Tomorrow my daughter will officially be three months old. I kept this precious little girl alive and (more or less) happy for a quarter of a year. Not bad for someone who’d once been accused of killing a plastic fichus. It’s been an incredibly enlightening three months and together, my daughter and I have overcome some ginormous obstacles. Breastfeeding, explosive bowl movements the color of French’s mustard, Mommy and Me yoga with that one girl who lost all her baby weight in like, a week; all of these are mountains we have climbed together and come out stronger for the struggle. But now, as my baby grows bigger, becoming more active, more expressive, and more in control of her giant pumpkin head, I arrive at a daunting task that must be faced alone.
I need to get rid of her newborn-sized clothes.
See, Emery is now fitting into the size three to six months … and I have to do something with her newborn apparel. All the adorable little hats, the tiny onesies, the fuzzy, pink, teddy bear snuggly with the ears on the hood, none of them fit anymore. And honestly, even if they did, summer in Philadelphia isn’t the place for insulated sleep sacks.
So what do I keep? What do we give away? And how do I part with all these tiny pieces of my baby?
My husband decided I needed to set up a system. He’s a lawyer and big on systems. A bin with things to keep, bags to give away, and the garbage can for anything she’s stained so ridiculously with her variety of biological ooze it would just be insulting to offer anyone. Mind you, this was an edited system from his original suggestion of just getting rid of everything. Seeing the look of shock and horror on my face, he quickly changed his tune, carting out spare empty plastic bins. He also reminded me that we are moving at the end of the summer and anything I wanted to keep I had to carry. Knowing my intense hatred for anything I have to lug anywhere, he probably thought I would be more picky-choosey if he reminded me of the responsibility I would have come late August.
This scare tactic didn’t work as well as he hoped.
Once I’d sorted through all the sleepers, ruffley pink outfits with matching hats, and teeny tiny shoes, we ended up with an overflowing bin and a near empty bag.
“Why are you keeping all this stuff?” my husband demanded, holding up a little white Ugg boot.
“What if we have another baby?” I shrugged, stuffing two more hats into my keep pile. “What if we have another little girl? She’ll need all this stuff.”
“Can’t we just get her new stuff? ’Cause I’m not agreeing to have another baby if we can’t afford to buy new onesies. Hey!” he yelled, watching me jam yet another fistful of hats into my bin. “She never wears hats! You said they make her head look like a penis! Why are you keeping the penis hats for the next baby?”
I honestly don’t know why I’m keeping the penis hats.
I don’t want to carry three giant plastic bins up the stairs of our new apartment in August heat!
But I can’t help it.
Every time I go to put something in the “give away” bag I remember something that steers my hand to the plastic “keep it” bins. I’ll remember the day I bought it, pregnant and hoping for the chubby baby girl I can now hold in my arms. I remember that first week we spent in the hospital, how she seemed to swim in clothes she now busts out of, and I can remember how tiny she looked in the sleepers I now hold, faded and folded in my hands.
When I set up Emery’s nursery I thought I had prepared for every possible disaster. I had baskets of clean, multi-colored onesies, boxes of diapers unwrapped and pre-set in case of elimination emergencies, dozens of those nightgown thingies so I didn’t have to fuss around with buttons in the middle of the night. I’d pre-folded all the burps cloths, hung the little dresses, put together some ready-to-go outfits for my husband who tends toward the disastrous as far as clothes are concerned. I was ready for the baby to come home and get dirty.
I was NOT ready for the baby to come home and get bigger.
She wasn’t supposed to grow this fast! She was supposed to be my little baby forever … or at least six months. Of course I wanted her to thrive and smile and learn to clap, to coo, and eventually say “dada” before she says “mama” much to my ultimate dismay … she’s just not supposed to grow up.
Giving away Emery’s newborn clothes is like closing the first chapter on her babyhood and I’m just not ready to let go. It demands that my husband and I discuss a second child when our first hasn’t yet learned to chew real people food. I can’t imagine having another baby…Emmy is our baby. Our tiny baby who is growing and changing … every day … without stop. I just want her to slow down, to stay this small, and always be able to fit on my chest for naps.
Eventually I did manage to let go of some things. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t keep all three of her baby buntings, but I did give up some of the unisex stuff I bought before I found out I was having a girl. I am giving away some of the one piece outfits she never wore because I thought they looked so much pajamas. Slowly I purged, cutting away at the less-than-cute outfits, much like a lion separates the weak and limping bison from the herd. It’s not perfect, not even close, but my husband tells me we are now down to a “manageable” size.
I’m going to be a wreck when this child goes to school.