People think about getting ready for a baby and they think about nursery decor and sweet little outfits and the latest/greatest baby gear.
The fun stuff.
We have soft blankets folded and stored in his dresser drawers.
Cuddly cotton sleepers and onesies hanging in the closet.
Sidecar co-sleeper and swing assembled (and currently housing stuffed animals)
The not so fun but necessary stuff is ready too: breast pads, granny pads, and lots and lots of diapers.
Then we have our ‘just in case’ plans:
A month ago I hired a lactation consultant to make a home visit the day after we are supposed to get home from the hospital. Most people’s reactions were ‘why?’ instead of ‘good idea’. I had no problems breastfeeding my first son but nursing the monkey was a nightmare from day 1. Because I was busy chasing the two year old firefighter around I never got the help I needed and endured four months of bleeding, blocked ducts, cracks, and blisters. I know he weaned himself at 9 months because of all the problems we had along the way; breastfeeding was uncomfortable and frustrating for both of us.
I hope that this time it’s not teeth-clenching misery from the get-go but I’m not throwing caution to the wind. “It’s so expensive” is the comment I get most often from those who hear about my plans. The last time I checked formula-feeding a baby from birth onward can cost anywhere from $1500 to $2000 (plus bottles and accessories) and my lactation consultant is only $80 an hour.
The next appointment I scheduled was with our lawyer. We last updated our wills in 2006 after the firefighter was born and it’s time, once again, to make changes to our plans for custody and guardianship as well as how our estate is to be distributed. I learned, the hard way, as a grief and trauma counsellor, that when someone dies, especially a parent, families generally struggle to cope in the aftermath. People assume everyone will ‘come together’ and work out what’s best for their children but more often than not that isn’t the case.
On that gloomy note, what are some of the not-fun-but-practical-and-grown-up things you had to do as your family expanded?