28w, 6d. I don’t know if the pregnancy hormones are that much stronger this time around, if it’s something about having a girl, or if I’ve just gone off the deep end, but there is some serious nesting and long overdue learning of the “domestic arts” going on around these parts.
Sometimes I feel a little guilty that I currently have some free time in the middle of my days, now that I’m not working full-time in an office (as much as I love my Parenting.com colleagues) and both of my kids are in school full-time. But then I remind myself that soon I won’t have any free time, as I’ll have a newborn—heck, I won’t even have my hands to myself for several months after the birth—so I’m tamping down the guilt and just trying to do stuff I’ve wanted to (and haven’t had the time to do) for a long time.
In addition to getting the nursery ready (Henry’s same lovely green walls with this purple crib bedding from The Land of Nod (which about makes me swoon with joy every time I walk into the room), I’ve also been taking some classes in the past few weeks to learn how to sew and cook (I know, I know, I’m feeling pretty nerdy).
I wanted to learn how to sew because I inherited my grandmother’s 1971 Bernina sewing machine several years back, and she was an awesome seamstress. She used to make a lot of her own clothes, and I still have a few things she made for me when I was a little girl. I’m also planning to use cloth diapers again this time around, as well as cloth wipes. And while I’ve certainly found a robust market for them on Etsy and elsewhere (and love the ones I have from there), I just felt like surely I could make something that basic for less money, if I only knew how to turn on and actually use my sewing machine. Via a former colleague (thanks, Heather!), a found a great sewing teacher who is in the process of opening up a sewing studio in Brooklyn and gave me a three-hour lesson on my own machine (which was crucial for me—I’m not at the stage where I can translate what I do on one machine to another). So I’ve been busy making the wipes shown here (one side is printed cotton, the other is flannel—ideally both would be as absorbent as the flannel, but such a utilitarian fabric seems surprising hard to come by in NYC, despite the glut of fabric stores in the fashion district). I’m also gussying up some burp cloths with a pretty fabric panel in the middle—again something I found and bought on Etsy and then thought I could likely make for a fraction of the cost. My goal is to get good enough to make some basic dresses for this baby girl... eventually.
And this week, I’m taking a 25-hour cooking class, something I was a lot more enthusiastic about and energized for when I signed up over a month ago—but now that I’m that much more pregnant, well, it doesn’t feel like the best idea I’ve ever had. That being said, I learned a lot in the first five hours yesterday. I know how to read a recipe, but I follow them To. The. Letter. I have no idea why things happen in the kitchen with food—so if the instructions in a recipe aren’t working quite right, I don’t know how to fix things, e.g. Do I add an extra pinch of this? Let the dish cook longer than called for? Turn up/down the heat? Etc. So I’m taking something called the “Essentials of Fine Cooking.” It’s not a how to boil water class, nor is it a class designed around specific recipes, but rather learning techniques that can translate across recipes, across meats, across veggies, etc. Yesterday, we made gazpacho (each group made it with a different herb—mine used marjoram, which I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with before), sautéed lamb chops (which I’d never made before), sautéed broccoli (including blanching the broccoli—again something I’d never done before), sautéed diced potatoes with persillade (garlic and parsley), a simple salad with vinaigrette (I don’t know why but homemade salad dressings have always intimidated me), and oranges with Grand Marnier, strawberries with a balsamic reduction, and blueberries with a maple crème fraiche. Luckily we get to eat everything we’re making at the end of class—which the rest of the students also get to enjoy with some wine (insert sigh of sadness). Today is chicken day (which is a good thing because I've got two little boys clamoring for some homemade chicken noodle soup, which I've never made)!
Anyway, I’m learning a lot these days and hope to put my new knowledge to good use for the last couple of months before I’m holding a new baby 24 hours a day and promptly forget everything.
Did your nesting instinct kick into overdrive when you were pregnant? What kind of crazy things did you end up doing? Leave a comment below.
P.S. If you're a sewer and have a site you love for good fabrics for wipes, let me know! (Sadly we do not have a Jo-Ann Fabrics or anything similar near us.)