November 10, 2015

The Hand-Me-Down Dilemma

Littlebit and Baby Bee are two years, 10 months and 2 weeks apart and through them, Big Daddy and I have become HUGE advocates of having your children close together.  Parenting two children that are close in age is a far more pleasant experience than trying to find ways to bridge a six and a half year age gap.  When people ask us about age gaps, we always say smaller is better and if we knew then what we know now, the Princess would only be older than Littlebit by 2 to 3 years.

But, hindsight is 20/20 and having a big kid AND little kids really isn’t terrible, it’s just not as easy as it could be. There’s a big chasm between 15 and 9, and not just in years, but in interests and schedules.

One great benefit to closely spaced siblings of the same gender is hand-me-downs.  I didn’t save many of the Princess’s big kid clothes because I knew they’d be pretty out of date 6+years later, but with just a few short years between Littlebit growing out of something and Baby Bee growing into something, I  began to amass quite a collection of hand-me-downs.

At first, this was great.  I rarely had to buy blue jeans or leggings for Baby Bee.  When it came time to retire outgrown nighties from Baby Bee’s drawer there were always a few from Littlebit waiting in the wings.  As a sentimental sort, tugging a well loved nightie over Baby Bee’s head made me happy.  It was like a visit from an old friend.

Every season I cull the girls’ clothes.  Everything is inspected for size and stains and then is sorted into one of four categories; thrown out, stored for Baby Bee, stored in the sentimental box or passed on to friends and family.  This usually takes all day.  Seriously.

So, this spring I began the task of sorting the clothes. The rubbermaid totes came down and I began pulling out clothes in Baby Bee’s new size  out of the boxes.  I greeted some old friends again, but as I began loading them into Baby Bee’s drawers and onto hangers I realized something.

Littlebit and Baby Bee are very different people.  That’s not news, of course.  They share a lot of similar interests and a lot of complimentary interests (they are very Jack Sprat and his wife) but they’re very very different.  As I pulled out size 5 outfits for Baby Bee, I realized that many of the clothes weren’t going to work.  The super girlie, bright colored clothes that Littlebit loves to wear just doesn’t match Baby Bee’s personality.  They fit her, but they didn’t fit her.

This week, I sat down in front of the huge bin of clothes I was saving for Baby Bee and looked at it all with a critical eye.  I carefully laid aside at least 1/4 of it that I couldn’t put on Baby Bee, because they just weren’t who she is.

You now, Baby Bee doesn’t care a lot about what she wears.  She wants it to be comfy (leggings are bettering than jeans), layered (yes, you can wear pants under a skirt), red and having cats on it is a bonus, but putting her in sparkly, ruffly pink clothes that Littlebit has outgrown feels like the wrong thing to do and respecting her style feels like a way to respect her.

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