Sunday, March 11, 2007

Empty nesting

Nesting. How I hate that word.

For me it conjures up the image of some corybantic crow fruitlessly frittering around a nest, getting nowhere and next to nothing accomplished, as she waits for the egg to drop.

It's something quaint that only the female does; a force of nature that can be neither denied nor explained. We all just chalk it up to hormones and let it go at that.

Not me. The first time around I seemed to have missed that portion of the pregnancy.
When Ittybit was busy baking, we were renovating the house (or I should more accurately say my husband was busy ripping out walls and putting in floors) -- reconstructing our two-bedroom flat into a three-bedroom abode fit for a family.

Since I was that furibund creature flapping with nowhere to fly, I plunked myself down on the couch and watched back-to-back episodes of "Trading Spaces," "Design on a Dime" and "While You Were Out."

Nesting wasn't in my nature.

We had a hand-me-down cradle, some hand-me-down clothes and lots of gifts pouring in. I wasn't concerned with furnishings and other kiddy accoutrements because there wasn't a finished room to put them in anyway. The most involved I got in decorating the room that would be hers (11 months after her birth) was choosing the paint color and selecting a carpet. What more could I do?

I might have had a little of the urge to clean right before the contractions started clamping down on me, but then the husband and our dogs tracked in mud and snow, and threw their clothes on the floor, or dribbled water from the bowl, and all my efforts disappeared like magic.

I’ve heard people say that the first child changes your life, turns it upside down and inside out in a dramatic way, but that the second child just slips in during an intermission and quietly becomes part of the drama.

Often, they’ll say the frantic need to ready the nursery and gather supplies for the newbie gets lost in the chores of everyday life. The newness and need to do something — anything — while you wait just isn't there to the same degree since it was the first child who stole the show.

Yet for me, it's as if the process has been reversed. Since we found out Thing 2 is a boy, I seem to have a need to get ready. The room that he will call his own is little more than a closet with sliding doors and no windows. There is just enough room for a bed and a dresser and a few shelves.

The challenge of fitting as much as I can in a small space has filled my head with dread.

Oddly, my craving for television design shows hasn’t returned. Instead the urge to declutter my own closets and organize Ittybit’s has reared its ugly head. In addition to disappearing neglected toys and outgrown or threadbare clothes, I've delivered trunk loads of items to Goodwill, purchased new hangers, shelves and chests of drawers, and even devised elaborate plans for storing off-season attire in a more organized way.

Everything on table and countertops either finds of permanent home or finds itself at the bottom of the trash, hidden under orange peels and coffee grounds so that it's demise will remain unnoticed.

With each toss, I remind myself: less is more. But somehow it still just feels as if I'm merely flapping.

I imagine its all just preparation for when I'm ready to tackle decorating the baby's new closet ... er ... room.


Mrs. Harridan said...

I would say I'm nesting, but I've really been too lazy to do all the things that need to be done. Mostly I just like making lists.

You'll probably be happy you did all that divesting of material things once the new baby is here - especially as you need more room for his stuff than his "closet" will bear.

Good on ya!

Be Still said...

That's interesting that the nesting instinct kicked in on number 2. I'll be curious to hear how different the two experiences play out for you.

I didn't really nest with Jude. I did, however, obsess on making sure his clothing was perfect. No fragrance soap (washed twice...), folding, folding and refolding. I just couldn't organize his dresser enough for some reason.

Flash forward to now where I dress his straight from the dryer.

slouching mom said...

That's funny (funny odd, not funny ha-ha). My two boys are over four years apart, and I think that Ben's relative maturity by the time Jack was conceived enabled me to feel while pregnant with Jack as if it were my first pregnancy. So I too nested. I also had the maternal experience to bring to bear on nesting; I had a better sense of what would have to go and what could stay.

This having-two-first-children thing continued as Jack grew. When Jack was a toddler, Ben was already in school full time, so I spent days hanging with just Jack.

Sometimes I wonder whether Jack will have traditional first child issues, because he was essentially another first child.

But I don't know how far apart your kids will be and thus whether any of this will apply to you.

The Mad Momma said...

well i've nested both times.. its crazy.. actually i dont think its got anything to do with pregnancy.. i am constantly nesting. i need to see a shrink....