Instead, offer them the chance to live it out! Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or another significant holiday, playing pretend is the ideal way to teach and have fun along the way for everyone in the family. Use a kid-friendly nativity book as a guide or make your own menorah as you explore the story of the oil that burned for 8 nights—whatever your religion, there's an important tale to tell. There is joy in receiving physical mail and holiday cards are a wonderful way to make your loved ones feel special.
But don't stop there! Record a video greeting to send to your nearest and dearest to keep even the most far-away relatives feel like they're right there with you. Everyone will love seeing the baby's latest milestones in live-action, and it's a great way to spread the season's warmest greetings. Making and maintaining a baby book is a fabulous idea, but sometimes keeping it up-to-date gets lost in the shuffle of parenthood.
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Use the holiday season as a time to reconnect with all those beloved memories for your kiddo by starting an annual time capsule box: Each year, have all members of the family add one item of their choosing or your choosing, depending on age to the box and label it with a little note. Things can range from a favorite holiday-themed blanket or toy to something they no longer need but aren't ready to throw away. Nothing says "cozy" like a yummy-smelling kitchen filled with laughter.
While your tot may still be too small to really help in the kitchen, it's never too early to kickstart their love of cooking. Pick a recipe you'll make every year and get them "involved" with a spoon and an empty mixing bowl. You'll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor together and it'll help encourage them to cook with you more year-round, too.
We all know that as babies grow up—independence is a priority, no matter how ready for it we really are. This year, give them the gift of being in charge. By allowing your little one to eat what they want, wear what they pick a sparkly tutu? No problem. An adorable Christmas cape? I laid on my back in a dimly lit room. It was dead silent in the room except for the odd clicking and tapping sound coming from the computer next to me. My stomach was cold from the jelly that was spread on it, and my bladder felt as though it was about to burst, but I didn't care.
This was the day I had been waiting for since I saw those two pink lines appear. The day I had thought of when I fell to the floor in my bathroom, crying tears of joy at the thought of becoming a mother.
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This was it. I kept sneaking glances at the ultrasound technician. She was in her mids if I had to guess, with short dark hair and some pretty stylish glasses. She didn't have a smile on her face though; in fact, she looked like she was frowning at the screen in front of her. It has nothing to do with you or the baby. But I couldn't relax. The tech scrunched up her face, almost as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing on her screen.
She kept letting out little sighs that were so far from comforting that my eyes began to well up. I'm not allowed to disclose any information to you during this appointment. The appointment ended and she wiped the goo from my swollen belly. The belly that I had for 20 weeks. The belly that I was now, without a doubt, worried for.
The next morning I woke up with the panic from the previous day's appointment having slowly subsided after a night's rest. As I made my coffee, mentally preparing to start my day, my phone rang. The doctor wanted me to come in right away for an emergency appointment. She told me that my baby was sick and we needed to discuss it in person. I didn't have a husband or a boyfriend to drive me to the appointment; up until then, this had never bothered me.
I got into my car in an almost catatonic state and drove. I drove for what felt like hours yet mere seconds all at the same time. My mind was a mixture of blank and turmoil, alternating between denial and panic. I sat in the chair in her office. The walls filled with posters of babies and happy moms, the color underneath a comforting shade of purple. There was a plant in the corner of the room—a fern maybe? I had never been good with houseplants; ironically, I could never keep them alive.
Are you with me so far? As I'm sure you know, without properly developed lungs, the baby's chances of making it past birth are extremely slim. I didn't say anything for a few minutes. I just sat there, taking it all in. At this point, there wasn't much for me to say, or do for that matter. There was a woman in front of me telling me my baby was going to die. What can you say to that? They'll be able to give you further information that we simply can't.
I'm so sorry.
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I didn't do anything in the days leading up to my trip to the hospital. I sat in my baby's room; it was gender-neutral since the tech couldn't see the gender on the ultrasound I waited five months to get. I touched little baby socks and held little baby blankets. There wasn't much in this room, but there was enough to remind me that my baby wouldn't be coming home. The doctors at the hospital issued me an ID card that had my name, date of birth, health card number, and a little sticker on it that read "high-risk pregnancy.
I was subjected to another ultrasound. They told me this one would determine the most accurate state of the baby's health. It took about two hours; enough time for me to let my imagination and anxiety run wild with possible outcomes. Maybe they have this all wrong. Maybe they got my ultrasound mixed up with another woman's? Maybe it's not as severe as they all think? Or maybe, my brain said quietly, the hard truth is you won't be bringing your baby home with you. Another doctor's office, another doctor, another devastating blow. They told me that I needed to be induced tomorrow and to prepare for a stillbirth.
I tried to repeat the words back to him for clarity, but they felt fuzzy on my tongue. Those words were never meant to be said. I laid on my back on a hotel bed. The baby inside me was kicking and moving around considerably. My eyes weren't holding back the tears anymore but I didn't care.