Growing Pains

One of the great joys of having a baby is picking out his or her tiny clothes. Some of the fondest memories I’ve ever forged were those of Chris and myself giddily shopping for all things pink the week we found out we were having a little girl. There is something so exciting about choosing tiny shoes and wee sleepers and postage stamp-size blankets for one’s highly anticipated baby.

Of course, shopping for a baby once it’s arrived is fun too, but it’s usually done on a minimum of sleep — and often while the baby is clad in her last clean onesie because your estimate of how many outfits a baby needs was made without factoring in that baby’s ability to have 12 diaper explosions per day. The bliss of wandering about with one’s partner, filled with hope and love and an aching desire to do something — anything — to feel nearer to that baby who’s nestled so close and yet so far away, is impossible to completely recapture once that baby has entered the world.

But however wonderful it is to bring that baby home and dress him or her in all the tiny, wonderful outfits you and your beloved have chosen, the day will come when those outfits start to fit your baby like sausage casings. Soon, those adorable little togs will unsnap at the crotch when the wee one kicks or rolls over. And eventually, as we found out the other day, the straps on the tiny overalls — in which baby once swam — will no longer reach the buttons.

It was sad, to be sure, when Maddi’s tiny Gerber newborn sleepers grew too small. But they’re meant, after all, to be worn home from the hospital. Now, however, much of her 0-3 month wardrobe is ready for storage.

To accommodate her growing cache of 6-9 month clothing, I finally (and reluctantly) culled all the outgrown clothing from her dresser, closet and diaper bag. Little sleepers that strain at the snaps, pants that end at her knees and onesies that fit like a second skin — so many clothes, and so many memories. Some were worn once or twice; others — like the little chick outfit Chris bought me for my birthday (just a week before Maddi arrived) or her pink-and-white striped OshKosh overalls we bought before we knew for sure she was even a girl — were worn whenever they were clean and we had something bearing the faintest resemblance of an “occasion” to dress her up for (yes, that would be grocery shopping!).

It’s bad enough that our newborn is gone forever; now I have to pack up all those sweet memories for good, as well. Although I’ve got all those tiny clothes washed and set aside, I haven’t found a box or bin in which to put them. To be quite frank, I’m not looking forward to the task. I know there’s no way our little girl will fit in her pink-and-white polka-dotted sleeper, but it’s so hard to say goodbye after spending so many days holding my warm sleeping newborn who just happened to be wearing those cute little pajamas.

Hate it as I may, at some point I’ve got to put all those tiny outfits in storage. And soon enough, the same fate will befall Maddi’s 3-6 month clothes, which grow more snug by the day.

I try to tell myself that she will wear new outfits and make new memories, but that was cold comfort this afternoon as I packed her old clothes into the closet and made a mental note to find a wee bin in which to store them for the next baby. There are a lot of things that get lost in the chaos of everyday life with a young baby, the least of which is the fact that those days are oh-so-fleeting. As much as I try to live every day enjoying Maddi to the fullest, when I pack up my memories of a younger baby, I wind up feeling that I’ve let those days fly by without savoring them quite as much as I should have.

And here’s a picture of little Maddi, who, at 20 weeks old, no longer wears wee precious newborn clothes but instead wears pony shirts, like her daddy (you can just imagine the tears I will shed when this number goes into storage!):

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