When you first learn that you are pregnant, there is typically a short time frame between the initial joy of the news and the creation of a list of necessities. You happily take the well-planned list to an appropriate department store and build a registry. Sadly, you just don't know what you don't know at this point. Had you known, your list would have included these 8 essentials:
- Economy-sized washer. Those domestic machines just aren't built to handle the multiple masses of laundry that will soon need to fit into them. You'll start to get a good sense of their inadequacy as you open the multiple onesies sets you receive at your baby shower. Picture all of those, the package of burp cloths, the bath towels, the receiving blankets, the bibs, and most of your kitchen towels all lying soiled together on your laundry room floor. That'll be a day's worth of laundry. Who knew such small pieces of fabric could create such a mountain? Start thinking industrial.
- Shout. While picturing your laundry pile, full of light blues and pinks, begin picturing the less foreseen deep red, browns, and yellows that will soon take their place. If you want a prayer of winning against those stains, you'll need a Sam's Club supply of Shout on hand at all times. While you're at it, better throw in some strong dryer sheets. The accompanying smells fight a tough battle too.
- Hands-free breast pump. You may or may not already have this on your list. If you do, great. Keep it. If you don't, rethink that decision. If you weren't coordinated before, get excited to learn this new skill. You'll soon be unloading the dishwasher while balancing a baby on your knee. When that little cutie is sleeping and you finally have the luxury of having those hands back, don't ruin it with poor breast-pump planning.
- Remove the burp cloths, add rags. Yes, those two-inch-wide cloths decorated with ducks and bunnies are cute. They fit conveniently over your shoulder for those tiny spit-up burps. Perfect, right? They are. On the occasion that you will experience a small spit-up burp. What you'll soon find is that when it comes to burping, or any bodily noises for that matter, there is nothing small or cute about it. The first time your little dear lets one loose, you will wonder whether or not you gave birth to a pot-bellied man. It may or may not smell like pork rinds. And be careful for what comes after it. Those burp cloths will start to look more and more like flimsy napkins.
- A planner. Think pregnancy brain was just during pregnancy? Forget it! That shouldn't be hard, right? And with so much more to remember, make sure that planner has several extra pages for checklists. The days of grabbing your purse and running quickly to the store for milk are over. Grocery trip prep will now resemble the skills necessary for packing for a weekend vacation. And without fail, when you get there you will discover you forgot the most important thing: diapers.
- Donations. They are buying you things anyway. Take the cold hard cash and use it for a babysitter. After the first few months, the wide variety of subjects that you used to talk about will be whittled down to one. Babies. Do your friends a favor and get out of the house. Rest assured, emotional baggage is not created by one night out of the house. You have a whole lifetime to create that for your child.
- Creamer. Breakfast will soon be replaced by coffee. You won't have time for it anyway, and really, all you're going to want in the morning is something to make it okay that you tended to a colicky baby all night. If you run out of creamer, you may catch yourself looking all too curiously at that supply of breast milk.
- Lastly, wine. You're child is going to do a lot of it. You might as well too.