Every year I feel like the holiday season takes me by surprise. I look forward to Thanksgiving, but then it’s over and there’s suddenly a million things to do and people to see, and on top of that my semester speeds to an end with deadlines for submissions and presentations. It can be overwhelming!

And just as suddenly, S is showing. Before I left for Thanksgiving she had a little pooch, but three days later it had popped out and become a bump. Ok, so that’s partly a result of being away and seeing her with new eyes, but she thought that something happened that week too – her body entered a new stage of the pregnancy. Rapid changes happened before, like when the pooch made its appearance. It’s like one day nothing, and the next day bam! something’s there.

I figure labor will come with no warning too. So last weekend, on top of all the usual holiday planning, we began talking about what we have to buy before bringing baby home. Not because we want to start getting things, but to at least get the ball rolling. Cause honestly, I had no idea what a newborn would need.

I spent a few hours on Sunday afternoon reading through our baby books and learning a new word: layette. The layette refers to the things you’ve got to have for your new baby. (M-W says layette comes from the French, a diminutive for box.) Every book recommends slightly different things for the layette, so I cross-referenced and took notes and ended up with a master list that matches our less-is-more philosophy. For example, we think a changing table is unnecessary when we can spread a blanket on the bed or a tabletop, though a stroller I can run with is a must. And I had no idea a baby could go through seventy diapers in the first week. Add in all the baby wipes, the rash cream, and the laundering of washcloths and that’s a lot of money getting flushed down the toilet. Though on the upside, it’s like nature’s way of making me an expert changer.

The layette list is a little thing, just a start. Honestly, I still feel a bit overwhelmed thinking of all the things left to figure out, especially because I’m not a big shopper. But it’s time to get moving, finding specific products to fit our needs, as this baby is quickly going from something abstract in my wife’s stomach to a very visible, real little thing. I guess this is what people mean when they say kids grow up fast.


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