As I sit working, having just dropped my three-year-old at camp, life feels peaceful and right. As though we weathered the storm of the first few years of parenthood and things seem, well, in their place. It’s not until I get a not-so-subtle kick from the inside of my gut that I’m reminded how quickly everything will revert to its former chaos, when I’ll be blessed with another child. I’m trying to take these last few weeks to enjoy the calm, yet given my protruding stomach (and its capacity to ignite all sorts of conversation among strangers), I’m also quite ready to “get on with it.” Perhaps it’s human behavior that just when everything feels settled, we go and knock life off its feet again, readying ourselves for the next adventure.
I’ve been thinking how I’d like to do things differently this time. Though I can’t say for certain, going from “childless” to “parent” feels like a much bigger transition than going from having one child to two, or so I’m told….by everyone. Whether at school drop off or, yes, among strangers in elevators, people keep telling me how this baby is just going to rank and file, join the collective rhythm of the family. With Leo, our first, we carved out an entirely new life for all of us with his arrival, one we’re already in the throws of as our second makes her mark in three weeks. (Please, darling daughter, just give me three more weeks.)
I’d like to think that with this baby, I’ll be more relaxed. I won’t adhere to such a strict routine in her infancy that consumed me the first time. How many hours did I go between feedings? What time was his last nap? How many bottles did he drink today? How many wet diapers? Questions I obsessed over, all with the goal of getting him on some fantasy notion of a schedule, which every time I thought I nailed down, would change with a new milestone or development.
But this time is different, regardless of anything I do. For one, I have more support this time in the way of a loving caregiver for my son. I have mom friends and a community of amazing working mothers who have become incredible resources over the last few years. When Leo was born, I was instantly thrust into this new world of motherhood and felt so alone. It took me months to feel part of any sort of “mom circle,” that when I did meet other new moms, I clung to them like life rafts. Fast forward three years and they’re still there. Most of them have gone onto have second children and have been crucial in helping me prepare for my own addition. Really, there’s nothing I can do but add a few key product additions to my infant arsenal. This time around, though, I’m less concerned about designer stroller brands or cool, minimalist furniture than I am about function and how something will serve me down the road.
Since I’m foregoing the much-adored baby nurse this time (TBH I detested a stranger living in our home in those early, tender moments), I’ll be doing all the night work. Therefore, I went back and forth on my next crib selection with utmost care. The Dwell Studios crib we thought was so chic for Leo, with its sleek “mid-century vibe,” ended up being a total lemon. I have high hopes for my recently purchased Stokke Sleepi crib, which, in addition to offering the option of going smaller for the early months, features a slender oval shape that should make it easy for the kids to share a room down the road. Also, thanks to the wonderful team at FridaBaby, I have a new Bitty Bundle of Joy, which features all the “unmentionables” that are actually huge aids in the beginning. I’m talking snot suckers, gas passers, nail clippers and even a hygiene kit for me following birth. This ingenious company, led by the lovely Chelsea Hirschhorn threw a chic breakfast last month for the fashion mom set, along with Lauren Bush Lauren of Feed Projects, so I was lucky enough to leave with the bundle and a few new swaddles.
I also decided to sell my Cadillac of a stroller, the Bugaboo Cameleon, with its groovy limited edition neon wheels, for a sleeker version of a double stroller, the Mountain Buggy Duet. I checked with the 10,000-plus chorus of mothers on the uber-resource Facebook page, “Upper East Side Mamas” and they all pledged their support of the purchase. This way, we can still stroll Leo around town along with baby.
After switching out these items, mostly over creepy Craigslist sales, I can honestly say that I’m as prepared as I can be. I’ve successfully cleaned out every closet. My husband and I have “babymooned.” As a family of three, we “familymooned.” We’ve taken time for ourselves. While I might be blanking on how to operate my breast pump, I’m sure that all will be revealed as this baby makes her entrance into the world and into our hearts. For now, all I can do is sit and wait, land locked on the island of Manhattan trying to enjoy these last moments of calm. I’m just an Uber ride away from the hospital, and as of yesterday, 1.5 centimeters dilated and ready to go.
Now, I just need to assemble that crib.