Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Lists

I like making lists the way I like new school supplies.  I like writing down things that need to be done (and sometimes things I've already done) so I can cross them off.

When I was first pregnant, I would eagerly scour the lists and timelines in the baby/pregnancy books.  I ordered the "essential" pregnancy planner (A title that my doctor made fun of:  "Essential?" he asked me.  Point taken.).  I was so excited to cross things off the list.

And then?

Then we went to Korea.  And we got home.  And unpacked and did laundry and started creating syllabi and reading essays and planning for classes.

And now?

I haven't looked at that planner since the beginning of August and I know I haven't been crossing things off the list. 

Nursery furniture?  Still totally undecided.  Are we buying new or used?  Are we going with white or trying to match the maple dresser that will stay in the room either way because we are in a tiny house with no space?  Are we buying a glider?  A rocker?  The traditional wooden kind with cushions or the bigger cushiony kind?

Baby registry?  Eh....  I've started looking at stuff on Amazon--does that count?  I'm not sure who will be buying stuff off my registry anyway so I'm not even sure I need to register.  I might register at the Cotton Babies store for diapers.  Doesn't that sound thrilling?  Hi, I'm having a baby and I need $200 worth of cloth diapers.  Big investment up front!  Big payoff down the road!  Are we really doing the cloth diaper thing?  Yes, I think so.

And all of the items that are either optional or a total necessity depending on the baby.  Does your baby like the swing?  Or prefer a sling?  Will the baby have a bed in our room or sleep in its crib from the very start?  Do we need a white noise machine?  Will it cover the sound of manic dogs barking and lunging at the front door when the mailman drops off the mail?  What about a mobile?  Does it need to have a remote control? 
Do we need a baby monitor in a house this small?  Well, seems like a good idea in case we're out in the yard or something.  But a video monitor?  A digital monitor?  A monitor that fits under the crib sheet and sets off an alarm if baby stops breathing?

Everyone's list of what is essential and what is merely convenient and what is a total waste of money is...  totally different and conflicting. 

So I know we're going to end up doing what everyone else does and playing it by ear.  We'll inevitably waste some money on things that we never use or that Baby Duck hates.  We'll eventually come across some brilliant product and wish we would have had it months earlier.  But it will be fine.

The thing is that for a while there, I was all about pondering these decisions.  The pros and cons of a co-sleeper 3-side crib.  What kind of stroller would be the best investment.  Whether we wanted to go with Dr. Green or Born Free baby bottles.  But now it seems like all of the time and energy I had ready to dedicate to these sorts of shopping decisions is being sucked away by my Dedication to Professional Responsibilities.  You know, like those four classes I signed up to teach this semester.

Instead of gleefully perusing, I'm writing short responses to students' writing histories.  Instead of researching the pros and cons of the Maya wrap vs. the Moby wrap, I'm writing a lecture on Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants."  Instead of paging through various mommy-blogs for their advice about Fisher Price aquariums and Baby Einstein playmats or (even more thrilling), electronic breast pumps vs. handheld, I'm rereading essays and paging through textbooks.

The good thing is that instead of stressing over these decisions, having a bunch of other things to think about helps me remember that Baby Duck will be just fine even if we buy a baby sling that I don't end up liking much, even if we pay too much for the glider, even if we forget about the aquarium and the playmat because, really, who has room for that stuff?  Not us. 

So I figure that I will focus on getting through the semester and not let myself get stressed about these baby checklists.  It will all get done, and as long as we show up at the hospital with a properly installed car seat, whatever else doesn't get purchased probably won't be missed.

Although I'm definitely getting some of the Baby Legs leg warmers.  Those things are too adorable for words.


  1. That is a good attitude that will keep you SANE! You're right. You need a car seat, some (extremely simple and machine washable) clothes, some sort of diapers. And you should probably sort out how you plan to feed him or her. The rest you can figure out later.

    We lived in a small house when Charlie was born (1300 sqft). He slept in his room from the get go because there was no room in our room for any other furniture (and I could almost see him in the crib if I sat up in bed and craned my neck the right way). We also never used our monitor until we moved into a bigger two story because I could hear everything in the house.

    But you're totally right about the Baby Legs.

  2. Yay cloth diapers! I'm coming to St. Louis the second weekend in September if you want to go to Cotton Babies and browse, I'd be happy to join you!

  3. Brooke L.--That's the weekend after Labor Day? E-mail me and let me know when you'll be in town. I'll have to work all day Saturday but I would love to browse and interrogate you further about cloth diapers. - B