Matt Knutson: Keep your eyes on the stars, feet on the ground

Published 9:44 pm Thursday, September 14, 2017

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson

“Your feet are still there, I promise,” I told my wife when she realized she could no longer see them standing up. Now that we’re in the third trimester, we are in full-on prep mode for this new baby girl to arrive. I’ll admit it took us awhile to get there, but now that we have a name picked out and a little girl who likes to tease my wife with Braxton Hicks contractions, it all feels much more real to me.

Of course it’s felt much more real to Sera for quite a bit longer. My wife has been experiencing all of the pregnancy symptoms and side effects since very early on, so of course she’s been more tuned-in to our timeline. I couldn’t help but notice that this past week we turned a corner: the nesting had begun. For those unfamiliar with the term nesting is, the American Pregnancy Association describes it as “the urge to clean and organize,” and “the overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby.” And that’s exactly what Sera is doing.

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It started with the kitchen and slowly migrated to all of the upstairs rooms. Everything in our house suddenly has a designated place and for once we were actively maintaining an organized structure of living. I wouldn’t say our house has ever been dirty, but when you’re living with a one year old, it can be hard to keep a place tidy. Our sheer number of toys multiplied by the number of pieces that they can be broken into means we’re bound to have something on the floor that can pierce your foot if you’re not careful, so I’m all for Sera’s newly developed nesting habit. It’s encouraged me to participate in the baby prep as well.

When you have a very young daughter and another one is being added into the mix, it can be a little hard to drum up the emotions of what is to come. I’m head over heels thrilled for this little girl to arrive, but it’s easy to look at all that we have from when Gracelyn was born and think that we’re set. There’s no need to paint the baby’s room or buy a ton of new clothes. I don’t need to learn how to swaddle a tiny human or practice changing a diaper. I’d describe my overall attitude for this pregnancy as something along the lines of, “We got this.” But without all the hustle and bustle of our last pregnancy, something seems remiss.

Watching Sera entering nesting mode prompted me to force-nest, if you will. Before Gracelyn was born, we spent hours (far too many hours) wandering stores to find the perfect decorations to adorn her walls. Occasionally I step back into one of those stores and I’m immediately taken back to that time before we had children. In my force-nest, I encouraged us to go back to one of those stores to find something for our next baby girl. There’s nothing like buying something for your unborn child that makes it all seem more real.

Sera also had a few things in mind for what we’d like to do differently for this little girl. Suddenly a new bassinet arrived at our door (for me to put together) and a video baby monitor (for me to install). We had gone for so many months of merely talking about the baby arriving to finally preparing our lives for a new bundle of joy. It has both been a breath of fresh air and an intentional shakeup to our routine.

Of course we’re not completely ready yet, as if that were ever attainable anyway. We still need to pack our hopefully-lighter-than-last-time suitcase and pick up a pack of newborn diapers, but we’ve still got weeks to go before that will likely be necessary. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” Since Sera won’t be seeing her feet for awhile, hopefully she’ll find some stars to focus on instead. In the meantime, I might draw a star or two on her feet for me to focus on, just so she doesn’t have to worry if they’re still there.

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.