Friday, August 10, 2012

What goes around comes around

It is amazing the material stuff that a parent accumulates of completely necessary baby stuff. I view myself as belonging to the category of 'minimalist moms' (although some people do it way better than I) and I have only ever had two pram/strollers (=baby vehicles), two carriers (one which I still use), two car seats (one for the nanny, one for us) and Zoe still has very few toys since we live small and she has plenty opportunity to play with other toys in daycare and playgroups I take her to. Yet, for some reason all these things are used, then discarded because a baby grows into a toddler and suddenly the legs are too long for the stroller and the head sticks out the top of the infant car seat (yep, I tried to squeeze her in when she was still under the weight limit but too tall, since she is "tall and skinny" on the charts). And in other cases we moved and shipped 90% of Zoe's toys not realizing that she would like things to play with during the 6 months while we waited for it. So we bought double (remember the cup-holder problem?).

So for the longest time I had wanted to sell or pass on many old things that are just taking up storage space, things that another baby, somewhere, could have great use of. Today was the day. I meticulously wrote well-phrased ads for Blocket, Sweden's version of craigslist, checked the Swedish again and again on google translate and paid the fees. I woke up to several emails with interested people and managed to get all four people to show up this afternoon. I was not only proud of my own accomplishment in terms of communication and coordination, I was also amazed of how easy it was and how many people were interested in my 2 year old no-name pram that Zoe had for her first 4 months. I guess I listed it too cheap. The other things also sold easily, I think because they were brand name items.

One of the things Sweden is amazing about is second hand stuff, particularly high quality items. Nothing is cheap here, you can find more affordable things but a real stroller is still 700$ and up and if you want to be hip with the hipster moms on Södermalm, you need a Bugaboo or an Emmaljunga pram with your color matching child dressed in Molo or Marimekko. I was fairly brand name savvy before I became a mom and I still am a firm believer in quality which comes with particular brands so Zoe is often found in Petit Bateau, Noa Noa, Polarn & Pyret (lovely Swedish kids clothes) and of course Molo. But as I looked at her today I also became proud of my ability to budget: her Molo t-shirt was bought from the UK mail-order on sale together with the Petit Bateau undershirt; her Wheat pants were hand-me-downs from my girlfriend whose daughter is 7 years older than Zoe. Finally, her Molo rain boots (that she wears every single day, rain or sunshine) were a present from my mom since her old ones had so many holes in them that... well let me just say the normal functionality of rain boots was non-existent. The high quality of clothes here, both in terms of material and design, as well as durability, gives me a sense of responsibility to also pass things on and I have so far managed to sell 15+ items on Tradera, Sweden's eBay (see my current ads).

So today was big cleaning out day. What I had not predicted was Zoe's still very present attachment to all the things. She spent 45 minutes playing in, around, and under her old pram, crawling into it and putting her doll into it. I explained that a nice little baby (named Jessica), who did not have a pram of her own, needed it and that we were passing it on to her, but Zoe still cried her eyes out when they rolled it away. The infant carseat went a bit more easily although the mom hadn't brought the baby, but perhaps Zoe had realized at this point that she really didn't fit in there anymore after eagerly attempting and falling out a couple of times. At one point between the Brio trolley and her pram I broke down and promised that we buy her a doll pram. As a minimalist mom, we don't have one at home despite Zoe loving them when at a playgroup or visiting others kids who do. I regretted immediately because I knew it was a "bad mommy moment" and hope she doesn't remember tomorrow. At least she finally stopped crying and we went over to buy a footstool (second hand) for her so she doesn't have to climb up on the bathroom bin to reach the sink. I might be minimalist but this is one item I should have bought long time ago, before she broke the lid off the waste bin.

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