Thursday, May 25, 2017

ready and not.

FYI...public opinion on my Impending Delivery Status has officially shifted from, "Oh, only a few more weeks to go? Wow, you look great!" to, "Oh, next week. [Knowing nod.] Mm-hmm. Yep!" - often accompanied by a smirk that says I don't know, lady...I bet he'll be here before that

In other words, yeah, I look ready.

(Here's me at 37 weeks, 2 days with Rowan...I guess pretty much the same?)

And I definitely feel ready. I am so tired so much of the time, needing to summon every ounce of energy for every necessary task. But otherwise - are we really ready? Like, ready to become a family of four, ready to handle a newborn, house ready, plans ready? Totally! 

...Aaaand also not at all. I've had evolving to-do lists floating around for weeks now - one for me, one for J.J. - and they're sort of complete. The baby clothes have been located and washed. The diaper trash cans are now de-spidered from their sojourn in the crawl space, along with the bouncy seat and the Rock 'N' Play. The car seat bases are installed in both of our cars. The breast pump was located and sanitized (Rowan peered closely at it and declared, "I loved ONLY that when I was a baby." Truth.). Rowan's dance recital and preschool graduation (from the three-year-old class, not from preschool entirely) are over, so I won't miss those if I go into labor. I haven't technically packed a hospital bag, but there's a bag on the rocking chair with some stuff piled next to it (I cannot for the life of me remember what to bring to the hospital, other than my toothbrush, contact solution, and a phone charger).

But, god, the things that aren't ready? Flerrrrggghh. The nursery, which I know doesn't need to be finished but will take so. much. longer with a baby around. The non-baby stuff on my to-do list, like Etsy orders and calling the electrician and getting an oil change. The pile of All The Things on our entryway table, which teeters and leans and intermittently ejects things like Fun Run medals and incomplete health insurance forms. A birth plan, considering I'm still only like 94% sure that a c-section is the way to go. And, of course, a name. A MOTHERLOVING NAME.

I guess I've been more focused on getting Rowan ready than myself, honestly. My baby girl, who's been asking to be a big sister since before she was two, is as ready as she can possibly be, given that she has absolutely no idea how her life is about to shift. I mean:

:: She helped (...I use that term loosely) fold the baby's clothes and wipe down all of her old baby gear.

:: She's made seven thousand pictures and paintings "to hang up in my baby's room."

:: She requested that we turn her car seat around and make room for the baby seat months ago. We finally did it last weekend, and every car ride is a full-on adventure now. The main reason we hadn't turn her forward-facing yet was laziness, and I'm kind of glad we waited. Beyond the safety benefits of extended rear-facing, it's hilarious to hear her revelations about facing forwards now. I started recording her on my phone partway through our first drive because I was laughing so hard (I'll put a little transcript at the end of this post...I was dying).

:: She and I wrote a list of things she and Gramma are supposed to accomplish while J.J. and the baby and I are at the hospital. She wants to make and bring cupcakes for the baby, since it will be his birthday (awww). When I explained that he wouldn't be able to actually eat the cupcakes, Rowan shrugged: "Well, we'll just make the cupcakes white and the frosting white so it looks like milk!" Lol. Problem solved. She also remembers from my stories about when she was born that Gramma made our couch into a bed for me after my c-section and brought over delicious fresh fruit, so she wants to do that again; she wants to tie balloons to our front porch, just like when she was born; and she wants to bring the baby his new teddy bear.

:: Speaking of the baby's teddy bear - Rowan helped me pick out a lovey for him that we could use in his weekly pictures, just like we did with Mosby when Rowan was a baby.

{The day she came home from the hospital}

{One year old}

Rowan took the task very seriously, although I did have to narrow down the field for her after she discovered a talking, light-up, life-size Doc McStuffins doll and exclaimed, "I think the baby would LOVE this!" Yeah, no. I found two cute owls and she found a bear, and I let her choose from the three. I was hoping she would choose one of the owls (they were really cute), but she went with the bear...and was pretty proud of her choice:

:: He's always on her mind, as evidenced by the little things she does. For example, my mother-in-law made a cute door latch-catcher for the nursery out of the fabric we're using for the crib skirt and window treatments. Our bedroom doors are annoyingly loud and don't always stay closed well, so the latch-catchers have been extremely helpful. I bought one for the nursery from Etsy before Rowan was born, and my mother-in-law made one for Rowan's big kid room. The old one from her nursery was hanging out somewhere - maybe on top of the nursery dresser? - until I realized one day that someone had hung it on the master bedroom door:

When I asked around, Rowan said she did it, "because that's where the baby sleeps when he's first born, so you need to be quiet with the door." Also, she was coloring the other day and made a "book" for the baby out of paper. Then she cheerfully told me, "I'm going to go put this in the baby's room!" and disappeared up the stairs. I didn't really think about it again until I went into the nursery a few days later and discovered that she'd put her "book" on the baby's bookshelf. Love.

