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Other Kids in Baby Clothing

In the interest of space, and of perfectly good items going unused, we’ve given away most of our baby clothes.  I’ve saved a few pieces.  Okay, a lot of pieces.  Like all of their preemie clothing and clothes that hold special significance.  But for the most part, their clothes are less and less the tangible memory pieces they once were.  When they were babies, all we had to save were their onesies.  But now we have homework and art projects and all the random things a child creates or accumulates.  The clothing now drifts away when we outgrow it, not as important as it once was.

Sometimes it goes to strangers.  Sometimes it goes to people we know: friends and family.

Sometimes I see photos of other kids in our baby clothing.

It’s bittersweet.  I love that the clothes are getting more use.  I am such a practical person, and the idea of something not being used well kills me.  I like seeing the clothes again on another happy kid.  It makes me remember my kids in those clothes and the equally silly, shit-eating grins they wore while in those outfits.

Sometimes it makes me cry.

Because I look at those much smaller children and remember what it felt like to have much smaller children.

I’ve loved every age so far.  They’ve each had their high points and low points.  I was very scared to have the kids grow up, but if history is a predictor of the future, I should calm the fuck down because it just gets better and better, especially when you can have real, deep conversations or activities that go beyond hand clapping and singing a song in a circle.  The twins are my favourite people, and I should trust that they will remain my favourite people.  After all, I am close with my parents.  It is entirely possible that they will remain close to me even as they grow apart from me and untangle themselves.

And yet even knowing that, I can’t help but feel wistful when I see another child still back in those smaller sized clothes.

Josh and I love seeing the pictures.  Whenever one pops up in our Facebook feed, we turn our phone to the other one and then talk about back when our kids wore those clothes.  I love remembering, but it makes me cry to remember.


1 a { 10.29.14 at 8:34 am }

I have kept way too much stuff. I have not stopped either. And I have passed the trait down, as my daughter now hands me clothing that no longer fits and says “Can you save this for my daughter? If I have one…” My husband gets all kinds of irritated because he would rather that we have no possessions whatsoever beyond what we use daily.

It doesn’t make me cry to see the clothes – it makes me happy to remember her that way.

2 nicoleandmaggie { 10.29.14 at 9:16 am }

I love seeing other kids in our hand-me-downs– it reminds me of our kids at that age and brings a smile to my face. So… guess I’m like a above. 🙂

I also like seeing pictures of the older kids who handed us down the clothing back when they wore it because that’s supercool.

We’ve gotten rid of pretty much all of our baby clothing– kept a bib from a deceased colleague for sentimental reasons, and our super-expensive slings in case my sister ever finds someone and settles down and has kids. (Our small number of super-expensive wooden baby toys will also be saved until my sister is 50 and still single, I’m guessing. By then we might have a grandkid!)

What I have a hard time letting go of for sentimental reasons is books.

3 JustHeather { 10.29.14 at 10:39 am }

Just a few months ago I was struggling to let go of any of Paxlet’s clothes and items. I just couldn’t do it and Mr Siili hated that we had everything!!! Each time I went through the clothes, especially, I would get a sinking feeling and wanted to put my head in the sand. Now, pregnant with our second child, I think about after this kid will be done with the clothes and items, I can give them away! I still have a few items I can’t bear the thought of letting go, but most items, there isn’t that deep…desire/need to hold on to. I truly believe it was because I just didn’t feel ‘done’ yet.

But I do hope other kids, known and unknown, will enjoy the clothing as much as I/we have.

4 Kasey { 10.29.14 at 10:48 am }

I just started the massive purge of baby clothes. I got rid of some things after Simon, but kept a lot in hopes of a second baby. Now that the second baby is here I’m passing on the outgrown things. How is he big enough to have so many outgrown things already!?! Some went to my brother but most to neighborhood acquaintances. It will be interesting to see my reaction when I see these clothes on other babies. Because while we don’t have the space to store anything without a direct purpose and while we are done having kids – I’m not quite ready to say we are done. Lots of emotions with the baby clothes.
I love the idea of the next steps in saving art and things they makes. I hadn’t thought of that. Also, I hope my kids are my favorite people someday because in the thros of age 3 some days it’s hard to see that it will get better.

