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A work in progress

Written by: Suzanna June 02 2011 There isn’t too much new happening in Babyland this week. We’re nearing the end of week 23, and I can’t believe that in roughly 16 weeks I’ll be a mother to something other than our lab puppy, Jake. We have many of Baby Palmer’s things ready to go—crib, stroller,...

Written by: Suzanna

There isn’t too much new happening in Babyland this week. We’re nearing the end of week 23, and I can’t believe that in roughly 16 weeks I’ll be a mother to something other than our lab puppy, Jake.

We have many of Baby Palmer’s things ready to go—crib, stroller, car seat, clothing, Boppy, etc. Now I just have to figure out how to use it all. Spending the last week with my mother and sister—both baby nurses—during a family vacation has made me realize how completely clueless I am when it comes to child care. (I think even our puppy is getting a little bit worried about my mothering another living creature.)

I thought I had changed enough diapers during my babysitting days to be proficient, but it turns out that I’d been doing it wrong all along. Something about using the clean part of the diaper to wipe the baby? Shrug. Then, there was the thing about swabbing alcohol on the umbilical cord until it dries up like a “hard little finger” (my mother’s words). Ew. Oh, and apparently jaundice can cause permanent brain damage if not carefully monitored. Oh my.

As for dressing a child, I thought I had that down but apparently I’m in need of a refresher course there, too. Not long ago, six of our nieces and two of our cousins, all girls under the age of 8, came over for a Saturday night sleepover. The next morning was a whirlwind trying to get each one dressed, fed, and ready for church by 9 a.m. I strapped the youngest niece’s shoes on the wrong feet and another of the girls nearly walked out of the house with her clothes on backwards. Fortunately, my husband caught my blunders. (Coming from a family of 11 kids, child know-how runs in his genes.)

Being closely surrounded by so many people with loads of baby care knowledge and experience has helped me realize lots of things that I didn’t know that I didn’t know. It’s at once reassuring and nerve-wracking. On the one hand, I can’t screw up things too badly with so many smart people not more than a phone call away, but on the other hand, they’ll get to witness the countless dumb things I’m sure I’ll do before getting the hang of it all.

In the meantime, I’ll be spending the next three months and some odd days doing everything I can to make sure Baby Palmer’s mother isn’t a complete dunce when he arrives. For now, that means plugging away through the seemingly endless pages of “Baby’s First Year” and listening with ears wide open to those-in-the-know, even when the subject is baby poop. Wish me luck and a strong stomach!

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