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Seriously? It's the choices that have kept me paralyzed for two very long years. You can't know how envious I am of the women who get pregnant without having to specifically choose the time and place. I'm so glad you're so excited and happy and not worrying about all the choices so much anymore. Sure. Some of them are HUGE in the scheme of your life, the kid's life, the world's life. But some of them are just fun.

Ever consider Penn? Princeton? Why limit the choices. ;-)


Big heavy post! I regret a couple of the choices I have made for my son, none yet for my daughter, but she's still new. The one thing I've learned in my three short years of parenting, is that each of us ends up making the choices that work for our own households, and no matter how different our individual choices may be, we all have the same goal of a happy and healthy family.

Oh, and the best choice I made recently was to buy a Moby Wrap - hands free baby carrying that is way more comfy than the Bjorn.


There are some fine taquerias near San Jose State... ;)

I wish that every baby who was born in the world was wished for and chosen, I truly do.

Here's hoping that all comments are as kind and thoughtful as your post...


Make your own baby food -- it's easy, and cheaper, and better for baby. (I also buy some baby food for when we're on the go, but for the most part it was home-made.) A great book is Super Baby Food.

I can totally recommend the Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch for baby-carrying. It was a godsend for my second kid's first year.

And for videos -- my first kid did baby einstein, but my second one did Signing Time, and that's totally my preference. Signing with babies reduces SO MUCH frustration when they can't talk yet!


Neither. Dartmouth.



The wonderful thing about those choices is that you can always change your mind too! Well, I guess there's a time limit on that considering circumcision though, hard to get undone... ;) (Funny, BTW, being a Finn I had never thought about circumcision as an option... They're just not done here. :) Cultural difference.)

Anyway, one thing about babies I've noticed that you'll be meeting a lot of people who thing their opinions on childcare are the only correct ones... "Use common sense" has worked for me. ;)


Ivy shmyvy. MIT. Harvey Mudd. You know you've got a baby engineer in there.


Doesn't the University of Georgia have a kick-ass engineering department?


The best baby food is the kind you make yourself. I can show you how - it's easy and I'm no supermom, either. I went back to work full time when Hannah was 3.5 months old. I had it easy in that she was either home with her dad or at my mom's so I didn't have to leave her with someone I didn't know. But I still had to leave her. I managed to breastfeed until she was 13 months old and I'm glad I did. It was the one thing that only I could do for her and being a working mom, that was important.
That's all. You'll figure out what works best for you guys as you go along.


Lovely post - thank you.

I'm not a parent, nor do I play one on tv, nor am I planning to be one. But I spend an awful lot of time with my 9-month old niece and I would recommend lots of books around all the time - particularly sturdy board books and such, so your weebeastie can get comfortable with books and turning pages and such, without concern over destruction of said pages!


Oh thank God. I was seriously thinking that all the knit-husbands had forgotten how to make Y-sperm from inhaling too much mohair or something. While I fully respect the privacy of any and all of your decisions, I'm curious how you ended up pregnant while being on BC. As much as I'd love a little boy of my own (with 3D ultrasound, natch), now would not be a good time. At all. So I'm just curious...

Beth S.

This was a great post. Every last bit of it. It's wonderful to hear an expectant mother speak up for those of us who have no desire to go down that road, not now, not ever.

Natural vs. medicated...I can't imagine why anyone would deny herself pain relief on purpose, when it is readily available. But some folks are as militant about that as they are about the nursing thing. Go figure.


We made the choice to not have kids. I’ll never say never, but after trying and losing three pregnancies, I saw the path before me and decided to step back and find a new one. It’ll probably always be in the back of my head, that little “What if . . .”. But I know that if we had a kid, that very same question would be there, only I’d be wondering about a whole different set of circumstances. I guess its human nature to wonder how things are going with an alternate you in a parallel universe.

In the end, none of the decisions we’re faced with will make a difference once we’re living with the decision we’ve made. Sure, you could whip yourself into a tizzy about all sorts of things, but in the end, no matter what you choose, something will happen. And whatever ramifications your decisions have will keep you moving (sometimes stumbling) forward. To spend a lot of time looking behind you and wondering “what if?” is certainly interesting, but who has the time? You’ve got to play the cards you have and that Three of Clubs from the last hand isn’t going to help you now.

