(Looking for gift ideas for pregnant women or new parents? You might want to jump over to my updated post on this topic instead – 30 great gifts for pregnant women and new parents)
I had a dream about the baby last night! (This deserves an exclamation mark because by this stage of pregnancy apparently normal women spend many nights dreaming of their baby. This is my 2nd dream. Ever. And last time I dreamed I forgot the baby when I went out to dinner with Mike.) So, feeling all proud of myself for being so maternal-like, I was pretty excited to relay this dream over breakfast.
“I dreamed the baby fell down a flight of stone steps when I was trying to teach it how to walk,” I told Mum.
“Stone steps,” Mum repeated. “How old was this baby?”
“Oh, like, two or three months,” I said. “But that’s not the point. The point is, when it got hurt and cried I picked it up and comforted it. And then I took it somewhere in the car and I put it in a car seat!”
“It…?” Mum repeated.
OK, so maybe I haven’t perfected this whole maternal dreaming thing yet. There’s still time. A couple of weeks, anyway.
So speaking of dreaming, I’ve been waking up from my dreams every morning now feeling as if the flu and my ninetieth birthday have arrived overnight. All my joints hurt, particularly my hands and fingers. Sometimes first thing in the morning I can barely make a fist. Dr Google assures me this will go away when my ligaments tighten up again after delivery. It better, or the poor little “it” will just have to lie at the bottom of that flight of stone steps and cry, because I won’t be able to pick “it” up.
I am not the only one with sore hands, however. A parcel arrived at the post office on Friday and it seems that two of my friends, Robin and Jenn, have been very busy indeed working their own fingers to the bone on my behalf.
Robin lives in Texas and Jenn in Kansas, but they decided that, “the best way to recognize the arrival of baby McWolfe, a ‘lil one born of a long distance love story, was with a collaborative project that was created via hours of phone calls, text messages, skype dates, and extensive emails that included the frequent exchange of spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations.” Then they got together in Texas to bring the whole project to beautiful completion.
(I could say something here about how this process is indeed similar to the one that led the creation of baby McWolfe in the first place, but I’ll refrain to avoid scandalizing my Nanna).
So why the sore hands and fingers in Texas, you might ask? Well these two dear friends knitted and crocheted us the most beautiful baby blanket. A blanket they insist is not meant to be an heirloom but meant to be used, get dirty, thrown in the wash, and eventually wear out. “It’s meant to be the hug that we’re not there to give,” they wrote.
The blanket is gorgeous, and Mike and I are humbled and overwhelmed by the thought, time, and love that went into making it.
In fact, I’ve felt humbled by love a fair bit since we announced our pregnancy. Other friends in the States boxed up maternity and baby clothes and mailed them to me in Australia at considerable expense – I’ve been wearing those maternity clothes almost daily. In fact, a number of friends in three different countries have gifted us second-hand baby clothes. I have not yet bought a single new piece of clothing for the bub, but don’t worry that he’ll be wanting for warmth. When he fell down that flight of stairs in my dream the little tyke wasn’t naked – he was wearing a perfectly lovely second-hand jumpsuit.
I could go on and on, but let’s just say that Mike and I have been virtually showered by gifts big and small from around the globe and we are touched and grateful.
So, in celebration of the blessings we’ve received I thought I’d share a list of ten of the more unusual gifts we’ve received. Wondering about what to give an expectant mother? Here are some ideas:
- A homemade breast-feeding support pillow in the shape of an elephant.
- An iTunes gift card to buy music to listen to while breastfeeding.
- Lullaby music for the baby (so far I particularly like Dreamland: World Lullabies & Soothing Songs and the Baby Einstein: Lullaby Classics.
- Baby items that will bring back memories (this weekend I received a bib covered with tiny whales from visiting friends – it’ll be a memory trigger as we spent much of the weekend together watching for whales spouting out at sea).
- Books on parenting (as opposed to pregnancy and delivery, which she has probably already procured).
- A My Baby’s First Year book to record important milestones.
- A colorful mobile to hang over the baby’s crib.
- A diaper bag for traveling that includes a roll-out change mat and cold storage for at least one bottle.
- Story books to read to the baby. Check out this post for great options: What do writers read to their kids?: Five authors share their favorite children’s books.
- Donate your time and energy to host a celebratory gathering or a baby shower.
- A wooden hand-crafted crib that the baby’s great grandfather made for the baby’s grandmother. (Yeah, OK, that one might be a bit hard to pull off, but that’s what our little one will be sleeping in for the first eight weeks of his life while we’re still here in Australia – Pa set it up for me the other day).
These are just a few of the things we’ve received that have made me smile – but the creative possibilities to bless a new family seem endless, really. If you live locally you could assemble an envelope full of take-out menus from local restaurants and include enough cash to order dinner one night during those first few weeks post-birth. You could organize for a house cleaner to come in once or twice. If she’s into yoga, perhaps look for a yoga DVD she could do at home when she can’t get out to attend a class. And, of course, practical gifts such as diapers, small toys, nappy rash cream and the like never go astray.
What favourite baby gifts have you given or received? Other ideas? Help out people who will visit this post looking for gift inspiration by leaving a comment below.
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