I sat in it so many times with Trucker nursing. Then taking him off. Then gliding him to sleep. We’d bought it when A was eight months pregnant with Cakie. The woman who sold it to us lived in one of those highrises in Bay Ridge that you can see from the BQE. It had an amazing view. It had entirely too many toys in it. And three adorable children. We both made a mental, later audible, note to never ever have that many toys in our house. The woman wouldn’t even let A carry the ottoman down the stairs in her condition. It fit in the back seat of our little sedan. Then it was in our living room. Then in Cakie’s room. Eventually it landed in our bedroom between the bathroom door and the bedroom door. It felt like you had to walk an extra fifty feet to get to the bathroom. With great hesitation and a little bit of yearning, I posted it.
The man who bought it’s wife was due the next day. He was skinny and cute and he seemed pleased to be doing this grand act of finally getting the glider before the baby was born. I helped him carry it to the elevator. I asked him if they knew the baby’s gender yet. He gave me a look and said, “Yes. We did find out the sex.” And I felt a little goofy that I had said gender because really, that’s for the baby to figure out no matter which sex organs it happens to have. I smiled at the soon-to-be parent and told him I always get those terms confused. And I felt kind of glad that my cushy-but-ugly furniture was going to him.
(Please to tilt your head to the side. I can’t figure out how to rotate the image.)
The first clothes we had for Cakie came from lesbian mom friends of friends who gave us three trash bags full of clothes. They gave them to us at a party and I spent the whole party wishing I was at home looking at the little baby clothes. When I did finally get to open the bags at home, I was amazed at how many blue items were in there. I thought for sure the lesbian moms would have avoided pigeon-holing their son into blue rompers. The dozens of little overalls thrilled me. This was all before I realized that most of your baby’s wardrobe is given to you by other people. And most of those people buy the clothes at places that are not over-priced boutiques. At least in New York City, if it isn’t an over-priced boutique, it is hard to find baby clothes in colors other than pink, blue or yellow. I remember putting the little outfits into piles according to size, and putting the sizes into different boxes, so I could just grab the next size up when I needed it. Of course there were more clothes later. We got clothes from the showers and birthdays. When Cakie was born, we received a package a day for almost a month. Each tiny shirt was a manifestation of someone else’s excitement for us.
As Cakie grew, and his clothes did not, I learned just how much clothing maintenance is involved in parenting. There is all of the washing and drying — those hot metal snaps burning your fingers as you reach into the dryer to take them out. Once the long sleeves become three-quarter sleeves and the pants become capris, overnight it seemed, they get organized again and put away for the next baby. The closet filled with too-small clothes in little boxes (less-organized now) by size and season, awaiting their second life on our second child. But would we have a second child? And what of the sex of that second child? Would I actually keep the sea of blue if I had a girl the second time? My blog filled up with worries and BFNs, my credit card filled up with sperm charges, and that closet filled and filled with those little clothes so filled with Cakie’s presence, it was hard to imagine them on another child.
Then he came. And boy did Trucker come. He weighed almost twice what Cakie weighed at birth and was born a month earlier. I had thought they would wear the same clothes for the same season. But where Cakie didn’t even fit into anything but a white kimono tee shirt when he got home from the hospital; Trucker bypassed entire boxes of clothes. Though he did wear some of his brother’s hand-me-downs, we needed to actually shop for the lad. In stores! I sold two big bags of clothes on the listserve for $20. I felt like a bandit. Then, IVPers got pregnant. And how happy is that? Sending off a big bag of clothes, including my most favorite pair of plaid pants which only fit each boy for about a minute to the likes of Calli made me feel even better about essentially giving away historical family artifacts. I sent the Morrissey shirt to England, where it rightfully belonged. And two (or was it three) garbage bags of baby pants (and other things) went to the babypantses. Even though all three of the strapping young lads who received the little outfits have probably grown out of them, it makes me glad to know that they didn’t go somewhere random. That those little things filled with the tiny spirits of my children are probably being worn by someone new and equally important.
I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but giving away baby things for the final time hurts. As a New Yorker, of course, one is glad for the space in one’s apartment when these things go out the door. But as a mother, knowing that this is the last baby, it feels like I’m giving away something more than onsies.
Now that I’ve thought about it, though, that box of baby baby toys is calling my name. Trucker got so many new toys for his birthday. We can’t go letting our house end up like that one in Bay Ridge. Though I understand now, how the woman may have wanted to carry the chair down the hall for her own selfish reasons. Though her youngest child was old enough to be walking with confidence, she maybe needed to carry that chair out of the building herself. Just to hold it and then to let it go.