By the time this article hits the stands, our family will have welcomed a new member. Our seventh grandchild and fourth grandson will have made his entrance into the world. We are so excited to meet this precious boy, but I must admit to still being amazed at having grandsons outnumbering granddaughters.
My family is definitely female dominant. Both of my parents had a sister, I have a sister, my sister has two daughters, and my husband and I have three. It was no surprise to us when our eldest daughter announced their first child would be a girl. However, when 2 ½ years later the gender revealed child number two was a boy, even my son-in-law was in disbelief. Now, each of our daughters will have both genders to raise, and it will be interesting to watch the process.
When each of our daughters had her first born, it was easy to purchase something she would need. Once they have all the major equipment (and it is amazing what is considered necessary for an infant), it is difficult to find something equal to welcome the second baby. I remember seeing pictures of my sister laying in a beautiful bassinet trimmed in ribbons and lace. I loved to rib my parents when I saw my very plain bassinet. Apparently, my grandparents had given the bassinet with its beautiful cover as a gift. The cover didn’t make it 4 ½ years later until my birth, and I’m sure there were more important supplies needed than an ornate replacement cover, but that is not the case with this upcoming birth. So, now I wonder what to do to welcome this little guy.
Our youngest daughter, the expectant mother, doesn’t like being the center of attention. She did not want a shower or any fuss made that would put her in the spotlight. Her sisters agreed to her wishes, in part, but put together a gathering of the four of us. It was the perfect compromise, and she loved that her sisters planned an evening that made all parties happy. My super-creative middle daughter made an invitation to put in his baby book and whale cookies keeping with the theme of his nursery. Our gifts tended towards that as well.
So, mothers of mothers-to-be, what to do to help welcome the new addition? Ask what the nursery décor will be and find items, on parent approval, that they can use. Ask for suggestions about what they might need. Just because they had plenty of blankets or sleepers, doesn’t necessarily mean they still do. If the first child was born in the spring and the next in the fall, then even if they are the same sex, what worked for one may not work for the next. Different genders will also need new clothes.
My daughter likes certain food items I make that can be frozen. I will be preparing these and putting them in their freezer so that on those days when she is too tired to even think of what to have for dinner, she can just reach in, pull something out and heat it up. Don’t cook or live close enough to do this? Have a meal train. This is a genius idea for friends to sign up and have a specific day and time to bring a meal and leave it in a cooler on the front porch. This keeps the doorbell from ringing at inconvenient times while still acknowledging the birth. Gift cards for grocery stores or restaurants will also be appreciated.
I am fortunate that I will be able to be with them as much as is needed. I will be spending time with our two-year-old granddaughter, so my daughter can rest and will be tending to other needs throughout the day. Everyone wants to meet the baby, but the last thing a new mom needs at first is lots of visitors. You can be the “sorry this isn’t a good time to visit” monitor. Can’t be there in person? Consider paying for a baby nurse or child care while the new family gets settled in.
Most of all, it is not the size of the gift, it is your caring, thoughtfulness and love that your family will remember.