Thursday, August 23, 2007

Things to do before the baby arrives

The minute you find out you are pregnant with your first child, you run out and get a dozen books. You purchase them at retail prices either from Amazon or Borders. You are thrilled and excitited. In your collection you have at least four baby naming books, three pregnancy books, two baby manuals, and the list continues. You read all of them cover to cover and even recite some parts of the books to your husband (that is of course if you aren't reading each word out loud to him). But no where, not in a book, not even on parenting websites online, does it tell you what you should REALLY do before the baby arrives. So here it is people a non conventional checklist for every first time expectant parents, in no particular order. My top ten things you should do before the baby arrives. Print out and check each one off.

1. Sleep. Sleep a lot. Every weekend morning sleep. Everyday you come home from work sleep. Go to sleep early. Just sleep. (Can you tell my 6 month old still isn't sleeping through the night - aren't all third children supposed to magically sleep all night?)

2. Read. Indulge. And read again. Put away your parenting guides and baby naming books and read a great classic, a page turner romance novel, just read. In the last 5 years of my life I have read a dozen books during the 6 hour car ride to Chicago. That's my time to read. I can now finish an entire sleazy novel in just 6 hours. That's talent, my friends.

3. Eat. You are pregnant - you are eating for two. But more importantly ENJOY. You will never again eat the same again. Once the baby arrives you will never be able to sit down and enjoy a meal. Your baby will be incredibly smart and have the remarkable talent of sensing your alone time. Just as soon as you sit down to enjoy the meal you made for yourself the baby will wake up. You will have to learn to eat while nursing, eat while you rock the cradle, and eat while entertaining a toddler. You will learn to eat FAST. So, eat and truly ENJOY the food - taste the food and eat some more (this comes from someone who gained 60+ pounds with each three pregnancies - but lost it soon after).

4. Talk. Sit down and make a list of people you want to talk to, people you want to catch up with, people you haven't spoken to. Being pregnant is great news, share it, and enjoy talking without interruption. Once the baby arrives, people will call, but you won't have the time to sit back without any interruptions and talk. And your friends without children will always call you in the middle of a meltdown, during a well needed nap, and so on. So pick up that phone and start calling everyone.

5. Pamper yourself. You should get a manicure and pedicure and massage EACH MONTH of your pregnancy. Convince your husband that you will never again (unless you are so fortunate to have a nanny) be able to find the time to pamper yourself, until all of your children are in grammar school. Go ahead and be selfish now.

6. Eat out. Again, coming from the lady that gained 60+ pounds. Sit down with your husband and create a list of restaurants you want to eat at. Visit all of them and make sure you visit them once for breakfast/brunch, once for lunch with the girls, and once for dinner with the husband. And then repeat. You don't have to pay a babysitter, worry about the babysitter, worry about the baby, and you don't have to worry about the time.

7. Invest. You must invest in the the most luxurious down comforter and pillow for yourself. And then save up for the most luxurious super high thread count sheet set. You will thank me for this one. During pregnancy and soon after - sleeping is hard. Make sure you choose white - you can always bleach out the urine stains from your baby's (probably from your second or third child's) overflowing diaper when you toss them in your bed after waking up for the fifth time in one night. You will always change your first born's diaper - no matter what time it is. Invest in comfort that will help you sleep - as you will be looking forward to sleeping even if it is for a two hour stretch.

8. Entertain. Open your house up and entertain your family and friends. Be friendly and invite over new neighbors, old friends, and dear family. You have the time. You have the resources. You have the energy (you might think you are tired during pregnancy - it doesn't even compare). In the long run, people that have been entertained and well fed at your house might be more willing to babysit, be more willing to cook you a meal after baby comes, be more willing to lend useful advices when the baby arrives. Entertain and enjoy the time and you will reap rewards in the long run.

9. Kiss. Actually, just go ahead and make out. Just like you did when you first started dating. Drop everything, plan a great date night with your husband at home, and just make out. Be silly, be romantic, be sensual, whatever you will be - just kiss uninterrupted all night long . Again, you will have an INCREDIBLY SMART baby that will sense every time you want your alone time. Once the baby arrives, your time alone decrease and you realize your priorities. SLEEP.

10. Be yourself. Remember it is YOU who is pregnant. It is YOU who is carrying this miracle. It is YOU who looks amazing (despite the 60+ pounds). It is YOU who will hold your child lovingly 5 times between 7pm and 7am. It is YOU who created this child with your loving husband. It is YOU who will forever be changed by this beautiful child and forever be grateful of life. Be YOURself - let everyone know what YOU want. This is the LAST TIME to be COMPLETELY 100% selfish and love YOURself for it. Go ahead ... eat, sleep, read, eat out, talk, pamper yourself, invest, entertain, kiss, and be YOURSELF. And throughout it all LOVE YOURSELF. Your beautiful baby will be so happy to have an incredible mother that is happy with herself.

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