{It's hiding right there in front of Goodnight Moon, on the bottom shelf}

:: She wanted to hang up a calendar like the Countdown to Florida one that we made. I thought it was a great idea, since she was getting a little twitchy post-Florida, not having any real sense of how much time was left before the baby would be here. Calendars are so not developmentally appropriate for every three-year-old, but they really jive with the way Rowan operates, so I was happy to comply. She, of course, insisted that my printer-paper-and-washable-marker calendar was insufficient and that we invest in one just like her teacher uses at school...so I ordered one off Amazon...which is how we accidentally ended up with a GIANT calendar. Whatever.

:: The last major way we've helped Rowan prepare for her baby brother's arrival is just talking. I don't like to bring it up constantly because I don't want to overdo it, but she brings it up all the time. Every time she does something helpful, like bringing her dishes to the sink or holding my hand in the parking lot, she asks, "Was that a big sister thing to do?!" I always say yes, even though she inevitably follows up with, "Why?" And then I'm forced to explain how, say, putting the caps back on her markers is somehow a "big sister thing to do." (FYI, the answer in that scenario is, "So the baby won't swallow the caps if they roll onto the floor.") She loves to talk to my belly and tell the baby all the things he won't be able to do until he's a big kid like her (eat certain foods, sleep over at Gramma's, pump on the swing, etc.). She makes me tell her the story of when she was "very first born" every night, which I think is one way she's trying to wrap her head around what's going to happen when her brother is very first born. 

And, finally, while 98% of Rowan's baby-related talk is gushing with love and excitement, I wanted to make space for other feelings, too. I'm certainly experiencing feelings besides just love and excitement, so I've explained more than a few times that when mommies are pregnant and when the baby first comes out, mommies' bodies have a lot of hormones - which I described as "chemicals that are helpful for growing and healing, but that can make people have really big feelings." (It's...possible...I most recently had the hormone conversation with her over breakfast this morning, after I tearfully apologized for being a raging bitch cranky with her about her waffle.) We've talked about the fact that she might have lots of big feelings when her baby comes home, too - excited, happy, nervous, angry, sad, loving, annoyed, etc. And I asked Rowan one night when we were snuggling at bedtime if she had any worries about having a baby brother. She surprised me by answering yes immediately, her eyes filling up with tears: "What if the baby spits up on my rug?" she sobbed. Her other big concern is that the baby will chew on her books or her stuffed friends. We talk, and talk, and talk some more, and hopefully she'll feel safe to keep talking as we navigate big sisterhood.


So, yeah. We're ready. And we're not. But, as one of my friends from my new mom group (guess we're not "new moms" now, four years later...) reminded me the other day, isn't that exactly how it feels a week before you have a baby?

I'm going with yes.

{Ready to not have a built-in cupholder for Rowan,
who handed this to me and said, "Here, Baby. Can
you hold this on Mommy's belly for me?"}

**Oh - here's the transcript I promised from Rowan's first forward-facing car ride. Her words have not been altered. She talked the ENTIRE TIME, but I only recorded part of it, and I could not stop laughing. You've never heard anyone as excited as Rowan riding forwards:

"Ha! It's fun to be facing frontwards! Some people might think that I'm a grown-up. Ahh, so that's what I couldn't see when I was facing backwards! I see one cute little doggie and one cute bicycle. Oh, that's a cool slide they've got there! I'll tell the baby when the light is red and when the light is green. And I'll tell you if you forget to tell me, and then I will tell the baby. Hey, this is where you went to celebrate Donald Trumpet! [She meant the spot downtown where she and J.J. dropped me off at the inauguration protest...I died when she said that!] I see a police car! This is as fast as my bike goes down the hill. Now I'll be kind of like a babysitter for our baby [because they'll be alone in the back seat together]. I was just - woohooooo!! Hey, there's some construction over there! Hey, what's happening over there? Hey, I see another police car! Weeeeee! Woohooooo!! Do you see those doggies, Mama? Cute doggies! That car has a paw on it [a dog paw magnet]. And a wiper in the back - that's weird! - and even in the front! Why are there things that look like water on the road? Oh, I know, it's from the construction that they're doing over there from the pipes. Over there - on that crosswalk - there are baaaaad things going on over there [still not sure what she meant by that]. I'm glad we're not over there! And over there is a traffic jam!"

May you take this much joy in your next car ride. :) 

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