Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A little help from my friends...

They say having a child is one of life's great rewards.
But as I've spent the last few months in this strange-preparation-stage, I've appreciated how much of a mixed bag this all is. At times it all feels mundane and a chore. At other times I feel like I'm getting ready for the best party of my life.
And then there are the moments of cherishing another of life's great rewards: friends.

Before I'd even thought about major decisions like birth plans and such, my friend Mary had started planning my baby shower--emails flew, decisions were made, and control relinquished. Then another faction of my life volunteered an alternate party. People keep offering support, gifts, help, good wishes--it's like having a birthday every week. :)

Recently I went to see my oldest friend Krista, the mother of my two beautiful godchildren. I'm glad I let her take the lead on this whole baby business. It's been really special to have someone I love and trust so much there in a way that I didn't know I needed. I call her with the most random questions regarding gear and the doctors--she's my sounding board at the moment. When I told her I didn't think a doula was the best thing for me, but that Chris was nervous to be alone, she volunteered to come down for the birth! She's known me since I was nine, so she has been warned...

Every friend has been amazing through this process. On top of it I've met strangers who are genuinely excited to share their experiences (and stuff). It is a bit like joining a club, and although I'm known to be quite contrary, I do like sharing this aspect of being human. It's so wonderful to have that sense of community, and know that life does connect us in a different ways...

Friday, April 30, 2010

And the winner is...

Bugaboo Bee

For all the features/reasons listed here:

Now I can stop thinking about strollers!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Diapers, diapers, diapers

No matter what my college or graduate degree might be, I am totally ignorant in the way of babies. It's a specialized vein of knowledge that even as an aunt of nine I have been spared from... but now that I'm expecting, I'm stymied by the simplest of questions regarding choices I never knew I had.

Cloth or disposable?
At home or a service?
Brand and method?

I'm referring to diapers... I know I want to at least try cloth, not only because I can't quite shed my environmentalist past (the aforementioned college degree actually specialized in Conservation and Resource Studies; then I went to work making movies...) even though I am one of the many halfway hypocrites. But I like the idea of natural material on my baby's bum, and somehow it feels more real to have to really look closely at the output. My coach (mother to my two godchildren) used cloth, washed them herself, and she survived. So I had leaned towards trying.

Then, the latest Freecycle score. Responding to my solicitation for baby items, Kathy from Bernal Heights gave me FIVE LARGE BAGS of items ranging from clothes to toys - and a whole stash of cloth diapers! She had kindly cleaned (and I mean they are clean) and organized a stash ranging in sizes. Also included were some G Baby hybrids (cloth covers with disposable inserts) that I'd never heard about but think are ingenious. So now equipped, I am happily committed to trying to wash at home.

Of all the things to get ready for, I think diapers might have been the biggest necessity. The first few months I hear will be all about eating, sleeping (hopefully), and pooping!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stroller halt

The stroller debate continues--and we realize while it's an immediate need, we can wait a bit... At least we've decided on the carseat (Graco Snugride) and plan to get a snap-n-go initially, we need to think more on the options...

If we want a bugaboo type "combo stroller," there are pros and cons:
Bugaboo: people still say it's the best, but it's likely too big...
Quinny: only takes the maxi-cozi carseat, which we do not love...
Orbit: too much design
Bob: it turns out the mother of my godchildren has an old one to pass down! so no purchase, but she has an older model that we can't use with an infant carseat, and it doesn't recline... :(

So we are back to the drawing board, a little research, and maybe some cruising on Craigslist!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stroller Madness

One way to keep from feeling overwhelmed, we've discovered, is to instead become obsessed.

Our latest singular focus is what might be our largest purchase: the stroller. Formerly on my "Hope to Receive" list, I've now moved it to the "Things to Buy" column--having spent the last two weeks reading reviews, interviewing friends, and coveting those of passers-by, we realize that we can't possibly hope to just inherit one...

There are several reasons for this. The first being, of course, safety: we want to buy a brand new carseat, to ensure its working condition and various guarantees. How does this tie to a stroller? Well we've found out that the best option of a stroller for the first few months will be one that fits the carseat--and we need to identify the right stroller for us before we can select a carseat that will fit...

And identifying that stroller is not as easy as it would seem. It's brought on nothing short of a moral dilemma as much as an identity crisis. We want to be reasonable and practical, to resist the models that costs more than a car (I do not exaggerate: Chris bought his current ride, a pick up truck, from a friend for $1000). We want to resist the trend of high-design strollers which many admit are a new category of competitive status symbols. We try to remind ourselves that when we were babies, our mothers did just fine.

But our new parent friends tell us we are naive. That a stroller is not a luxury, but a necessity, and we will be so much happier with a nicer stroller.

Which brings us to our current state, of trying to define ourselves. Not since I tried to decide what SF neighborhood to live in did I debate so much internally. What's important to me? Am I someone that spends more like hiking or shopping? Can I put a price on design and functionality? What if it means more comfort for my baby?

We hate to admit it, but we are down to a few high-end contenders:
Bugaboo Bee

The next step is a test drive, of strollers. This is ironic, since we have yet to test drive any cars - and we both need to upgrade from our respective two-seaters!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Initial goods

I love experiencing the kindness of strangers. Even more than the exchange of a quick "hello" between passers-by, or a chat while in line at a store. When someone you've never met displays pure goodwill, even as the recipient I feel proud of being human: never alone but part of a larger society of caring people who want to help one another.

Thanks to Matti, a fellow Freecycler*, I can cross of a few things from my needs list. A few people who wrote back to my post soliciting items, and she was the first person I could arrange to meet. Not only did she give me several essentials--all so well cared for--but what touched me is how she invited me in, so that she and her husband could help me out to the car! Obviously very generous and kind people, whom I would never have met otherwise.

This kind of experience is the added reward of my little experiment.

To see what Matti gave me, please see the page "Things Collected" (link at top of page) for photos.
*For those of you who are not familiar yet, Freecycle is a great online community of strangers exchanging free items--no sales, no bartering--sometimes without even meeting! It's a Yahoo group, and once signed up you can post either WANTED or OFFER messages and arrange for often anonymous drop-offs and pick-ups of no longer needed but potentially still useful, though sometimes random, objects without throwing them away.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Things I need...

This is an experiment...
I want to try to "prepare for baby" with as little impact as possible... largely depending on hand-me-downs and donations from friends and strangers. I want to show it's possible to have nice things but without the expense and stress.

I plan to pass on everything I get in the same way when I'm done. This is not a new idea, and I've found wonderful websites/resources along the way.

If you'd like to know why, please read more here...
I also welcome discussion of items and any advice or tips.