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Welcome 2006!

2006-01-01 - 1:36 p.m.

Today is a brand new year Ė one that I know will be chock-a-block with changes. I often do a run-down of the previous year, but I think I sort of did that on my journal anniversary/birthday in October (see the Older page if youíre interested). Instead, Iím going to ponder the year coming up.

In just over 5 weeks Grommet is due to make his or her entry into the world. That alone is HUGE. Coming with that will be a ton of other changes too, some of them major like going on maternity leave in a few weeks which will last until past the next New Yearís Eve, and probably moving to accommodate our growing family sometime this year. Iím also looking forward to the minor events that will be sparked like seeing friends at a baby shower that is being planned for J and I next week.

Before the next 5 weeks are up (and to be safe, really, the sooner the better Ďcause waiting for 5 weeks might be kind of dicey), weíll have to go on a spending spree to fill in gaps that remain after the shower, and rearrange the ďspareĒ room into the ďbabyísĒ (!) room. Iíll also have to buy supplies for the birth and pack a hospital bag. Iíve got comprehensive lists for all this stuff, of course, now I just have to actually DO stuff to be able to check it all off.

Itís hard, I confess, to look beyond the birth. In addition to the nervousness around such a life-altering and potentially painful event, my mind canít quite wrap itself around the total life change that is coming after it. For now, Iím trying to mentally and physically prepare myself for the birth, and itís taking most of my concentration. I have a feeling that post-birth Iíll have to take new parenthood just one day at a time until I get the hang of it. Knowing that I know nothing is, actually, kind of liberating in the sense that I donít think Iíll feel bad about not being totally prepared. If I read a bunch of books (which I have) and felt that that meant I would be able to breeze through the first few weeks and months, well, Iíd be fooling myself and in for a shock.

Itís funny but the Grommet-related events also coming up this year didnít really occur to me to list until I read over the last few paragraphs. There will be a first smile, first breastfeeding attempt, first yucky meconium diaper change, perhaps first crawl (though not if my niece is the norm for our family Ė she didnít start crawling until she was over a year old), first event which will make me feel terribly guilty and like a bad mom (Will it be a baby-drop? An accidental thwacking of a limb or head on a dresser? Not detecting an illness or infection until Gromís suffered for awhile? Roll the dice people.), first word and laugh and cooÖ all from my firstborn. Whoa. Iím freaking myself out and tearing up a little over here.

Thereís also the new gas station J is opening within the next two weeks (can you say busy winter?) and all that will come with that. Heís planning on being there 7 days a week at the beginning, until he gets all the kinks worked out and staff hired and the station running smoothly. I know heíll be stressed and crazy busy at a time when our family is about to increase and Iíll be needing him more than ever, so weíll just have to do what we can to get through it. I know itís a short term pain, long term gain situation because ultimately it will mean more money coming into the household and more autonomy for our family in general. Even if the business will demand a lot of attention and hours from J, at least he will be able to decide after awhile which hours theyíll be.

Moving will also be a big deal Ė particularly if we decide to build instead of buy. I designed the house we currently live in and would love to have the chance to do it again, this time for a family instead of an urban single woman or couple. Location is really the big decision weíll have to make before we even look at our options for structures to live in. I favour staying somewhere I can walk places, but I know I have to balance that out with a kid-friendly neighbourhood. J would move to the country if he got the chance, but I grew up there and having more land and a bigger workshop and garage is just not worth it to me if it means no sidewalks or places to go on foot or by bike, not to mention how much life is restricted during summer, my favourite season, by the ridiculously voracious mosquitoes that infest the Ottawa Valley. Until we move thoughÖ

After the first couple of months cocooning with Grommet at home, Iím hoping to re-emerge in the spring with the help of a stroller and the fact that we live near the canal within walking distance of a lot of stuff. My ideal picture of the spring includes taking the baby out and meeting other new moms in the parks, picking up fresh produce from the Byward Market and maybe having the odd chocolate-almond croissant there while I people-watch, doing some photography during the Tulip Festival (weíre contemplating getting a fancy-ass camera like the Nikon D70 I keep reading about)Ö all with a happily sleeping or cooing baby in the stroller. Of course, I may be able to get in days like this, but I suspect there will be other days when Iím lucky to wash my hair and get out to our back deck for a breath of fresh air. Like I said, no expectations, just one day at a time.

The only thing I know for sure is that 2006 will be a very, very big year. And of course, Iíll be taking this journal along for the ride. I hope you join me.

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