No More Zero-to-Three

It will always be Nelle's dress.

abstract watercolor illustration of a cardboard box filled with baby clothes
Image created via Midjourney

For the last time, I have packed away zero-to-three-month baby clothes.

When I packed away Theo's clothing, it was with a lot of eagerness.  My baby boy was growing!  On to the next stage!  

With Quentin, I thought nothing of it. There were no immediate plans for a third child, but I assumed it would be "someday" so everything was folded and stored in labeled totes.  

After losing both Nelle and Iris, and packing away some of Quentin's much larger clothing as he outgrew it, I thought "What if that was the last time I was going to ever pack away baby clothes, and I didn't know it?  What if Quentin was my last baby, and I missed savoring all of those 'last time I will do this EVER' moments?"

Now I know: Autumn is my last baby. This is the last time. Outgrowing zero-to-three month actually means no more clothing in that size in our house.  I will pass it along to other friends, or donate.  

As I pulled out the tote of three-to-six month and made the switch, I paused over a few items.  I saved her "Oh Hello, Little Rainbow" onesie, to put in her special box.  

From the 3-6 emerged a blue dress.  It had been a gift from my uncle when we were in Hawaii, after we had announced to my family that we were having a girl.  He had carefully selected the size; with Nelle due in January, a 3-6 month dress would fit her by summer. She never wore it, and I had packed it away.  I still think of it as Nelle's dress.

And it could be that Autumn may never wear it, hovering over the edge of early spring when it will likely fit. Then it will always be Nelle's dress.

As I was finishing the switch, Autumn became fussy and so I fed her. Somehow, I managed to trip over the ottoman of my rocking chair. As with a mother's instinct, I threw my body toward the bottom so that Autumn would land on top of me and I took the full force of the fall.  I landed on the plastic tote, half full of clothes, and it cracked.  Several deep, angry scratches appeared on my hips and thighs where the plastic had grabbed my skin.

It seemed like a fitting end to the experience, that I should not enjoy, or be blissfully serene, or bittersweet while packing away baby clothes.