The blind leading the blind

Look at me, posting less than 10 days after my last entry! I am far more pleased with myself than I should be.

I would just like the world to know, that at nearly 33 weeks, I have discovered that maybe this whole toiling-to-have-a-kid thing was a bad idea. I know nothing about pregnancy, babies, or small children. I don't even like most of the little things, as I've stated many times in the past. When going through infertility treatment I regularly felt like an imposter. Here I was, doing all this work to get pregnant, knowing that despite wanting to have a child or two, I had no idea what to do with them.

As we are coming closer and closer to what appears to be the time in which a large cantaloupe will be expelled from my vagina, I am increasingly terrified about what I don't know. I don't know how to hold a baby, I don't know how to bathe a baby, and I certainly don't know how to change a diaper. I was out being all goth and what not when those issues were covered in the Your Duty as a Woman and as Thus a Maternal Figure classes. Believe it or not, I babysat a lot in my teenage years, yet somehow, diaper changing was never something that came up.

Last night The Dude and I went shopping for baby-related things. Up to this point we have been only buying clothing because that's easy. Babies wear onesies and sleepsuits (though I still had to be told this - it is not knowledge I naturally possessed), as well as cute little dresses and skirts sometimes. We even purchased a wardrobe, changing table/bureau, and crib a month or so ago.

However, asking me to get all the tiny little incidental things and I'm screwed. I need a manual to tell me what, and how much of it to buy. Socks - will she wear them all the time? How often and how long do they need scratch mitts? What sort of tub should we buy? Don't even get me started on all the breastfeeding-related items, as my eyes just glaze over and drool will form in a large puddle on the floor. I'm waiting for this subject to come up in my antenatal class so the better-informed women in my group can tell me exactly what is needed.

I know this all seems like piddling stuff. I'm aware it's hard to raise children, but how is it this difficult to prepare for their arrival? Shit. I actually cried in the middle of one of the stores last night because I felt so useless. I thought I put all those days of spontaneous crying at inopportune moments behind me once all the fertility meds stopped. I guess not.

I can't believe I am admitting that I find comfort in a fictitious character, but I feel just like Miranda in Sex in the City at the moment. Granted, Charlotte was the one who went through all the fertility treatment and knew everything about babies, but Miranda's approach to impending motherhood was much more my speed. Charlotte had to guide Miranda through all the baby preparations, while Miranda just looked baffled. I need a Charlotte to tell me exactly what I need to do, or else this kid is going to come out and be kept in a cupboard or something. No tiered cake made out of diapers though please.

On a random and less oh woe is me note, I won a long-standing competition today. Last June 22, I mentioned a certain Ms Bea Arthur in a post. Sarah, from the now defunct Badlands (boo hiss), threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to see who would get the first Bea Arthur related hit. I responded saying it was so on, and anxiously awaited my first hit about Bea Arthur's boobs. I waited a long time, but I am pleased to say the wait is no over and I have won. Yeah, ok, Sarah doesn't have a blog anymore so it's kind of a moot point, but small victories, right? As for the person searching for this, the holy grail of all things perverse, my hat is off to you sir/madam, as you have a stronger stomach than I.


Panda said...

Okay, time for confessions: prior to our enspudification, I had changed a total of ONE poopy nappy. I gagged, nearly chucked and put the new nappy on backwards. I'm pleased to say it didnt happen twice! Within a week of Spud's arrival I was a pro at nappy changes and the smell didnt bother me at all.

They dont need to wear socks all the time, especially inside, and chances are they get kicked off within an hour anyways.

Scratch mitts - you may not need them. Spud didnt wear them at all. Their nails are real easy to peel so you can just keep them short.

Breastfeeding parafinalia (?sp) includes a couple of maternity bras, a few breastfeeding tops (those with hidden openings for ease of boobie access) and lots of breast pads unless you like waking up in a puddle of milk.

Spontaneous crying at inopportune moments is SOOOOOO not gone with the meds! Just wait til Enid is here.

Alexa said...

You will do splendidly, I am certain. At least you know what a "scratch mitt" is, I thought you had made them up until I saw Panda's comment. Probably my child will scratch himself to ribbons.
I am delighted to see you posting again--I cannot believe you are 33 weeks! I will put mailing your exciting baby package on my list of things to do right now, which hopefully means that I will actually send it by Enid's 1st birthday...

Cass said...

Well, I feel like I'm making it up too, but I'm happy to share if you want. All I'll offer for now is that I've been told that receiving blankets are quite the necessity - for swaddling and using as burp cloths and propping up small babies in car seats and who knows what else. I've been told to get a ton of them. I had a similarly clueless friend who had her baby about a month ago, and one of the things she said the first time we had a real chat after the babe was home was that yes, in fact, I should get a ton of blankets. So I'm passing that along. All the big baby stores (in person and online) seem to offer lists of stuff you simply must have, which I've mostly ignored. But some of it seems decent - like, it makes sense to me to have some baby tylenol on hand so that at the point where we need it (most likely at 3am) we won't have to go get some. But otherwise, something for them to wear, someplace to sleep, and something to eat (boob or otherwise) seem to be the basic starting necessities.

elle said...

