Thank you, from a new mother

Over the years, I’ve written a lot of drafts that never made it to light. And by a lot I mean 171. Can you believe it? I couldn’t! There are 171 drafts on my wordpress dashboard. Some are admittedly just an idea or a photo, waiting to be fleshed out. But others are fully-written and I’m not sure what happened. Often the moment passed and they seemed untimely.

This one, written when Hudson was around six months old and we were living in a studio apartment in New York, struck me as still relevant in its question: what items are new parents most grateful for? With Hudson it was a fairly new gadget called an iPhone. Ha! With Skyler, I’d add mechanical swing to the list. Here’s how it went, back in 2011… 

I was recently asked to write a piece on the items I’ve been grateful for as a new mother, so I’ve been trying to pay more attention. It’s easier to instead dwell on how little storage we have in our tiny, 500 square-foot-studio. Or on how life might be easier if there were only a hallway between us and the baby’s room…er… closet. But once I started mentally drawing up a list, I found it hard to stop. And I came to recognize that the luxuries I count on this list mean I have it pretty good.

So thank you to my…

Ergo Carrier. We have a lovely, expensive stroller, but more often than not we carry the baby in the Ergo (and for the first two months, we carried him in a Sakura Bloom sling). Old buildings with narrow doors and packed-in tables, subways with lots of stairs, sidewalks crammed with people: New York can really pose a challenge to the stroller set. And Hudson still falls asleep easiest against our chests.

Many channels for delivery. I avoid unnecessary errands whenever possible. And for all of its challenges, New York sure comes through with convenient delivery options. Groceries from Fresh Direct, diapers from, laundry from the place down the street, and dinner from anywhere you want. Seamless Web and same-day Barnes & Noble delivery might not be available across the country, but I highly recommend outsourcing as many of these tasks as you can as a new parent. (That said, some sort of daily goal to make sure I get out each day is also high on my list of necessities—and sometimes a Trader Joe’s run is in order.)

Miracle Blanket. We’ve tried a few different swaddles, but keep coming back to this one for the perfect baby burrito.

White noise machine. We have this and a fan near Hudson’s crib and I am so grateful it’s in there when a siren passes by (the unofficial, official soundtrack of the city) or, frankly, when we’re having dinner at the table—oh, ten feet away.

Yoga Mat. And no, it’s not for me. I’ve recently discovered that a Yoga Mat is a great alternative to those cushy floor tiles if you want a non-slip, soft surface for your little one to practice his moves—and you want something that rolls up and can be put away again in no time.

Board Books. I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom beautiful picture books like Symphony City, create some anxiety. I cautiously read those ones with the baby in my lap because he only wants to crumple, gum, or maybe tear the pages. Hungry Caterpillar the board book is in heavy rotation.

Dry shampoo and lipstick. If I need to dash out and look presentable on little sleep and a distant-memory of a shower, these two items go a long way. I like Batiste and YSL Sheer Candy.

Iphone. What did I do before I had this? I use it for everything and swear it would be the best gift for any new parent. I check email and scan blogs; I can actually text (something that was tricky on my last flip phone), which is a quiet way to stay in contact with Aron; I get to take impromptu photos and videos of the baby and get pleasure out of photo apps like Instagram; and I can watch movies or TV shows with headphones while Hudson sleeps on my lap, or read the New York Times. I’m in love with the “Baby Connect” app for keeping track of sleep and all other functions/milestones Hudson has. And I use it to play “Bedtime Beats” on iTunes for winding down before every bedtime or nap.

Netflix Instant. Did I mention Hudson sometimes sleeps on my lap? And that I watched the entire archive of Mad Men when he was first home?

Aden+Anais bibs. My cousin gave us these and they are the best—first as burp cloths that really cover your shoulder and clothes and then as bibs that really cover his shoulders and clothes.

A very hands-on partner. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I can count on one hand the number of times Aron hasn’t gotten up in the middle of the night with me. I should be more generous and tell him not to, considering he often works 15-hour days, but I try to justify it by the fact that, as we all live in one small room, there isn’t much choice. Still, it’s the only one of these things I really don’t know how I’d do without. Days where I get up with Hudson and put him down by myself can be really rough, but for the past six months I’ve had Aron’s help for nearly every single middle-of-the-night waking. Hats off to any single parents.

It’s so funny to look back at this and remember how vital these things felt at the time! “Photo apps like Instagram”: have you heard of it? 

What would be on your list? 

P.S. Here’s my entire baby registry list, from a few years ago. And a great book for those expecting. Finally, on nostalgia.

[Photo from Early Days with Baby]


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