So Gatsby could come any day (seriously, kid, you can come any day). One of the most frequent questions I get is how I think Holden will respond to the new baby.
Honestly, I think (and hope) that she’ll be great. She has been very interested in my belly throughout the pregnancy and knows that “her baby” is in there.
A normal baby-related conversation goes like this:
M: Where’s the baby?
H: pats my belly. Baby.
M: Is that your brother?
H: nods earnestly. Yes.
M: Are you going to love him?
H: nodsearnestly. Yes. M: Are you going to help Mommy?
H: nods earnestly. Yes.
M: Are you going to change his diaper?
H: nods earnestly. Yes.
M: Are you going to share your toys?
H: deadpan. No.
I’ll take it, haha.
She’s also been very interested in the baby’s gear. I have the bassinet set up in my room for G’s arrival. Holden likes to put her stuffed animals in it, turn on the music and rock them.
In a super sweet, overwhelming and completely unnecessary move, my family and friends threw me a “sprinkle” yesterday. I’m using “sprinkle” in quotes because this thing was a full-on baby shower. A Great Gatsby-themed baby shower, of course. While I wish they hadn’t gone to all the trouble, I loved it and was so impressed by the effort my mom and mother-in-law had put into the planning.
From playing the Baz Luhrman movie and soundtrack in the background, to feathers and pearls as decoration to guests choosing between wearing headbands, beads or a mustache, they covered all the details.
(that mirror was my nanny’s <3)
They stole my “Hello, Old Sport” sign from the nursery a few days before and I didn’t even notice! Ha!
And then this happened.
Yes, that’s my mother-in-law and my mom.
They had me don a headband and feather to fit in with the guests.
The cake and cupcakes were gorgeous:
My mom was pretty proud of herself for hand-glittering all those letters.
I am not a good cake cutter.
Check out that orb in the photo.
(and yes, that’s a photo of Holden crying in that wall calendar.)
Holdy even showed up at the end to join in the fun.
So I’m 37 weeks and I’m now stocked with adorable baby boy clothes and diapers. Let’s do this, little man!
36 weeks and counting. Though I’m planning on keeping baby #2 in a bassinet in my room (and Holden in the nursery) for the first couple of months, the (teeny tiny) nester inside of me wanted to prep the nursery for his arrival.
The biggest freaking sanitary or incontinence pads you can find
Gallon freezer bags
Tall Mom, Tiny Baby recommends jojoba, lavender or tea tree oil. I couldn’t find jojoba or lavender oil at my CVS and I wasn’t into the thought of putting something as minty/eucalyptusy/medicinal-smelling as tea tree oil on my lady parts. And I was impatient and wanted to make these, so I forewent the essential oil on my padsicles.
Open the pads, but keep them on their backing plastic so you can re-wrap them.
Pour two tablespoons of witch hazel over the pad
Pour one tablespoon or so of aloe vera and mush it all over. I used the actual tablespoon to spread it out.
A fantastic friend of mine texted me before I made these to warn me that it’s not a more-the-merrier situation when it comes to the padsicle ingredients… meaning that the pad absorbs the ingredients and if you put on too much, the pad is less likely to absorb what you really need it to… if you get my drift.
Wrap the pads back up, and pack them inside a freezer bag.
Slip those bad boys in the freezer and they’ll be waiting for you after you get home from pushing that watermelon through your hoo-ha and you’ve run out of the ice pack-mesh panties-pad sandwich materials that you stole from the hospital.
Tall Mom, Tiny Baby recommends sitting on a towel when using the padsicles. Duly noted.
Alright, Baby G, one step closer to being ready for you!
In the past few weeks, Holden has been playing independently for longer stretches of time. I listen to her babbling to herself and carrying her stuffed animal friends from one spot to another. I peek over and see her putting her blanket on her baby doll and reading to herself.
It’s reassuring that she’s getting to the point that she can entertain herself a bit more, especially with baby #2 coming (in 6 weeks or less!). And I have to admit that it’s a nice change of pace from her wanting my attention every second of the day (and her crying and reaching her hand under the door every time I had to pee).
But there is a part of me that feels slightly bad for taking a break on the couch or sneaking some work in while she plays by herself. Shouldn’t I be teaching her something or quizzing her on animal sounds? I sometimes have to stop myself from interrupting her.
But… that’s a prettttttty small part that feels bad. (I’m totally writing this blog post from the couch while she plays quietly behind me.) I’m doing this right, right? This isn’t like me being a bad mom?
32 weeks. It’s getting to be about that time—time to start prepping for the G Man’s arrival (I know—already?!).
About 17 months ago, I sent a link to a post I’d found online to a friend who was about to have her second baby. It was called, “A candid list of things to do in the last weeks of pregnancy.” I remember it being full of helpful advice, so I saved it to come back to before I had my second kid. And I saved it for one specific piece of advice in particular.
*If you have no desire to shatter the beautiful illusion of childbirth or femininity, or to hear about post-partum horrors or if you have any intention of wanting to feel any little bit of attraction toward me any time in the near future, please just stop reading now.*
One of the (many) things no one tells you about childbirth is the havoc that a vaginal delivery will wreak on your lady parts. No one warns you that, after pushing your watermelon-sized bundle of joy through your hooha, followed by the afterbirth (which, spoiler alert: hurts almost as much delivery), you will be accompanied, shell-shocked and delirious, to the bathroom by your nurse, who will introduce you to your new bathroom routine for the next 2-3 weeks (at least).
She will hand you a Peri bottle (a squeeze bottle) that you must fill with water—water that you must squirt into your urine stream to dilute it so that you don’t burn the ever-living-hell out of your freshly-sewn flower every time you pee. “Peri” stands for perineum. Don’t Google it.
