Fiber Friday: End of An Era

I have been purging lately.  Not the good kind, wherein you lose a lot of weight but still get to enjoy the foods you love.  The other, messier kind.  The house purge.

We have so much stuff, and I have been so crazy (no, really – like bats in the belfry, toys in the attic, though in our house it’s rats in the attic and toys all over the damn place), that there is nothing but chaos all around us.

I might have mentioned my little pet OCD project.  I stumbled into it quite by accident, but we love each other and I think it’s for keeps.  Coupled with my ADD it’s like a torrid romance, without the sex, though sex is in the running for the next object of my affection.  I jump from obssession to obssession, and before I know it I have enough supplies to keep an army in yarn, fabric, paper crafting, recycled sweaters, rock climbing gear or cigarrettes for at least a decade.  

My major hesitation is the baby stuff.  I’m parting with the clothes in a fairly light-hearted manner, with only a few tears and gut-wrenching sob sessions,  and a mere two huge boxes of  “must keep” items.  Because, you know, they’ll never make such adorable clothing for babies again and I might someday have grandchildren.

No, the real problem is cloth diapers.

As I said in an earlier post, I love them.  I covet, crave, and fondle them.  I have truckloads of fabric out of which I sew them.  My last five years has been spent accumulating, experimenting and creating.  Most of my knitting has been longies and shorties for – you guessed it – diaper covers.

As I pack away the rarely-used items and try to figure out what to do with all the raw material, I find myself wondering who I will be when we move out of this stage.  Since no more babies are in the works (do you HEAR ME UTERUS??) what will I do with the fabric?  Will I continue to make and sell on Etsy for other people’s babies?  Or is it really time to find some other obssession?

I am so sad to be done.  So sad that some day my baby boys will not kiss me squishily on the mouth.  Sad that the snuggles in bed in the morning will pass away.  Sad that there will be no more toothless smiles in my future, except perhaps my own.  I want to want to be done – but I will always ache just a little in my heart that who I am, what I do, is constantly being redefined.  Soon, I will no longer be the mother of toddlers.  In no time at all, I will be the mother of men and a woman.

For whatever reason, this cloth diapering thing has been the symbol of this season of my life.  As I fold them and decide where they should go, I think of all the work, all the washing and care that goes into parenting.  The drudgery, the cuteness,  the raw need a baby has for his mother.

Part of me feel ready for whatever is ahead, ready to let the babies grow up and not need me quite so much, or at least not in the same ways.

And part of me wants to always have a baby to love and to love me right back, in that simple, sweet way babies have.

P.S.  Wanna buy some diaper fabric?


25 Responses to “Fiber Friday: End of An Era”

  1. I have been through the exact same thing (the diaper part) and had the exact same thoughts. For me, it just seemed like when the time came, it was the right time, and wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. It was the same for nursing. I thought I’d nurse her forever but by 18 months I was done.

  2. Make em into a quilt. Then your kids can continue to be wrapped in their warmth..ha ha

    • Funny, I do make quilts for my kids from special clothes and things that have sentimental value. In fact, I turned a brand new, never worn, $40 micro-miniskirt into a quilt ingredient for my teenage daughter, so she would always remember the fight we had over her NOT wearing that thing out in public.

  3. Well said. We collect things, too. Sigh. Too many things. I finally decided that I really should get rid of maternity clothes and baby things, but that means coming to grips with the idea that I won’t have more babies, and I’m not sure I can handle that yet. I still can’t see beyond the diaper and baby carrier obsession – whatever will we do once those are no longer needed!

  4. Well, when they get a bit older you’ll go through a phase where you are glad that you don’t have to take care of toddlers anymore. And then you’ll wish you had another little baby, but that too shall pass.

    I have so much clutter right now. I just want to throw out everything.

    • Mike – yeah, I’m actually going through the sadness of no more babies already. I do want one, but I know I just. Can’t. Do. It. And it will be nice to someday be able to write without a toddler climbing all over me. I might get like 30 words a minute, then!

      Milkmama – I am not having an easy time of really accepting the idea of no more babies. I just keep telling myself that babies grow up to be surly teens and sarcastic adults (if they’re my children, anyway), and we have more than we can handle already.

  5. Still, there will be a whole bunch of new firsts on your horizon that will be wonderful.

    P.S. I’ll take any spare toys. Specifically, action figures, plush animals, and all Fisher Price. Oh, what the hell, throw in the diaper fabric.

    A guy can never be to careful.


    • Be careful what you wish (and ask) for, Alantru. Those plush animals look cute but they multiply. Multiply, I tell ya! In the dark recesses of the Rubbermaid bin, they are in there rutting like stuffed rabbits.

      And I will never give up my our action figures! They are the coolest toys we have. 😉

      • A Rubbermaid bin, filled like stuffed, rutting, plush rabbits…


        You so funny!

        Hmmm… Okay, but I’ll still need those diapers.

        • *sigh*

          …filled WITH stuffed, rutting, plush rabbits…

          Clean up on Aisle 5!

          • I would have edited it for you, ya know. But now it’s funnier because of the clean up comment. How about the “you so funny” line? Are you trying to sound like an ignorant hick from around here, because I really have enough of those. Just be yourself – smart, funny, craven. We all like you.

