Expectant first time father looking for advice on preparing for my child
August 17, 2008 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Is there anything you wish you did for your child before they were born? Or anything you DID do that you could recommend?

A question posted by Thorzdad yesterday asking about a wine he bought before his child was born to share on their 21st birthday got me thinking. Is there anything special you wish you did for your child before they were born? Or anything you DID do that you could recommend?

My wife and I are expecting our first child in March, so we have some time. Documentation of the pregnancy is already covered. I'm mostly looking for sentimental ideas and advice that you don't find in the normal 'how to prepare' guides.
posted by csimpkins to Human Relations (17 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I ended up with an unplanned 3-D image sonogram of my son in my (our) third trimester. It was not something I thought I would have wanted (was a little skeeved by the "that's my insides" aspect). I was having what turned out to be a benign difficulty and my OB wanted an immediate ultrasound/ sonogram- it just so happened that the 3D image tech was in the house that day so I went home with a free scan of my now 12 month old peacefully sucking his thumb in utero.
posted by mistsandrain at 1:01 PM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

of course imaging may be already covered by your documentation plans... should read more thoroughly...
posted by mistsandrain at 1:03 PM on August 17, 2008

Maybe start a savings account for the lil' tyke? Compound interest on those first few dollars will add up until s/he's of collage age.
posted by Harald74 at 1:26 PM on August 17, 2008

Maybe start a savings account for the lil' tyke? Compound interest on those first few dollars will add up until s/he's of collage age.

I'm kind of embarrassed to say that this was my first reaction as well. Though I think expecting him/her to be self-sufficient by collage age is a little ambitious.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:33 PM on August 17, 2008

We read a bedtime story to our baby before she was born before going to bed, now we read it to her. "they" say it helps calm them.

We got ourselves a baby book beforehand so we could think about filling it out before things got too crazy
posted by bottlebrushtree at 1:44 PM on August 17, 2008

We have bought each of our children a niece piece of art representative of the state in which they were born - i.e. a desert oil painting for the son born in New Mexico, an ink & pencil etching of a cowboy scene for the one born in Wyoming, etc.

I also wrote letters to each, shortly after their births. Really sentimental, sappy, "I love you so much and you are the most precious human being to ever exist" type letters that I read to them on every birthday, much to their delighted embarrassment.
posted by LadyBonita at 1:57 PM on August 17, 2008

Some of my kids' questions about their past have been less about them than about their surroundings at the time and the other people involved, such as "what did uncle brian say when I did that?" or "was it snowing then?"

I don't know what you are including in "documentation of the pregnancy" but my kids could not be less interested in their own fetal growth and development. I wish I had included "what I love about you" in my writings for them from the beginning. How fetal kid1 gave me the clearest skin I'd had since I hit puberty (thanks, kid!) and how fetal kid2 made me search out the most garlicky, peppery pickles I could find.

Maybe you could write about how beautiful your wife looks as junior grows, or about his cousins & extended family, or your job and what you love about it --- not just in relation to junior, but just as a snapshot of how things are in the world he's entering.
posted by headnsouth at 1:59 PM on August 17, 2008

Sort of related... My son was born mid March. My biggest regret was letting my wife talk me out of celebrating his birthday on April 1st every year until he was 21...
posted by cosmac at 2:15 PM on August 17, 2008 [5 favorites]

My boy loves to hear the story about the day he was born, but he came unexpectedly early so we have no pictures, video, etc ... as when we went to the hosptial that day, we thought we were going for a check up, not the delivery. Although you say you have documentation covered, I would routinely keep the video cam in my backpack just in case and be ready for the unplanned.
posted by monkeydluffy at 2:15 PM on August 17, 2008

I planted a fruit tree for each of the kids. I also had trees planted elsewhere to commemorate their births. A charitable donation was made in each child's name, each year to a child or family. I think about what I can plant in my garden that the children can enjoy eating to mark their time and memories. Right now, my 15 moth old, I hope, will equate summer with raspberries that I planted and give some to her each day during the season.

I hope to pull off a memory chest for each child. Composed of iconic things from the years of their lives. Right now, it is particular clothes that are seen in their child pictures; a particular loved toy.

I wish I could have done this, but a daily journal dedicated to each child from my perspective. Nothing big or important just a daily calendar marked with the events of the day and maybe a daily picture.
posted by jadepearl at 4:39 PM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

We got the 3D ultrasound mentioned above, which I'm glad we did.

Biggest thing though...started saving for her education. She's 2 now and we've got about $2000 saved, without busting our ass too hard to do it.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:34 PM on August 17, 2008

Congratulations, and congratulate me, too--my wife and I are also expecting in March! I've been thinking about this, too, and I'm glad you asked it here. The only thing I thought of so far was setting aside some money in a 20-year CD or something. I've started reading up on books, books, books! I had no idea the sheer tonnage of baby books out there. Get the knowledge in your head for when the kid comes and you (and I) can hit the ground running.
posted by zardoz at 9:38 PM on August 17, 2008

My mother did this with me: she read to me and recited math problems and other bits of information. I'm not sure if research backs it up, but it really let me excel academically. I'd also avoid baby-talk because children learn language from imitation and if you're not speaking proper English, it will take them longer to learn it.

Oh and I agree with both the wine and the savings account.
posted by thebreaks at 5:58 AM on August 18, 2008

Just moved and my son was loving reading the Baby Book before it was packed. He loves the photo albums, too. So document as much as possible.

I read to him before he was born, and wish I'd played more music.

I love the photo series (sorry, can't find an example) where there's a family photo in the same location or setup every single year.

I often write quite a bit in my son's birthday cards, and that provides a record, as well. I think it's nice for kids to have written documentation that they were cherished.

We have a "memory box" where especially important things are stored after they are outgrown, incl. some tiny socks, a favorite toy, the blanket my aunt knit. It's now 2 boxes. The wine is a very good idea.
posted by theora55 at 8:41 AM on August 18, 2008

Keep a copy of the newspaper from the day they were born. (If you forget to do this, you can usually buy them from the newspaper company later.)

Buy a TiVo for yourself. Seriously. This is the only way you'll get to watch the TV shows you want to watch.

Look into getting a Baby Nurse to stay the first week with you and help out with night changes / feeds, especially if you don't have friends or family staying over to help out. Or even if you do
posted by dudeman at 8:10 PM on August 18, 2008

I admittedly didn't read the above posts.

I'd buy a copy of every paper/magazine I could from the day of the birth.
posted by TheDukeofLancaster at 1:38 PM on August 19, 2008

I'd start a scrapbook and document each stage of the pregnancy. Take pictures frequently, keep mementos of any special trips or baby showers you have. My two year old loves looking at his scrapbook and I really enjoy creating a visual trail of his growth. I wish I had started it when I was pregnant.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:54 AM on August 21, 2008

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