Another trip to the airport to receive another beloved grandparent. xx
It’s funny how all of us are now eagerly anticipating – no, expecting – Boy Blob’s arrival any day now, even though we are still 11 days out from the official due date. With Arddun, her early arrival had caught us all by surprise. First babies are notoriously late. And second babies are notoriously earlier than their trail blazers.
Well, it’s starting to look like both kids are determined to flout expectations.
The hospital bag is more or less packed. The rented bassinet is where it needs to be, with fresh batteries inserted so now it can vibrate and/or play music while allowing a small night light to shine on. Christmas shopping is mostly done. I’ve handed over most meal preparation duties to my mother-in-law next week. We are stopping by the Baby & Kids Market tomorrow to see what else we can score, but I think we’re almost ready. Materially ready.
And yet, it doesn’t feel like we’re that close to going into labour after all.
One of the other things I’ve needed to prepare myself for is Arddun’s entrance to preschool early next year. A small deluge of emails have recently swamped our inboxes from the enrolment office, and Arddun has been fitted out for her uniform.
Arddun was not impressed by her new togs. After very reluctantly allowing me to put on her polo T-shirt and sports shorts (that ballooned out enough, as unisex school shorts always do, to more closely resemble badly fitting culottes), she looked me very seriously in the eyes and quietly pronounced,
“Mummy, I don’t want to wear this.”
In the 3 years+ of my dressing her, I have never heard her utter a preference – much less a statement saturated with such obvious distaste. She has never really commented on what I choose for her to wear. And I have never really given her much choice in the matter, such is the peaceful arrangement we have always had.
But put her in shapeless unisex polyester, and suddenly her fashion senses are screaming.
I had a good read of the school website today, and got the heebie jeebies myself. There’s something about the language and tone of school administrators and teachers that take you waaaay back, and can make you feel this small. I think it’s the no-nonsense way rules are spelt out in full. Read our policies. These are our requirements. You will not bring your child in before this hour. You will sit with your child until such a time. If your child is late, go to the office and fill out a late slip. If you are late picking your child up, God help you. And gaudy colours are not permitted.
I felt like I was going back to school again. And I suppose Tony and I will be, in a way. We may not be the ones in front of the interactive whiteboards, but we will certainly feel every bit as assessed as our child.
Still, I’m glad we’re starting Arddun a year early to ease her (and us) in. And I’m glad that still leaves majority of the week for her to enjoy unschooled, uncurriculumed, unprescribed Play.
Today was a good day.
Which is a happy coincidence, because Thursdays are also when I blog about what I’m thankful for. And while I usually try to keep it to three main things, I haven’t been able to stop at that magical number lately.
Arddun walked a lot today. She spent pretty much the whole afternoon in a mall, shadowing her Nanna and I as we went about trying to get last-minute supplies. Presentable Pajamas for my hospital stay, for instance. A swimming top so if I were to end up in a bath tub during labour with the shower head beating warm water down my sore back, I have swimmers that finally fit me in my beached-whale state. I went to the post office. We went to Babies R Us. And everything took four times the length of the time it usually takes, because I’m getting slower and slower…
It’s boring stuff for 3-year-old girls. And she didn’t complain, not once in that mall. She did ask very politely whether she could go to the little indoor playground a couple of times, and then waited very patiently when we explained the sequence of events that were to unfold. (Lunch, shopping at Target, then playground.)
I jumped onto Facebook this afternoon, and someone had posted this challenge:
And you know what? This little girl, from the second hour since her day began, didn’t complain a single time. I was so proud of her.
These kind of days happen more often than I give her credit for, but perhaps I sat up and noticed this time because we had her Nanna’s company. And as much as I know that part of it is Arddun’s natural temperament and part of it is consistent messaging from Tony and I… I’m just so thankful she has a teachable heart.
I have received so many boy clothes that Boy Blob’s entire wardrobe is settled for 2015. This, of course, has not stopped me buying the occasional to-die-for outfit for my little man – but the fact remains that the entire half of Tony’s tallboy reserved for Boy Blob’s things is now almost full.
Sarah V came by tonight to hand-deliver my Norwex things… and she has been carting around boxes of boy clothes from size 000 for a while, so when I get the space and chance to go through them, I can. And now she’s offered to wash them for me. Seriously!
