Monday, June 15, 2009

Our New Phase

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...


  1. So, so incredibly excited for you guys. This is wonderful!

  2. I know your panic!! I'm suddenly aware of how our house has no baby stuff except a stroller, a bouncer, and some diapers we inherited from other people. Oh wait, I am forgetting the awesome baby power dispenser and formula caddy (two different items, not some weird combo :D) that my sister sent me.

    We have to get our rooms ready (both ours and our new baby's -- whether the baby sleeps with us or not, we'll probably have a room with the baby's stuff all set up), get names picked out, get our dog more trained, figure out when I want my mom and in-laws to come visit/help, take classes, etc. So much stuff to do in for 4 months! It's very exciting/fun/stressful, all at once! :)

    How are you feeling physically? You mentioned nausea before. Is it all gone, I hope?

    p.s. I find the word verification on the comments often comes up with wacky words or word-like combos. For me right now, it's baromew. Is it the pressure a kitten puts on you to pick him/her up when it meows? :D

  3. eingy, where can I get some of that baby power?? (kidding, of course.) :-D

    Seriously, I didn't realize this until I had my second baby, but the amount of stuff you actually *need* is so incredibly small for the first few months, especially if you are successful at breastfeeding. A FEW clothes for the babe (I am partial to long sleeved footed sleepers that can go everywhere and I know the baby is warm enough without a blanket unless it's really cold), a place for the baby to sleep (your bed, a bassinet, or co-sleeper), diapers and wipes, and a nursing pillow (I like the Brest Friend the best, WAY more than a Boppy). Also something like a Bjorn or a sling or something like that. The caar seat, obv. Really and truly, that is all we have needed until recently. A bouncer is nice to have but not necessary. A play mat is good to have when the baby gets a little older, like 2-3 months. I LOVE the Kiddopotamus swaddle blankets, but again, not super necessary. Toss in a few receiving blankets, and I think you'd be fine. Your mileage may vary, of course, and I completely blew it out on my first child, so I don't expect you to have any restraint :-), but try not to panic- it's so much simpler than you think it will be! (Notice I didn't say easier- I don't mean to imply it's easy. Just cognitively not hard to understand.)

    I am SO happy that your pregnancy is progressing so nicely and so excited for you!

  4. It's so funny to read your post. I'm a lawyer (lists included) and my daughter is now 4 years old. I was frantic about getting the crib in place before she was born. I think she slept in it a total of about 10 nights that first year and a half before we got a big girl bed at 18 months. We were lucky that breastfeeding and co-sleeping worked for us. If I had it to do all over, I wouldn't have registered for nearly as much stuff! It's hard to suppress the maternal/nesting instincts, though. Good luck!

  5. Wow! I haven't been following you recently but I do remember following your blog for quite a while when you first started it (and again, props for your F-you very much goodbye email to PH). I'm really happy for you to learn of the pending arrival of your new little one! Congrats!

    Well, on my end, I've been laid off! yay! and have a new and renewed hatred for BigLaw (though it was a pretty healthy hatred when I was still employed doing monkey shit).

  6. Patricia: Hee! Funny typo, but now I'm giggling over the idea of dispensing out little amounts of baby power. :)

  7. Good for you! It's funny, we're in a very different situation--we just found out we're having another boy so we don't really need to buy much at all, not even clothes (same season as last time)!

  8. My dear, I find you remarkable. So remarkable, that I put a link to your blog. I'm so sick of people who think those who were laid off were "failures" or "dead weight" when in fact, they could have been excellent lawyers that were the victims of politics or ignorant asshole partners (such as in your case).

    again, I'm SO glad to hear of your great news!

  9. s -

    I just wanted to echo what Patricia said about not needing as much as you think. i have a 10 week old, and I'm really surprised at all the stuff we don't use. I stocked up on a lot of gear when I was pregnant (strollers, bassinet, lots of clothes) and we basically use 6 or 7 key things -- our sling, the boppy, a bumbo chair (once you get neck control), the cradle swing, a good car seat, pacifiers, a few onesies/jammies and our rocker. Oh, and the breast pump! We've only used the stroller three times and I spent months researching the best kind for our lifestyle. Maybe we'll use it down the road, but don't stress too much about it acquiring gear or learning as much as you can about childbirth or childcare. Just enjoy your time - things change so dramatically once the baby arrives. And don't stress about the labor/delivery - it's really not that bad -- but definitely GET THE EPIDURAL. :)

    Also, I applaud you for reading as much as you can get your hands on. You'll be well prepared! The "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD was key for us. Another book I'd recommend was "The Baby Whisperer - How to Calm and Connect with your Infant."

    You're about to embark on a wonderful journey. Best of luck to you and yours!