Well, here I am in my basement clutching onto my toddler’s striped seersucker sundress for dear life. It’s just come out of the dryer and now I’m holding back tears. No, it isn’t stained or ripped or now missing a button. You see the problem is that its size is twelve months and my daughter is now fitting a comfortable size of 2T. The dress was a present from a dear auntie for her first birthday and she only wore it once. And I didn’t even get a photo.

With the days getting shorter and temperature dipping, I’m coming to grips with the fact that her summer clothes need to go into storage. Why am I so meticulously folding this cheerful and freshly laundered pile of rompers and shorts? Half of these clothes no longer fit her. The other half aren’t warm enough for our impending damp Seattle weather.

As a new mom, I quickly learned the cruel, cruel reality of sizing children’s clothing according to their age. When we first graduated out of the “0-3” size, it was bittersweet since my daughter had issues gaining weight initially. I was excited to move on from spit-up stained lap shoulder onesies but disappointed that she never wore the velvet holiday dress I bought when I was pregnant.

But then she quickly grew to a 99 percentile in height and weight and was well out of infant sizes before she even turned a year old. I remember having to squish her into a pair of 2T leggings at 10 months. Um, where did all those other sizes go? I tried my best to rotate her into outfits from well-meaning relatives who guessed her size ahead of time. Her pajama footies now had “sticky” feet on them to provide traction for the first steps she wasn’t yet taking. My experienced mom friends reassured me that crawling and walking would ease her growth, and it did. But I couldn’t help but feel somehow cheated that we “skipped” all those sizes.

Back to me, standing here in my basement. With what feels like two years’ worth of spring and summer clothes tumbling out of the dryer. We’ve got every size, color and brand imaginable and they’re all rendered useless. I feel the passage of time more than ever. How can my 15-month-old not fit into something made for a two-year-old? The days are long, but the years are short. That’s for sure.

I have to ask myself as I run my hand over each piece of tiny toddler wear – do I store, donate or toss? It’s this question coupled with the sheer act of doing laundry at the end of each season that causes a near meltdown in me. It forces me to ask myself: Will we really have another baby? If not, who exactly am I saving this for? Most of my friends are done having kids. And if we have another baby, what if it’s a boy? Then I usually snort and think, I guess I’ll just laugh at the eight gigantic Sterilite boxes piled up to the ceiling. (Which will then be donated to a worthy cause, of course!)

This emotional roller coaster is just one of those things I’m learning to deal with as a mom. When my daughter sizes up or the weather turns, I undoubtedly will have a near meltdown. Over laundry.