Bagging up the baby years

20 Dec

Bagged clothes

Maybe it was the time of year. Maybe it was the day off work with no kids and the associated mountain of guilt. It could have been the duck slip-sliding across the icy pond with the Andrex puppy (if indeed that advert were being shown this year instead of the peculiar mating ritual of two snowpersons). Perhaps it was just plain old hormones. Whatever it was, today I sorted a bag of clothes for charity and it made me cry.

It wasn’t any old bag of stuff. It was a bag of my now 4-year-old daughter’s clothes through from the amazingly poo-stain free baby gros of her first few months to this summer’s t-shirts that, thanks to a recent growth spurt, would quite likely now restrict her breathing and strangle her digestive system. The process of holding up, sniffing, cuddling (was she really that small?) and folding brought the tears a-rolling. And don’t get me started on the pulsating ovaries.

When did she get so flipping big?!

When did she get so flipping big?!

Getting rid of items that hold memories is, of course, never easy. The giving away of your child’s clothes is a process that acknowledges a period in your life that has been lost and will never be regained. As you watch the rapid pace at which they grow and lose their baby features (and, in the case of my 4-year-old, start using teenage expressions such as ‘wicked’ and ‘random’, god help me) you grapple with the urge to slow time down. (Okay, maybe not everyone does – it’s frequently said that the first year with a baby can be quite sh*t and so roll on walking, talking and cow’s milk.) For those of us who have nursery artwork from the year dot bulging out of every cupboard, to hand on those little tights that went with that little dress is to begrudgingly shake the hand of Old Father Time and congratulate him on winning.

But back to the ovaries. (And apologies to those people reading this who know me in ‘real life’ and may not be able to look me in the eye again.) Filling a bag with baby clothes is now, for me, not for storage (as is often the case after your first child) but is (after a second child) for clearing the way for the paraphernalia that school children, teenagers and, ultimately, young adults bring. All that future thinking and the joys to look forward to aside, the fact remains that at some point you draw a line in your life, gently rub your stretch marks and decide to hang up (bingo wings flapping) your maternity tops. Your family is complete.

Bear with me now whilst I’m a touch morose (it’s the end of the world tomorrow apparently so no better a time to plunge into the depths of despair). Major life events – first job, meeting the one you love, marriage (or not), kids – are heavily loaded towards the first half of your life. It is inevitable then that when these are complete you start to wonder whether there is anything to look forward to. Things stop happening to you and they start happening to your children. All whilst your womb slowly withers. Don’t get me wrong, there is an awful lot to enjoy still to come – and retirement is a mere three decades away.

Who would’ve thought that giving baby clothes to charity would spark such a deep pondering of the meaning of life and of the hanging up of the reproductive organs? I’d just have cleaned the bathroom or picked my nose if I’d known.  No wonder I cried. Maybe my brood is now complete – that said, never say never.  Kids’ clothes are cheap to come by and there’s always the charity shop.


12 Responses to “Bagging up the baby years”

  1. Pauline December 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Keep a taster; a favourite top, a pair of shoes, a babygro – a few things so that when nostalgia hits you – as it will from time to time – you can hold them and take yourself back. Surprising how it helps! xxx

  2. simonsometimessays December 21, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    What a great post. Not quite sure whether to laugh or cry, I settled on a smile with a touch of sadness.

    It isn’t very easy for a chap to grasp how women feel about things in this line: sometimes we fall selfishly into the trap of saying “well, Dads feel it too, you know”. But there is a difference, and thanks to this I feel closer to understanding it. Dads are definitely susceptible to nostalgia, wistfulness and regret – perhaps that comes at a later stage (best warn Mr C&P), but that isn’t the ache you’ve depicted.

    And as far as I recall, nothing pulsated.

    • Crumbs & Pegs December 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Thanks, as always, for commenting. Pleased that the post provoked thought (and thankfully not tears!).

  3. Isabel Thomas December 21, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    I was going to offer to loan and return them when you give into the urge for a third, but on closer inspection we have little need for dresses and tights in this household (nativity costumes aside). You can get favourite items cut up and sewn together to make soft toys, though without direct experience I’m not sure if that’s cute or slightly scary!

    • Crumbs & Pegs December 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

      You don’t want me to save them for your fourth then?! x

  4. Coombe Mill (Fiona) (@coombemill) January 7, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    I still remember giving away baby clothes, to be honest they weren’t fir for much after 6 but there were a few items I was loathed to part with even for the bin!

    • Crumbs & Pegs January 7, 2013 at 12:29 am #

      I’m impressed that you managed to recycle for six! Re the special bits, I need to find a special bag the size of a small van!

  5. Lorna Jacobs January 9, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    WEll, I must be the world worst! I am just giving away the last few baby clothes from my 21 year old baby! And even those have a name inside so they can be recycled within the family! I really did only keep those with special memories, dresses she wore for someone’s wedding , an outfit I bought with my first post baby paycheque. I will also take photos so that I still have the memories.The sorting was no longer painful (for many years it was too hard to keep remionding myself that the second child would not happen), but it was instead a pleasure to just remember that little toddler now with the knowledge of what a wonderful young woman she has become.

    • Crumbs & Pegs January 9, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      21 years! That must be lovely though to bring all those memories back. And the less fresh ones! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. Mayfair Mum January 16, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Been doing a bit of loft clearance ourselves and wondering exactly how many plastic tubs of clothes we need to find room for up there, given we consider our family complete already…coming face to face with our decisions can be hard can’t it? Even if they are OUR decisions! Keep focusing on those good times yet to come. I have it on good authority it only gets better, just different.

    • Crumbs & Pegs January 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

      Very good advice indeed. I said the same to someone today – lots more exciting times and firsts to come (and without nappies, sore boobs, sleep deprivation, etc!). Took another bag of clothes to the charity shop today and snaffled back a tiny tshirt before I handed it over. 😉

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