planning to plan for baby number two

(originally posted March 10, 2014)

escaping the monotony of daily routines, especially during the doldrums of a portland winter, always gives me the pause i need to do some actual thinking. especially when a hammock and a beach are involved. and mostly i am thinking about how life is going to change in three short months. the nesting instinct is taking over my brain, but this time around i have the benefit of already owning most of the baby gear i will need along with the experience to know that a newborn needs close to nothing. bee and i, on the other hand, will need some coping mechanisms.

i also have the benefit of knowing that in those first few months there will be no time or energy for thinking. so rather than spend hours online researching the best bpa-free baby bottle (it turns out they’re all terrible), for the rest of my pregnancy i’ll focus my energies on some other logistics:

1. fitness plan

with bee, the stars couldn’t have aligned more perfectly. she was born in the late summer so we hibernated all winter with a scattering of short bundled up walks. by the time her neck was supposedly strong enough for a stroller run, my abdominals were equally ready and the springtime weather perfectly cooperated. though i think i actually probably cheated and started running closer to five months instead of the suggested six…but it was slow, i told myself. i signed up for the hood to coast with my work team so i had the perfect motivation to run every morning. while working i would often run the three or so miles to work and back – complete with my madela pump and milk for bee on my back. when i stopped working around the same time the sunshine picked up, a morning run fit perfectly with bee’s nap schedule. we’d wake up, eat breakfast, then head off to the park. by the time we got home she’d be ready for a nap and i could shower and be ready to start the day around ten am. then we’d usually walk to another park mid-day, another nap, and sometimes a third park adventure in the early evening. i could repeat that schedule for the rest of my life. but then winter arrived and bee’s naps shortened to one and a second baby popped into my belly and it has all gone downhill.

this time around i know the stars aren’t going to align on their own and i need a plan in advance. the baby will be born in early summer so we’ll be at stroller-running age just as the rains and cold weather hit. this time of year is already mentally challenging for running, let alone squeezing two babes into a double stroller with snacks, dipes, toys, and books just to make it around the block with screaming and tears and winding up back at home. that’s how i picture it anyways. so before the baby comes, i’m going to visit some gyms and figure out a solution that will work for everyone. i won’t likely sign up for the hardest leg of a 24-hour relay totaling 18 miles, but i want to set some sort of goal so i always have an end-point in mind. maybe even just a 5k next spring. or a sprint-triathlon if i feel particularly ambitious. i’ll also need to fill my body with proper fuel, which leads me to…

4. nutrition plan

i’m not generally a freezer-meal-lover and especially when i had a newborn nursing, all i craved was something fresh, full of vegetables, and filling. and LOTS of it. i anticipate this will be even more pronounced in the summer with the new baby. one of the best gifts i received was from my bicycle-loving coworkers in the form of a weekly delivery from soupcycle. not only was the food so fresh and filling, but the gift of not thinking about what’s for dinner is better than anything i can conceive.

so instead of stocking my freezer, i’m going to research a csa that will provide me will easy ingredients (the last one we got was terrific, but would throw in a lot of curve balls like celeriac and mushrooms i’d never heard of). though i enjoyed the challenge pre-baby, inspiring and unique ingredients are more likely to end in tears of failure. i will just need what i already know (and by i, realistically, i mean my husband) and can throw together for lunches and dinner easily for a hungry mom and picky toddler. speaking of toddlers, i’ll need a…

2. plan for bee

although i plan to keep the summer very simple and flexible, bee is getting to an age where she needs social and physical interaction beyond what our backyard can offer (which is currently limited to brief squirrel sightings and puddle stomping). i’d like to find some weekly activities for her as well as some easy entertainment to have in the backyard. and if the going gets really tough, an exit strategy, aka daycare. hoping to put that off as long as i can.

to make the summer shared with a new baby special for bee, i’m currently thinking ballet lessons or soccer classes. plus maybe more balls, hoops, sandboxes, tricycles, and a Popsicle-maker (who knew that Popsicle is a proper noun?). we have a garden store four blocks away that i envision visiting often and i’d love to start some seedlings with bee. perhaps i should read a book on gardening with a wee one. which brings me to…

3. reading plan

there are so many opportunities for reading with a newborn. and by that, what i mean to say is that you are up at all hours of the night with a crying baby who will only be soothed by being held, bounced, rocked, and shushed. and since you have a little baby you can’t put down along with insomnia at the anticipation of her waking in less than an hour even if you can manage to set her down, you might as well read a book or two on your iphone.

with bee, my sleep-deprived self gravitated towards one genre: baby sleep. i had a very narrow focus of breaking the cycle of no sleep and cracking the code to infant sleep patterns. only in hindsight do i now realize there is no getting out of it. babies be babies. they need to be held. and so you’ll do some nightly reading. you will be too mentally exhausted to choose any books, so here’s where i think a list might come in handy. in the next few months i’m going to make that list. i suspect i’ll stay in the non-fiction realm as i typically do, but maybe since my brain will be so zonked it will be a good time for some easy fiction beach reads. i’ll prepare for both scenarios accordingly. so far my list is lonely at one:

all joy and no fun: the paradox of modern parenthood

suggestions appreciated. and last, but not least…

5. what to wear plan

having a new nursing baby makes dressing in anything beyond yoga pants, a nursing tank, and a robe seem laughable. but having a toddler that needs to get out of the house makes this attire *possibly* inappropriate. i’m going to have to get creative and do some shopping before the baby comes (since trying on anything in a dressing room with two littles is out of the question).

with bee, there has never been an age where my hands are free to lace or buckle complicated shoes as we’re making our way out the door. so high on my list are some easy-to-put-on park shoes for daily walks. also high on the list are some shirts suitable for both nursing and being seen by the general public. and maybe i’ll even buy myself a nice new pair of fancy yoga pants, because, let’s be honest with our future selves.

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