It seems my life currently revolves around a master to-do list of things that need to be cleaned, things I need to buy, projects around the house that need to get done before Kaelyn is born. It's a lot and I continuously add to it, but slowly, things are getting done. A good chunk of things can't logistically be done until closer to her due date. Yes, I can deep clean things now, but dust and dog hair happens. I'll have to do it again anyways so on the list it remains.
I mentioned in a previous post how I now have a new phone with a spiffy calendar. Well, my to-do list and said spiffy calendar work together to schedule out tentative times and weekends to get things done. This is, of course, for the sake of my sanity. I'm a Virgo after all. I like a sense of control and organization. Even if life happens and I don't get around to scrubbing the window screens on January 23rd, in my mind, I've allotted the time and mentally, I feel better knowing I have the time to get all of this done. Even if I don't. ::skims to-do list, glances over to calendar, and proceeds to breathe into a paper bag:: Despite being a Virgo technically, I also have my dad's laid-back attitude. If I don't, for example, get around to washing those window screens or organize the bathroom cabinets, in the great scheme of things, it doesn't matter. We'll still have our baby girl, we'll bring her home, and I probably won't get into the bathrooms as much as I'd like to shower, let alone be irritated by disorderly cabinets.
I like to think I'll go "zen" like I did with our wedding. I worked day in and day out on the programs, the invitations (I'll still glare at the paper cutter when I sift through the "wedding" cabinet in the garage), ordering wholesale flowers from Florida, forming our must play and do not play lists for the DJ, attaching drink umbrellas to placeholders...but you know, things didn't get done. The original roses the flower girls were going to pass out to guests, which I had stuck into those water tubes the night before the wedding, were left behind. (My wonderful uncle ran out and got replacements.) I had a specialty drink menu planned for the bar, which did not include tequila, nor shots. ::side eyes the culprits who strayed from the alcohol list when they went to Costco coughLukecoughRusscough:: There were other things too, but you know what? I didn't care. Really. I couldn't have cared less if there were programs (seeing as a miscommunication led to an entire section being skipped), I didn't notice the flower girls' roses were red even when they handed me two after the ceremony. I just thought they were beautiful. Someone could have told me the reception site had been infested with rodents of unusual size and I wouldn't have freaked out. I would have avoided it like the plague, yes, but I would have been happy having it in my in-law's backyard as a last minute alternative.
I hope I have the same calmness when Kaelyn arrives.
If the original to-do list wasn't enough, now I am tackling a work to-do list. Holy moly, I had no idea I do so much work. Really, it's second nature by now, but putting it into list form and then trying to calculate the amount of time it's going to take to train one of my coworkers on each task and get them situated with a step-by-step guide feels a bit overwhelming. Add to that the fact that one of my coworkers isn't exactly tech, software, or computer savvy, to put it nicely, and it seems like an even bigger headache. Totally worth it though. I keep telling myself that. And oh, am I going to treasure my 12 weeks of maternity leave. Treasure, I tell you.
On my work to-do list is that in February, I pitch a 4-day workweek to my boss. In my mind, I have this perfect presentation of my adjusted hours (36-38/week so not a big change), how this is really a wonderful thing for the department, and make it really easy for him to run by the other powers-that-be. I have a feeling he'll approve it since the idea has been brought up before, but there's a knot in my stomach anticipating the decision. I really can't pitch the idea until closer to my maternity leave because if he approves, he'll want to put it into effect immediately and I don't want to decrease my hours just yet. It would just mean a lot--and I do mean a LOT--to me to have a day during the week to be at home with Kaelyn. I can't emphasize this enough.
