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Preparing the Baby Room Frizington

The birth of a grandchild can bring about the "3 Rs" of change: renewal, reunion and sometimes, relocation. It's what caused our daughter and son-in-law to move from California to Massachusetts three years ago when their first daughter was born.

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Preparing the Baby Room

The birth of a grandchild can bring about the “3 Rs” of change: renewal, reunion and sometimes, relocation. It’s what caused our daughter and son-in-law to move from California to Massachusetts three years ago when their first daughter was born.

“We want Isabella to know her grandparents,” said my daughter Star.

For years, I had campaigned for her to live closer, but to no avail. And now my dream was coming true.  (You can’t underestimate the power of a free babysitter.)

Like me, my husband, David, couldn’t wait to get his “grandpaws” on the baby, and he insisted they move in with us until they found a home of their own.

Grandpa-to-be looked forward to a baby in the house, delighted at the prospect of an “instant family.” He imagined Isabella someday hopping onto his lap to watch action movies with him – no fuss, no muss and no changes to our routine.

My dear, good-hearted David — previously divorced and childless, he had no idea about the radical, all-encompassing, 20-mule team changes that a household undergoes when a wee one moves in.

But I knew that the physical lay of the land would transform a la “The Matrix.” Perhaps the subject of an extra room for the baby would be a gentle way to break him in.

Me: “Isabella will need a separate nursery.”
Him: “What? Why can’t the baby sleep in the same room as her parents?”

Me: “Their room will be too small for all of them.” 
Him: “But where will our visitors sleep?”

I stopped stirring the soup to stare at him. When three people move in and one of them is in nappies, it’s goodbye to houseguests. But I simply said, “Oh, they’re going to need an extra room for all the things for the baby anyway.”

David said, “How much stuff can a little baby have?”

I imagined a playpen and a field of toys. I envisioned a high chair, the floor littered with Cheerios. I could hear the washer and dryer going 24/7. The vision of a Johnny-Jump-Up hanging from the doorway to our formal dining room made me laugh out loud.

But I said nothing more than, “Well, quite a bit of stuff, actually.”
That alone unnerved him. When a man is shell-shocked, it’s best to perform triage, allow for recovery time, and above all, offer hope, so I said, “Oh, there’s plenty of time. We can work it out.”

That’s code talk for “you’ll adjust.”

That night, we talked about all the happiness ahead in the coming year. The relocation of “the kids” will coincide with a New England summer. Then we’ll revel in autumn leaves and, wow, won’t it be great to have a real family Thanksgiving this year? Just imagine little Isabella’s first Christmas. Sigh.

Suddenly, David said, “The kids should feel welcome, so let them have the entire upstairs. What the heck.”

He stared off, all aglow in Norman Rockwell scenes. I surveyed the living room and mentally ticked off a to-do list: baby gates, wall socket protectors, kitchen cabinet locks and gee, I should find a way to pad these coffee table corners.

I smiled and nodded. The entire upstairs – well, that’s a good start for now.

E-mail Suzette Standring at suzmar@comcast.net. She is the author of “The Art of Column Writing: Insider Secrets from Art Buchwald, Dave Barry, Arianna Huffington, Pete Hamill and Other Great Columnists.” Visit http://www.readsuzette.com.

author: By Suzette Martinez Standring