Monday, August 18, 2008

Eek: 27 Days to Go and Major Life Changes

27 days to go. And that's assuming no early arrival. That said, I was born on my due date, and P was four weeks late, but I have no sense as to whether our mothers' experiences are at all predictive.

I am feeling somewhat better about how much there is to do. Between last week and last night, we made some progress on the list. We sorted stuff last week and put all things requiring washing into the hamper. We also started the laundry last night. I know you're supposed to wash baby things before use -- how many times? We're going with two, but I'm starting to wonder if we should just do one for clothes/blankets and only do more for cloth diapers. We have our Taking Care of Your Newborn class tonight, so maybe we'll find out then. The corner shelves were a pain in the ass for P to install given that our walls aren't square, but they got done last night and look awesome. We'll probably tackle the wall shelves tomorrow. And we ordered a quilt hanger -- thanks Nicki!

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On an unrelated-to-baby note, this weekend, my dad got remarried. It's weird to be 31 and get a whole bunch of new family members. I went from having one brother to four, plus a new sister in law and niece. I'm not sure to what extent I'm supposed to think of them as brothers, etc. -- if I was a kid and we all lived together, then sure, of course they're siblings, but as adults it's different, or at least it feels that way.

And there's also the significant change that it represents to all of our lives. For us (me, my dad, and my brother), getting through my parents' divorce involved the repetition of a lot of traditions and the creation of new ones. It gave us a sense of stability in a time that was seriously lacking in it. I definitely came to rely on that repetition and sense of constancy, probably too much so. It was just the three of us for so long. Now, with each passing year, we seem to add new family (first P and his family, then my SIL and hers, and now my dad's wife and her family), and while each addition is a blessing, it requires a change in "what we've always done." Thus far, the changes we've made have been relatively limited -- my dad and brother/SIL have joined P and I with Ps family for Thanksgiving for 8+ years; P and I cut the time with each of our families short at Christmas in order to fit everyone in, resulting in a lot of time in the car; P and I only do vacation with my famly every other year to allow us some travel time on our own -- but my dad's routine throughout this time has stayed largely the same or accommodated us, so it's only been our routines that have changed.

But it won't stay that way. My dad will be moving further away (from an hour away to three hours away), and, I assume, will be spending at least some holidays with his wife's family. He's very nonconfrontational (and rather passive-aggressive), and I fear that will result in us seeing very little of him, except when it doesn't much matter to her (such as Christmas (she is Jewish), which is the holiday that is the most difficult for P and I as it is, given the number of people that expect to see us and given Ps (and my) reluctance to do all the driving with a baby and my family's unwillingness to accommodate our needs). And I'm not sure where any of it leaves me, other than with feelings of abandonment and terror. For so long, my brother and I accommodated my dad's wishes around holidays because he was sad and lonely and it was what he needed. But now it's what I need and I feel like no one gives a shit. Several years in a row we didn't even see my dad for Father's Day because he made other plans, and it broke my heart, but it felt selfish to say so.

Bottom line: As much as I know I'm gaining a lot of new family, I feel like I'm losing the one I had, and it makes me incredibly sad and afraid at a time when I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I wish I could grab hold of my family and force them to stay close and keep things the way they always were, but I know I can't. I know things change and the world doesn't revolve around me and my needs but sometimes I wish it did.

4 comments:

mo*reezy said...

I think once is sufficient for washing baby clothes - but today I found this pretty comprehensive site detailing care of cloth diapers.

http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/basics.htm

I'm glad you're feeling a little more calm about the preparations for the baby... I feel like my time for that is totally on hold until next Monday, after the kids' big day at church. Then the race to the finish line will begin!

Jen said...

Yeah, that is a lot of family stuff to deal with. I'm sorry that you have to have all these changes.

You should do what Matt and I are doing this year. We put our foot down and said we aren't going away for Christmas, if you want to see us, come here. And they all are. (All! Yikes!) You have a wonderful excuse.

sushilover said...

I can't believe you are so close to your delivery date! How exciting! Sorry about all the family stuff. I agree with Jen. You should have them all come to you for at least the first year.

Nicky said...

I washed all baby clothes and blankets just once, but with two rinse cycles. We're using a diaper service for the cloth diapers, so I didn't have to worry about those, but I also washed the diaper covers only once. I have heard that multiple washes for cloth diapers helps to increase their absorbency early on, so it might be worth washing them a few more times.

Only one person has recommended washing "normal" baby things twice, and when I asked why the second time was necessary, I got a blank look and a shoulder shrug. So, I stuck with once.

As for family & holidays: our family is spread across multiple states, so everything is always planned well in advance. Thanksgiving is always with S's parents, Passover is always at our house, Chanukah is always with my parents, and we try to visit everybody one additional time each year. Setting these kind of expectations helps a lot -- if my parents ask about Thanksgiving, we remind them that S's family gets that holiday, end of story. My suggestion would be picking a holiday that's important to you, and committing to spending it with your dad every year, no matter where he is. That way, it's still a tradition that everyone can rely on.