On Giving Away the Baby Clothes

As you know, these past two weeks I've been all about organization. Summer was pretty much a pool/park/picnic free for all and I needed to reign it all in, put away the beach towels and reorganize the closets for fall. Pretty soon we're going to be on a timer to make the bus, little leggies are going to get chilly in shorts and there was a lot (A LOT) of growing done over the summer. So here I was, taking inventory of the closets and the kids clothes, pulling outgrown stuff off of the hangers, folding little pairs of pants and onesies up to put into storage or give away. I had a giant pile down in the playroom of outgrown clothes and was sitting on the floor making two piles: stuff to keep for now and stuff to donate or give to friends or family who have a little one that will fit the stuff. The "keep for now" pile consists of stuff I just can't bear to part with, something a favorite photo was snapped in, stuff that was worn on a favorite day, sentimental stuff that I just can't let go of, for now. And who knows? There could be a fourth baby, and then all of those clothes would come in handy! So. I was sitting there making the pile and Sean comes down to see what I'm up to. "I'm making two piles of this outgrown stuff, one pile to keep and store for now and one pile to donate or give to friends" I explain. He surveyed the situation, "So why is there only one pile? Are you giving it all away?". I laughed, nay, I scoffed at his ridiculousness. "No, THIS is the keep pile!" and I held up a pair of random infant pants of Jack's. "Do you think I would give these AWAY?!?!". I looked at him like he suggested I eat the pants rather than just donate them. At this point Sean started to back away slowly and I went about my business.

It finally (thankfully) dawned on me though when I folded everything up into a brand spanking new bin and started to push it into the storage space when I realized just how many bins were in there. I'm not going to share this with you readers for fear you may contact A&E in an attempt to get me onto an episode of Hoarders, but there are a lot. A LOT of bins full of baby and toddler clothes. Finn's baby clothes (some of which Jack has worn too) and Lev's baby clothes. I have them labeled by age and by gender, and they are all full of clothes that I really just can't bear to give away. I know this because I have gone through them in an attempt to weed out the bins and each time I pull something out I'm like "Oh MAN! It's the little espadrille from when we were in Palm Springs! No I don't know where the other one is but I can't get rid of this!".

Now since having Jack it has only escalated. Things have gone by SO fast this time around, it's like I blinked and he's seven months old. His teeny tiny newborn onesies seem like a distant memory now. Pretty soon I'm going to have to buy actual shoes for him, SHOES! For the BABY! Like I said, maybe there will be a fourth, but maybe there won't. Maybe this is the last time I'll fold up little 3-6 month onesies. When Finn was a baby I didn't have the perspective of how fast it was going to go by. I look at him now, starting first grade, and I can remember when he was Jack's size and I can't wrap my head around how quickly it zipped past. Holding on to Jack's little onesies, the mismatched mini socks, the little hats he never actually wore is like holding on to that size, to that month, that day, that minute, that moment. It's better than a picture, it's a little piece of that time I can hold in my hands and remember when I snapped that particular striped onesie over his little diaper. These are the little items that make up his first months of life, and I feel like if I let go of them I won't be able to remember it as closely in the future.

I have gone through phases where I want to just get rid of it all, I've donated stuff, given stuff away to friends, sold stuff at garage sales. When Finn was a baby he had this little kick gym, he would lay on his back and kick these little pedals and he was obsessed with it. I would lay him down in front of that thing and he would go NUTS on it and it would crack me up. I have a million pictures of him doing it, and I can remember it like it was yesterday, but now, I wish I still had it. I wish I didn't give it away because I can't find one like it anymore. It's like that part of Finn's babyhood just vanished. Evaporated.

In a way though, I'm also trying to hold on to that feeling of being in a good space. You know the feeling, when you have kids it seems like once you get used to a particular stage, it changes. You get that infant thing DOWN, you are an expert, you can change those little diapers in no time flat and you've mastered feeding them and then BOOM. Teething. Throws your whole world off it's axis. Or you have made the transition to toddler bed and things are going great and then, oh hey, night terrors. Sometimes the new phase is easily mastered, sometimes it's an even BETTER stage, sometimes it's not. But it's always a little scary when you're starting a new stage. The new crawling, walking, eating solids, going to preschool, going to high school, heading off to college. Just when you have it all set they grow out of it, they make you learn how to parent them all over again.

Parenting is a constant practice in adapting and learning, and it's also a constant practice in letting go. Getting rid of the bottle, the sippy cup, the pacifier, the training wheels, the training bra, letting them drive off in your car for the first time. I'm going to hold on to some of the kids' stuff, and I'm also going to make room for new stuff. New favorite t-shirts, new soccer uniforms, new ballet tutus, new graduation gowns, new first dance dresses. Hold onto a little bit, enough to remember, and make way for all of the amazing stuff to come. Here's to a fantastic new year for all of you, and if you're in the market for some baby onesies, I've got a few I'm looking to unload. xoxo