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Creating the Nursery, Part I

I love the term “nesting.”  It makes me picture a happy little bird, all aflutter with motherly love, gathering bits of string and grass to make a lovely home for her little ones.  It also makes me think of how lucky I am that I don't have to carry several fully developed eggs inside of me and push them out one after another.  Compared to that, one little ole baby seems easy!  So, as a momma bird distracts herself from the impending challenge of laying a dozen eggs, I happily distracted myself by preparing Nic’s nursery.

This post will outline my inspiration, and later posts will show the process and final results.

When I found out I was having a boy, I quickly decided on the color palette:


Truth is, it wouldn’t have been much different for a girl:

My husband’s grandfather, Nic’s namesake, loved owls.  And although I was reluctant to pick a “theme” for the nursery, one gradually developed—sweet little folksy owls.  It all started with this:

DwellStudio Sky Owls Crib Set

I knew I didn’t want a full crib set, bumpers seemed like too big of a SIDs risk for me, but I also knew that this fabric HAD to make it into my nursery somehow.  The fact that it even matched my color palette seemed like destiny to me.

I wanted the space to be playful, yet soothing.  I’m not into matchy matchy, so it had to have a fun mix of patterns and textures.  Cumulatively, I probably spent weeks of my pregnancy scouring Odeedoh and Etsy for inspiration.  And I found a lot of it!

Links for the above items: Bird Mobile, Felt Owl, Patterned Bedding, Rain Gutter Shelves, Pink Nursery, Blue Nursery

Aside from the overall look I was going for, I also knew that we couldn’t spend thousands of dollars to feather our nest.  I’m a notorious bargain shopper, so that was just fine with me.  Craigslist and a lot of DIY had helped to make my wedding fantastic, and it would work wonders for my nursery too.

Stay tuned to see how, with the help of my family and friends, I turned a blank canvas into my favorite room in the house!

 No, that isn't an owl with the glowing eyes, it's our cat doing his very best owl impression.


Manifesting What I Do Not Want

My mom is a big fan of The Secret. One of the tenets from that book says that when you dwell on what you do not want, you bring that into your life. In my 9th month of pregnancy, I have learned that the hard way. 

First off, I was not planning to be pregnant this year...or in the immediate future. I was one of those women who obsessed over not getting pregnant. Well, I won't go into detail but lets just say I got what I obsessed over. +1 for The Secret.

Next, I always said that I did not want to be pregnant in the middle of the summer. So of course I would be 9 months pregnant in the hottest month of the year. I had not known the meaning of the word uncomfortable until I had to pregnant waddle around the streets of New York City in 100 degree heat and humidity. +1 for The Secret again.

I don't need The Secret to prove this to me any further so I am now focusing all of my energy on thinking about what I DO want. I only have a few more weeks of pregnancy and I am trying to focus all of my energy on being comfortable and patient. Comfortable and patient, Natali. Comfortable and patient, dammit! 

A bigger mind game is steering my thoughts away from all the things I don't want for my baby, if and when the little bugger ever ejects itself from my person. I don't want it to be unhealthy, I don't want it to be colic, I don't want it to not like me, etc. The pregnancy books all say that first-time mommies can make themselves crazy with worry but I am trying to apply the lesson from The Secret and stop dwelling on what I don't want. So once again, I am going to focus my energy on what I do want: I want a happy and healthy little bundle of joy. I want it to come on time rather than late. Oh, and I want an easy and painless labor and delivery. Is that too much to ask? 


Anticipation and Anxiety

On Father's Day, I read an article in the New York Times about a guy whose girlfriend talked him into having a baby. He likened the anticipation he felt during her pregnancy to the upward climb on a roller coaster: You see the top of the first drop, you know it's coming, you know it will be a fun ride, but you still have fear and anticipation and feelings of dear-lord-is-it-too-late-to-turn-back!? That's how I feel right now. 

Tomorrow I will be 9 months pregnant. All the lore that celebrates 9 months of pregnancy is a big fat misnomer, (fat being the operative word). It is really 10 months. So unfair. Yet I am surprisingly thankful for this "extra" month of pregnancy to come to terms with my anxiety and take a proverbial chill pill. Here is how I plan to do that:

