We have recently cleared out our house and giant garden shed of stuff in preparation for yet more building work. In doing so we unearthed a whole load of long-forgotten baby things both children have outgrown – from far too many bags of clothes to the playmat via the cot – that we seem to have squirrelled away in storage.
Finding them again has made me think; at what point do you finally get rid of all the baby things?
My husband’s Vulcan-like response was to give it all away now, but with this question no closer to an answer in my own mind, I’m on the fence. Do we keep it (and potentially never use it, while it takes up space)? Or do we give it all away and then *whispers* possibly have to buy it all new in a few years time?
Giving it away is potentially more practical, but just seems so final, doesn’t it?
OK, OK, lots of it – baby clothes especially – I’m probably hanging on to for nostalgia reasons, as they are tied so tightly to memories that even looking at them is like an emotional punch to the gut.
But it’s also made me remember that while there are some baby things you’d have to tear out of my cold dead claw hands before they leave the house, there are others that I have happily waved goodbye to…the baby things that have mostly already gone and I definitely WON’T miss…like all the following:
The Jumperoo – Ah, the good old ‘circle of neglect’. Children love it because dangling in mid-air is fun, as is being hypnotised into a zombie state of overstimulation by all the neon and lights. Parents love it because it equals tea and breathing space without the worry that your Bambi-legged baby is lurching towards the stairs. But my main problem with the Jumperoo, apart from it making me hallucinate when I was at peak levels of tired, was that it took up about 90% of our house. This is definitely not hiding in our shed. We gave it away as soon as possible and reclaimed the use of all of our floor space.
Baby toys: Baby toys, as lovely as they can be, have the main design fault that no baby wants to play with them. They would much rather pull all the baby wipes out, one by one, again and again. Or lovingly stroke the TV remote or play ‘hide the keys’ in the bath two minutes before you’re due to leave the house. Is there any point keeping toys when a 3-for-2 wipes special from the supermarket would be just as effective?
The Bumbo: On holiday recently we saw a family who had taken their Bumbo to the beach. Which made me smile as even I wasn’t that neurotic as a first-time parent. The Bumbo (a giant plastic moulded baby seat, for those who haven’t had the pleasure) is one of the baby items everyone seems to buy because everyone seems to buy it, not because your child will ever sit in it. Because they tend to sit in it about twice, once while you take a photo, because what baby wants to sit in the clutches of the seat’s prison-like grip when they could be crawling around and rifling through your bag for wipes? I’m pretty sure both of mine screamed in horror at the very sight of it.
Second-time we got it out and of course, the only person who wanted to sit in it was the older child and previous Bumbo-refusenik. Of course. I actually have no idea where ours went – I think I took it to the charity shop. Bye bye, Bumbo.
Teething toys: Again, these seem like a great idea, in their millions of different and fancy forms. Everyone loves Sophie, don’t they? Apart from babies, who love other people’s Sophie’s with a passion. But children don’t actually chew on these. They prefer a) the remote b) the edges of books c) your finger.
Anything that sings a song, plays a tune or makes a noise: ‘Oh, aren’t these great?’ said no parent ever after hearing the sound for the ten millionth time. And the singing, tune-playing toys are in cahoots against me, I swear. They line up and patiently wait by the door until I creep out, child finally asleep. What’s that underfoot…? You’re out of here as soon as your battery dies.
The cot: Not the stuff of dreams, but of annoying nightmares. Florence slept in it about once but I forever banged into in when manoeuvring into bed in the dark.
Although, it’s not all bad…here are the baby things I will be very reluctant to say goodbye to:
Baby wipes: What was life like before these bad boys? They do everything, from getting rid of eyeliner smudges to removing pen marks from the wallpaper. I still panic if I don’t have at least ten packs on my person at all times of the day and night. These are with me for life.
The pram: I’m not so much a fan of the pram, per say (although we love our Bugaboo Bee 5). It’s just that when you stop using it, where do you put all your things? And as I’m the one who ends up carrying one or both child when we bravely venture out without, I’m pushing it for as long as possible.
Our co-sleeper cot: We also loved this (we had the SnuzPod) because it represented an innocent time when the adults had space in the bed. Now we end up with two-to-three of us balancing precariously on the edge, while the toddler lies horizontally in the middle.
My old toys: From the old Fisher Price Little People in the photo to my 80s-tastic collection of Barbies, my mum has kept all of these and gets them out with a flourish when we go to their house. And of course, now I’m not a baby, they are brilliant. Is this an argument for keeping baby things? And will my children ever feel nostalgic about the Bumbo or some freezable keys? Who knows.
But what did you do with all the baby things? Did you give them away? Have you kept them? When did you know the time was right to say goodbye?