I know that shopping and showers isn't your normal mix - unless you are doing up your bathroom, and let's face it, if you have a baby on the way, that is the last thing on your mind! But this mix is one of the most important for a parent to be.
Almost as soon as you know that you have a baby (or babies) on the way the instinct to nest begins. Most people think this instinct is limited to women but it's not, or at least not for me, it is just a different execution of said instinct to nest. For Sarah it was about preparing our house for the babies; of course she had no idea what that meant, so she just started cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. Then just when I thought she was done, the doorbell rang, it was my mother-in-law arriving ready to - you guessed it - CLEAN!
But the instinct to nest for me came in the way of shopping. I knew we didn't have any baby stuff at all, why would we, we didn't have a baby! I had this overwhelming desire to go straight to the baby shop. It's the look of total and utter bewilderment, a sort of daze if you will. There is just so much stuff: nappies, cots, change tables, strollers, high chairs... You have no idea what you need to buy, or indeed if you need it at all!
So what do you do?
You do what I have coined 'the new-parent circuit'. This is where you enter the store and start looking. In a rather dazed and confused manner you look at everything, every different area of baby goods - as you do this you keep ambling through the store. It's weird, you had every intention of buying stuff when you went in, but as you get further and further around the store that idea slowly gives way to the realization you have no idea what you need. There is always a friendly shop assistant who asks "do you need help?" Inside your head you are yelling "YESSSS" but the connection between brain and lips is broken and you mumble "no thanks". Then finally it's over, you're back at the sliding door where you entered and can slip out quietly acting like they didn't have what you needed.
This same process continues for weeks. Every time you get bolder, perhaps you even take a Mountain Buggy for a drive around the shop, but you still buy nothing. I have since decided that this is nature taking care of you, helping save you from yourself. This is where the shower comes in, the baby shower. You see, what's amazing is that as much as you have no idea what you need it seems that all your friends and family do; a baby shower is like a lifeboat as you drift along not knowing what to buy or what you need.
I'm sure many of you are wondering how I would know what a baby shower is like; it's simple really, my wife likes to be a little different, so when her friends started to organise her baby shower she said, quite firmly, that she would also be having men at her shower. She saw no reason why they should be excluded from a celebration of her babies. So that was it, I was there. What an amazing day it was! Sarah and her friend Emma spent hours making up the Dr Seuss themed 'thing one and thing two' decorations - and it looked amazing! Everyone we loved was there to wish us well and we were so extremely spoilt! We felt so loved and somewhat overwhelmed with everyone's generosity... Thanks!
Yay, finally we were shopping! It was surprising how little we needed to buy after all the stuff we had been given - we managed to nail all the smaller things in one good hit, or at least we think we did. Some of the bigger stuff we still need to get like a Mountain Buggy duet , a second change table and a baby monitor, but the latter needs more looking into. What is the best baby monitor for twins? Can a single one work for two babies? Do you need all the features? If you have an idea of the answers please comment below as I am yet to decide on this one and would appreciate any input. After the shower it was like a cloud lifted, or maybe the shower washed away our fears of not knowing what to buy. Suddenly it was clear what we needed and we were off to the shops again... Only when we got back in the shop we were overwhelmed again, right up until the shop assistant came over. Instead of asking if we needed help she just pushed a fantastic little guide into my clammy hands; a guide to the essential you need and the optional items you might want.
Now the baby drawers and room is looking much more like we are ready for them to arrive. I'm sure that we will still be buying more stuff. I suspect that for the most part it will be things we don't need, when all is said and done first time parents are the best and biggest market in the world of baby shops.
I guess the biggest thing I have learnt is that a good guide or a list of 'must haves' is a great start. There are a bunch of places to get this and if you are having multiples I have since found that the New Zealand Multiple Birth Club has a list - as it turns out you don't need two of everything! I wish I knew that before the sales person in the shop told me otherwise! But if you are still doing the 'new-parent circuit' and are feeling overwhelmed, look around you. I bet there is another parent in the shop feeling the same way, you're not alone!
As for baby showers - everyone should do what they feel is right, some people don't want to have one at all. But if I was giving my advice I would say: have a baby celebration and invite everyone you would like to see and share the moment with. They will all be excited to be part of your pregnancy and it's a great time to let them get involved. And men too, they love to be part of these things, even if we say we don't. It was amazing and very special to see how many people were truly excited about the prospect of two more Wild children arriving in the world - it was a day I will treasure forever.
Until next time, take it easy and keep safe.