It's not a piece of clothing by itself, but a whole outfit that I've split off from the pile of things that no longer fit and tucked away in a box by itself. A tiny cotton vest, covered in little yellow chicks, sketched in brown on a white background, and a white babygro with bright jungle animals, giraffe, crocodiles, elephants and monkeys.
Back in August I ran laundry loads of newborn clothes, lumbering into the garden to hang them out on the line, a string of pastel and white bunting announcing that we were finally getting ready to welcome our little bear. Everything came in multipack form and I sat in the nursery chair, carefully sorting through to choose the very best, and very gender neutral to pack in my labour bag. Folded together with a few nappies and tucked into the bottom of the bag with a cardigan and later a little pistachio green hat; covered with water bottles, sweeties and the famous flapjack that went out of date before I went into labour.
After Kitty was born we sat for what felt like hours with her lying on my chest, stroking her hair and her cheeks, gazing in awe at this little person that was all ours. Eventually one of the midwifes suggested we might like to dress her before she weed on us, and H took her to her cot to dress her, carefully fitting tiny floppy arms into sleeves no bigger than my thumb and wrapping her in freshly washed cotton and handknit love.
She managed to fit into her newborn and 1 month clothes for another week or so and in that time I think she wore the vest and babygro a couple more times, and then our little girl had already started heading up to the 6' something that she seems likely to be. When I packed up her newborn clothes I pulled these two out of the pile and tucked them into her baby box with her cards, her hospital bracelets and other special treasures.
Soft through washing, and smelling of a mixture of laundry liquid and newborn baby, and tiny, so tiny that I can scarcely believe she ever wore them, they are my first night as a mother, in a hot dark hospital ward with a little animal covered girl soundly sleeping in the cot beside me.
Inspired by this week's Writing Workshop Prompts at Sleep is for the weak