The Tragic Optimist


So it looks like we maybe probably will be moving.  We’ve been thinking for a while that we’d like a little bit more space, and especially if we do succeed in having a second child, the extra room would be needed.  So we’ve interviewed a couple of realtors and we’ll choose one some time next week and see if we can do this thing.

One of the things that all the realtors have said – and it’s something we already knew – is that we’ll have to do some major decluttering.  Neither Chris nor I are particularly good at throwing things away, and the fact that our house doesn’t have a lot of good storage options doesn’t help.  So we’ve started the purging process.  I’m actually enjoying it a bit.  I know that I save too much, and I kind of relish the chance – no, not chance, motivation? excuse? need? – anyway, I’m glad to be decluttering because I know that I won’t do it unless something really pushes me there.  And I know that it feels great to get a lot of the accumulated stuff out of my life.  We’ve only just begun, but already it feels lighter, even though I know we have miles to go before we could ever consider ourselves decluttered.  And we probably won’t actually get there, we’ll probably end up stashing a lot of stuff in a storage locker some where.

But we have started trying to go through and toss or store away things we don’t need.  Last week I went through the dining room and living room and got rid of a few things that seemed obvious.  I threw out some of Zoe’s old teethers, the ones filled with liquid because all of a sudden they just seemed like a bad idea to keep them around.

I didn’t think that Zoe noticed, but clearly she did.  This evening in the car she asked me why I threw away the baby toys.  After a bit of clarifying, I realized she meant the teethers.

“But when I have a baby sister, she’ll need them,” said Zoe.  I assured her that if ever such a baby sister came about, we’d get the baby her own teethers.

“I think she will also need a carseat, and I can share with her my toys.”  I hadn’t realized how much thought she’d put into it.  I tried to gently bring up the idea that she might not have a sibling.  Chris tried to explain that if she did, there was an equal chance that it might be a baby brother.  Neither of the ideas upset her, she simply discarded them and kept talking about her baby sister.

I kept waiting for the gut punch, for it to sting, or even annoy me that I can’t promise her this.  But it never came.  It was actually pretty sweet, how she said she’d help out with the baby when she cried at night and give her toys (though she wouldn’t play with her, the baby would just play by herself).  I decided to just go along with it, join in the fantasy of a second baby, and an older sibling who isn’t jealous.  I ignored for the moment the fact that the sweeter the fantasy, the more it hurts at the end of a cycle, and listened to Zoe plan out where the baby will sit, and how she’d grow from a baby to a toddler to a preschooler, with no question or thought that it might not happen.  Zoe agreed that the baby won’t come until she starts pre-k, which I think is still more than 9 months from now.  So there’s that.



  1. S has recently started asking why she doesn’t have siblings – strangely enough, usually she’s asking why she doesn’t have an OLDER sibling. So we haven’t had to explain to her that there is basically a zero chance that she will be getting a younger sibling. I’m glad Zoe’s interest hasn’t been a punch in the gut for you.

  2. geeksinrome

    Zoe is soooo adorable! That’s got to be painful to hear her excitement.

    I hope the house clearance goes well. I am such a pack rat. I would have one of those portable storage pods in a sec, so I admire your resolve to really shed the excess!!

  3. I remember the de-cluttering that went on before we moved. I LOVE stuff and it killed me some of the stuff Hubby made me toss out. Good news is, I really don’t even remember what all I threw away and I certainly haven’t needed it in the last five years. Huh. I guess he was right after all.

  4. We just did a big decluttering: it felt great. Good luck with the move.

  5. Have you watched the show “Hoarders”? After seeing a couple of episodes, I was inspired to attack my closets and am donating a pile of things this week. The show will also provide comfort that your house could be in much, much worse shape.

  6. It always feels good to de-clutter. I don’t consider myself to be a hoarder but somehow I always end up with the cupboards full and overspilling. Although having two young children has definitely added to the sheer amount of stuff I have accumulated what with the baby toys, clothes and gadgets plus having lost two bedrooms to keep the other stuff in has had quite an impact!

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