Preparing for Lorelei

Charlotte's old baby clothes, freshly washed and folded.

Well, we haven't yet done a belly photo, have we? Here we are at 24 weeks. Although I'm definitely bigger this time around than with Charlotte, I'm still containing most of this child within my weirdly too-long torso.

Oh, for the love of all things girly.

This past weekend, we knocked an item off our pre-Lorelei list of things to do, putting a new dresser in Charlotte’s room and moving her old one into Lorelei’s room.

Honestly, I felt kind of bad about it, because Charlotte’s “old” dresser is nicer and bigger than her new one. But she didn’t seem to mind.

Fact: Dealing with the clothes of TWO little girls is a lot more time-consuming than just one. Huh.

For Charlotte, I used the minor downsizing opportunity to go through her stuff and remove everything that she had outgrown (these were moved to a storage bin) and a few things went into the giveaway bag. With a newly freed storage bin from the itsy bitsy infant stuff (more on that in a second), I was able to almost fill it with to-be-worn hand-me-downs from her older cousins, Kylie and Maggie. I organized everything by size, so I can just periodically check out the top layer of clothes and see what might now fit my ever-growing girl.

For Lorelei, we got the dresser properly placed in her room—the first item set up in the nursery! I went through Charlotte’s old clothes, from newborn-sized to the 3–6 months stuff. Again, I took the opportunity to purge some items—the things I was never too crazy about with Charlotte but felt obligated to dress her in, just to “get some use” out of it before she outgrew it. Some other items were just pathetically on their last legs—threadbare onesies or jammies that had faithfully served Kylie, Maggie, and Charlotte and been washed about a thousand times. I let those go into the giveaway bag as well, though I possibly should have just tossed them. And then there were the items that I remember never (or very rarely) using with Charlotte—items with too many snaps, or something too hard to access diapers for changing, or whatever. No point in hanging onto stuff we’ll never use.

I won’t lie—part of my purging was to clear room to justify buying a few new items for my littlest girl. But mostly, I just wanted to clear out the crap. I mean, I’m not a hoarder (unless we’re talking about ribbon or wrapping paper), and if I can’t get to what I want or make everything fit in a drawer because I have too much stuff, then it’s time to purge. That little voice in the back one’s head that shrieks, “But you might NEED that someday!”? I don’t have that little voice.

Clutter makes me nutty. Too much stuff weighs me down. To keep something, it needs to have a purpose that is genuinely useful to me, have sentimental value, be pretty or decorative in a non-cluttery way, or have (real) potential future use (e.g., the highchair in the basement). Oh, or it belongs to Chris and I’m not allowed to toss it.

Let’s just say that Goodwill LOVES me.

So, I took inventory of Charlotte’s littlest old clothes, thanking my lucky stars we were having another girl and letting out about a billion bittersweet sighs. It’s such a cliché, but how on earth did my big-girl Charlotte EVER fit into newborn-sized onesies? I tend to forget that she was born a smidge under 7 pounds. Siiiiiiigh.

I found the little pale blue cow onesie in which we brought Charlotte home from the hospital, and I got a tad choked up. Oh, I’ll hang onto that onesie FOREVER, and finding it inspired me to decide to buy Lorelei a onesie intended especially for her coming-home trip. No hand-me-down for THAT!

I washed and folded everything, and each teensy pair of leggings or jammies took me straight back to Charlotte’s earliest days—the spit-up (oh dear lord, the SPIT-UP), the way her head was half balding when she wore this outfit, the first warm-weather day that allowed her to wear that outfit. I was surprised how well-worn the newborn-sized onesies were. I wouldn’t say they’re worn out, but they’ve been well-used. And of course, I re-remembered how, among the pee, poo, and spit-up, Charlotte would go through countless outfit changes each day, generating a shocking amount of daily laundry. (I also remember giving up on myself, figuring, “Eh, spit-up eventually dries.”)

My feelings were mixed as I started tangibly preparing for little Lorelei. Part of me was SO excited to meet this girl and see what she looks like (will she look like Charlotte?), learn what her personality is like (will she do everything in the extreme like Charlotte?), and bring her home to her little nursery (something I didn’t get to do with Charlotte). I’m downright giddy when I imagine introducing her to her big sister for the first time. But part of me is getting increasingly apprehensive. The newborn phase is so hard (though some aspects should be easier this round, such as a working heating system, low likelihood of blizzards, starting maternity leave earlier, and Chris swearing on his life that he’ll actually DO paternity leave this time). The idea of childbirth didn’t worry me a bit through this pregnancy until now—for some reason, all the unpleasant aspects of birth and, more concerning to me, recovery (especially with a toddler and a needy, constantly nursing newborn) hit me over the weekend. I think it was Charlotte’s newborn clothes. Just folding the little cherry-printed onesie brought back memories of middle-of-the-night nursing sessions and struggling to get my recovering, post-partum self out of bed to place the baby back in her bassinet. Call me crazy, but I could almost remember what it physically felt like.

I made some mistakes with Charlotte. I seriously underestimated the toll that breastfeeding (though in my defense, we had some extreme circumstances) and sleep deprivation would take. I was wholly unprepared for the physical recovery, which I hope (but I’m not banking on it) will be easier this time (I won’t go into gory detail, but though Charlotte was small, the doc had a good deal to repair). I should have better prepared my home and given the finger to work that final week before the birth. Then during leave, I allowed myself to become isolated and trapped in the apartment (again, a seriously cold winter limited options, but I had a bizarre phobia of going anywhere with Charlotte—I was absolutely terrified and paralyzed to leave with her). We moved into our house mid-maternity leave, which was difficult to prepare for and then DO with an infant—and then I felt insanely compelled to get the house perfectly set up before returning to work. Dumb.

Once we got settled into the house and the drama of the move ended, and Charlotte finally had a crib and her own room, my quality of life hugely improved—of course, shortly after that I had to return to work. Knowing I get to spend Lorelei’s entire maternity leave AT HOME, in OUR HOUSE, already moved-in and settled, means the world to me.

And while reality is indeed starting to hit, with various thoughts like “How will I get THREE people out the door by 6:40 every morning?” or “What if Lorelei is colicky?” or “How do I ensure Charlotte doesn’t feel pushed aside by her baby sister?” popping up, I’m so excited to be a mommy again, have a tiny baby fall asleep on my chest again, and see just how Miss Lorelei manages to steal my heart.

These days, I’m a sentimental sap.

I’m not naïve enough to say newborn phase #2 will be totally different (read: better), because we don’t know Lorelei’s temperament or health status, among a host of other things. But I’m determine to—for the first time—have a finished, waiting nursery to bring my girl home to.

And that super crazy compulsion to ensure that everything is done in time and done PERFECTLY? Yeah, that’s called nesting. And I am in full-fledged nesting mode!


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