Today is my birthday, and it happens to be one of the birthdays I normally love, because I bump up an age group when racing.
Not that I'm running right now. Thanks, Caroline.
As Ellie sits beside me stirring a piece of toy fried chicken in a cup with one of my real wooden spoons, yelling "Don't touch it Caroline! It's SUPER HOT!" I have a minute to think about how this "milestone" birthday compares with the one five years ago.
Five years ago, we had just moved and a few days after my birthday, we would learn that we were expecting our first child. Nesting consisted of adding things to our home - a crib, baby toys, a very heavy dresser.
Have you heard about Ellie's dresser/changing table? Matt wanted something sturdy. We picked it out by walking around BabiesRUs while Matt shook tables. We picked a super, huge, heavy, sturdy dresser.
It arrived in a box fully assembled, nearly blocking our front door, 150 pounds of dresser in a box. I was 20-something weeks pregnant and not exactly the picture of super strength when I'm not pregnant. Matt was working late that night. I called him in a slight panic. Matt had to recruit a neighbor to get the dresser inside once he arrived home from work, and giant dresser box lived in our living room for a couple of weeks until we recruited a sucker/friend to help get it up the stairs.
Five years later.
We're having another girl. Nesting consists of me GETTING RID OF STUFF. Mostly, I walk around the house saying, "Why do we own so many ____?" Our local crisis pregnancy center, hospice thrift store, and parent listserv probably appreciate this form of nesting. I've become very generous.
But seriously, Caroline will have Ellie to entertain her, so she won't need that much, right?
And none of my shoes fit anymore anyway (tear.)
And in five years living in middle-class America, you acquire a lot.
And in five or six years of teaching, you acquire a lot that really doesn't need to live in your basement while on LOA.
With Ellie, I spent most of my pregnancy worried about her health, her disability, her NICU stay, her heart surgery, etc, etc, etc.
With Caroline, I have spent most of my pregnancy trying to teach and parent through morning sickness and exhaustion, while worrying that Ellie is going to over-love Caroline. Emotionally, I'm better. Physically, this is harder. I ran a 10K when I was pregnant with Ellie, but no such thing this time around.
There are seriously very few things we need for Caroline. I made a list: Carseat base, new monitor, some sheets. (My friends at work threw me a baby shower. I had to think hard to register!)
My girls will be different, and have their own personalities. As one friend put it, "Caroline has to be fairly relaxed, because Ellie is already the alpha!" I wonder if Caroline will look like Ellie as a baby. I wonder if she'll be a better sleeper. (Although Ellie was a great sleeper up until heart surgery gave her lots of energy!) I wonder if Caroline will be as particular or as funny. I wonder if she'll be sweet and quiet or loud and enthusiastic.
Ellie is becoming a better helper already. The mail arrived as she was "cooking the really hot chicken." I asked her to get it. First, she told me she had to cook the chicken, but then I guess she could take a break, because she brought me the mail. She then went back to cooking but recycled the junk mail as requested. A little sign but an important one... Ellie is growing up.
Happy Friday and happy weekend!