By Sarah Rachel Egelman
I sit here in my home office typing and my seven-month-old daughter is capering behind me. She is covered in dust and dirt from sweeping the hardwood floors with her body as she crawls around and I have had to pry several cords from her strong little hands already. She is supposed to be napping. But, after nursing her over half an hour and laying in the quiet, dark room with her only to have her start crawling all over the bed, pulling off my glasses and laughing, I got us up and got myself to work. I turn to look at her now, to make sure she is not in danger of choking or pulling something down on her head (this room being the least baby proofed) and she grins up at me, giddy with her illicit freedom.
In this room also are a baby seat and a swing. I could strap her into either one of those, but these days she is too big and too mobile to be strapped into anything but her car seat and the Ergo carrier when we are outside the house. No, now is the time for her to explore, to get dirty, to learn boundaries, to find out the those dust bunnies are not very tasty at all. Maybe I should get out the broom...
Soon the swing and the seat will be gone and she will have more room to play in here while I work. Barring a very big surprise, my husband and I will not be having any more children. After my oldest daughter (not quite 3 and a half) was born we were not sure we wanted more children. We were so happy and it was so much work and why mess with a good thing? But, I had saved all her baby clothes and baby toys and board books and finally I had to admit I wanted another child.
Our two girls are very different, in looks and in temperament. And now our family feels totally complete. We're done. And now I am able to start getting rid of all the baby stuff that has, honestly, cluttered our house for over three years. We had a garage sale this summer, I have sold stuff on our local Craigslist. I have traded clothes in for store credit, donated some and passed other items on to new moms. My baby is growing fast; she no longer needs anything smaller than nine months and so all of it can go. So can the infant tub which she has outgrown already, and the plastic infant toys I no longer want to keep.
With the money from the things I am choosing to sell we have started a bunk bed fund. My oldest wants bunk beds and they are the best solution for when we move the baby from our room into her sister's. I am getting rid of a lot of stuff, but need to acquire the things for the next stage:
We are done having babies but far from done raising our family.
Sarah Rachel Egelman is a community college instructor and freelance book reviewer who lives in New Mexico with her family.