Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A pregnant friend just told me that the burp cloths I gave her were the first ones she'd received, and that she hadn't thought to get any. I thought, burp clothes are the most imp0rtant thing! That inspired me to list the few meager things I have learned about mothering so far that you won't already find in every book on the shelf:

1) you can't own enough burp cloths. scatter burp clothes liberally throughout your home and car, and make sure there is ALWAYS one waiting in any of the places you're likely to feed the baby. breastfeeding in particular can be very messy at first.

2) you also can't own enough pacifiers. if you use pacifiers, pack every clean one you have when you go out. that way if baby drops one, you don't have to be reduced to rinsing it off or -- worse -- "cleaning" it off in your own mouth. if you have to drive alone with baby, keep your whole stock of pacifiers in the front seat with you. when baby drops the bippy and cries from the back seat, you won't have to search around blindly for the one she dropped. you can just pop a new one in.

3) when buying baby wipes, make sure you buy the kind that are attached to one another, so that when you pull one out the next one pops out ready. i thought ALL wipes would do that.

4) don't worry about cutting baby's tiny fingernails at first. if you wait, the tips of the nails will probably start to peel off by themselves, and you can pull them right off with your fingers.

5) even after your baby shower is over, don't buy any clothes for your baby. you'll most likely receive boxes in the mail every day for the first 2 weeks or so of baby's life. for the same reason, make sure your registry is up to date even after the shower.

6) most of what you do have to buy can be had used. we got the baby bjorn, stroller, rocker, crib and changing table used -- all through listings on craigslist.org. the folks who sold us the furniture even threw in a box of toys their boys had outgrown.
it's easy to make sure what you buy is safe. just ask the seller to look for the model name and date of manufacture, and then check Consumer Reports for recalls. this info is stamped on baby equipment for this very reason -- sometimes in hard-to-find places.
i chose the baby equipment i wanted by going online and reading parents' reviews at places like target.com, amazon.com, epinions, etc. then i would look for it on the resale market. it gave me something to do at work when my pregnancy made it impossible to concentrate on my job!

7) Don't make any lists of stuff you're going to get done while home on maternity leave. You won't have time. After the first month or so, babies don't sleep as much as you would think, and when they do sleep, you're rushing around trying to accomplish things that you couldn't do while carrying or wearing the baby -- like putting something away on a high shelf or taking a shower or cooking. You'll have more housework than you used to because a) all that baby laundry and b) you'll want the place to be more liveable now that you and baby are living in it all day.

8) Don't EVER feel guilty when you're playing with the baby instead of "getting things done." Are you crazy?

Hehe all this and I forgot to write about Nutmeg's fabulous Hawaii vacation. We used to joke that Nutmeg thought the same thing of every place she visited: "I don't care." It used to be that she would be asleep when we left the house and didn't wake up till we got home, so she thought the same thing about the Mission, Yosemite, the Central Valley, etc.

No more. She loved Hawaii. She had constant love and attention from FOUR adults: me, Daddy, and her Grammy and Grampy. At the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, there were palm trees just outside our balcony that would wave in the breeze and create patterns that fascinated her endlessly. In Maui, our condo had walls made of mirrors -- her favorite thing. She went to the aquarium in Maui and was thrilled by the fish swimming around and around -- especially big ones with very bright colors.

The downside of bringing a baby to Hawaii was having to protect her from the sun all the time. The easiest days were when we had her in long sleeves and pants. The other days, we had to constantly hold a thin blanket over her to keep off the sun. And at the beach, no matter how hard we tried, sand always got on her and usually also got on my breasts. However, she didn't seem to mind taking a sandy boob at all.

For Mommy and Daddy, the vacation was great because Grammy and Grampy were happy to take Nutmeg off our hands so we could snorkle, kayak and even have a long evening date. I never felt so carefree before in my life -- except that I had to keep constantly checking my cell phone for messages. It wasn't that I don' t have faith in Grammy and Grampy -- Grammy takes care of babies for a living, and they're both fanatically devoted to Nutmeg. It's just that sometimes a nursing baby has a hard time being comforted by anyone but Mommy. Fortunately Nutmeg mostly gave them an easy time, and took the bottle like a pro.

Development update: Nutmeg is holding things in her little hands! It started with her grabbing her bippy, then blanket or clothing. Then, the day we returned to California, she held a circular soft bear rattle and actually moved it to her mouth, and tried to suckle on the bear's little legs and ears.

No comments: