The thing that we've found about working on the nursery, especially now that the minions are so mobile, is that we have to work on it when they're awake and a lot of the work requires two people. So on Sunday, we sweated, swept and ran around the bedroom picking up screws and other choking hazards that shot out of the crib while we lowered it, while the kids tried to eat them and Jack showed us his new found ability to remove the plastic safety covers from plug outlets. On the bright side, the nursery looks great and hopefully won't have to be rearranged until it's time to convert the cribs into toddler beds.**
The hard work and inability to manage the kids and a task independently reminded me of early days with the twins, before we learned our mad octopus skills. This along with the fact that the minions will turn one on Friday has me feeling a little nostalgic about my babies. As I look at my brand new baby niece, born last week, I think about all of the tips and tricks we learned and things that we wish we knew in early days of parenthood. So in the spirit of Molly and Jack's birthday, I warn you now, there may be a lot of flash backs in the next two weeks***, I've composed a list of things that we didn't know, what we learned and what helped us survive the first month or two of parenthood.
Molly (Left) and Jack (Right) - 1 week old
Put Stain Remover on Your Pre-Baby Shopping List
Baby spit up stains. No one ever told me. Keep a bottle by their clothes hamper and your own. Spray the clothes when you take them off. Don't think that you'll spray it later. If you're like us and run laundry constantly you'll be doing it in the wee hours of the night to avoid peak hydro prices and won't remember/see the stains until they're set and you've washed them right in.
Newborn Babies Sleep A Lot....in 20-60 Minute Increments
Newborns sleep most of the day, and night, just not for long stretches of time. In the first weeks we were told by our nurse practitioner to keep them awake for no more than 20 minutes at a time. This gives you lots of small bursts of free time, but not enough to get a good solid nap yourselves. Rent or download some TV series or movies for your downtime, play cards or a short board game. (I recommend Yatzee cause it's a personal favorite and the games don't go on for too long when you're interrupted).
Pod-casts, audio books and music are great relaxing distractions for parents while you're feeding or soothing a cranky baby in the middle of the night. The Kindle Chris bought me for our wedding anniversary, just three days after the kids were born, has an audio book function and is easy to hold for one hand reading while you cuddle a baby.****
I prepared a lot of casseroles while I was pregnant and bored, and our friends brought us and stocked our freezer with a lot of great, yummy food which meant we lived off of Swiss Chalet a little less in our first few months of parenthood. This made life so much easier. I am currently in the process of stockpiling casseroles for my return to work in mid-September.
Reward yourself with a much needed massage about a month after you have your kid(s). Your body will thank you. If you are pregnant and reading this be sure to treat yourself to a prenatal massage whenever you can. I recommend once in each the first and second trimester and then monthly in the third. It's one of the only things that kept me upright dealing with my sciatica.
Jack & Me - 6 weeks post-parenthood.
People kept telling me that things got better and I secretly thought it was BS. The first few months are really hard and a big adjustment. But as the babies grow and develop their personalities, time starts going faster and faster, and before you know it you'll be celebrating their first birthday and almost wishing for a moment that they were tiny again.*****
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*Akin to the T-Rex throwing the goat leg on the car in Jurassic Park.
**These cribs are like the most functional and complicated Transformer I've seen to date, only they aren't as portable, kind of like Sound Wave in his spying boom box configuration. Yeah, cause people just leave giant stereos laying around, that's how we get our important intel.
***Diddly-Doot, Diddly-Doot, Diddly-Doot...
****If you want some reading and podcast recommendations shoot me an email to email@example.com
*****I said almost.