If it seems like the allegedly wild-card nature of Tuesday’s posts has inexorably morphed into an extra day per week to talk about issues related to offspring, specifically the never-ending preparations for offspring yet-to-come … yeah, I’ve noticed that too. As above, so below, or something like that. Baby-prepping has taken over most if not all of my free time. Baby-prepping-type thoughts have taken over most if not all of my non-dedicated blogging.
This past weekend felt something like a breakthrough, and one which I didn’t realize quite how badly I needed until I had it and my brain gave out a long, deep “ooohhhhhh yeahhhhh”. My wife’s parents were kind enough to come up on Saturday and keep the little guy occupied while my wife was at work, which freed me up to focus entirely on painting the nursery. I had managed, in little snatches of time here and there through the preceding week, to get masking tape on the ceiling against the walls and on the floor moulding and door and window trim, so all I really had to do was put color on the walls. Carefully, though, of course; all the previous steps had involved white primer, white ceiling paint and white interior paint, none of which would suffer from going a bit outside the lines in any direction. But the pink color we intended for the walls would show any mistakes that made their way onto the ceiling or mouldings, and I’ve learned the hard way over the years that masking tape alone isn’t always enough to prevent stray splatters, which means the painter has to exercise certain control and restraint as well (although I also learned on this particular go-around that 2-inch-wide masking tape, which is the minimum width that can block an errant paint roller, is the only kind worth the trouble).
Anyway, I applied myself to the task mindfully yet resolutely and managed to avoid major disasters and got every wall in the room completely painted in about four hours. My wife had selected a lovely, icy, subtle shade of pink which when I opened the first paint can made me think I hadn’t shaken the thing long enough because it looked white. As I started rolling it on, though, it definitely looked pink against the primered walls, which themselves had only managed to have the dark-green-with-earth-metal-overlay turned down by about 95% to a mint-green-frosted white. But like I said, good contrast for the pink. I worked my way methodically around the whole room and when I closed the circuit back at the starting point and there was no more basis for contrast or comparison, the pink went back to looking like white. (Though I attribute at least part of that to pure brain-numbness.)
In the brighter natural light of the following morning my wife and I looked at the room and she declared that it did not need a second coat of pink, a reprieve for which I dang near fell to my knees and wept. So while she was at work and the little guy was napping that afternoon, I took down all of the bright blue masking tape, and between the side-by-side contrast of the walls with the white ceiling and the natural darkening of the no-longer fresh paint, I clearly saw the pink and felt like a dunce for ever doubting its visibility in the first place. And since ripping up masking tape takes considerably less time than the little guy generally naps, I then proceeded to start building furniture. I started with a new floor lamp which took all of ten minutes and then moved on to something more substantial. I had almost finished my boy’s new, blue bookcase when he woke up, and after I got him from his crib I explained what the plan for the afternoon was and he enthusiastically joined in. He helped finish the bookcase (mostly by handing me parts I pointed out to him) and then assisted in taking all the books off his white bookcase so that I could slide it over to the nursery. The blue one went in its place and the books got re-shelved. I had honestly expected a bit more resistance to the idea of “his” furniture being reassigned for the baby’s use, but apparently the shiny new replacement softened the blow more than enough. I even went so far as to suggest that maybe some of the books themselves, especially the more babyish ones, might be given to his sister as well. He then proceeded to inform me that he would read them to her. I told him he was going to be an excellent big brother.
The next order of business was building the little guy’s new dresser, slightly more complicated than a bookcase but still not that bad, since it came from Ikea (as did the bookcase and his teeny-tiny nightstand, all from the same matching set no less). The little guy lost interest in helping with the building, which I grant is tedious and monotonous, but he did entertain himself reducing large chunks of packing Styrofoam into drifts of little white balls. So the dresser came together and I swapped out the infant changing table for it, again with no major drama.
The basic upshot is that we had planned on making significant changes to both the little guy’s room and the nursery as part of one unified effort, and at this point everything in the little guy’s room is done. The nursery is significantly closer to being done than it was last week. I still need to assemble the new glider, and we’re awaiting delivery of the new crib. Then pretty much all the furniture will be in place and we can finalize the little accent decorations that my wife selected for the cherry blossom motif of the room. Not a trivial amount of work, but compared to not that long ago when it was a half-painted room with masking tape and tarps and paint cans and trays and brushes scattered all over the floor amongst large, unopened furniture boxes … like I said, it feels like a breakthrough.
I also spent a good deal of time on Sunday evening (and last night too, for that matter) re-reading a book my wife and I acquired during her first pregnancy which explains the ins and outs of natural childbirth. It ended up being fairly helpful, even though there was little to nothing natural about the (medically very sensible given the circumstances) induction that brought on the little guy’s delivery. We’re hoping it will be even more applicable the second time around, but, of course, we both know all about best laid plans.
To wit, my wife had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and they did various measurements on the baby, who is doing splendidly and I daresay superlatively. My wife texted me to say that the baby was measuring at about seven pounds. I texted back asking if she meant that’s what they were predicting the baby would weigh if she were born on her due date. My wife kindly repeated herself and explained that meant the baby weighs seven pounds RIGHT NOW. WITH FIVE WEEKS TO GO. I know these from-the-outside measurements are notoriously unreliable but, especially after the 7 lb 4 oz little guy, the thought of anything like a 9-lb-plus baby almost seems like a totally different ballgame. And then again, a lot can happen in the next month or so, not that I am bracing myself for anything terrible, but a whole world of possibilities from an unavoidable c-section to an unexpectedly fast labor that sees our daughter born in the back of a taxi sitcom-style still wait in the unknowable future. (OK, maybe not the sitcom-style anything. But still.) My current comfort, though, is that however the baby girl manages to make it into the world, when she comes back to our home she’ll have a lovely bedroom awaiting her.