Granola

There are a lot of ways to parent a child. I honestly didn’t realize this before getting pregnant. I knew there were things I didn’t want to do, and other things that made sense.

I knew about certain choices like cloth diapering and breast-feeding. I knew that some families make their own baby food. I know that there are a lot of reasons why people make the choices they do. Some are basically environmental. Some flirt between the lines of anti-establishment and holistic methodology.

Our choices for the upcoming birth of our child fall somewhere in that realm, too. We’ve decided to seek the care and partnership of people who will support and encourage the most natural aspects of bringing a child into the world. On the other hand, I certainly don’t have anything against hospitals and doctors and surgeons who are trained to deal with the more complicated side of things.

Beyond that, though I don’t think I have it in me to really be a ‘crunchy’ earth mommy.

We don’t plan to cloth diaper. Not at first anyway. We decided that babies have enough of a learning curve that we didn’t want to make anything more complicated than it had to be.

Our initial postpartum adjusting period could be best labeled as disposable. Plates, cups, utensils, all the containers I’m freezing meals in… all suitable for tossing after use. We’re probably responsible for the destruction of an acre or two of rain forest. But Brandon & I had a talk about what kind of things we could let slide while we were growing accustomed to the ‘new routine’, and this seemed like the best plan. If we had a dishwasher, it’d be another story entirely. But we don’t. So there.

Also, I have really no clue what the big deal is with delayed or even skipping vaccinations altogether. I have to lump this one in with the cloth diapers: I’m not sure I have the time or energy to invest in good research and formulating my own opinion before our baby comes. (Not to say that I won’t be asking questions and finding out risks/benefits, but I’m probably not likely to veer too far away from mainstream until I see some evidence.)

Not going to get started on the organic/free range/ locally grown debate. It’s way bigger than this blog post. We do what we can, and sometimes we still eat french fries. I’d like to say my kids won’t know about french fries until they’re school aged, but real life is full of curve balls that I’m probably completely unprepared for.

I do plan to breastfeed. For one, it’s natural. A close second: it’s free. I know there are countless health and mental/emotional benefits for mothers and babies, too. Bonus.

Also, I’m going to babywear. Happy baby, hands free? Um, duh.

Co-sleeping: yes. This one Brandon was a little iffy about at first until I showed him the designs of the sleepers and how the frame would keep us from squishing nine months of hard work. It’s a little more controversial, but for us, the benefits out-weigh the risks. There are studies that show babies who sleep in the same room as the parents have fewer occurrences of SIDS, there’s all the middle of the night feedings that we can avoid getting out of bed twice for, and there’s your baby… right there. I dig.

I’ve already mentioned how I feel about gender normative clothing (and toys). So far I’ll admit that most of my family has thrown all that out the window. I was pretty annoyed at first, but honestly, the bulk of the clothes we have are under 6 month sized. This baby will probably never remember that she spent the bulk of her first days dressed like the Easter bunny. Breathing and moving on…

I’m sure there’s a plethora of parenting issues I’m not even starting to touch. I’m okay with that. Obviously our goal is not to fit into the “Greenest Super-parents of the Decade” mold. Honestly I’m a little wary even throwing around the term ‘holistic’. But we’ll try our damnedest, and that will have to be enough.

I’m glad

I’m glad we don’t live in Utah right now.

I don’t even remember what job it was that Brandon found and applied to in Salt Lake City, but I’m glad they didn’t call.

I just don’t see how that would have gone over well in the long run.

Not at all.

Are you ready?

Really, how do you answer that question? This baby is coming, I’ve known about it for a few months now, and I’ve been pretty deliberate in my preparations.

But ‘ready’? Yes, inasmuch as I’ve done everything I could think of to make myself so. But really, no, because no one ever really is.

Maybe that’s just one of those not actually polite questions people ask to be conversational. Like ‘how are you’ from a complete stranger. There is no real answer, just something that requires a polite nod.

Do I sound cynical? I don’t mean to. Just reflecting on a particularly awkward bit of dialogue that occurred today.

Actually, maybe I am ready. I’ve got a whole lot of wiggly baby in my belly that I really can’t wait to meet.

Soon, baby!

Checklists

I can tell we’re getting to the beginning of the end of this pregnancy, because I’m acting exactly like I did in the weeks before the wedding.

I have a master to-do list, and each week I make myself a little (HA) list based off of that. It keeps me focused when I’m spinning. Bad things happen when I’m spinning, trust me. Also, I put everything on my calendar, even the little fun stuff that you’d think I’d never forget. Because I would. It’s ok though, despite all the lists and details and schedules, I’m still really enjoying being pregnant.

I also realized what I want to be doing in my early labor “live your life” hours, besides taking a nap. I’m going to the grocery store, and making snacks. Just because I’m giving birth soon doesn’t mean I’m going to be a bad hostess. I kept it very simple, and Brandon will be able to help, but making food for people is one of those little things in my world that make me happy and keep me focused. At some point(s), I do expect someone will tell me to slow down or take a break and try to sleep. At least that’s how I’m told it will go. But there is a plan to help pass the time.