You’ll then be given the ingredients to assemble the Dagwood-esque sanitary pad sandwich that will comprise your undergarments for the near future:
The largest pad you’ve ever seen
An ice pack
TUCKS Medicated (witch hazel) Pads
Epifoam, a steroidal foam to help with inflammation.
Don’t get me wrong—I am by no means throwing shade at this process. Trust me, you will cry for the soothing nature of this pad sandwich when it feels like your vj is hanging down to your knees.
Pro-tip: Steal as many of the pads, ice packs, TUCKS Pads and mesh panties as you can from the hospital. Otherwise, you will find yourself crying to your SO to go to the store and buy the freaking-biggest-pads-you-can-find-I-don’t-care-if-they’re-incontinence-pads-for-old-ladies-dammit, whilst straddling a bag of frozen peas… I’m guessing, anyway.
So that’s why this time, I’m making me some Padsicles.
Now, I’m not going to lie: I’ve experienced my fair share of parental competitiveness by this point. Those pangs of jealousy when someone posts a video to Facebook of their kid doing something yours has yet to master. The cutest kid Christmas card wars. The unspoken whose-first-birthday-party-has-a-better-candy-table-with-apothecary-jars rivalry.
But nothing could prepare me for the beast that was awoken inside me when, after touring a preschool I had scouted for the fall, I was told, “there are only five spots left for Holden’s age level.” Arrive to the Open House exactly when it begins at 6pm and head right to the registration table, you suggest? Challenge accepted.
Allow me to backtrack: I’ve been interested in enrolling Holden in a 2-year-old preschool program, a relatively rare find, for some time. With her spending all day, every day with my parents, I want her to attend preschool mostly for the social interaction, but also honestly because I don’t entirely trust my own ability to properly teach her the fundamentals and want to make sure I have some legit, certified backup.
I never would have imagined that you have to enroll your kid for the fall in January. Luckily, on a whim, I texted a friend whose daughters attend the school and randomly asked if she knew when I could register. Oh, hi, it was in two weeks at their Open House. Holden and I scheduled a tour when I was home last week and she was able to sit in on a class and make a polar bear out of a paper plate and dance and read books and eat snacks and learn about the letter “S” and play dress up and do the “Going on a Bear Hunt” song. We loved it.
And that’s when I was told I’d have to fight for her spot. And fight I would. I was prepared to go Hunger-Games-style on these moms. And obviously I live-tweeted the experience.
So, to be honest, it ended up being an entirely drama-free occurrence. We’re in, we got our desired time slot, no one got shivved. But dammit, if I wasn’t ready to take it to the mat for my kid. I mean, look at this awesome polar bear. This raw talent clearly must be nurtured.
My parents, aka my daycare, decided they deserved a vacation this week (they totally did). I decided I needed a trial run on this stay-at-home-mom thing to prep for Gatsby’s arrival in late (?) March, so I wanted to try “working from home” this week.
Long story short: we survived! We took advantage of every Gymboree class opportunity that was available; I’m talking two-a-days sometimes. We took several walks to the park in weather that was *just* a bit too cold. We read every book. We danced to Yo Gabba Gabba! We had multiple tea parties. We watched all the Toy Stories. Several times. We rode the stupid quarter rides at the mall. We toured a preschool and did Holden’s first art project. We got a rug burn on our forehead. Bonus: we started potty training… kinda.
What I learned:
I love spending time with this kid.
Having a schedule is going to be very important: those Gymboree classes were lifesavers for structure to my day, giving me adult interaction and allowing Holdy to expel some energy.
Doing this with two kids is going to be really, really hard.
She’s growing up too fast.
I cannot stay in the house all day.
Trying to work from home with a toddler is not realistic for me.
Yo Gabba Gabba! is pretty weird.
I need to find some backup babysitters.
I should join a mom’s group.
I need to do more art projects with Holden so she doesn’t think a paint brush is a utensil and shaving cream + glue a yummy treat.
Ready or not, some things are going to be changing, and soon. It’s exciting and scary, all at the same time.
So this is kind of awkward, but Holden has turned into a real… hugger. I’m talking hugging every child she sees, sometimes so hard that she drags them to the ground. Not so much with adults, just with kids. And stuffed animals.
It’s a bit odd for me because, outside of interactions with Holdy, no one would describe me (or Holden’s dad) as overly affectionate. Certainly not huggers.
It’s to the point where going to Gymboree is slightly uncomfortable for me because I feel like I’m constantly pulling her off of other kids. Some kids hug back, but some are clearly not into it, or are even startled by it. The parents’ reactions also range from thinking it’s cute to seeming as uncomfortable with it as I am. I really don’t want her to be “that kid.”
I don’t want to discourage her loving nature, but I also want to teach her that other children need their personal space. I read some forums online that said I should teach her to ask permission first, or teach her to shake hands as a preferred method of introduction. I’m not sure how effective I’ll be teaching this concept to my 19-month-old (especially because I doubt other kids know how to shake hands, or how to respond when someone asks to hug them), but I’ve got to do something. Another suggestion I read has her saying, “Hi Baby!” to kids instead of hugging, which I kind of like.
Any other suggestions on dealing with an overly affectionate kid?
One of the good things about having kids this close together is that there’s very little I need by way of baby stuff this time around (not to mention, I have the insight as to what I actually use and what is a ridiculous waste…). One thing I definitely want to do differently with baby #2 is reevaluate the bathing system.
Maybe it’s because I’m currently hugely pregnant, or maybe because this video filled me with so much joy when it came across my Facebook feed months ago:
But I really have no desire to be down on all fours, leaning over my kid in the infant tub inside the bathtub.