24 July 2011 | Port Denarau, Fiji
...the baby belly is officially big enough that people feel comfortable asking when I'm due. I'm glad. I hated that feeling that people were looking at me wondering if I'd just been packing on a few pounds. Especially because I've been walking around without out my shorts buttoned for weeks and covering it with my tank top. I have officially switched to only wearing my cotton shorts with elastic bands in them. Luckily I have a number of them since they are what I do crossings in. They should get me through at least the next few weeks. I haven't found any maternity stores in Fiji. The tourist shops have a number of dresses that I could wear but I flat-out hate wearing dresses and the idea of heaving my growing belly wearing a dress in-and-out of the dinghy just isn't appealing at all. I'm sure I'd end up giving the whole anchorage a show. So for now I plan to stick with the cotton shorts and stretch this batch of Old Navy tank tops to the limit.
Mark and I have started to organize the stuff we plan to take home with us this round and I'm hoping it's going too be a lot so we can make some room for the baby. The good news is I won't be taking any clothes. Nothing will fit by the time I leave and most likely nothing will fit for a few months (or more) after the baby is born so no point in dragging it half-way around the world. I'll have lots of room in my luggage.
Last year we scanned all the manuals on the boat. It was a huge undertaking of 6 or 7 binders. It freed up a lot of space in the nav station area but we weren't ready to take them off the boat when we went home last August. We were worried we could have missed something but Mark hasn't needed to reference the binders at all. The digital copies have been great and this means that all the binders are going home with us this time and I will have the entire compartment under my bed free for whatever I choose. I probably will go through our clothes again. If I haven't worn it since we've been on the boat I'm probably not going to. And most likely by the time we move off the boat I won't want to wear it so I'll probably just give the stuff away. The big project for me is to decide what craft supplies are going to stay. Truth is I haven't used most of them. It's not that convenient since I have to pull everything out and put everything away and can't really leave projects sitting around to work on. So I haven't done much. But the idea of not having my stuff makes me sad. Plus with the baby coming I have a feeling I may just want to get crafty about some things. So I'll be going through what is currently 4 duffle bags of craft supplies to figure out what stays and what goes.
On the flip side I also have to figure out what will be coming back to the boat with us. I can tell you they'll be a lot of baby stuff I'm sure. I've been trying to research what babies need and what is nice to have and I'll tell you it isn't easy - Especially trying to keep the boat in mind. I know we'll need some type of stroller and it's all nice that there are websites that have reviews but none of them take into account living on a boat. No one says "oh this one would be easy to get in and out of a dinghy by yourself with a baby in your arms while the thing is bouncing around and moving away from the dock." So I think light and simple but that won't work on a lot of the gravel/dirt roads that many of these islands have. Granted we plan to be in Australia for the first year baby's life but we will probably be walking almost everywhere so it can't be flimsy. Then there is all the toys and educational stuff. Just because we have a limited amount of space doesn't mean I want baby to be deprived (okay maybe deprived isn't the right word I mean we will make sure the baby has everything it needs). It's all great that Mark and I can go digital with our books and entertainment. But we just can't do that with a child. They need to be touching and grabbing and exploring. We have the unique opportunity that both of us get to be with the child 24/7 and we need to be using that time to its fullest extent. So what are the best baby learning toys and games? Hell if I know. There are so many on the market I sure as heck can't bring them all back with me and buying a lot in Australia would be nuts since I know it's going to be much more expensive than buying stuff in the states. I do want to have a good range of stuff for the baby as it grows because once we leave Australia it could be a while again before we are in a place with stores that we can run and get something we are missing or would like to have. I also have a lot of stuff from when I was a kid - mostly books I'd like to have on the boat but I have a feeling they will be coming out of my storage unit and into grandma's house since there are definitely too many to bring to the boat. If you have kids and have any recommendations I'll take em.