I knew nothing either - and still know very little. It is apparent to me that most parents make it up as they go. Seriously. Anyway, as for diapers and basic stuff - you can take a class and/or they will show you that stuff in the hospital. As panda said, all you need is one week - you'll be a pro - changing diapers one handed even! You will be amazed and what you can accomplish with one hand.

What they really really need is cuddling. You just need one good arm for that. So I think you are all set!

tania said...

What I have found is that it all comes down to this --- Love them the best that you can and all the rest will work itself out.

Boob or bottle, crib or family bed, hand mits or not. Whenever you look back on the whole thing, the most important thing will be to know that you loved that little baby with all of your heart and soul. (And don't worry if you don't fall in love the minute you birth the melon head. It will come.)

And get used to the feelings of cluelessness. Just when you think you have it all mastered they change radically on you and all of the advice in the advice books won't work so you'll have to figure out what works best for you and your family. And something will work. But if it doesn't about two days after you think you aren't going to make it through things will resolve themselves and you'll be moving on to the next issue.

And don't forget to take time for yourself.

fisher queen said...

I spent the first few months of my life sleeping in a dresser drawer in a hallway, and I turned out more or less OK. Enid will be fine, and so will you!

I ordered a book from a*mazon called "Baby Bargains" that is supposedly helpful for this kind of thing. I'll let you know. And the big box stores do have suggested shopping lists- I have one that is helpful (just budgeting now!) in terms of stuff I wouldn't have thought of, but I can tell it's also loaded with crap we won't need.

fisher queen said...

Also- Bea Arthur's nipple? Shiver...

electriclady said...

I think at minimum, all you need are lots of diapers and something to wrap Enid in so she doesn't get cold. Everything else is cake.

(Not that I have any idea what I'm talking about. But hey, if Brooke Shields could keep her baby alive in Blue Lagoon, with no Baby Bjorns or aspirators or anything, I'm sure you'll do fine.)

Thalia said...

I'm on the other side. Have been babysitting since I was 12 so can do the whole diaper thing with my eyes closed (only they're called nappies really, don't you know). I'm sure you'll work it out.

Anonymous said...

Muslins (not the Jane Austen sort) are what you need. Squares of cloth about 24" each side. Get at least 30 of them. You drape them over wherever your darling baby might sick up (or posset - another new word): your shoulder; your lap; over the sheet in the crib (easier to change a muslin in the middle of the night than a sheet); the play gym; any freshly laundered article of your or the baby's clothing, especially if you were planning on going somewhere or meeting someone. Be prepared to marvel at how much quantity your baby can posset - who knew?

Nappies are a doddle, and you'll soon get into poo analysis. Meconium is most bizarre, then breastfed babies have (well, mine did) this constant stream of squittery little poos, then when you replace a couple of the feeds with formula they may only poo every four or five days. Now, when a poo happens (apart from marvelling at the quantity etc etc) there is general rejoicing in the household. Sigh. Lo, how the mighty are fallen.

You'll be absolutely fine.


Rachel said...

Interesting thought. I was fretting over the size of the recommended items list from the baby store and then I realized that as long as I can hose the baby off once in awhile, I think we'll be all right.

It's funny that new moms almost always feel like they're re-inventing the wheel, but when you think about it, that's exactly what you ARE doing. You're creating a whole new person who has never existed before!

I wonder if I can apply for a patent when The Speck gets here?

Nico said...

A bunch of hospitals around here offer infant care classes - if you can find something like that it might make you feel a bit better. But if not - you'll do just fine anyway! The nurses will show you the ropes in hospital, and you'll learn quickly after that :-)

rockmama-in-waiting said...

I, myownself, have never changed a diaper, which I am anticipating will be an eye-opening experience. (I had no brothers and sisters, so very little exposure to babies). Our goddaughter has been the first honest to god tiny little person I've ever had any long term exposure to. (i.e, the first person who's ever thrown up on me and I didn't mind) Don't worry about your lack of knowledge or experience. Everyone has to learn how to be a mother.

Molly said...

