Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

The planets aligned today and it was time to clean Jarrah's room. This is something I do infrequently, preferring to view the piles of toys and clothes everywhere as "shabby chic." But today I realized that there was very little floor space left, and she's starting camp next week, and it's summer was time.

The first order of business was weeding out the too-small clothes. I have recently been disabused of my belief that her underwear size would remain "absurdly small" until college. Apparently, she is going to need some that are slightly less absurdly small. Same with socks. I went through the racks, yanking all the 3T (and most of the 4T) shirts off the hangers. Hell, most of the 5Ts have got to go. On a roll, I whipped through the drawers, gathering up a pile of hair ornaments that could outfit an entire ballet school. Then I decided to brave the drawers. Yikes, most of them were filled with diapers and diaper paraphernalia: wipes, wipe cases, changing pads, bibs, and the infamous blue bags. I felt so strange gathering all this into a pile and throwing it in a box. Digging deeper in the closet, I discovered an entire bag of plastic pants (never even used those) and a huge box of bottles and nipples. Guess all that can go, too.

Moving on to the bookcase, I realized that most of the board books are too babyish, but just in case I arranged them all on a high shelf which she can't reach anyway. Then I lovingly created a system for the other shelves: Scholastic paperbacks on one, hardcover storybooks on another, collections and treasuries on the bottom. We'll see how long my system lasts. I swept all the junk off the top of the bookcases--most of it ready for the trash. I plucked out the size 9 shoes (my girl has some big feet--nearly 11 already) and threw them in one of the bags, too. I took all the nursing blankets and changing pad covers and put them aside for someone else. And I stuffed all the crib sheets into the drawers vacated by the diapers.

Now the room was looking pretty bare, and Jarrah seemed tickled, like it was a hotel room she was visiting for the first time. She settled down in her easy chair to do some reading, acting like she'd never seen her books before. And I made up my mind that today would be the day we gave in and bought her a real bed.

I am sore amazed how three years has exhausted my need for nearly my entire baby arsenal. A few days ago, I brought out the stroller for the first time in a while, and her head pokes into the shade, feet dangling to the ground. All that diaper stuff I'll never need again. Clothes she's outgrown forever--an entire department at Target is off-limits for us now. I turn the bibs and changing pads over in my hands, trying to remember why I needed them. The stick-on placemats I brought to every restaurant. The tiny case with her personal fork and spoon. The ubiquitous Costco wipes, without which everything I touched would have been sticky.

It amazes me that there is no going back. Whatever I once had a use for, I simply, now, do not. And instead of needing more stuff, we need less. She can use what I use. Even my cache of sweet toddler toothpaste needs to be donated--she's a pro with the mint now. I think back fondly on the many cannisters of Gerber veggie puffs I bought and carried, and how enthusiastically they were consumed. That seems like a lifetime ago.

We did finally get that bed. We've looked at it before, so we knew what we wanted, but it was somehow hard to take the plunge. It's like keeping her in that sideless crib a few more months kept her little, even though her feet moving ever closer to the edge of the mattress kept telling us otherwise.

The new bed, which will arrive in two weeks, is truly a big-girl bed. It's birch, and sleigh, and has a trundle underneath with another mattress, for sleepovers. I dreamed of that kind of set-up when I was a child; I wanted Jarrah to have it. No matter how late she and her friend stay up whispering and giggling, they can sleep in comfort, even in our tiny house. That makes me happy.

And David and I are looking forward to the biggest perk of all: a big bed means we can climb into it at storytime, instead of perching nearby. When I think about reading together in bed, I forget to be sentimental about the past, and I start getting excited about everything still to come.


Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

This is such a bittersweet, mostly sweet post.

You warm my heart.


erin said...

I went through this twice so far, once when was pregnant with Elijah and found out he was a boy (cause he couldn't wear all of the girls super frilly things) and then again when I realized that I wasn't going to have anymore children (it took 15 months after my tubal for that to really set in). I think that by the time Elijah is in pre-school I'm going to have a nervous breakdown, considering I've been pregnant or nursing for nine years!
Max was so excited when we got her a big girl bed last year. She had slept with me before I met Jeremiah and then with Rose after Jeremiah bought our house, so I thought she would hate it. But of course, Max is always surprising me.
(sorry for the novel-length post)

katydidnot said...

I've never read anything that describes that moment better. Not a baby anymore. I remember the day when I realized, in Starbucks of all places, the I wasn't a mom of toddlers anymore. It was fairly shocking. Even though my kids were 5, 7 and 11 at the time. Clearly you catch on more quickly than I.

Mary said...

Dear Sammy,

Cheri is right-bittersweet. I am totally there with you. It hurts and then I find myself getting all excited about things to come.

Big Hugs and Kisses and Congrats on the BGB!



Jennifer said...

What a lovely post. I'm sure you will make great use of that big girl bed! :)

San Diego Momma said...

I'm going through this now too.

My youngest is 3 and now potty trained and and I still can't bring myself to get rid of the pull-ups. I need to ease into the transition.

Lawsie, it DOES go fast.

"They" were right.

Sam said...

@Cheri: Thank you, lovey. :)

@Erin: I love your novel-length comments, are you kidding me? :)

@Katy: Hee. :) Not really--I'm pretty dense most of the time. I appreciate the compliment, though. :)

@Mary: I know you are right there with me!

@Jennifer: Thank you! I just left you some book suggestions. :)

@SDM: So nice to see you! I had to laugh about "they." I've been thinking the same thing! :)

Stephanie said...

Love this.

Myrnie said...

Oh, so hard to come to terms with! She's growing up fast :) Hope she LOVES her big-girl bed!

Laural Out Loud said...

The day we got Gabi's bed (with a trundle for sleepovers!) it changed the way she looked to us. As if she'd changed from a baby to a grown girl in just a few hours. It was definitely bittersweet. The mess, though, she does just as well as she's ever done.

The Wades said...

Ahhh, Sam! I loved this so much. My fourth is now 3 1/2--I need to purge a whole lot. It's so hard to let it go. But you're right, fun at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I just did the same thing! But it was all the tiny 12 month clothes I was putting away... Hey, don't donate those old 2Ts -- I can definitely use anything you want to pass along! :) Lix