Shawn Falchetti, CPSA


The Artwork of Shawn Falchetti
Posts tagged pregnancy
Emma 1.0

Just a little more than a year ago, I had a very remarkable President's Day.  It started at 4 am with my wife, who was 9 months pregnant at the time, nudging me awake.  It ended in a hospital room with Kiersten in her bed, me in a recliner, and a small, beautiful six pound baby girl swaddled snoozing in a cart between us.  We named her Emma. IMG_1340

I wrote this in my original post about our first week home:

The past 7 days have been a single, long, wonderful day.  Day and night have blurred together; quiet times and crying times, sleepy times and cuddling times, lots of diapers and burpings, and mom and dad promising to take a nap themselves, always tomorrow.

In many ways, the past year feels like that first week.  The days have blurred together and sped right along, and it's hard to believe that same small, swaddled baby is now standing up and pushing buttons on her activity table, turning pages on books as we read them to her, stealing the tv remote, and looking very much like a little girl.

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This upcoming weekend is Emma's 1st birthday party, complete with a theme (jungle animals!) and a small smash cake for her to demolish.  I'm really looking forward to it!  It's also put me in a retrospective mood thinking about the past year, and the changes that came with it.

One of the many perks of having a baby is that you get to redefine what is meant by normal adult behavior. Case in point:

Earlier today I was lying on the kitchen floor, on my back, with my feet up on the garbage can lid. Pre-baby, this probably would have been cause for concern for my wife,  but with Emma merrily pushing her blocks around my head and occasionally stopping to grab my nose, it seemed the place to be.

This really extends to the whole range of activities you probably haven't done since you were a child: lying on your stomach playing with blocks while Saturday morning cartoons are on; reading rhyming Dr. Seuss books; actually making the animal sounds ("moo!") or the train sounds ("choo choo!") when you read them aloud; making raspberry sounds with your lips and funny faces just because it's silly - all perfectly fine when you're doing them with your toddler.  Having a kid renews your license to be a kid.

It's also fun that this is contagious.  Emma has an assortment of blocks, disks, and rings to stack.  Right now she likes to take them apart much more than put them together.  Any adult who visits and finds himself in front of them for a length of time will unknowingly begin to assemble them.  Colorful blocks with holes, the pegged wooden framework of a train waiting to be complete - it's irresistible.

But, aside from rejuvenating your inner child, having a child also makes you want to stretch your grown up side, too.  You'll want to be better than your pre-baby self - a better teacher and example, more patient, more flexible, and just an all around more grown up version of yourself.  But, interestingly enough, you'll do this all while being more of a kid than you've been in years.

I considered writing about all of the wonderful ways things that have changed, but I realized I didn't have the words - I'm not sure how to sum up the joy of spending a weekend playing on the floor with Emma and Kiersten, making airplane sounds while spooning baby food as the three of us eat dinner together as a family, hearing Emma's laugh, seeing her excitement when she discovers something new, or just watching her turn pages as I read a book to her at the end of the day - so I've written just a few musings for today.  Now, I've got some birthday party tables and chairs to set up!

Favorite Baby Gizmos

It's amazing how quickly the nursery has evolved.  We thought it was fairly well stocked two weeks ago, but after putting it through its paces and several Babies R Us trips later, it's got plenty of new gear.  A few things have really proven to be invaluable, and I thought I'd make a small list of some of my favorites:

  1. Fisher Price Rock N Play Sleeper - Lightweight and portable, Emma naps in it downstairs with us as we go about our day.
  2. Swaddle Me - There's a bit of an origami like art to folding a blanket into a good swaddle, which is even harder with a squirming baby.  The velcro closures and custom shape of the swaddle me blanket makes life much easier.
  3. Itzbeen Timer - After the first few nights of trying to constantly reset the alarm clock in the middle of the night and do math to calculate the next feeding time, we got this timer.  There's a simple baby bottle button you press when you feed her, plus a diaper button for changing, etc.  You configure an interval for each, and it will alarm you when it's elapsed.  If you glance at it's backlit display, it will show time since the last event.
  4. Diaper Genie - Anything that makes managing the sea of poopy diapers easier is worth the money!
  5. Boppy - the boppy has many uses, but my favorite is as extra support to rest the baby when feeding
  6. Motion Activated Nite Lite - Not baby gear exactly, but I bought a couple and set them up in the hallways I travel to get from the kitchen to the nursery to the bedroom.  They're very bright and turn on automatically as I  walk down the hall.  Great when you're carrying a baby!


And, of course, I can't have a baby post without posting a baby picture, so here's a cute one from this week:

If Only I Knew an Artist

I love browsing Etsy (okay, shameless plug, I also have my own Etsy shop for selling prints).  Recently I bought three prints for our nursery there, and wrote this post about matting and framing them in my studio.  As I was browsing for those prints, one of the things which caught my eye were birth announcement prints.  Etsy has plenty of cute typography designs which list the details of when your child was born, birth weight, etc.  As my finger hovered over the click to buy button, I suddenly thought wait, I can do this.  It's funny how sometimes I completely forget I'm an artist, or that I was a graphic design major. After a couple of proofs and revisions, I printed and framed it yesterday, and hung it in the nursery.  By doing it myself, I was able to incorporate an actual scan of Emma's footprints inked at the hospital. Here's the final announcement:

Ready, Set, Go!

When Kiersten and I discovered last summer that we were expecting our first child, we set about learning everything that we could.  Before falling asleep each night, we read side by side in bed, Kiersten thumbing through a paperback of What to Expect When You're Expecting, and me reading The Expectant Father on my Nook. We perused The Bump and followed along with their checklists and suggestions.  Early on, we did an extreme baby room makeover of the den and spare room, creating a nursery and guest room.  By fall, I realized my two door, 6-speed manual bachelor mobile wasn't going to cut it as a baby mobile, hugged it goodbye, and traded it in for a new Honda CR-V.  The baby shower rolled around with it's dizzying array of baby gear, gizmos, and tiny outfits that made your heart melt.  In January, we completed childbirth classes, pre-registered with the hospital, and took a tour of the maternity ward. All in all, we were feeling pretty well prepared for our March 14th due date. Last weekend we felt restless and decided to focus on some of the final details.  On Saturday we installed the car seat in the CR-V, set up the plush rocker we bought from Babies R Us in the nursery, and I downloaded "Kiersten's Baby Mix" onto her iPod.  On Sunday night before going to bed we finished stocking the hospital overnight bag.  Since we were both off for President's Day, we stayed up late and went to bed around midnight.

At four am I was gently shaken awake by Kiersten.  Childbirth classes had coached us on the average times for the different stages of labor, as well as what week of pregnancy first time deliveries usually occur.  In reality, things zipped along much differently for us.  At 9:59 a.m. we had a baby girl, and we named her Emma.


The past 7 days have been a single, long, wonderful day.  Day and night have blurred together; quiet times and crying times, sleepy times and cuddling times, lots of diapers and burpings, and mom and dad promising to take a nap themselves, always tomorrow.  In hindsight things didn't unfurl the way they were planned, but all the planning helped things unfurl a little easier.  Now, we've got a new book to read: What to Expect in the First Year.

Baby on Board

For those who haven't seen the Facebook posts, Kiersten and I are expecting a baby, due March 2012. We've been frequenting The Bump website, and I liked their countdown tickers and thought I'd post one on my website.  We're a little more than halfway there! Pregnancy Ticker