The mother of all fears

The farther I travel along the home stretch of my pregnancy journey, the more I begin to feel like a mother. But not the sweet, patient, nurturing mother of Disney movies (you know, the one that gets shot by hunters or dies before the story even begins). No, more like the scary, neurotic mothers of TV sitcoms, who tell their grown children to put on sweaters because it’s cold, and who have meltdowns when their offspring major in philosophy or psychology rather than something that will get them a “real job.”

In addition to the usual worrying about the progress of the nursery (the bad news is we are still going with the Rubbermaid bins; the good news is that instead of being lined with newspaper, said bins shall be lined with this adorable, girlie bedding), I now have myriad reasons to fret.

For instance, while it is quite unlikely that the baby will come on time, let alone 11 weeks early, I am in a panic because not only have I not packed a hospital bag; I have not even purchased — nay, have not even chosen — a diaper bag for the wee one. Let us not even begin to speak of the difficulty of finding one that both Chris and I will agree to carry. The bags he has pointed out look as if they are meant to carry computer hardware, sports equipment or perhaps are outfitted for smuggling plutonium, machine guns and maybe even body parts. The bags I have pointed out, bags I thought were relatively gender-neutral, were shot down cruelly with phrases such as “Men don’t carry things with piping on them” and “That looks like a purse!” The only thing we can agree on is that we will not be carrying anything plastered in sweet pastel teddy bears.

Then, of course, there is the carseat. The one we have chosen is, naturellement, the most difficult car seat in the world to find available for sale. Our local supplier of kiddie accoutrements has our infant seat, but not at a price we’re willing to pay. So we are left to hope for a good eBay action or a closeout at an online baby store. Unfortunately, the seat is not carried by many retailers, because unlike the others, it is not covered in ugly gender-neutral plaid (which, as a trip to the local Toys R Us will tell you, is the telltale pastel teddy bear theme for a new generation of babies). Of course, we still have nine weeks before the baby is remotely likely to emerge from her cocoon. However, that does not prevent me from tossing and turning at night, worried that the baby will come early and I’ll have to send Chris on an emergency trip to Wal-Mart, where the lousy selection will ensure the purchase of a pastel-teddy-bear-bedecked nightmare. Can you see that I am becoming just a tad neurotic?

The mother of all pregnancy freak-outs, though, is the chance that I will go into labor early without having taken a single prenatal class. This is, of course, extremely unlikely, since the baby is not likely to pop out at 32 weeks. However, this class has been a long time coming. I had planned to take the class in January. When I decided to go to California with Chris, however, we planned instead to take it this month. Who knew we were going to stay in California so long? Now I feel I will be just about ready to pop when I finally make it to class in mid-March. This will probably not affect little Pele’s college entrance exam scores or choice of boyfriends, but you never know.

In addition to all the other reasons for freaking out, there is also the nagging knowledge that I have not even begun the baby’s French memo board. It is to be pink gingham with purple satin ribbon (to match her adorable crib bedding), will cost next to nothing and take almost no time to staple together. Yet, bad mother that I am, I have not even purchased the single yard of fabric its manufacture requires. Then there is the fact that I have neither the materials nor the expertise to recover the glider as I had hoped. When our little princess calls us from the drunk tank at 15 asking for bail money, I will look back and pinpoint all her troubles to this incredible failure on my part to customize her nursery with handmade decorations.

These aren’t the only issues. I have read tons of stuff on pregnancy but next to nothing on postpartum care, breastfeeding or caring for an actual baby. The baby has Onesies and precious wee frocks, but nowhere to put them. She has towels and washcloths, but no baby bath. She has a bottle rack, but no bottles. She has wipes, but no diapers. She has a top-of-the-line stroller that big sister Kaija used just a few times, but no swing or bouncy seat. There are, as yet, no burp cloths, no Boppy, and no mobile to play soothing classical music in her (nonexistent) crib.

All this stuff I haven’t taken care of yet begs the question: Will I be just as negligent after she is born?

Will she die from some preventable childhood illness because I delayed getting her vaccinated? Will my constant lack of preparation result in all the spots in the best preschool being filled before I even start thinking about her education? Will she go into her first hockey match without a mask and lose her brand-new permanent front teeth because Mommy can’t get it together?

And more importantly, when I ask her why she felt she had to share that dirty needle with Tommy Lee when she has all that money from her job in that all-girl revue, will she answer, “Because you never recovered that forest-green glider to go with my pink-and-purple room”?

Yep, that’s what happens when your baby goes to an inferior preschool and her no-good guidance counselor encourages her to major in psychology.

And here, for your viewing enjoyment, are the Week 29 belly shots. When little Pele burns your house down with you in it, please remember her like this — safely separated from civilized society by my abdominal muscles. Isn’t she sweet when she’s not working out her frustration at not having a lovely French memo board?

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