It may seem a bit premature to be thinking about the post partum period, but nothing could be further from the truth! I've written, long ago, about some ideas for this time after the baby. I thought I would just write about my plans for after this baby's arrival.
I will say, with my olders getting older, the post partum time gets easier. At least, after Aubrey, we didn't have what looked to be a tornado having gone through our house, like the 6 post partums before him. I am convinced it is because everyone is older and able to help more. I suppose it had nothing to do that I threatened life and limb should I find the house in such an order when I was back on my feet :-) No, no, I am sure that had nothing to do with it.
This time around, since we are trying to catch up on schooling, I will probably have a simple schedule that gives each child some schooling time, to at least keep up with the basics after the first week of the baby's arrival. I won't be writing that up for another two months as I want to see how Jed and Jonah are doing in their daily school to see what the girls will be able to handle, and what I will be able to handle. It would be easy to give a phonics lesson as I sit and nurse the newborn, for example.
We are still having some issues with chores getting done when they are supposed to get done. I've made up some consequences for those times, but right after I made them up I got sick. And then sick again. And, well, needless to say I have yet to institute the new system, though I have no doubt it will be key in getting things done when they need to. After the baby is born I will not be able to go around inspecting, and watching over to make sure everything got done as it should. And I can tell you it is the little things that go undone that really, really add up after a few days to make my house a wreck. Since I am starting to finally feel better I plan on getting on top of this issue NOW, so as to make our time after baby go much more smoothly.
Having some new activities to do can really go a long way as well. Simple things like a new coloring book, or board game. I think I will try to find a couple of new card games for the girls to try out. The boys really enjoy some of the learning books I've made them in the past. I may try to make up a couple of new ones for them. With this baby coming on the heels of Christmas and Aubrey's birthday, finances will be tight. So I need to come up with cheap ideas :-)
I've written on the importance of having meals made up in advance. This makes SUCH a HUGE difference in those hectic evenings with a newborn. You are recovering physically, possibly emotionally, caring for a needy newborn, still having to manage the household, and keeping up with the other kiddos, that the thought of having to plan out dinner come 5 PM??!!!??? Just NOT happening, at least not with ease. So I've pulled out my pen and paper and have been planning our meals that will be at the ready for this special time. I basically plan for a whole months worth of meals. Yes, that is a lot. Which is why I start now. I need to start buying ingredients each pay period so as to not try to buy one months groceries in one paycheck.
This year will be a wee bit different since we are still on modified GAPS. Though, I do have a few items that will be made with sprouted wheat, since who can deny the ease of pulling out a muffin to snack on :-) I am hoping that by then, with all the ferments I will be adding to our diet soon, we will be able to handle those without issue. I have a lot of items I plan on canning this year, due to our need of precooked beans and meats. I do plan on freezing some precooked meats as well, but nothing beats opening a jar and throwing in your needed meat, without having to wait for it to defrost. Without a microwave, defrosting means having to plan ahead, and I am trying to avoid such scenarios in the post partum period.
Here is my meal plan that I have been working on:
Salads (taco, chicken, bean, etc.)
pita sandwiches (egg, hummus, tuna, etc.)
soups (stew, chicken/squash/beef tomato)
spaghetti beans and rice
chicken and black beans over rice
baked beans and corn bread
beef cubes with gravy over rice
black beans and rice
Some of the above are not meant to be made ahead of time, like oatmeal, eggs and popcorn. But this will all be put on a posted list so everyone knows what options we have. Some items, like chili will be frozen in it's finished state, while others, like black beans and rice will not. I will probably can some black beans, and have a jar of 'black beans and rice seasoning' made up. The rice will be frozen in the quantities we need for each meal. So some assembly will be required, but for all of those, my girls are capable of doing so if I am unable to. They would just need to set out the rice to thaw as they warm up the black beans and seasonings in a pan.
I also plan on jarring (not canning) up a bunch of ferments. The great thing about fermented foods is that they keep well for months in the fridge. And, though they are easy to make, there is a bunch of slicing/dicing/chopping to be had with some of them. So some will be made in their fullness, like sauerkraut, kimchi and salsa, while others will be done partially. For example, I plan on fermenting some garlic to be added to our hummus. Hummus can be made on the fly if the chickpeas are precooked and canned. The kefir will need to be made daily, though one of the older girls can handle that, since kefir is so easy to make. The kombucha only needs to be made weekly, and again, an older girl can accomplish this task. The only issue will be to remind them that it needs to be made :-)
I still have to find someone who can be here for the kids when I am in labor. Though Isabella and Moira can babysit, they want to see the baby being born. So we need another helper to be here to watch the others who do not wish to see the grand entrance of their new sibling.
As far as the items I need on hand after the baby is born? Well, those seem to get more simplified with each child I have :-) It is funny to me to think of what I *thought* I needed after my first was born! I am sure you've all seen those lists of 'needed' items. But we keep it simple. Really simple. A car seat, some clothing and diapers/wipes, the baby bathtub (we've had for years and years), our noise maker, and a baby carrier/wrap. I think that is it! We have a ton of newborn clothing for a girl or boy. Though I do worry about the quality of the baby girl clothing since it has been in storage for 9 years! Oh my. Since we don't have temperature control storage things tend to start to deteriorate after a time. The last time I went through the clothing (2 years ago) I had to throw out some items since they didn't withstand the elements (heat and cold). But I am confident that there will be enough to see us through should we be blessed with a girl.
Those are my plans. All the prep work will definitely pay off, though I am wondering how I am going to fit it all in, in the here and now :-)