Janelle and I now exist in the bizarre realm of “any day now”. I continue to get asked if I’m excited, or if Janelle is excited. This is how I explain it:

Imagine that you are told that in about 40 weeks, you will go through an ordeal. That ordeal will range anywhere from pretty uncomfortable to a literal benchmark by which all other extremely painful things are measured. It will last anywhere from 8 to 48 hours, most likely. Your reward for this effort will be a prize. You cannot know what it looks like. You cannot know if it will work right. In fact, you might break it during the process of receiving it. You can’t trade it for a working model.

So, excited is maybe the wrong word. I would say anxious. I’m excited for the baby, I’m anxious for the birth.

How do I deal with being anxious? I get shit done. I make lists, I finish those things, I cross them off, I stand and nod appreciatively at my work. Lists are reassuring to me. It’s nice to see a neatly encapsulated grouping of specific steps that will lead to success. Lists related to babies, though, are hard to find. I’ve read over 1,000 pages about raising children at this point, and not once have I seen any information about what you’ll need to prepare. I know we have that information, as we are ready, but it was something hunted down from that most nebulous of resources: das internetten.

Here are some lists. Finish them early. Trust me. Most of the tasks you do to prepare for a baby are as much so that you can accommodate the child as they are so you can ensure your own sanity in the first few months before your baby realizes that it is, in fact a tiny human and not a thrashing bundle of unterminated synapse connections.

Things to Do Around Your Home

  • Vacuum
  • Prep some frozen meals (or buy some)
  • Pick up clutter (mostly think about making sure all your major walkways are clear—it would not be fun to trip while carrying a baby)
  • Dust
  • Prep a nursery – this should be the cleanest and most organized room you have, it will make all the many baby chores easier and faster

Things You Will Want to Buy – The Essentials

  • Crib
  • Baby Mattress
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Breastpump (depending on if you will be breastfeeding or not)
  • Onesies
  • Swaddling Cloth
  • Changing Pad
  • Car Seat
  • Stroller
  • Baby-friendly soaps/shampoos

Things You Need to Remember

  • Raising a baby is a shared job. You’ll both be happier. If, by chance, you are rocking it solo recruit whatever help you can.
  • Pay attention to one another. Babies are adorable, but your partner is in it for the long haul with you, and really your goal with a kid is to equip them to go off on their own one day.
  • Pay attention to yourself. Do not neglect your own leisure.
  • Babies, at least for the first 3-4 months, have no frikkin’ idea what’s happening to them. You may think your baby is a genius already, but their eyes and ears and limbs just plain don’t work right yet. Don’t take anything they do personally, as they don’t mean it because they have no perception of what they are doing.
  • It’s really hard to mess up raising a baby. Raising a kid? Well, that’s easier. But to mess up raising a baby you basically have to be a sociopath as it would involve a very active chain of neglectful actions. So… relax. You can handle it. Unless you are a sociopath, and then you have bigger fish to fry.

I may amend this post a bit more… but I consider these items to be the core essential things you’ll need to survive. The rest is window dressing and may make you feel more at ease, but at least with all this you won’t crash and burn.

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