Too Small

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It feels strange to think that at one point, we collected gender-neutral newborn clothes because I didn’t know whether I was expecting a boy or a girl. It feels weird to remember that, again, at one point, Mark’s clothes had cute teddy bears on them and that t-shirts didn’t have to feature Batman, Star Wars, Spiderman or various monsters. That white clothes stayed white unless I spilled some semi-solid food on them. That pants never had holes. That a load of laundry could be as much as twenty onesies because they were so small.

Like most parents, we went through the several phases of baby clothing: the what-the-hell-is-a-onesie phase, the more-than-actually-needed newborn items phase, the I-bought-it-because-it-was-cute phase (that one features many impractical choices), the too-small-clothes phase, the what-do-we-do-with-clothes phase. I knew right away that I wasn’t going to keep entire boxes for a second child because to me, Mark is all I needed and ever wanted. So, I gave clothes to friends who were expecting and to charity.

But over the years, I did keep the outfits Mark wore a lot and items that had sentimental value.

On a cold snowy night, I decided to transfer two diaper boxes full of clothes into a plastic bin, easier to store.

“Do you want to see how small you were?” I asked Mark. “I’m going to sort out clothes.”

“The laundry?”

“No, your baby clothes.”

“Ah! I’m not a baby! I’m four, you know.”

Yes, I know. The first thing I found at the very top of the box was the hospital blanket he was wrapped in seconds after he was born—I think the entire North American hospital network uses them, I’ve seen the exact same one in movies. I looked at the blanket, looked at Mark standing in front of me, and I started crying.

And that was just the beginning. Then came the newborn-size white onesie my mum sent before he was born. This was the very first one he wore, I remember putting it on before strapping him into his car seat for the ride home. The onesie was too big for him, back then.

“See? You were that small.”

“That’s tiny.”

“Yep.”

I sorted out pyjamas, most of them we claimed helped him sleep through the night. “Give him the blue one,” we’d say to one another. “He always sleeps longer with it.” Does that sound crazy to you? It is. Sleep-deprived parents are completely irrational.

I found the Winnie swaddle blanket we used for about a month to wrap Mark like a spring roll. Every night, it was the same routine: I wrapped him in it and put it in his crib. It’d only take seconds for him to start screaming. Mark never slept in his crib. He liked the blanket, though. One night, I rushed to Walmart to buy another one because the original was still in the washing machine by bedtime.

“Look! It fits!”

“Mark… this was your baby hat. It doesn’t fit, it looks like you’re wearing a kippah!”

A specific memory is attached to each item of clothing. Good or bad, it depends. I can’t say I miss the baby stage. If I had to rewind, I would enjoy it best as a background character, not as the not-so-heroic heroine. It was tough, tougher than I had ever imagined. The first two years are a bit of a blur—there was so much to learn, to process and to do that I didn’t have the chance to pause life much. I have snapshots of precious moments in my head but the memories of the long days, sleepless nights and moments of true helplessness are still too vivid.

I can’t claim Mark’s birth is the most wonderful day of my life because there would be the notion of an ending attached to this statement. To me, it was amazing because it was the beginning of something—the life of a new person on earth that Feng and I had made, out of love.

I’m not nostalgic. I appreciate that Mark is growing up. I don’t see why I should be stuck worshipping the first few pages of the book when there is a long and fun story to read and enjoy, chapter after chapter.

The hospital blanket Mark was wrapped in when he was born

The hospital blanket Mark was wrapped in when he was born

Size 3-month sweater

Size 3-month sweater

Size three-month pyjama

Size three-month pyjama

Size three-month onesie

Size three-month onesie

Sweater my sister knitted before he was born

Sweater my sister knitted before he was born

Cute teddy bear button

Cute teddy bear button

At this stage, Mark is super mad at me because "you're NOT sharing your camera with me"

At this stage, Mark is super mad at me because “you’re NOT sharing your camera with me”

"You HAVE to share with me! Together! We play nice together!"

“You HAVE to share with me! Together! We play nice together!”

Mark's pants when he was one

Mark’s pants when he was one

This is not a kippa but his first newborn hat

This is not a kippah but his first newborn hat

Mark discovers the onesie he wore right after he was born

Mark discovers the onesie he wore right after he was born

His first winter jacket my sister and grand-mother made him (unisex, because it was made before he was born)

His first winter jacket my sister and grand-mother made him (unisex, because it was made before he was born)

Explaining Mark how I used the swaddle blanket

Explaining Mark how I used the swaddle blanket

Explaining Mark how I used the swaddling blanket

Explaining Mark how I used the swaddle blanket

Explaining Mark how I used the swaddling blanket

Explaining Mark how I used the swaddle blanket

Practising on rabbit

Practicing on rabbit

Practicing on rabbit

Practicing on rabbit

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

18 Comments

  1. Cute!! Also, that winter jacket is adorable– looks like a baby bear.

    It’s quite something to think that any of us ever fit in a baby onesie. This thing called life…

  2. A very timely post for me since my little one is approaching two months! Hard to believe he’ll ever be that big! Also did you ever really have 20 onesies of the same size?

    • I completely understand the feeling because when I look at older kids, like 8-10, I can’t believe Mark will ever be that tall!

      We did have many 0-3 month onesies, mostly because, if I remember correctly, they were sold in packs of 5. Plus I don’t know what we were thinking 😆

  3. Ca semble tellement petit les habits du début… On a eu aussi la première couverture, mais on ne l’a pas gardé. B. a été habillée directement pour sa part 🙂

    • Et ce qui m’a marqué particulièrement pour numérobis c’était le petit bonnet. C’était donné par la maternité et il était unique, tricoté par le Cercle des Fermières du coin. Elle en a sorti qquns et on en a choisi un 🙂

      • Pareil, nous on a eu un bonnet tricoté des infirmières, un vert parce qu’on ne connaissait pas le sexe du bébé juste avant l’accouchement 🙂

    • J’hallucine quand je vois les photos de Mark nouveau-né. À moi, il ne me paraissait pas si petit… mais en y regardant à nouveau, il était, ben oui, tout p’tit!

  4. Aw, these pics of Mark holding up his baby clothes are so adorable! I think I kept just one or two things from each of my kids – now I want to pull them out and have them hold them up.

  5. I wish my mul had kept my “robe soleil” and my “pull kangourou” (it was a cute hoodie shaped kangaroo! How awesome is that!), I loved those clothes so much and I still miss them.
    I’m sure Mark will enjoy having some of it close as a souvenir or maybe as a gift for an important child in his future life!
    And also… I keep noticing that growing up… Mark looks even more like you (eh sorry Feng!)

    • Does he look like me? I can’t tell!

      I’m sure you mum kept a few stuff you had as a kid… although it may be in a box somewhere! What was the “robe soleil”? Were those nicknames you gave your clothes as a kid or a way to describe them now?

      • Oh no I’m pretty sure she didn’t. She’s not sentimental neither materialistic. She threw away so many stuff I wanted to keep without telling me! It was heartbroken but the way it is I guess 🙂

        Yes of course those were the nicknames I gave as a little innocent cute kid 😀
        My “robe soleil” was bright yellow and I was soooo proud it was a “robe qui tourne” when moving!

  6. awwww so cute !!!

    Omg I did not enjoy the baby stage I. e. sleepless nights and witching hours ! But I am loving the toddler stage. Kids are so goofy and full of personalities and so much emotions tantrums are epic ! Not enjoying picky eater stage as we are foodies that eat almost anything. Oh well…I have to finish put clothes that don’t fit him in bins probably later this week or month. Will probably start crying .

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