We never wanted to plan when we became parents. From the very beginning of our marriage, we wanted the timing and circumstance to be out of our control so that, when it came, it would come as a surprise: as God reaching down, touching us on the nose and saying, “Go.”
Would we be ready? Probably not. Almost certainly not. We aren’t now, but we are closer than we would have been a few years ago – just as, in a few more years, we might be more ready than we are now.
But you have to jump in some time, right?
We’ve never lived in large places, my husband and I. From studios to borrowed rooms to attics above houses shared with strangers, we’ve never had much space and it’s suited us just fine. Even now, in the biggest apartment we’ve ever rented, our kitchen is still the size of a large closet and the bathroom the size of a small closet (and the closet? Well, it’s just small).
So, when those moments of uncertainty have come up, when we’ve glanced at each other nervously and recognized a very real possibility of pregnancy, we’ve always looked around at whatever small space we were in at the time and said, “Well, we’ll make it work.”
As this particular moment of uncertainty grew certain – and more and more certain, with the help of a handful of pregnancy tests – we said the exact same thing: “We’ll make it work.”
And now we find ourselves trying to figure out how exactly we’ll make it work.
I mentioned a bigger apartment. While it is much bigger and better-appointed than ours now (the bathroom is not through the bedroom, thereby keeping both the cats and ourselves, if necessary, out of the bedroom when we’re not wanted), it is still a one-bedroom. The kitchen is quite small, by possibly any other standards than mine – it is roughly twice the size of the one I have now, with more cabinets and counters and shelving – and the word “cozy” would absolutely still apply to the size of the rooms, though there is a closet roughly the size of the kitchen we have now that should definitely come in handy.
Still, it wasn’t until I started actually researching baby things that it occurred to me that more space might be, well, nice, because all those check lists of things you must have before the baby is born? They’re enormous. And ridiculous, I’m pretty sure. But shopping and registering for baby stuff is a lot different than registering for a wedding, because, by the time you get married, one can pretty safely assume that you’ve spent some time in a kitchen before – you’re familiar with the purpose of, say, a spatula. You’ve got a pretty good idea what dishes are for, and what sort would be good for you.
With baby stuff, it’s a little different: you’ve never met the little person you’re shopping for, so you have no idea if they’d rather be in a front carrier or a sling. You don’t know if they’ll actually enjoy wearing socks, or if they’ll work them right off their tiny feet in no time. Bouncy chairs? Cribs? Car seats? These are words that I was only vaguely familiar with a few months ago, but that I’m now surrounded by as I research and shoot emails back and forth with people who might know a thing or two more than I do, and I seem to find most of these people in one of two camps:
a) You don’t need most of that stuff, just a bassinet and some blankets, or
b) You need to move! You need to have a whole separate wing to contain all the baby’s things!
Surely, there’s a middle ground. Any thoughts?