I am pleased to say that I saved the list that Grrl created after seeking feedback from her readers. It's long, but here it is in all of its glory:

The Product List
- Sling: Maya Wrap, Kangaroo Korner
- Car Seat: Britax
- Stroller: Maclaren, Perego (votes split on Traveling System issue)
- Bouncy Chair related to number of successfully completed showers?
- Swing: YES. Duh.
- Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Anything = Baby Crack
- Exersaucer: Baby Einstein
- What the F are "Linkadoos"??
- Pacifier: Soothies, Mini Ulti Mams, Nuks
- Feeding Pillow: Boppy, Brest Friend, Pollywog
- Bottles: Avent, Dr. Brown's, Playtex
- Play Yard: Pack 'N Play
- Crib Mobile: Sassy
- Diaper Cream: Triple Paste, Pinxav, Burt's Bees, A&D (no zinc)
- Gripe Water! It complains as it soothes!
- Tub: Sure Comfort, Primo Eurobath
- Diaper Disposal: Champ, Dekor, Genie
- Sleep Books: Weissbluth, Pantley, Hogg
- Lots Of: Waterproof crib pads, onesies with snaps, sleep gowns, cloth diapers as burp rags
- Not Lots Of: Newborn diapers (quickly outgrown), baby towels (too small), special detergent (just get detergent with no dyes or perfumes), shirts that go over the head

Not listed: Bea Arthur's nipple. Though I have no idea why not.

Jenn said...

I'm right there with you. I had to ask my mom if babies even wore socks. I have no mittens. But I have lots and lots of baby washclothes.

Oh, and I've only ever changed adult diapers. Ehhhh

Lindy said...

Grrrl's list is a good one. I'd add baby tylenol as Cass said and mylicon (simithicone) drops.

For actual baby care, I cannot say enough about the wonders of a book called Baby 411. I still reference it from time to time for my almost-three-year-old. It covers all the basics of feeding, sleep and hygeine and also has lots of info on various medical issues, common and rare (which can be a bit dangerous - if you're prone to worry, don't go browsing the second half of the book).

Natalie said...

Hi, Molly's sis-in-law delurking to put my two cents in. I'm not a mom, nor am I a mom-to-be, but I AM an experienced nanny, and I like to think that I know my shit. No pun intended.

I have to tell you - in my days as a nanny, I've used both a sling and a Baby Bjorn, and I would recommend the Bjorn hands-down. Contrary to popular opinion, the Baby Bjorns ARE comfortable, actually good for your back, and babies love 'em like nobody's business. Plus, when the babe gets old enough, he/she can face outward, and babies who are able to hold their head up and take in their surroundings LOVE that.

Wipes. Buy lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of wipes (you get the idea). They're good for just about anything from wiping baby's butt to wiping baby's face, hands, strollers, seats, etc.

The Nuk. I'm sure that's an obvious one, but it's so effective that it definitely warrants mentioning!

pixi said...

Miranda figured it out, and you will too.

One of my fears -- seeing as most of the females in my world (sisters, SILs, friends, colleagues, etc.) have had children already, is that some of them will be chomping at the bit to act all know-it-ally with me & tell me that I'm doing stuff wrong. I'll happily take advice from some people, but there are those certain others...yuck, I just can't bear the thought.

Panda said...

Oh, I forgot to say that newborn socks make great mittens too. Sock mittens! Or Smittens, if you will.

Natalie said...

Just a quick note - I definitely hope that in my comment I was not seen as "one of those" women who pixi mentioned. I am simply a childless woman who takes care of children for a living and has learned a few things that work along the way. And even so, I am no expert (who is? and who ever will be?) and still have a million things to learn. Just didn't want to be taken the wrong way is all. Lord knows that on the Internet, a person can come across completely different from the way s/he had actually intended.

Now, back to lurking.

T said...

heh, heh. A friend and I chuckle about learning so much about getting pg (or getting a kid) that we had NO idea what to do w/ them when we got them. Now of course - experts (ha).

One thing - bfing isn't always a snap, it takes time, but definitely worth it.

amyesq said...

The thing is that most new moms don't know smack about taking care of babies when they first come along. I have to think this is why people have no recollection of being babies when they grow up. It's nature's way of ensuing parents get a few years of screw ups before they get it right. So if you look at it that way, you have plenty of time. Heh.

Em said...

Bea Arthur!? I can say now from experience, you buy a lot of crap that is useless and then whittle it down to essentials. My essentials are baby sling (Baby Bjorn and hug-a-bub), nipple cream (Lansinoh is the best), breast pads (lansinoh, Chicco or tommee Tippee), grow/sleep suits (easy to change), vaseline (for baby's bum), Huggies Pure wipes (they are nice and strong), muslins...the list could go on.

Vacant Uterus said...

Don' know if anyone's mentioned this before but get the nasal suction bulb for snotty noses and throats. I used that thing alot on my niece and nephews. I think Molly got everything else, with Grrl's list. Good luck, girl!

Ova Girl said...

What a fantastic array of comments. Well done Ms P, many expectant first timers salute you. I am lucky enough to live with my SIL who has showered me with a range of baby items and explained use and needs for each one. But I agree, it is daunting. 6 weeks to go and although I have a cradle it's full of my clothes that I drape over the sides. Every now and then people say things like 'breastpads' or 'nappybag'. It's alarming. I'm hoping that if I forget anything, people will take pity on me and buy it for me as a baby present. ('Why thankyou, I am delighted to receive an economy box of babywipes')