And it’s not just clothes. If I were to just whimper in passing about perhaps needing something, someone invariably rushes back with an answer. It’s probably why I’ve been less organised with baby prep this time around. Help seems available every which way I turn. I’m so thankful for this community.
Have I ever mentioned how Canberra, for the most part, loves young families? Until I started carting Arddun around when she was a baby, I never got so much as a cursory glance. No one would ever think to strike up a conversation with me randomly. Once I started carrying a baby that was obviously mine? BAM – passing smiles, offers to grab things from shelves, people unpacking my shopping trolley at the conveyor belt while I’m queueing, passing me compliments and encouragement, the works. I was no longer invisible. I now had status – I am a Mother.
Last Friday was freakishly hot for Spring – a scorching, dusty and windy 35°C, real skin-cancer inducing weather. And while waddling around Garema place and Canberra Centre, I had total strangers coming up to me and asking if I was alright, and if I was keeping myself hydrated. I mean, it’s no secret that pregnant women have an inbuilt radiator behind their belly buttons, but that level of sympathy or empathy blew me away, frankly.
Last week, I alluded to the frustration that we had been facing for the better part of our month. Emotional and financial interests spread across two continents can be hard, hard work. Throw in the complications of a home build and a newborn Coming Soon to a Bassinet Beside our Bed, and it’s enough to get a little angsty about life — a reaction we were working hard to avoid because we are grateful overall… but it made us feel anxious now and then.
For a good chunk of time, it looked like our options were getting narrower and more awkward. It seemed like the only road ahead was for me to travel back to Singapore very soon. Try figuring that in your schedule when you have a brand new baby to look forward to. When Arddun was born, she had arsenic hour from 4pm to 1am for upward of EIGHT. WEEKS. And then there were vaccinations and Boy Blob’s immunity to consider, the need to establish my milk supply, passports…
The alternative was for me to travel alone. And that was an even more difficult option for me to swallow.
Meanwhile, two professionals on two different continents were beavering away in the background to find a solution that other institutions weren’t interested or able to pursue. And this evening, I was finally given the word that I would NOT have to make this crazy dash, perhaps with newborn in tow. And that, my friends, is something that we are very thankful for.
So for those of you who have been praying… thank you.
Today, a total stranger manning a small cafe in Forde commented that I obviously don’t have long till I drop my bundle. I’m not familiar with that euphemism, but apparently that’s very Australian for “you’re lookin’ like you’re about to have your baby any second now, luvvie.”
And indeed, gravity seems to be working on Boy Blob. Tony and I went to the obstetrician on Monday and true enough, the Boy has started his descent. On Tuesday during a dinner with church family, I was asked if I was able to place my hand between my bosom and my tummy – apparently another test of The Drop. (I managed four fingers.)
This means that I am running out of time to pack.
I’ve been slowly adding to my hospital bag for close to a month now, and I don’t have very much more to pack. Perhaps I’ll get a new pyjama set, perhaps a nice robe. Perhaps a night light, the kind you bop on top for some local illumination that won’t drench the room in blinding white. I had written some notes to myself about what to do for next time, and that list of things to bring (and leave at home) came in handy.
Ear plugs. Definitely a must-bring. Especially if you share a wall with a tribe.
Food, because hospitals here ain’t anything like the hospitals in Singapore. One miserable sandwich kiosk and a cafeteria? The latter closing at 8pm? COME ON!
Ran out today and bought a second-hand baby bathtub (the one with the molded seat for toddlers and a hammock for newborns) for $10. Might be on the hunt for a second-hand electric bottle steriliser, as ours is starting to get dodgy. Baby & Kids market on this Saturday, maybe I’ll find other things there, including a near-new breastfeeding pillow. Haven’t really cleaned the pram yet. It’s been a while.
There’s all this minutiae and I feel this time around that I’ve not got a handle on it like I did the first time. Mostly because I really don’t want to run out and spend a bomb on Second (and Final) Child. Is that bad? Or just prudence?
I’ve been asked a lot if I’m ready for Boy Blob. And I’ve always answered honestly – that I don’t know that I can ever be truly ready. How can it be that I felt surer about Arddun’s arrival than Number Two’s? Or perhaps experience has taught me better about babies and the absolute tumult they bring to our lives. I feel relaxed, but I also feel excitement and apprehension. And I’m convinced Arddun is sensing that Big Change is afoot, because she’s teary and moody one moment, cheerful and affectionate the next.
I am calm and all over the place. It’s week 38. Anytime now.