i well remember the first time i washed ruth’s clothes. it was right after her shower, a couple months before she was actually born. they had all been taken from the boxes, all the tags removed, and tossed down the chute. that in itself felt odd enough, tossing such perfect little outfits down the chute along with my stinky underwear and greg’s work clothes. later, when i revisited the pile, now on the basement floor, and began to toss it all into the washer, i had this strange feeling, like i was washing doll’s clothes, so tiny it all was, composed of the tiniest bits of sewn-together fabric. “this is silly,” i thought, and laughed at myself as i did my unborn child’s laundry for the first time.
since that time, i have done countless loads of laundry for tiny people. it now feels as natural as cutting grapes in half, as wiping other peoples asses with wet wipes and fastening on a fresh diaper (nothing like a freshly diapered baby bottom), as natural as stepping on sharp plastic toys all day long, so familiar.
what used to feel so unsubstantial to me is now perfectly normal. i’m used to microscopic socks, teeny shirts and onesies, little sweaters and pairs of pants. a smallish pile of laundry can hold a deceptive number of clothing articles, so that i am soon looking at ten or so miniscule piles of laundry to be toted to different drawers.
especially since ruth changes her clothes about five times per day and usually uses the front of her shirt as a napkin. joel isn’t much better and is infamous for hiding mystery food down the front of his onesie. the pile downstairs is sometimes ominously wet and can be scary to try and move to the washer, especially if i haven’t gotten to it in a couple days which is often the case with two kids ruling my life upstairs. i just make sure to crank the water to hot and dump in copious amounts of soap.
sometimes, at times like that, when i am holding my breath and throwing all the kids clothes into the washer as fast as possible, i think back to that first load of laundry and i laugh at myself, that i thought it was so weird at the time, and at just how much laundry for little people i have done since then.