The Playmat Stays
Knowing that Eric is our last baby (a fact that makes me feel wistful, sad, and relieved all at the same time), Tim and I have taken to giving away our baby items as Eric outgrows them.
The baby clothes? They’re mostly gone, save for those few pieces with which I cannot bear to part.
I just passed our swing onto a dear friend and doula client whose baby was born in September.
Toys are packed and ready to go, the old crib mattress has been moved to the basement to serve as a mini-trampoline for the older boys, and the bassinet is ready to go to a good home whenever a new niece or nephew decides to come into the world.
Besides our baby (who’s running at warp speed toward toddlerhood) and his current gear, the signs that three babies have been a part of our household are quickly shrinking.
This is a good thing. We don’t need the clutter. We don’t need the stuff. Other people can, and will, use this stuff. It’s time for us to open new chapters in our lives and (by the looks of all the soccer gear taking up space by the front door) collect new and different stuff.
But there’s one baby item that Eric no longer uses–that he won’t likely use again–which, like those baby clothes that evoke such sentiment in me, I simply cannot bear to give away to someone else.
The playmat. Our colorful, well-loved baby playmat.
I know. I’m getting all sentimental over an infant playmat. It’s as if someone pulled out a can of maudlin whoop-ass on me.
But here’s the thing: there are very few “baby things” that all three boys have equally adored. Miles was the only one who liked the swing, Alec was the only one who liked to be carried in a sling, and Eric has been the only one who spent much time sleeping in the bassinet. And sure, they’ve all used the high chair, but I honestly cannot wait to free up the space it takes up in our kitchen.
The playmat, however, they’ve all loved.
This is Miles when he was just six or seven weeks old. This is where he would lie when Tim and I just wanted to sit and watch him. This is where we practiced “tummy-time,” and oh-so-diligently back then with him, our first born. This is where he first started batting at toys, leaving us over the moon with excitement at how clever he was…to bat at a blue and pink monkey…that was dangling right over his head.
I now see the playmat, and I see glimpses of what I was like as a first-time mom.
This is Alec at about four months old, Miles nearly three years old. They often ended up on the playmat together, mostly because Alec was already there cooing and oohing and reaching for his toys, and Miles enjoyed trying to squeeze his little (yet comparably big) body onto the mat with his brother.
This was one of the first times that Alec truly took notice of his brother in a way that was most than just a passing glance and the “person making all that noise over there.” He pushed himself up on his playmat and giggled at his brother. And so I look at this playmat, and I see glimpses of those moments when my children first developed a relationship as brothers.
And then this is Eric, a little over two months old, with Alec and Miles all squished onto the playmat with him. I have plenty of photos of Eric catching himself in the playmat mirror or peeking up at me as I rattle a toy above his head. But this photo captures so many of the reasons why I simply cannot part with the playmat–stained with Vitamin D drops that it is, worn along the edges that it may be, folded and twisted from years of waiting dormant until each next baby came along.
Even Tim understands why I can’t give up this silly but of baby gear. He smiled sadly and nodded his head when I said, “You know, I can’t give this away. Know what I mean?”
And who knows? If it hasn’t been cloaked in some recall-driven scandal–if it survives the next couple decades–maybe we’ll just have to pull it out once more for the grandkids some day.
(And then after all the sentimental drivel that those photos instill in me, someone’ll just have to bury me with the darn thing some day.)
Besides baby clothes, do you have a baby item that you simply cannot/won’t be able to part with once you’re done having children?