One of the other lists I’m probably too proud of is our grocery shopping list. It’s the list of basic items I look for in our house every week before we do our shopping… stuff we use all the time or need fresh each week. This list has lived in my head, in various forms, for years, the only additions are ingredients for the dinners I plan to cook during the week. But since I’ve started a massive project to have a few weeks worth of dinners in the freezer, this list should be all Brandon needs to run to the store without even consulting me. I’m so genius.

The last big list is a ‘what’s in the freezer’ list. I realized that just because I know what’s in the freezer, doesn’t mean Brandon knows what’s in the freezer. And if he finds a couple of things he likes, he might decide to eat all the good stuff first, leaving us with a week of things he’s going to complain about. So there’s a master list, complete with the number of servings he can check off each time he pulls stuff out. All I have to do now is finish putting things in.

Maybe, just maybe with all of this preparation and planning, those first few days and weeks will fly by in a mildly sleep deprived, but never hungry, blur!

Just for me

Today Brandon’s swim trunks arrived from Amazon, his ‘in case I have to get in the shower/tub with her’ outfit.

I opened the package and held them up for him, and he says to me, “Do they match your labor outfit?”

He  knows exactly how to completely crack me up. So in love with this man!

Dear baby (34 weeks, 6 days)

Last Saturday, your dad & I finished up childbirth classes. It was weird to hear them say, “You’re ready for this now,” at the end of class. We left, and I thought about that the whole way home. Really? Am I? Are we?

When I woke up Sunday, I think it must have settled in, because I suddenly became obsessed not with the birth, but what the heck we’re going to do in the days and weeks following. I hadn’t really done any reading on breastfeeding, or talked about some kind of sleep schedule for your dad & I, or talked with a pediatrician (although we did have an appointment already).

I know next Saturday we’ll go back to a class that will help us answer all those questions, plus many more we hadn’t even thought of. But in the past few days, I can tell you’ve changed too. It’s gotta be getting tight inside there, because it feels pretty dang snug from out here. And I think you’re  settling down a bit lower in my hips, since I can almost trick myself into thinking that was a nice deep breath, and I have been getting up twice as often to pee. It’s ok though, you need the room since we’re still over a month away from your ‘official’ due date.

I’m a little intimidated by how I’m going to be able to fit the rest of you in here, but since it’s just a couple more weeks, I’m sure we’ll find a way. Our hearts, on the other hand, are just about ready to explode with love and excitement!

Who are you?

I love babies and kids. Pretty much always have. It’s rare that I come across one that I have a hard time interacting with.

Now…

I know that ‘being good with kids’ or ‘spending lots of time around babies’ has pretty much nothing to do with what your life will be like when you become a parent.

Also, pretty much my entire pregnancy I’ve had this mental block where I just can’t envision myself interacting with the baby. As much as I know about her from holding her inside my body all these months, I’m clueless how she will react to the outside world. I feel like I can’t project any expectations on her because I want to encourage her to find her own way to just be.

The real shocker has taken a little longer to sink in. As much as I don’t know what Nora will be like, I almost feel like I don’t know what I will be like either. I know my hormones will change, my sleep schedule, my energy level, my interests, and probably all of my close relationships, not the least of which, my marriage. (This is particularly ironic since Brandon & I both agree that getting married didn’t really change anything about ‘us’.)

I’m more than a little intimidated by this future me. I wonder how she’ll be able to make and keep friends, juggle household basics, continue to grow as a partner, and be a mother. All at the same time. No breaks.

I’ve met a few great women who seem to have all of these things down pat. Maybe not every minute of every day, but for the most part, at least to me, the face they put forward is one of confidence and competence.  I don’t know if it’s the giant belly or the huge changes in my social life, but I feel more awkward that I can remember feeling since before puberty. I can’t decide if I want to be ‘put together Rachael’ or ‘this is hard but I’m trying, vulnerable Rachael’. How do you invite someone to get to know you, if that’s what you’re trying to figure out too?

And all my ‘before baby’ relationships… how do I make all this work? My family will always be my family, of course, and Brandon is growing and changing with me, so that’s not quite so drastic. But few of my friends are going through the settling down phase like we are, and the few that are married aren’t interested or just can’t get pregnant. Which is okay. Children are not for everybody, and I wish more people would put a little more thought into whether or not they can produce productive members of society rather than just how cute and squishy babies are. But there’s no hiding the fact that I won’t be going out drinking and hanging out at all hours of the night without some serious planning, and even then, it won’t be the same.

Ug. I’m definitely wallowing now. I’m tired and cranky. I’m a little scared too. I know that most of the answers to my questions will just work themselves out over the coming weeks and months, and even years. There really is little sense in worrying about all these things just to pass the time. Until then, I’m trying to shift my focus back on the joy and beauty we’re soon expecting.