apparently this particular card does not have a PIN. Nice Lady looked at the receipt and asked for my ID. Panic. Of course I didn’t have my ID with me, why would I? I used the handy pocket in the stroller in leu of my purse, and never did put my passport in it. (Clearly, I’m okay with my credit card being stolen, but not my passport!)

Trying to stay calm, I asked if she could put the items on hold until I came back with my ID. Of course she could. So away I strolled, my hands empty (except for the stroller handle), and my heart full of longing. I really wanted those leggings! Little Man and I journeyed back home, and after taking care of some homely duties, trekked back to Itäkeskus. When I explained to a different nice lady that I had items on hold and said that I’d needed my ID, she apologized profusely and said that there had been a mix up. There was an old rule that if there was no PIN associated with your credit card, you needed an ID, but that it’s no longer necessary. *face palm* She said that she was very sorry that I had to make the trip twice with my baby. Little Man didn’t seem to mind; I think he rather enjoyed getting out.

At last, I had my leggings and dress! Just in time for fall, and perfect under my new knee-length coat. If I can’t speak Finnish (yet), at least i can dress like a Finn.


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