After some more serious shopping trips, some very kind gifts, and the arrival of the one new piece of furniture we've ordered (a glider for nursing), we are getting a lot closer to being ready for the baby's arrival with regard to stuff. The world of baby stuff is weird and fascinating and sometimes overwhelming: unsurprisingly, I guess, companies realize that new parents are a) clueless shoppers and b) anxious and therefore looking to control what they can (you can't control your baby's heart rate, but you can get it a highly recommended car seat!). The combination results in exposure to intense directed marketing campaigns selling stuff we had no idea existed.
All is well with little [fathead], however. In the latter stages of pregnancy, there's not as much to report: the baby is now (in theory) a viable little creature spending its time fattening itself up for birth; broadly speaking, height comes before weight in the process. Carolyn is growing more obviously pregnant, so strangers have started asking when she's due, and when we were in Perry, IA over the weekend I noticed a middle-aged woman break into a huge smile as we walked by. I couldn't figure out why at first, and then I remembered our new mother friend Emily talking about those unprompted smiles in the third trimester--and how she got used to them, so now walking around in public without the baby, she finds the plain old looks of strangers disappointing. Maybe the lesson is that we should all try, in unthreatening well-lighted places, to smile crazily at strangers once in a while.