I was so not fussed about baby gear before Little Miss came along. "We kept the Kid alive," I told a friend when discussing it some time 'round pregnancy month seven, "And besides, it's not like there won't be stores around after the baby is born."
While that was all true, there have been a few things--material, physical, and spiritual--that did not even occur to me that I wish I had put more thought into, or, perhaps, at least had a heads up on.
In no particular order, here's one thing I wish I'd thought about for every week our Little Miss has been with us.
[Little Miss, circa 5 days old, giving me a facepalm.]
Getting cold weather gear for the baby.
As a mid-February baby, cold weather gear wasn't such a worry with the Kid. By the time I was ready to get out with him, the weather was at least lukewarm. And then, too, we just stayed inside on cold days. If we really needed to go somewhere, like the grocery store, we'd plop him in his bucket car seat and pile on the blankets.
That hasn't worked with Little Miss. Because the Kiddo--my little Montessori raised darling--is used to being outside every day, and that means we have to go with him. It's that whole "there's no bad weather, only inappropriate clothes" thing. So Little Miss had to get some appropriate clothes via expedited shipping last week.
Teaching the older sibling life skills.
We spent lots of time before Little Miss was born talking with the Kid about things like where babies come from and how it's a long time before they can play trains. What we should have done was teach him how to pour his own milk, operate the DVD player, button his own pants, and stir ice cubes into his own mac and cheese. For reals--we wasted time on warm-and-fuzzy feelings when we should have been working on survival skills.
My hips don't lie.
Once things settled in after Little Miss's birth, I decided to step on the scale to get an idea which of my wide range of jean sizes might fit. I wasn't terribly displeased with the number that popped up, and I was excited to think that I had non-maternity jeans in my closet that I could wear.
I went to pull on a loose pair, but as I got them up to my hips they just stopped. Turns out, my hips are about 3 inches wider than they were before. Through my whole pregnancy, I felt like my hips were tearing in half, but I assumed that the Kid had already stretched things as far as they were going to stretch.
Again, not so much.
On the one hand, it's completely amazing that my body can do that. On the other, it's making my plans to ceremoniously torch my maternity jeans--which I am so bloody sick of--troublesome.
[Little Miss's first outing in her snowsuit.]
We are different parents.
I heard a psychologist testify once that all kids have different parents, even if they're full biological siblings. What she was trying to get at was the idea that our parenting evolves and is influenced by completely unrelated events that just so happen to coincide with one child but not the other.
Little Miss is getting the good end of the deal on this one so far. For the first few weeks of her life, Sweet Husband and I kept looking at each other and saying, "How is this so much easier this time?"
The answer is not that the Kid was an awful baby and Little Miss is a doll. It's that we're 100 times more chill and we're used to living on less sleep.
Also, while we've never been terrible at being a team, we're a lot better at it this time. Like baseball players who've played together for years, we can pretty much automatically anticipate when the other is going to need an assist and react accordingly. Even when I'm tired, I can tell when Sweet Husband is more so, just by the sound his body makes as he sinks back into bed in the middle of the night. Conversely, he has almost a better sense than I do of when I really need to tap out for more sleep or a half an hour of the peace and the quiet.
I could probably keep going--soothies, buy ALL of the soothies--but those are the big lessons thus far, I do believe. I'd tell you to take them to heart, any soon-to-be-moms reading this, but undoubtedly your little ones will have unique lessons for you that are all their own.