I think you’re smart not to overthink things, while you're thinking about them. Even with major decisions like circumcision and breast feeding, or even buying a new house or having kids in the first place, there’s only so much you can do to control the outcome. This goes double when you’re making decisions for someone else. Eventually you just have to do what you think is right. Something will happen, and when it does, you’ll react in some way and something else will happen. It always does. Life as a series of choices and challenges, the fun part comes in seeing what happens and adjusting accordingly.

Hey, does this count as a blog post, even if it’s not on my own blog?


The choices can be stressful, especially when you pressure yourself to do everything "right." Lemme jus tellya: There ain't no "right." There are a few wrongs, but there simply isn't a "right way" or "right choice."

Take my case for instance. I am a music therapist and behavior analyst. I specialize inworking with children who have devlopmental disabilities. I have way more education concerning child development, learning and behavior than any first time mom should have. I tried to do everything by the book... for about the first ten minutes. And then I realized that you have to make what I call "soft choices & plans." You decide on a course of action and then start down that road. If you realize, after a few "miles" (or inches) that it's not working and you want to change your mind, then you do that. The only way to do it is the way that works for you and your family, and don't let anybody tell you different.

Some things we did that I plan to do again? Getting LilMan on a routine as soon as he was able. Not a schedule that's dictated by the clock, mind you. A routine.
Also, I was doing my graduate research project on teaching babies to sign when LilMan was born. I TOTALLY recommend it. He was responding to my signs by 4 months, and was beginning to sign by himself by about 6 months. We had less crying (by both of us), a smoother routine, and almost zero guess work.
I breastfed for 7 months, and pumped for an additional 3. I chose to do some store-bought baby foods and some that I made myself. Sure, the stuff I made was probably a little better for him, but I always had a stash of the Gerber stuff for times when we weren't home or when I was running low on the homemade stuff & just didn't have the energy to make more.
Oh, and as for preparing for childbirth? Do all the reading, make all the plans and choices you want. Just be prepared... truly prepared to throw it all out the window and go with the flow. I think that's the best thing a mommy can do. You've just got to laugh and roll with the punches. And the poops. And everything else that's going to come flying at you.
Oh, and remember... this parenting thing... it's just a whole lot of fun!


I must chime in, Kellee on the circumsion dilemma. I won't go into a pro/con on it, you can read that anywhere, but I will tell you that we absolutely AGONIZED over it. I could not stand the fact that baby Derek would be in pain. I agonized and agonized. It was awful. When they took baby Derek for his procedure, I wrung my hands and paced the floor, crying all the while. When they wheeled him back in the room in his little bassinet, he was SOUND ASLEEP. He was gone only about 10 minutes total. They say he slept through it. (Knowing the 20 year old Derek who loves to sleep rather than do anything, this does not surprise me now)
Just more food for thought!


This is one of the best posts I've read in a very long time, and I'm really not saying that to sound nice or anything. With kids the choices (my view only) never end. Each milestone in growth had me pondering what was best. But I'm willing to share with you some of my decisions and beliefs.

Birthing do what is best for you - what are you most comfortable with? Check out the options that are available to you, consult with both possible dula's, midwifes,and ob's. I also had to consider what my insurance would cover. I was lucky enough for all 3 of mine to have an ob with the medical background that I craved (me=wuss), yet the soothing/natural ways that a midwife or dula may posses. They were all born in hospitals drug free and I did take some Lamaze type classes. Now I must add here - there did come a point when I did scream for drugs, but it was to late :-) Birthing an actual living being is beyond words. All fear and pain is instantly gone the moment that little one hits the air - your instantly high no matter what you may or may not have taken. I better add here also that I was blessed with quick births - and they seemed to fly out each time quicker and quicker. The word fly is not an exaggeration here.

