On some level I’ve known that having a child was both a joy and a lot of work. But what I didn’t really expect was how much preparation there was to do before the baby arrived.
First there’s your prenatal care provider. My mom was a big help with sorting this out, so I had it narrowed down to several providers and was well on my way toward a decision before we came back to the U.S. Now that I’ve been back a few weeks, I’ve got that sorted out plus a birth preparation class. But there are more decisions to make though, like choosing a pediatrician.
For some things, it’s a bit more complicated for us because we’ll be heading back to Congo. So I’ve been thinking about things like whether or not I can get a crib made in Congo (and whether or not varnish is safe for the baby) and whether or not particular models of car seats will fit on the airplane and in a car. Random Fun Fact: most airline seats are between 16.33 and 18.5 inches wide (from an online search). Some of the very practical advice “the best car seat is one that fits well in your car” is completely frustrating because we don’t have a permanent car for our whole time in the US. So how can I know I’m buying a good car seat? Nobody seems to rate car seats on their general compatibility with cars and people definitely return car seats to find ones that work with their particular car.
For other things, it’s easier. I don’t need a dresser (because I can’t haul it back to Congo) and a little bit of thought and looking online brought me a “theme” that I like and is partially reusable: Chocolate brown and lime green with jungle animals. Add some blue, voila, works for a boy. Add some pink and it’s good for a girl. This makes more of the bedding and decor reusable for a second child. There are some great wall stickers out there that will be easy to take back to Congo.
And then there’s toys. When we go back to Congo, I’ll want to take appropriate toys for baby as he grows. There aren’t a lot of toys available in Congo and there’s no safety regulations for the ones that are. Thankfully, the center has a sandbox and a merry-go-round.
I’m glad that I’m beginning early because it will give me plenty of time to think things through. All the while the baby keeps growing and I keep wondering if there’s really enough space for 2 more months worth of growth or if one day I’ll discover I’m so off balance that I tip right over!