Sometimes they arrive at a trickle: a box waiting on the porch when I get home from a puggle walk or a gift bag from a friend when we meet for lunch. Other times it's a deluge, like this weekend when I went to MA for my first shower. A car packed to the brim with boxes and bags and a long drive home full of "Bruschi, that rattle is NOT for you. Leave it!"
As the piles of baby stuff and my twin belly grow, the growth takes on new meaning: this is real. Soon the Schmidtlets will be sitting in those seats, wearing those clothes.
It occurs to me, this whole process of being spoiled rotten/stuff accumulation is a lot like planning a new book and getting to know the characters and the world.
Sometimes facts come slowly – they pop up by surprise – but instead of a FedEx man at the door, it's a moment of Wow, my heroine's hair is curly or my hero used to be studly jock, but he's not anymore. I add these to my character profiles where facts accumulate in piles, while I try to figure out if they're significant – and, yes, curly hair IS important in my WIP – or even if they're true.
Knowledge also comes in a flash flood; I'll wake up with a scene fully formed in my mind, or come back from a swim with a major plot point resolved.
In both instances, I'm forever changing my mind. Bumpo seat? Baby pod? Neither? I read reviews, ask advice from mothers and add and remove these items from my registry. With writing, there's the same vacillation. The include and delete. Rewrites. The long e-mails to CP's and bracketed comments of [cut this? Or amp up? Ahhh! Decide later!]
But neither process is overnight – and they aren't to be rushed. I want those Schmidtlets to stay just where they are for a few months yet. They're not ready and I'm not ready for them either. (Um, cribs… we need to get those).
My WIP's not ready either. We're still getting to know each other. The better I understand my characters, the more realistic they'll be on paper. Real people are many-faceted, and the most realistic and resonant characters I've read have been equally complicated.
Getting to know them isn't logical, sequential or predictable either. Just like with the baby presents, I can make a list of the things I need, or in writing's case, need to know (appearance, history, motivations, desires), but it's often the unexpected facts and gifts that are the most meaningful.
So my world is being invaded with swaddling blankets and itsy-bitsy onesies. With personality quirks and characters' favorite expressions. My house is full and my mind is busy. I'm making sure my laptop isn't buried beneath bassinets or baby slings and trying not to confuse plot post-its with thank you notes.
I know life's about to get crazier, but when I look around at the Infestation of Adorable or stop and reflect upon my WIP, all I can do is smile and whisper a thank you that I'm blessed with such rewarding chaos.