I use disposable diapers now. I did cloth for a bit with my first one but we had a service available for a bit. When the diaper service was no more I did disposables. Cloth diapers have improved so much though - so if you have the means of washing I might give it a try. Same with breastfeeding, giving it a try that is. It is so much more nutritionally sound for the little one - that you should at least try. Breastfeeding does not work for all mothers (we all reasonably know this) but I am a proponent of at least trying. If it works for you - awesome - if it does not you have other options available to you. Comfort wise for yourself there are pluses and minuses on each side. My first child I was only able to breastfeed for a few months. I had a death in the family and got all nerved up, and I was totally naive at the time that I could have restarted and produced more. My second child - I like to refer to her as the one who would not ween. She was just over three before she was totally weened. I now have a two year old who is still breast fed, basically only at night. It is part of the comfort cycle before he gets put down at night still.

All my children have been in their own cribs - I do not have the patience nor tolerance to share my bed with everyone. I mean at times with a little one you have to do it - but the whole co-family thing is just not me. I'm also sort of anti character (I blame this on teenage mutant ninja turtles of my youth) So the nurseries were more about color and later developing a theme. Each one different depending on my must do style of the moment. Nathan's is bright yellow walls with white trim. Lot's of polka dots and denim. We are adding fishy things to it bit by bit because that is what he's loving now. I'm one of the odd ones that never found out the sex before hand of any of mine. So all the nurseries started out with a non gender specific color scheme and once they had been around for a bit the more personal items were added.

Baby food I did the make your own thing. It really is easier than what you would think. Ice cube trays and a Braun hand mixer is all you need. My OB firmly believed that jar food should only be used as a supplement when needed. That if little ones get used to- right of the bat - what you eat in the household they will not develop into such picky eaters. Also it is usually healthier for the baby again. When they got past the first introductions of new things I would just take what ever we were having for dinner and moosh it up with the hand mixer before adding all the extra salt and pepper I tend to do. This actually did work for my kids they are just now starting to get picky (well the 15yr old I guess it comes with the age). I mean they all have their own likes and dislikes and favorites - but so do we all :-) I did use Earth's Best baby food when needed as our jar supplement. At the time it was the most natural baby food that came in a jar - now there are a few more options.

I did not do videos. I have a slight problem with teaching the young ones at such an early age to be mesmerized with the TV. It comes to quickly any how these days I say prolong it as long as possible :-)

Circumcision - that's a hard one. I guess that's not a decision you know you've made correctly until the boys become men. Each time having to choose tore me up. The more I read about it and attempted to educate myself the harder the choice became. This choice might be better left for the men I'm thinking.

Wow this is the longest I think I have ever posted into a reply before – sorry if I got slightly wordy. In the end you have to do what is best for you and yours. Like you said living in a time and place where so many choices are available is such a blessing – it is sad that we have become so judgmental when others do not choose as we do/did. Especially mothers, and the many facets involved in mothering. We are all different unique families, with our different unique beliefs and ways of doing things – those differences will and should be evident with how we choose – because we have been giving the freedom to do so.


Geeze don't know where all those question marks came from - sorry about that. I think they are my dashes, I do indeed overuse the dash. Maybe my quota was up.


Yep. So many things to decide. I have to say that after having two kids; one with an epidural and then one in the water I can say 100% get yerself a doula and do a waterbirth!!! Really, it was amazing and I could actually sit in a chair an hour after giving birth after the water birth vs a week the other way.

My kids hated baby food so they barely ate it. Veggie burgers and Cheerios. Those were favorites.

Also? Go to Radio Shack and buy a white noise sleep machine if you want your baby to sleep. I swear by them. My kids are 8 and almost 5 and go right to bed everynight with those things!


I am thrilled that you are having a boy - partly because it means that my gut instinct was right. (!) (I'll ramble re: choices tomorrow...when my brain is back.)

The Feminist Mafia

Of course I could add miles of opinions about all the choices we made (and re-made), but the most important tidbits I can offer is similiar to several other comments: go with your gut, do what's right for yourself and your family, and be prepared to change your mind. A lot.

Wifey and I had plans and plans and opinions and more plans. Alas, so did Little Man, even from the moment of his birth. Unfortunately we were a bit disappointed when virtually nothing went according to plan. Our goal: vaginal birth, his: c-section; ours: crib full-time, his: our bed part-time; ours: no pacifier, his: binky until 3rd b-day; ours: no characters, his: Elmo rules; ours: vegetables, his: yeah right; etc etc etc. This is not imply that we don't set boundaries, because it's all boundaries all the time. But these were the smaller battles that we were willing to let him win. Our non-negotiables: not hitting, manners, kindness, compassion, no hard-care gender stereotypes, gentleness, respect, etc.

