This past weekend I went to the Park Slope Parents’ baby clothing swap. I was really excited about this clothing swap. I’d had it on the calendar for weeks. The idea of exchanging old things I can’t use for new things I need, not spending money, gets my blood pumping.
The event was in a stuffy, dank basement of a church in Park Slope. Volunteers had set up a bunch of tables mounded with baby clothes, which grew higher as more people arrived with their own clothes to swap.
After depositing my donation I angled my way into a spot at the 0-9 table. I was somewhat surprised to find women standing around idly chatting, sifting through the clothes in a leisurely fashion. “Oo, isn’t this cute?!” “What size are you looking for?” “This is nice, but I don’t know if it will fit Franny in the spring; you take it.” Some had babies on them in carriers. Meanwhile my adrenaline was pumping as if I were embarking on a Survivor challenge. “Grab the baby clothes! Winter is coming! Winter!”
A little war began to wage inside me. I tried to listen to the “Be polite! Make small talk,” voice, but I couldn’t keep my hands from searching and grabbing, flipping over whole stacks like pancakes to get at the clothes underneath. I could appreciate that maybe these women didn’t want to feel like they were at the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest, but I couldn’t hold myself back.
I don’t even know what ended up in my bags. Stretch pants with cherries, a dress from Guatemala, anything fleece that looked warm, and at least four pairs of overalls. (Turns out I can’t resist a pair of overalls.) At the end, I quietly made my way out with my two large bags feeling like a thief. I have twins! TWINS! I wanted to say. I brought this much with me!
When I got home, I showed off the haul to D as if they were hunting trophies. “If we can do this every year, maybe we’ll never have to buy baby clothes again!” I said, “Except for maybe winter jackets and socks.” “It’s true,” D said, “All the baby clothes have already been bought.” I don’t know why I’m this way, but at least D humors me.