            • 😉

              That was me trying to express my admiration for you in four syllables. I should have gone with “I am giggling.” Next time.

              I’ve never been called craven before… Just so I’m clear, when you say ‘craven’ you mean the electoral ward in the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council of West Yorkshire, England…?

              (Please say yes)

              Years ago I was in a car that drove past the town of Craven Saskatchewan. (Really!) We kept driving.

              • Dear Mr. Alantru,

                It has come to our attention that Ms. Barely Knit Together often confuses the meaning of words because, while she is perhaps the most well-read person on her block, she rarely actually speaks to people.

                So we are hereby issuing a retraction of the word “craven” from your description. We shall substitute instead the words “delightful,” “wise,” “marvelous,” “beautiful,” and “charming.” We also have you down as a man of exceptional taste in blog reading material.

                In order to prevent any future litigation, we make this declaration public and resign ourselves to the inevitable ribbing and humiliation to follow.

                Eat Crow Begrudgingly, Esq.

                Void where prohibited. Must be used by Cinqo de Mayo of the year 2010, except where otherwise noted and only if it falls on a Monday. Cannot be combined with any other apologies. Use caution while driving or operating machinery (the title fits in nicely with the Olivia Newton John references of the previous post). Use only as directed except when directed otherwise. May cause bloating of the ego.

              • And I must say I’m relieved that you clearly had to look up this word yourself. I’m not sure why I thought it meant something different. Perhaps I was thinking Wes Craven?

                • Hahahaha… I figured there had to be another meaning that I didn’t know about. Hence the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council of West Yorkshire, England, reference.

                  The first time I heard the word craven was in a Looney Tunes cartoon… “I may be a craven little coward, but I’m a greedy craven little coward…”

  6. Jamie Says:

    Okay I have a perfect solution to the ever reproducing annoying collection of stuffed animals! I buy those covers for been bag chairs and bean bag seats and fill them with stuffed animals and save a ton on the actual chair and usually the girls have no idea what is inside 🙂
    As far as the baby clothes… I cannot sew well enough to make a quilt but are your talents for hire? It will be awhile until I need one made though since we decided to start the baby thing over again 🙂

    • Jamie – I knew you were brilliant, but this is great! Why didn’t I know this? So all this time I’ve been sitting on stuffed bunnies and piggies? Too funny.

      And yes, my talents are for hire. Whenever you’re ready to quit (which I suspect will be in just a few more months, right?) 😉

  7. I long for the purge of our house. The plan is to get husband to help, one day/week this summer and go through the whole house! TOO MUCH STUFF!!!

    I am sentimental, but also long for a more streamlined life… where I can walk through my house in more of a flow instead of a ‘step over, avoid, pick up, sigh – leave it for later’ kind of way.

    I will keep the little baby clothes that each of my sons wore as newborns – just one outfit each. Other things I will give away to friends or other folks or organizations who need it.

    We’ll see if this plan actually happens!

    • The question I keep asking myself and my husband is, “If we absolutely had to replace this item later, would we be able to? Is it worth the psychological cost to keep it, or can we use the space more than the item?”

      This seems to help. Sometimes. 😉

  8. Yesterday I spend the day with my wife and daughter at a local homeless shelter. We’ve been going for a while and have been helping out with homeless moms who have kids…it breaks your heart. We have donated so much stuff the two months, we can now park both cars in the garage. I am not preaching, its what works for us. We purged big time and we feel great about it.

    • That’s mostly what I do with things. I work with pregnant women (at least I did until Harmony stole my doula role) and sometimes teach at a local low-income clinic. So a lot of the baby stuff goes to groups that help them. There’s a place called the B.A.B.E. store here, and low-income and uninsured women who get proper prenatal care get “points” towards things in the store. It encourages them to be healthy and get proper care, so I am happy to say that two huge boxes of baby clothes are on their way to that store.

      A few things I sell on ebay, but that’s because we aren’t exactly rich, ourselves.

      I also think that’s awesome that you and your family participate in things like that. I spent a little bit of time on the streets, technically homeless I guess, and I cannot imagine doing that with children. Heartbreaking.

      Thanks for stopping in, FJ.

  9. I was just telling my husband that I’m going to miss our girls when they’re older. Not out of the house older but when they no longer want to cuddle on my lap or sing goofy songs with me. I’ll miss that part of them. It’s kinda sad.

  10. woowoomama Says:

    i am having a really hard time processing the emotions that arose when you informed me that there would be a day when i would have to pack up and get rid of my cloth diapers and woolies. are you kidding me? i am going to melt into a little blubbering puddle in about three seconds. no more babies here…and although i know we can’t handle another one just thinking about it makes me feel all weepy. but, add on the dynamic of saying good bye to my dipes and i might seriously fly off the handle (which i have been clinging too so tightly recently). take it back. You Can’t Possibly Mean It For Real.

  11. When I was a kid, my mom recycled old cloth diapers as dustrags. Too bad she didn’t have the crafty gene and recycle them into quilts or baby blankets cos they were soooo soft and cuddly.

    • Aren’t they soft? They do make fab dustrags, but I just think they should be used for something better. But I have something of a clutter problem, so I’m going to have to at least pare down.

      Thanks for stopping by, Mike! Hope to see you again.

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