Fortunately, it didn't take too long to see that we couldn't plan for too much. We're way more chill now (not 100% but getting there) and therefore happier.

Circumcision is a tough one. Wifey and I disagreed about it. She was pro, I was against. I agreed, but only if I wasn't there for the procedure. In fact, I believe my exact words were "I'll have nothing to do with it." But she lost her mind in the hospital, begged me to accompany him for the procedure, and I did, for her. And it was the worst thing ever. So ... if you decide to do it, ignorance is bliss. And perhaps your boy will sleep through it like Sandy's?? It's a tough choice, and you'll probably question it back and forth for a long time. But once it's done, it's done (either way), and you'll have so many other things to occupy your brain, it won't matter so much.

Most importantly, only you know what's best for your child. You'll get tons of people giving you tips and advice and even being obnoxious about it. At the end of the day, do what you can, what makes you happy, and what you think is best.

And good lord it's nice to hear a pregnant chica talk pro-choice. It's music to my ears. Clearly your boy (yes!!!) is in good hands.



Wow! I don't think I'm ever going to be mature enough to make all those choices for another human being!


From the vantage point of advanced age, I suggest you make the choice to take things as they come. Explore options all you want or need, but don't make decisions until it is time to make them. You will make good ones and bad ones, and ya know what? If you do the best you can you will be doing the best you can.

frecklegirl jess

No kids for me yet but that baby sign language thing sounds really cool!

You are a smart cookie- do your research and make the decisions that feel right for you guys.

Oh and circumcision makes me want to scream. (Not that I am telling you what to do with your little one. Of course.)


ok, i'm too old for this.

also, as a nonparent i do have a couple of recommendations.

whatever character you allow your child become mesmerized with, please please for the love of god and all that is holy DO NOT LET IT BE BARNEY!!!!! you know wendy's fear of clowns? i feel that way about barney. *shiver*

as for the whole yale/harvard decision. why have this child be such an underachiever. i can't speak for yale, but in my experience, harvard students are soft. i'm thinking MIT or stanford.


Marvelous post.

The sagest advice I ever received as a new mother was from my mom, when I called her, upset that I was going to have to wean my eldest sooner than I wanted to. "This is not the first time he's going to throw a wrench in your carefully laid plans," she said.

You and your husband DO have a lot of decisions to make, and you will make the ones that are right for your family. Read, research, discuss ... and be prepared to switch gears if what you've decided doesn't seem to be working for you and your son. What worked for me may not work for you.

That said, I will add: having a schedule and sticking to it really, really, REALLY makes life easier. It's not really possible until the baby is around 4 months old, but at about that time you'll probably notice that the days are starting to fall into a rythym. If you follow the baby's lead on that, before you know it you'll have predictable days that you can plan around. (I'm a big believer on feeding on demand, though ... baby needs to eat when baby needs to eat. I'm really talking more about sleep here.)

I was much more uptight about things with my first child ... by the time we had our third, I was more willing to let things happen as they happened. So, this kid needs a pacifier. Fine. We set limits when they're two (in the crib only) and have a visit from the "Baie Fairy" when they're three. I breastfed all three children .... Eldest was ill and had to be weaned at six months, but the younger two both weaned themselves at one. Oh, and neither would take a bottle before then. Sort of a drag, but it's really not all that long.

In the long run, I'd say that most things are fine in moderation. My kids watch t.v., but with limits. They play computer and video games ... again, with limits. We am very strict about content (much to the older kids' sometime chagrin). We didn't intend to be a co-sleeping family, but all of the kids wound up spending most nights with us until they were around one or so (it makes night feedings easier). We used cloth diapers (with a service) for Eldest, disposables for the last two. I made my own baby food (and the kids all ended up being incredibly picky eaters, darn it all).

I've written a lot here, but must say one more time ... the decisions you make will be the best for YOUR FAMILY, and that's all that's important. No one will know your boy better than you do, no matter how many letters they have after their name, no matter how many years of experience they have with children. YOU are the expert on your child. You'll know what he needs.

It's a terribly exciting ride.

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