Maternal instinct had been knocking at my door for some time now, but I had kept it at bay until a couple of months ago. After the spina bifida ultrasound, the floodgates opened and I have been swimming in it since.
First, it started with a simple list. A to-do list. No lawyer is complete without her to-do list, and it appears mothers-to-be suffer from the same affliction. The list began with ten or so general items, such as "Read parenting books," "Buy baby gear," and "Organize house for baby." The one list has since proliferated to at least 10 different ones, including "Baby Gear," "To Do Before Baby's Arrival," "Feeding Tips," "Sleeping Tips," "Car Safety," "Medical Tips," "To Do for Delivery," and so on and so on. Each list is peppered with details. For example, under "Baby Gear," I have "Car Seat" listed as item number 3. This particular item is followed by 15 different points to consider during purchase, such as "Look for straps that clip, not just slide in" and "Thicker belts that don't twist are better."
I put my lists on google docs, where I can share them with Jeff, who is reminded no less than five times a week that the lists are to be examined regularly since they are constantly evolving. And that the due date is drawing closer and closer and closer. And that we really need to get going on some of the items on the list, like cleaning out our second bedroom and moving our furniture around to make room for the crib and all the baby things we'll be getting. And that they should have been done yesterday, and they're still not crossed off the list!
Urgency is the word that best characterizes my current sense of momentum. In my rational mind, I know that four months is more than enough time to prepare for the little guy. I mean, how demanding can he really be? Babies just need food, sleep, and shelter, right? And we are currently equipped to handle such demands. But another voice from somewhere in the crevice of my mind starts to shrill at the least unexpected moments. Four months?! Four months?! How the hell are you going to be ready in just four months! Just four months to read all these books, to research all the gears, to learn to become a parent! To become responsible for a little human being who can't even keep his head from rolling around.
In addition to this maniac, another strange being seems to have inhabited my body. All of a sudden, I find myself signing up for a sewing class. Sewing class?! I am the person who couldn't be bothered to sew a button on a shirt. Why waste the time when I can simply drop it off at the dry cleaners? Some of my casual pants have been cut off with a scissors because I couldn't even be bothered to take them to the cleaners for alteration. I've never even used a sewing machine. And here I am having fantasies of sewing my childrens' Halloween costumes.
And then there's the knitting. I blame my friend Hugo for this. Shortly after his mother passed away, he brought down a box of his old baby clothes his mother had saved during his entire life, which spans over four decades. In the box were elaborately decorated sweaters the size of my two palms. Along with socks, hats, and mittens the size of my fingers. Imagine, mittens for a baby born in Brazil! Each wrapped individually in plastic bags, protected from the environment and time. These were the clothes she had knit for him while she waited for his arrival. His dear mother, who had her only child at the age of 40. How she must have longed for him. And how she waited and prepared. I came home from that visit and longed to learn how to knit. Me, who always assumed knitting must be such a bore and only saw the hazard and liability in carrying around long needles.
Let's not even get into the photography class that starts this week or the baby album I've already purchased or the Thomas the Engine song that has been stuck in the head the last two days. Or the contentment I felt at my friend's daughter's 3d birthday picnic where I spent my day on Saturday.
So many changes. So many changes that feel perfectly natural. As Jeff and I discussed over dinner last night, we couldn't feel readier. Even as we sit surrounded by our to-do lists. We're ready to hold the little guy in our arms and nuzzle him with our noses. To fill him with our love.
Just four more months...