setting up the baby room.

Somewhere along the way, it struck me: We were setting up a room for a person who does not exist yet. We were pouring our time, effort, care, creativity, and love into building a safe haven for our child — about seven weeks before we’ll meet him, name him, and hold him for the first time. It was the first time in ages that I’ve been struck with a completely new feeling, and it was the most intensely paternal feeling I’ve experienced yet.

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Our child has no aesthetic preferences at this point, so the room is really all about us. We’ve chosen furniture that suits our tastes, bedding that amuses us and fits our aesthetics, gear and accessories that match the early parenting choices we’ve made, and (of course) a bunch of adorable toys. The room is filled to the brim with our intentions and anticipation, and also the generosity and love of our families and friends, as we’ve bought almost nothing ourselves.

Our kid will inherit the 0-3 month wardrobes of both his older cousins, our nephews, whose wonderful parents sent us a giant suitcase full of clothes. Along with the clothes we’ve received from other friends and family, they have been carefully folded and put away in the drawers of the changing table.

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That deeply paternal feeling hit the hardest while we were folding all these clothes; they just felt impossibly tiny in my adult hands. These miniature outfits revealed just how small and vulnerable this new human is going to be.

I never need an excuse to be anxious — I’m worried about ten different things even on my best days — but it’s clear this kid is going to introduce me to a whole new universe of anxiety. I welcome it, of course. Otherwise we wouldn’t have tried to have a kid in the first place. I just hadn’t felt the beginning tinges of that worry until I visualized our little guy inhabiting these tiny clothes.

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After the clothes were squared away, we sorted everything else into major categories — toys, books, bathing, feeding, changing, outdoor gear, etc. Of course, we went out and bought some adorable bins to store all the stuff.

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The room is all ready to go. Last night, Lauren caught me standing in the doorway and staring into the room. “I do that sometimes,” she said with a knowing smile.

I think we’re ready too.

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