This week’s laundry was super exciting for me.
Little Petra, at 10 months old, is (finally) officially too big for the 6 month clothes. She’s solidly in the 6-12 or 9-12 month sized stuff now. So I did the big change over, washed and folded everything.
I love this. It’s the best laundry day. I’m a little sad knowing that her growing is slowing down and I’ll be doing this less and less frequently. Opening the big blue tote full of hand-me-downs and gifts (I’ve bought almost no clothing for her, thanks to everyone’s generosity) is like Christmas. I know what’s in there, but I’ve forgotten. It’s all a happy surprise.
I’m always thrilled at the sweet dresses that came in a big bundle of Lillian’s clothes. Arthur has most of Silas’ old things; we just traded. Seeing Arthur in my favorite Silas clothes warms my heart, as does dressing Petra in outfits I admired on Lillian.
I rediscovered the national uniform of my people, tucked into the bags. We dyed baby clothes with Carlos when we were anticipating Silas’ arrival. For some reason, we had a ton of newborn shirts, but nothing in the mid-size range. These are all 12-month onesies. We also did a set of bed sheets for Carlos that day. His mom must have thought we were crazy.
A first set of pajamas was in this load. Babies wear pajama-esque things so much that I felt silly having separate pajamas for them. For most of the first six months or so, Silas wore whatever he had on until he threw up on it (about six hours), whether it was day or night. When he got big enough for clothes with buttons, we started with real pajamas for night time. Petra’s to that point, too–sometimes what she’s wearing for day time really doesn’t look comfortable for night.
The season is moving along; yesterday, Silas pointed out leaves falling from a tree at the park. It feels early, but summer is nearing its close. The long sleeves and cuddly fabrics I folded as I took them off the line reminded me of cooler evenings.
I’m enjoying getting to some gifts that people bought for Petra big enough that she’d have time to grow into them. This Star Trek onesie was a gift from my brother. She wore it briefly at Christmas, but it was way too big for her. I think it will fit her now. And since it’s not red, I’m not afraid to let her wear it.
I actually enjoy laundry in the summer time. Hanging it out on the line and taking it in again gives me time to think and look around me. Doing the laundry, I’ve spotted red tail hawks, herons, even a bald eagle.
It doesn’t take that long, really, and it looks downright poetic hanging on the line. My friend Pam, a Great American Playwright, once wrote a play that had a lot of people doing laundry constantly. There was a lot about that play that I found difficult, as a director, but the laundry hanging on the line was easy to work with. It’s a beautiful image, and Pam used it well (one night in rehearsal, she said, “I’ve written a laundry play, haven’t I? Oh dear.” I wasn’t aware, until she said it, that there was such a thing as a “laundry play.” Sometimes, hanging out the wash, I think of this conversation).
More than anything, Change Over Day reminds me how supported we are, how our babies are clothed by the kindness of other people’s hearts. Silas had a large supply of hand-me-downs from a church friend, and Petra’s clothes are nearly all pre-worn, and that makes them, to me, more valuable than if I had gone out and bought every piece for them. Every t-shirt has a story.