  1. Be grateful! Babies are a blessing. How many women do I know who would love to be pregnant with the child of someone that they love? I am lucky to have this little one growing inside of me and I will be lucky to be its mommy. I need to really contemplate the concept of gratitude and take it seriously. 
  2. Stop listening to people who say things that scare me like, "Sleep now while you can!" or "Enjoy spontaneity with your partner while you still can!" Their experience doesn't have to be my experience. My life is never a linear parallel to anyone else's so why should I expect that to start now? When I moved to New York I got advice from people that scared me but my experience really was my own. I have to anticipate the unpredictable and otherwise know that I'll cope in my own way like I always do. 
  3. Stop dwelling on how everything will change. Of course it will change. But things would be changing even if I didn't have a baby coming into my life. Life is not a static adventure and I'm not losing a wild and spontaneous lifestyle. I stay home and read on Saturday nights for goodness sakes. I always have. Why am I so fixated on change? 
  4. Stop worrying about my career. I am anxious because I have stopped taking on big projects at work in anticipation of going into labor. No travel assignments. No big conferences. I am just trying to deliver my deliverables and be ready to hand them off in a few weeks. It is stressful for me not to be constantly firing on all cylinders. Last year my boss wrote this in my annual performance review: "Natali treats every day like it is the Super Bowl. She needs to learn how to pace herself." Pregnancy has kept me from working the daily Super Bowls but that is a huge adjustment. I need to learn to cope with that and have faith that taking a breather from my professional life and investing in my personal life will be the right thing for me. Besides, I have worked hard. I have earned a little reprieve. 
  5. Be okay with anxiety. Of course this is scary! It is supposed to be scary! I will soon be responsible for a whole person's being. That's huge! But this is my little being! I am the best person in the world to be his/her mommy! A few years ago, I felt anxiety about starting a new job so I called my dad. He said to me, "Natali, do you know anyone else who could do this better than you could?" It was a moment of epiphany. No! No, of course not! I am the person for this job. The same goes with motherhood. I am the person for this job! I already knew that. I just have to be reminded right now. 



There’s Something About Mochas

After Natali’s post about how caffeine affects a baby in utero, I thought I’d tell you about what happens to a breastfed baby when his mama forgets to order her favorite frozen mocha drink with decaf espresso. 

My little boy (henceforth known as Nic) was about six weeks old and the sun was finally out on a pretty spring day.  I decide to take him on a walk to the cute downtown area about a mile and a half from our house.  On the way, we stopped at my favorite smoothie place, where I routinely order the least healthy thing on the menu—a frozen mocha (I’m breast feeding, I need the calories, right?).  However, I usually share this giant coffee drink with my husband, and we normally get it decaffeinated.  I’ll blame mommy brain on forgetting to go decaf, and I knew once I tasted it that there was no way I was going to throw it out and deprive myself of all of its chocolately goodness.  “I can just give him a bottle of expressed milk when we get home,” I thought to myself.

We strolled downtown while I drank 20-plus ounces of what was essentially frozen crack.  By the time I was done, I felt amazing, literally high (I haven’t had much caffeine lately).  We window shopped and then took the long way home.  When we returned, I still had the energy of Magda from There’s Something About Mary.  I buzzed around the house doing dishes, folding laundry and tidying up while Nic slept.

It was a particularly long nap, and by the time he awoke, I was feeling back to normal.  I wondered to myself if I should still give him that bottle, but because pumping doesn’t yield much for me, I tend to hoard my frozen supply of milk.  Since it had been hours since I drank the caffiene and he had never shown any effects from something I ate before, I decided it would be a safe experiment to conduct—I’d just feed him and see if I could have the occasional mocha. 

Everything seemed fine until nighttime when he proceeded to wake up every hour and a half instead of his usual three-to-four-hour intervals of sleep.  The next morning when he was tired, cranky and gassy I knew my experiment had failed.  Only decaf mochas from now on for me and Nic.


Pregnancy Perception

My belly button is threatening to pop out. It's g-n-a-r-l-y.

At 32 weeks, I'm starting to struggle with being proud of my rotundity and the vain voice inside of me that thinks, "Who is this chub rock!?" I know it's temporary and part of me does think I look rather cute like this but I tried to put on shorts to sleep in last night and it was a big fat fail. Fat being the operative word. 

I got pregnant with ZERO preconception about what this would be like. I knew nothing! I didn't know how long I could sleep on my belly (God I miss that!), I didn't know what food was off limits, and I certainly didn't understand what would be happening to my body. 

But I've done my homework. I've read at least a dozen pregnancy and parenting books and they are dogeared and highlighted and I am theory. But none of the books tell us how to conceive of our changing bodies. Women's literature is chalk full of information that tells us how to be thinner, healthier, more svelte. Why is there no literature that helps us deal with being less thin? 

There are two polar camps when in comes to pregnant women: 

"I don't give a flying fart!" These mommies are like Jenny McCarthy who baked and ate an entire box of brownies per night in her third trimester. They embrace the license to splurge with admirable abandon. 

"No, I'm definitely showing." These mommies don't look pregnant from any angle other than profile. They stay below 20 pounds up the entire pregnancy and most of them are terrible braggarts about it. Hate them. 

I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm right on target on the weight gain chart but still trying to feel like myself. Getting dressed in the morning is my Everest every single day. 

But what does "feeling like myself" mean anyway? In a few short weeks, I'll have a Mini Me and then I'll never be "myself" again anyway. I'll be a new self. I just hope that new self has an innie belly button like my old self.