I also have my master to-buy list so I can bargain shop online when I get the chance and keep track of what we have already, and mainly, be able to clearly see what we still need to buy. Yeah, babies require a lot of stuff. It's mind-boggling and confusing. After all, I can't be all set with bottles because she might not like a certain brand. Some babies love swings, some hate them. These infant seats are listed as bouncers, but they're not actually bouncers. Half of reviewers love a jogging stroller, some say the front wheel is wobbly. These stationary entertainers are top-registry items at BabiesRUs, but some books say they can slow physical development. Most people say wipe warmers are a complete waste of $30. As are bottle warmers, but say I wanted one, will all brand bottles fit? Are they safe, even if the bottles are BPA free? It's almost enough to cause parents-to-be to break down in the middle of BabiesRUs and in George Constanza's dad style, shake their fists in the air and yell "Serenity now!"
But alas, BabiesRUs frowns upon such public displays.
So I've gone through Baby Bargains, a book that comes highly-recommended. I've done my internet research. Gosh darn it, I have my list! For if I have everything on this list, Kaelyn can't possibly throw us any curveballs we can't handle, right? ::crickets:: Riiiiight?
I kid. She's the product of her parents, after all. We already know we're in big, big trouble.
This is why I feel so fortunate to be having Kaelyn when a woman like Jo Frost exists. In case you're not familiar, Jo Frost=Supernanny. She's the plump British lady who's had an ABC show for years now because she can turn little devils into civilized children in 30 minutes...with commercial breaks. Basically, she's awesome. I watched her show years ago before Brady and I even met. I'm not sure why. It was oddly fascinating, even for someone not planning to have kids for years. What she says and teaches makes perfect sense. And it works. So imagine my excitement when I discovered that she had written a book about getting ready for baby and caring for a baby during her first year. I would have gladly paid the full retail price to have the comforting presence of this woman in my house even in book form...but remember, I'm a bargain shopper. It found it on half.com for right around $5, including shipping. Babies require a lot of expensive stuff, after all. I must be practical.
So I'm a couple of easy-read chapters in and I have to say, I love her. She's reassuring and realistic and positive. For example, when parents-to-be announce they're expecting, they seem to be automatically enrolled in a subscription for unsolicited advice and personal anecdotes. It's like spam in your email or junk mail in your mailbox. It just keeps on coming even if you try to unsubscribe. Just the other day, an acquaintance asked me how I'm feeling (after asking to rub my belly while rubbing my belly).
Belly-rubbing friend: "So how are you feeling?"
Me: "I'm feeling really good actually."
BRF: "Are you tired?"
Me: ::shrugs:: "Well, I haven't been sleeping very well so I'm a little tired."
BRF: "Get used to it. That's how it'll be from here on out."
Me: ::blank stare::
Now, I pondered how I could have responded differently to get perhaps a more positive outcome, but I've experienced this version of the conversation as well...
Acquaintance: "How are you feeling?"
Me: "I have a lot more energy--I feel really good actually."
A: "Enjoy it while it lasts."
Jo recommends, quite appropriately, to brush these comments aside. Along with stories about how horrible labor is, how newborns cry all night because these reflect personal experiences and everyone's experiences are unique. If, however, I take these stories to heart, my expectations will be negative and I could turn myself into a stressball and that isn't good for anybody. Also, if I go into having a new baby at home expecting her to be fussy and a poor sleeper, she can pick up on the fact that I'm not confident and voila, fussy baby. Babies are apparently very good about picking up on nonverbal communication.
She also acknowledges how pressured parents-to-be can feel about decisions they make during the pregnancy and once the baby arrives. Again, everyone has an opinion and it's easy to give in to what everyone is telling them to do, but ultimately, it's up to the new parents to decide what is the best thing for them and make sure the decisions are respected.
Ah, I feel so validated.
Also, if she weren't helpful enough she has recommendations and lists of what to have in the diaper bag, what gear and essentials are must-haves and what can probably be skipped. She doesn't force ideas though.
I especially like how she encourages continuous open communication between parents before the baby arrives. Brady and I have talked about how we want to raise our kids since we first started dating, but it's important to continue to do this and really talk about what kind of parents we want to be. It's easy to focus more on the color of the nursery and other details that don't really matter. Paint color doesn't help raise a happy child, but parents who are on the same page and communicate well, does. Again, makes perfect sense.
But, now about the paint. "Quiet moment"--good choice?