I didn’t get to register for a wedding, but, as a girl who loves to shop, I always imagined getting that little scanner gun and zapping my way through a store would be wonderful. So when I first found out I was pregnant, the idea of finally going into a baby store to choose things for my own child seemed like a dream come true.
Mid-way through my first trimester, I walked into one of the larger baby chain stores. Outside the store, I trilled with excitement. Inside, I instantly felt nauseous. Maybe it was my usual bout of afternoon ‘morning’ sickness or the fact I’d come from work and was tired and hungry, but after just one aisle, all I wanted to do was run out of there screaming. And I did, well, minus the screaming; I kept that in my head. Maybe it was a little too early to think about baby gear.
By trimester two, though, I was ready to try again. After all, eventually I would want to register for and/or buy at least the basics before baby was born. So on a bleak, foggy day in early December that reminded me eerily of the opening scene in A Christmas Carol just before four creepy specters arrive to terrify Scrooge, I entered the overwhelming world of baby gear once again. And once again I wanted to cry, or vomit, or both. What was it about the sight of onesies that induced such a gut-wrenching reaction? It’s a humbug I tell you!
Seeing aisles of products I couldn’t name, never mind know what to do with had made me panic—twice. How much of this crap did I need? Who’s going to show me how to use it? What if I pick something unsafe? How much is this all going to cost? All these thoughts raced through my already exhausted pregnant mind, leaving me with one conclusion: I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, and therefore both the baby and I were obviously as doomed as Scrooge’s unredeemable soul.
After a snack, a nap, and a chat with a pregnant co-worker nearing the end of her pregnancy, I realized this reaction was relatively normal, although perhaps a bit exaggerated by hormones, hunger, and the fact I’d been teaching A Christmas Carol long enough that I was beginning to have it memorized. Logic returned, somewhat, and I turned to my third favorite resource—after food and friends and family—books, but no more Dickens.
With a hand-me-down copy of Baby Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields, I set out to conquer the challenge of choosing baby gear from the safety and security of my own home. For a couple weeks I spent my evenings reading through one section of the book at a time while constantly checking online for prices, pictures, and further reviews. In my pajamas, without the bright fluorescent lights and towering aisles of gadgets and gear, I was actually having fun thinking about using these things with my little one.
While it was still super early, I even began adding things to a registry online. There was no way I was going to remember all the information later, and since I wouldn’t likely be sharing my choices for months, there was no stress; I could change mind at any time. By the final chapter I felt like I had a handle on the most important things I’d actually need, all things I had heard of and do know what to do with (in theory). Turns out a lot of the other stuff flooding the store shelves are niceties that most babies and parents don’t actually need. And while the logical part of my mind knew this, seeing it on paper was a major relief.
The Ghost of Baby-Yet-to-Come was far less scary with his hood off and realities exposed. I was not doomed to fail at motherhood because I had never seen an apparatus to suck snot with my mouth out of an infant’s nose. (Yeah, I know moms love these things, and I’ll probably be one of them some day, but really?) And for now it is enough to know I’ll need some bottles, and that there are many kinds out there if my little man turns out to be fussy about his favorite. I don’t need to stress before ever meeting him what kind that is.
So later this week I will once again venture into the baby super store. This time I’ll be ready and armed with a mostly completed registry, a dash of knowledge, some much needed perspective, and, most importantly, an experienced best friend or two. Bring it, Babies R Us!
If you have your own registering advice or stories, please share!
Photo credit: Kalinovsky