When I first visited my OB, I received a welcome bag. It had a few pamphlets about first pregnancies, blah, blah, blah. Three-fourths of the bag contained advertisements for “stuff” the baby would “need.” The Babies R Us pamphlet teetered on top.
As I flipped through it, my eyes grew large and I handed it to my man. “Is she serious? Why is this even in here? Does she have stock in Babies R Us?”
Really? A baby “needs” all this s!@#? I mean, really? Who do you think I am? A 16-year old, naive kid who will buy everything people tell me I need? Part of me wanted to return the bag during my next appointment and ask for something actually helpful–please.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. I’m sure this is fun for many new mothers. The “nesting”, the “nursery”, and all these other bulls!@# words that we’re supposed to happily swallow.
I’m just not buying it. Any of it.
We’ve gathered the absolute essentials, and that’s it. Because it seems to me the baby market is just another target consumer market that lies to you telling you how much you need this and need that. If it were up to me, the baby would sleep in a drawer. And you know what? She wouldn’t even remember it when she hit 12. Babies have done it for years and the little thing would be just fine. But of course, the traditional father in the house won’t go along with all my ways, so give and take, right?
But I’ve had about three close friends tell me, if you have a bad back (or in my case my legs give out for no particular reason whenever they feel like it due to the nerve damage—they did it again this morning after a fairly strenuous swim and I fell directly into my driver’s seat–thank goodness) that a swing is a life-saver.
So, last weekend, we decided to go down to the Jacksonville baby consignment sale. And OMG. That’s the only word that comes to mind. OMG.
It ran for three days. We could only make it the last day due to my husband’s work schedule. I could have gone alone but I’m horrible at making important decisions on my own and I get amazingly overwhelmed by the decision in the first place, and so I waited until Saturday when he could get off work to go with me. We knew the place would be loaded with baby stuff, but we were only there for one thing—a swing. And Saturday was the last day meaning everything was 1/2 price off. I liked that too.
When we parked, I noticed many mothers with children in tow and couples walking out empty-handed. Hmm….that wasn’t a good sign.
When my husband walked (I waddled) through the door, a dad leaning against the wall with a kid in a stroller and holding a second baby greeted us with a smug grin as if he knew something we didn’t.
And then we entered the second door. The line to check out snaked around the entire room—women with babies on their hips and holding onto strollers, clutched tons of colorful, plastic toys or stacks of clothing. Tiny outfits hung neatly on tiny hangers circling the room. They didn’t end. EVER.
A baby cried as if someone was trying to kill it on the right side of the room. And on the left, a newborn cried nonstop as his grandmother danced with him in the aisle, which seemed to do NOTHING for the baby, though grandma seemed thoroughly entertained.
There were thousands of tiny shoes a baby might wear three times, stacks of books wrapped in rubber bands, toys that looked like junk—big, colorful and shiny, along with Ziploc bags full of plastic bottles. Twelve super expensive strollers stood at attention on the wooden dance floor across from one swing. ONE swing.
I didn’t even touch it. I stood there and gawked. Overpriced, full of colorful, hanging trinkets, and so small it could only be used for maybe a month, I certainly couldn’t picture a 4-month-old’s kicking legs fitting into it. My husband reached over and gave it a little push.
And you know what washed over me? Memories of the African women in Botswana along the roadside selling colorful rocks they’d found and handmade dolls they’d sewn.
They wore their barefoot babies, who kicked gleefully behind them, in colorful scarves. The toddlers ran close by sharing wooden blocks and playing with rocks, laughing and chasing one another with runny noses. Some of them wore cloth diapers, some wore nothing at all.
There were no onesies with clever sayings or matching shoes, no snug-fit-leak-proof Huggies. The tots didn’t play with colorful, plastic toys and peer at themselves in attached miniscule, distorted mirrors. There were no fluffy, name-brand strollers to push the kids through the rocky dirt. No convenient carriers to take from the car and clasp into the strollers. Not one baby sat in a clean, white bouncie or a swing, thoroughly entertained. And yet, I’d never seen happier kids.
The bright memory faded and my mind returned to the dimly lit room. The babies screamed and cried around us as the mothers rummaged through junk like it was Christmas Eve. The room appeared to grow smaller and I felt like Alice in Wonderland when she began to grow very tall and no longer fit through the door. I looked up at my husband with a face like this and whispered, “Let’s get out of here.”
The loaded-down-with-kids husband leaning against the wall smirked at us again on our way out. I wanted to throw something at him. We joined up with the masses that filed out of the building, empty-handed, who no doubt simply refused to wait in that line.
I had to go to the bathroom at least twice in that small amount of time and when I emerged the last time, I found my patient husband waiting on a bench for me. Tears sprung to my eyes. “That was a 45 minute drive for nothing. We came all this way—for nothing. I feel like I wasted your day off,” I told him.
He smiled that warm, wonderful smile of his. “Are you kidding?” he responded. “I get to spend today with you. I don’t care what we do. I’ve been out at sea and haven’t been able to spend any time with you for weeks. I couldn’t be happier.”
Out of habit, I reached up and fluffed my flat bangs, thinking how ugly my hair was now that the color was growing out. I hated that he had to come home to me ugly with a basketball sticking out of my shirt and uncolored roots. As if he read my mind, he reached over and gave me a kiss, placing his hand gently on my protruding belly. “You’re beautiful. I like your hair,” he said, out of nowhere.
How IN THE WORLD did I get so lucky, right?
We walked out without a swing, hand in hand, and enjoyed a wonderful day together searching for a car seat and eating breakfast for lunch. And I decided he was right.
I’d let the baby sleep in something other than a drawer. 🙂
- An imperfectly perfect day. (itsclassified.wordpress.com)
- Sleeping Arrangements (threewildthings.wordpress.com)
- Ruined (airheadblog.wordpress.com)
- What To Expect When Your Friend Is Expecting (daffodilsanddishwater.wordpress.com)
- British Man Builds Homemade Stroller. Top Speed: 50 Miles Per Hour. (cheezburger.com)
- Baby wearing vs Stroller (mamasbagoftricks.blogspot.com)