Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adventures in Baby Clothing


When Lainy Ann was born we had no other friends with children. As a result Lainy Ann was spoiled rotten and got every stitch of clothing and baby gear brand-spanking-new. By the time Connor came around we had a handful of friends, some with boys (none with girls) so Connor started getting a few pieces of used baby clothing here and there. We got lots of comfy pants for that toddler age when he was interested in climbing and learning to run, some jammies too. It was really nice to save a bit of money on clothing. Then when William and Alexander came along the rule was hand-me-down clothing from brothers and the exception was new clothing.

Over the years I have had the priviledge of loaning out clothing as well. I have a few of my favorites that are never lent out, but most things get marked with a 'D' as I sort through them and given lovingly to our friends. I enjoy the process of lending children's clothing and baby gear to our friends. I enjoy sorting through the clothing with fond memories of when each child wore which outfit. I love seeing our friends wear the clothes and love them as much as we did.

But about 18 months ago I got it in my head that we wouldn't be having anymore children and if we did it would certainly be a boy. Just look at the statistics (before Eleanor). We had Lainy Ann, then 5 boys in 5 years. Really, the odds were against us. So I started sadly giving away baby girl clothing. I kept the clothes I couldn't bear to part with and with a heavy heart I gave away the first 2 years of baby girl clothing. I can't even remember who I gave it all to.

So imagine my surprise, and delight when we had another pink little girl in our home. I would be able to go shopping once again and spoil our little princess. But about 5 days after getting home from the hospital I started getting emails and phone calls of people who had boxes of girl clothing that I could have. I was on the receiving end of the clothing for a change. It was wonderful to go through boxes and boxes of tiny clothing to see which ones would fit the appropriate season. One of our most used pieces of clothing so far is a baby pink knit hat. I don't even know the girl or the mother who gave it to us. It is my mother-in-law's, friend's, daughter's friend. Did you follow that? I will likely never meet the previous owner of this hat, but it warms my heart knowing that they have shared their clothing and memories with us.

But the most surprising outfit I received is the one pictured above. It is a size 6 or 9 months so Eleanor doesn't fit it quite yet. It is an outfit that Lainy Ann wore 7 years ago, then it was lent out to 2 other girls; now ages 4 and 2 years old. And now its back for Ellie to wear. It has been washed so often that the tag is completely faded, all that is left is the 'D' I had marked on it 4+ years ago.

A close friend once told to me that she wondered what the story would be if a piece of clothing could talk and tell about its adventures through multiple different kids and families. You see, she regularly shares clothes with her sisters who live all over California and beyond; she has shared clothing with me as well. I agree with her. I would love to hear the story of this purple outfit or the pink hat or any number of other pieces of clothing we have made part of our lives and memories over the years.

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