I have less than 10 weeks until my due date and the time has come to make sure final preparations are in place for this newest addition. This pregnancy has been different from all others before it. This little girl moves very little. I have also had fewer pregnancy symptoms than with any of the other pregnancies. At times, this has been troublesome, but I am doing my best not to worry about it. The ultrasounds and monthly exams (now semi-monthly) have all been perfect.
The biggest question (besides a name) was WHERE will baby sleep? All the children have volunteered their rooms. Here is the current configuration:
David (7) and Daniel (2) share a room. Until recently, Daniel was in the baby bed. We went ahead and purchased some used bunk beds for $200 that look very sturdy. They take the XL Twin mattresses. That immediately posed the problem of needing mattresses. We did not have lots of money to spend on those, so Duncan searched and found some reasonably priced ones on Amazon. When they arrived, we quickly discovered why they were so inexpensive. They were hard as rocks! Daniel did not seem to mind, but David climbed out of bed the first night and said it was miserable. Fortunately, we had one of those super pillowtop mattress covers that fit a twin sized bed. That made it JUST right. Daniel took a couple of days of convincing to decide he was going to stay in the bed at night. Duncan took this issue on for me (thank goodness!) and in three nights, he quit getting out of bed repeatedly.
Well, that issue was resolved. Next, we thought that Anne Mary (11- and has her own room) would be a good choice for the baby to share with, but that would mean getting rid of the bunk beds in her room. The footprint of her beds are too large to fit the baby bed in there as well. She and her sister (Sarah-14) used to share that room and the bunk beds were great then, but we did not foresee adding a baby bed in the mix. It is a bed shaped with one along the wall and the other comes out from underneath it in a t-shaped configuration. There are shelves along both sides and a cabinet. The piece was expensive when we got it and we I do not like the idea of just getting rid of it. One day, it could be very useful again to us (like when the new baby gets out of her baby bed!).
Sarah (14) also has her own room and she could fit the baby bed in with her, but it is in our basement. It is a walk-out, so safety is not a concern, but neither Duncan nor I can stand the thought of a newborn baby being so far away from us at night (2 floors away).
So, our current solution is to leave the baby bed in the boys’ room at least until she is sleeping soundly through the night, and perhaps longer. Once that is accomplished, Sarah has volunteered to have her in with her, as has Anne. As long as it is working with the boys, we will probably leave the three of them in that room.
Since that room will now have 3 children, and happens to be the smallest room in the house, I have spent significant amounts of time reducing things to a bare minimum in there. Most of the boys toys are located elsewhere. They have one built in bookshelf which holds a small number of books. The dresser/changing table (now holding Daniel’s clothes) will probably be switched to holding the baby clothes. We previously moved David’s clothes out to the hall into our laundry stacker. He has two baskets designated for his clothes and he changes in his room when Daniel is not asleep, and in ours or a bathroom when he is asleep. This allows our early riser to quietly leave the room, but still allows him to get dressed for the day, even if his younger brother is still snoozing. Since it has worked so well for those two, we will probably do the same for Daniel, but it remains to be determined whether he or his new little sister will be the early riser!
Another part of getting ready for baby number six is trying to simplify my life and schedule before she arrives. Looking over our Friday schedule (the day my children take classes outside the home) I realized it was going to be quite a busy day for all the children, let alone a two-year-old who still needs naps and a newborn nursing baby. Before I hit the panic button, I called my mom and asked her if she would be willing to be my driver on Fridays, taking the children back and forth to their classes and activities. I also asked their piano teacher for a time that fit the schedule better. It looks like it should work out fine now. I will be home with the youngest two (and any child who may get sick or unable to participate on a given Friday) and she will be my transporter. This was a huge relief.
In addition to that, I have been systematically going through rooms and entire floors of my house and eliminating things we no longer need. I have two large plastic bins I keep in two places in the house and every Friday I have been taking those filled bins (and sometimes more) to a donation center while the children were in piano lessons. Having a regular drop-off day has helped keep my efforts moving forward. Also, moving three children into one room has reminded me how little we really need, and hanging onto things we no longer use or love is just a form of greediness or a lack of trust.
At the same time, I have run into goodwill and second-hand shops with my short list of things we need for our new baby. Having a girl after 12 years of no baby girls means there is very little pink left in the house. I was hoping for a beautiful feminine bedding set, a car seat/stroller, sheets for the baby bed in girl colors, and some little girl clothing. Iwas also looking for a Moby Wrap, a baby monitor (with three sharing one room, I was not up for any questionable shenanigans!), a high chair (we have borrowed one for Daniel but need to return it), a baby swing, and a bouncy type seat. I realize many of these things are not necessities. After all, a girl can sleep on blue sheets and some things (like a swing and bouncy seat) are luxeries I survied without for my first few children, but they are certianly helpful!
We were blessed to find a car seat/stroller for $45 at a yard sale and it looks beautiful. I also found some ADORABLE bedding at a second-hand shop for $55. We chose a baby monitor new from Amazon, but my husband found one that had very similar features to those I wanted for about half the price I originally thought it would be. We found a bouncy seat and a double stroller (to hold our new baby plus the new grandbaby on the way) at a yard sale for a great price. I think together they were $40. I also picked up several baby outfits that look like-new at some yard sales. We still have the basinette from three children ago that works perfectly and still looks great, and we still have a pack-and-play that is in great condition.
When I mentioned looking for a Moby Wrap one day on facebook, several people gave me the idea to make my own, so I just may do that if I can find the material to be affordable. My first stop into the fabric store yielded sad results. It would cost me as much as buying one new, already made.
I have also been picking up tiny diapers every month as part of our grocery budget. I hope this will make the expense of diapers a little less of a shock when we are back into it, perhaps with two in diapers at the same time if I do not get Daniel potty trained before the baby arrives.
The final thing I have been doing is helping Daniel transition to being a big boy. Duncan worked with getting him to sit nicely in a chair at mealtimes rather than in a high chair. I have been working with him being willing to let his sisters hold his hand when we are going places, rather than demanding me all the time. As we already discussed, he transitioned to the bunk bed quite nicely. The other children are all thrilled and excited about the new baby coming. Little Daniel has no idea what it means.
At the same time as doing these preps, I have been enjoying anticipating our first grandchild. My oldest daughter is expecting her first baby girl three weeks after we are expecting ours. I have been trying to purchase some of the things she needs as well. Financially, this has been a very challenging time, but we are being careful with our finances and trusting that as we have needs, they will be filled. It will be fun to see how this tiny aunt and niece get along, growing up so close in age.
Finally, I am turning the clock back in my mind into life as a mommy to a new baby. Do you remember my post about having our fifth child?
I shared the song: Song for a Fifth Child and I made it my song. Someone needs to write one about a 6th child, don’t you think?
Song for a Fifth Child
- by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.