5 Northern Star { 10.29.14 at 11:32 am }

This kind of made me cry. Moonbeam is growing so fast and yes, every stage has been awesome (high and low points, I totally concur!). I am excited for her to grow and learn, but my little baby is becoming a little girl faster than I really am prepared for. Bittersweet indeed!

6 Rebecca { 10.29.14 at 11:50 am }

I had a similar experience when giving away my maternity wear. I knew I had no plans to be pregnant again and I loved seeing it on my friends who were. But, despite how much my body was trying to rebel, I absolutely loved being pregnant and it made me sad to think I couldn’t use those special clothes again.

I love seeing the boys’ clothes on our friends’ kids. It makes me smile and remember the times fondly. And, makes me so glad that we don’t have to figure out where to put it anymore. We’ve kept a few items from each of their stages that were “special” in some way. But, other than that, I’m just beyond happy when anyone I know says they’re having a boy — please, take this! And, that! And, this thing, too! Please! (And, we’ve given girls their things, too.) So many of the things we had were hand-me-downs from my boys’ older cousins that it’s always great to see old pictures of them in the items, too. I just feel happy to be part of the “pass around.”

7 Justine { 10.29.14 at 12:28 pm }

We routinely give clothes away to people we know. It can be sad to let go, but I also feel good about giving them new life. I understand the feeling of bittersweet, though … N. is growing up so fast, and I feel like if I could be OK with I. being older, now I know I’m losing my babies for good. I treasure every squirmy, snuggly moment.

8 Sharon { 10.29.14 at 12:47 pm }

I’ve given away the vast majority of our sons’ clothes (we have a small house with limited storage space, and I am constantly trying to declutter), and I enjoy seeing their clothing reused. We were fortunate to have been gifted lots of hand-me-downs from friends before they were born (and since), and I like to pay it forward.

I love how you say that you’ve loved every age so far. I hope when my twins are as old as yours, I will be able to say the same.

9 Another Dreamer { 10.29.14 at 12:53 pm }

We’re just getting to the stage where we are putting away the little clothes to be rid of, our family is complete and we don’t need them- like you, I’m too practical to hold on to these things. I’m finding it hard parting with them just the same. It’s bittersweet.

10 Tiara { 10.29.14 at 12:59 pm }

I keep so so much stuff. Down the road I know I’ll be able to pare down some but I want E to have the chance to see it & help make the choices of what to let go of. I’ve also given a lot away & wished I still had some of it…but I don’t get to see it as I passed it on to people outside my sphere..I’m not sure how I’d feel to see it on another.

11 Manapan { 10.29.14 at 2:00 pm }

I haven’t been able to give up my son’s baby things. It feels too much like admitting he’s really, truly going to be our only child. I still have the silly hope for a surprise sixth pregnancy to magically become baby number two. I don’t know if that dream will ever fade. Sigh.

12 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.29.14 at 2:15 pm }

I had a similar wist-inducing event over the weekend when my daughter asked to watch old home movies from when the kids were toddling. I noted the cute outfits, old toys, my own younger self, and I longed for those days.

Then I remembered how HARD it was back then, physically if not emotionally (like now).

13 lostintranslation { 10.29.14 at 4:51 pm }

I lent all our baby clothes (minus a few favorite items that I didn’t want to get soiled/worn or even seen on another baby) plus stroller, crib etc. to a friend (whom I met through blogging!). She moved overseas recently so her hubby came to return everything, including two big boxes with clothing that is not ours and I have no idea where to store everything! Hoping to find someone who can use the clothes before deciding to give it all to goodwill. The bigger items will probably moved one or two countries over to family members with large attic space (awaiting future nieces/nephews or even grandkids)…

14 Mali { 10.29.14 at 6:25 pm }

Parenthood seems to be a constant cycle of new adventures and small goodbyes. I can understand the urge to hang on to every stage of the twins growth, even though you know that you’re gaining something at the same time as you’re losing other facets of them. And I had to laugh that you told yourself to calm the fuck down. Reality can be a bit harsh sometimes though, can’t it?

15 Lisa { 10.30.14 at 12:52 am }

I am fortunate in that a good friend has two little ones a year older than Pickle and she passes things on. I like seeing Pickle in the same clothes I saw the older girls in when they were her size. At the same time though, it reinforces how quickly she is growing up and I’m not sure I like that, inevitable though it may be.

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