Looking to unload baby items and emotional baggage

I’ve been cleaning the basement this week, the main part of which is getting rid of baby stuff. I’ve spent hours sorting, tossing and packing things up to give away.

Not surprisingly, I’ve got mixed emotions about giving away SP’s baby stuff. Of course there’s a little bit of sadness. By getting rid of this stuff, we’re making concrete our decision not to have another baby. It’s the right choice for us, but I can’t help but feel a little melancholy that SP’s hypothetical sibling will never become a reality.

And of course I feel nostalgic. Even grown men get a little mushy when they hold up a 0-3 month onesie with tiny ducks on it, so of course I completely melt. It’s hard to believe SP was ever that small, despite the many pictures and memories that prove she was. Of course then I think about the bazillion awesome things she can do now that she couldn’t when she was a baby (speak, feed herself and make complicated drawings involving pom poms, feathers and sequins, to name a few) and I’m glad she doesn’t fit in those tiny outfits anymore.

As I sorted through the multitude of boxes and bins, I also had to laugh at myself. We had so much stuff—a lot of which we barely used. I’m a bit of a control freak, and one of the ways I tried to maintain my sense of control when SP was a newborn—and completely impossible to control for—was to buy every single product for newborns. Every. Single. One. Did I need all of it? Heck no. That’s why I have so much stuff to get rid of now. But it truly did set my mind more at ease to know that I was prepared for almost any situation that could possibly arise.

And finally, as I loaded up the last odds and ends into my car to take to Goodwill, I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment. Partly because we raised our daughter to be strong, healthy and basically well-adjusted. But mostly because my basement is so clean now!

– RBVH

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Target Zombies

About three days into motherhood, I started to get a bit antsy. I needed to get out of the house.

It would be my maiden voyage with the little man. Of course, I made it a practical one.

You see, the miniature-sized baby care products that the hospital provided were running low and I had to stock-up. A&D ointment. Alcohol swabs. And some itty bitty t-shirts. No one told me I couldn’t use the onesies until the umbilical stump fell off. For the past nine months, all I heard was “you can’t have too many onesies, you can’t have too many onesies.” A lot of good they’re doing me now. Thanks for the advice.

I decided we’d take a trip to Target.

So I packed up the diaper bag, bundled-up the little guy with about eighteen layers, strapped him in his car seat/carrier and hit the road.

After a hyper-cautious drive that took what seemed like an eternity (you know, first time driving with a kid in the car and all), the big red ball was in sight. As I pulled-in, the place seemed almost desolate. There were only about 20 cars in the lot. As a regular old working girl, I usually did my Target shopping on the weekend, along with what I thought was the rest of the city. It was 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday. Totally different scene. I was about to embark on a new adventure.

I was thrilled to get front-row parking, but there was an eerie tone about the whole thing. When I walked through the giant sliding doors, things really got weird.

It was quiet. Too quiet. And yes, empty. It wasn’t until I got to the accessory department that I saw the first living thing. And I’m using the word “living” quite loosely here. It was a fellow mom with a newborn. She had a car seat/carrier perched on the cart just like mine (YAY…I did it right). But she looked so…aimless. Staring at a hideous handbag for the entire 30 seconds it took me to walk by. How could it possibly take her that long to contemplate its ugliness? Was she okay? Was she breathing?

A few aisles down was another woman with car seat/carrier on her cart. This one had the added bonus of a toddler. “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy.” The woman moved forward very slowly with a vacant stare that was framed by her stringy hair. I don’t even think she could hear her little boy.

As I made my way to the baby department, I noticed an undeniable trend. Save for a few retired types, Tuesday morning Target shoppers were Moms. All moms. Mostly moms of newborns. All buying sundries and a brief escape from the confines of home. Moms with their carriers perched on their carts.

A warm feeling rushed over me. I felt like I was part of a club that I never even knew existed. And I felt kind of excited. Maybe even a proud. I was a mom. This is where I belong.

But these women…would it kill them to run a comb through their hair before they left the house? And hey, maybe even wash it now and again? And when did pajama bottoms become appropriate outerwear? Sheesh. Ratted, tattered and clearly torn, they all looked and acted like zombies. Target zombies.

Maybe I didn’t want to be part of this club after all.

I picked up my supplies, checked out and was pleased that my little man slept silently through the ordeal (more than I can say for a lot of the other kids that were there). Turns out I didn’t need the four diapers, change of clothes, pacifier and umpteen million other things I packed in the diaper bag. Nonetheless, it seemed as though our maiden voyage was a success.

When I got home, I left the little man in his carrier as to not disturb his slumber. I went to the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I gasped at the horror of what I saw. I suddenly remembered I hadn’t showered that day. Or maybe even yesterday. Wait…did I shower yesterday? I most certainly hadn’t combed my hair. My teeth felt like they had sweaters on them. And my maternity yoga pants (which looked so cute with my 8 month baby belly) looked an awful lot like pajama bottoms hanging off my rubbery, flubbery middle section.

Oh God.

The realization hit me like the ton of onesies. I was one of them. Whether I liked it or not I was a part of the club. I even had the uniform down pat. I was a Target zombie.

Oh…and I forgot the A&D. And the itty bitty t-shirts.

– ES

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