I realize this is a food blog, and not a mommy blog, but as this foodie is about to become a mommy, I ask that you bear with me. This week, I’m going to take you outside my tiny Portland kitchen, but not far — we’re staying in the apartment. (We live on the third floor and I’m nine months pregnant. I don’t go far from the apartment without a companion to make sure I can get back up the stairs these days.) Our is an apartment that has undergone some serious changes in the last few weeks and months.
When Ian and I moved to Portland, we moved as a young couple with no firm plans to start a family. Children were an abstract — something we’d decided we wanted, but were waiting for the right time. As a recent post by Pat Lemieux on Manchild pointed out, there isn’t really a good or right time to have kids, and as it turned out, we didn’t have nearly as much control in the matter as we had expected to. That said, we originally moved into our apartment with a particular mindset — to make it as comfy and liveable for two people as possible.
As we begin counting down the final weeks before the arrival of our first child, a delightful surprise, we have realized that what works for two adults isn’t necessarily ideal for a young family with an infant. Pantry shelves, towering and heavily-laden with dry goods and appliances, that once lined the side of our large living room, have been moved into our (admittedly generous, now slightly more cramped) bedroom, where a future crawler won’t be able to topple them as she learns to pull herself up to stand. Our television now sits where they once resided. Ian’s desk, where he records and produces music in his time off, has been moved closer to the window and my kitchen, with the couch now serving as a clear division between workspace and leisure space. There is so much more floor now — floor where a growing infant can have tummy time on her quilt, bat at the brightly-colored toys dangling from her activity mat’s arches, or play in her Bumbo chair, swing, or bouncer while her Mama does dishes or prepares a meal.
Perhaps the largest change, however, has been ongoing since we found out about our little girl’s impending arrival. Our spare bedroom, which was initially stacked with totes full of stuff — you know the stuff I’m talking about, that stuff you can’t part with but don’t have a use for in your everyday life? — has been turned into a bedroom for a tiny baby girl, with a guest bed for visiting aunties and/or grandparents. (Don’t worry, we plan to have her sleep in our room if we do have visitors; I hear babies make awful roommates.)
It took three trips to Goodwill with a packed-to-the-gills Hyundai Elantra, and umpteen trips (by Ian) to our dumpster with things we’re not sure why we couldn’t part with before, but two lone stacks of totes in a corner of the room are all that remain of the stuff we couldn’t live without. In place of the rest, a bright and cheerful respite for a tiny new human (and her excited but exhausted mama) has sprung up.
A hand-me-down, but essentially brand-new, play yard from my soon-to-be stepfather — with bassinet and changing table — will serve as our daughter’s bed for now; a changing table with drawers and a tiny closet, found on Craigslist from a nearby mama who is redoing her nursery for her next little one, house the majority of her clothing. We’ve accumulated a number of necessities, some new, some hand-me-down, mostly gifts or thrifty purchases.
This weekend, between fits of reorganization, we took in what will probably be our last movie theater experience until our daughter is old enough for me to tear myself away and leave her with Ian’s mom for the duration of a matinee. Though it’s not really his thing, my ever-indulgent partner took me to see Monty Python Live (Mostly) which was being broadcast from the O2 theater in London. It was a one-time event, the final night of their limited run, and something I am incredibly pleased to have been able to experience.
Now the plan is catching up on dishes and laundry, stocking my chest freezer (recently arrived from my mother’s house in Windsor as she prepares to move Up North for her upcoming nuptials) with meals that can be easily thrown into the oven or crock pot in my post-baby, sleep-deprived haze, and catching up on rest while I can, as I wait for this little one to decide she’s done teasing her arrival and make her grand entrance.