New baby brings lifestyle changes

Friday, November 16, 2007 | 3:13 p.m. CST; updated 3:23 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 7, 2008

Editor’s note: Jake Sherlock and his wife Jenny are expecting their first child in March, and they’ve chosen to share their challenges and experiences in this column. Look for it periodically here.

Jenny is in her 23rd week of pregnancy, and life is really starting to change around the old homestead.

Despite the fact that she’s actually dropped four pounds in the last two weeks (the doctors say this is OK), Jenny’s womb continues to swell as our baby girl gets bigger. We’re going in for ultrasounds every two weeks now, and so far the doctors like what they see. In a month, those ultrasounds will become weekly.

Jenny is often worn out. She’s going to bed as early as 8 p.m. some nights. And when she gets tired, it’s sudden. One minute she’ll be her bright, sunny self; the next, she’s Sleeping Beauty.

Despite the fatigue, Jenny is juggling as many balls as she ever has. She’s still working on her criminal justice degree at Columbia College; she just started a new job; and she’s been busy getting the nursery ready. Not bad for someone growing a whole other person inside of herself.

Jenny’s current task is finding new heater vents for the floor in the nursery. The old ones have to go for two reasons: They’re too much of a safety hazard, and they clash horribly with the pink paint job Jenny recently completed. One wall is a brighter pink while the other three are a lighter shade. It’s like a Barbie Dream House in there. The giant pink unicorn I found while grocery shopping at Aldi on Monday night is an excellent compliment to the pink ambiance.

Jenny has also been playing carpenter with the crib we purchased at an antique mall. The railings were further apart than current crib regulations, so Jenny got some dowel rods and added more. Then she went through and painted the crib white, which matches the new dresser she found at a different antique mall (she’s quite the bargain shopper).

While Jenny has been nesting, I’ve been playing accountant with our finances. Our baby is going to need day care, and we’re realizing that our vehicle situation isn’t the most baby-friendly.

The back seat in my pickup might not hold a baby seat; we still have to get an inspection. The stereo system is great for a heavy-metal madman, but it’s hardly practical for an infant. Meanwhile, Jenny’s Toyota Camry is 17 years old. Because we’ll likely take turns dropping off and picking up the baby at day care, we both need something the baby can ride in. What’s more, we also need something that can handle 1,600-mile road trips to visit the baby’s grandparents.

I recently brought up the idea of getting a minivan. I’ve driven my mother-in-law’s before, and I really like the roominess and cargo space. It handles well and is good on gas, too.

Jenny put the kibosh on that quick. She’d rather drive a crossover, a Volkswagen Beetle or a sedan. Really, anything but a minivan, though she has pointed out that the new Beetles are surprisingly roomy. She was also quick to point out that I promised a long time ago that I’d never make her drive a minivan.

I don’t remember this exact promise, but it does sound like something I’d say. I used to have the same feelings about minivans as my wife: They’re for soccer moms and NASCAR dads, and we’re way cooler than that.

But, like a lot of other things around the old homestead, my mind is changing. I think I can handle trading in my pickup for a minivan – as long as I can transfer my stereo system.

Jake Sherlock is a news editor at the Columbia Missourian. E-mail him at

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