A couple of weekends past, Partner and I went to register. We have an upcoming shower, and the invitations were already out indicating where we were registered, but the thing is, we weren't. Registered. At any of those places, so on a sunny Sunday afternoon we set off to the big baby store. As we pulled into the lot, we looked at each other with wide eyes. "Are we really going in there to shop for us?" Partner asked me. "We're not buying for someone else?" I smiled. This was going to be fun!
And then we pulled into the "stork" parking. Previously I had parked there and defied anyone to challenge me, but this time we just grinned at each other as we pulled in. Yes, certainly, we were in for a fun afternoon. I was armed with the Baby Bargain book, requisite highlights and all.
We sat down in plush chairs and listened to the very pregnant women guide us through the registration process. She handed over the scanner. We beamed. Here we go
, I thought.
We started at the breast pumps, which everyone has assured us no one will actually buy for us. No matter-- we'd put it on the list anyway. We scanned the top (dollar) choice. And then we wondered what else we needed. Breast pads? Soothing pads? Shields? More bottles? Warmers? Coolers? Shit. This wasn't so easy. Moving on. Bottles and nipples. How many were enough? What was the correct size? Did we really need that many since I'm planning on keeping the kid at the boob for as long as possible? But we were going to want to go out sometimes...Okay. Next aisle. Baby monitors. Easy enough. Or not. That one has only one monitor. Did we want multiple monitors? For both of us? How far was the kitchen from the bedroom? (Nevermind that because our house is a very open plan, we can talk to each other from pretty much anywhere in the house and hear each other with no problems, whatsoever
, we were still very concerned about the multiple monitor issue.) Was the monitor going to interfere with the cordless phones? Could we make it to the mailbox and have the monitor still work? Why were we even asking that question? As if we'd walk to the mailbox and leave the Cricket in the house alone?
Let's just say, we didn't move very fast. We had to get every baby tub out and simulate washing a babe in it. We had to wax about whether it would be comfortable for the kid or us or both. We had to press our hands into the spongey backs and make verdicts about how irritating they might feel. We had to smell baby products. I was tired and we weren't even through one eighth of the store yet.
Then we got to car seats. And shit. We'd skip those for now. We just hadn't done enough research. And we couldn't figure out how to get them out of their bases. Or adjust any of the damn straps. We were now not just tired, we were frustrated too. Which is not a good place to go as you venture further into baby-store-hell.
Strollers: I made the mistake (or inspired action) of telling Partner which of the strollers were hot European models. And thinking that perhaps I was only one who might fall prey to trendy baby gear, I thought she'd steer us opposite of the high priced models. Not a chance. Immediately she had the Peg Perego down and was wheeling it through the store. I noted that I hadn't read the stroller section of the Baby Bargains book yet either, so maybe we should wait. "Okay," she conceded, "But I think I'll just push it around a little more." I observed that perhaps other people at the store wanted to see that stroller and she shouldn't hog it. This didn't phase my usually altruistic partner a bit. It came with us to the pack-and-play aisle. It stayed with us while we tried on Bjorns. It tripped me up as she wheeled past me. It annoyed the living shit out of me. It dawned on me she didn't want other couples to see the stroller so they wouldn't register for it.
We tried on the Bjorns. Is it possible to be too fat to wear a Bjorn? I was uncomfortable. It felt like there was no room to put a baby in the baby part of the Bjorn. All my images of carrying that kid around in the Bjorn were evaporating in a fat-panic attack. And why were there so many choices of Bjorns? Okay. We wouldn't register for that either. I was not having fun. No siree, Bob. This was not fun.
Soon after this, I knocked a baby bouncy seat and it started playing music I couldn't turn off. I pushed every button I could find. Nothing. If anything it was getting louder. Partner wheeled up to me with the stroller. "Is that
the one you like?" she asked.
"No. I hate this fucking thing. I can't fucking turn it off." This elucidated a few stares from other browsers.
"Here, hold this," she said as she pushed the stroller toward me. She proceeded with no avail. Somehow the two of us poking at it made it stop. And then I told her to put back the damn stroller.
"How do I know if I like it if you won't let me push it around?" (She'd been pushing it around for a good fifteen or twenty minutes at this point.)
"Just. Put. It. Back," I said through clenched teeth. And just as the Bjorns put me over the edge, this must have been what did it for her. When she came back, and we were inspecting swings, she nearly broke one taking off the shelf and when she couldn't get it to swing the way it said it did, I felt we were on the edge of a very very bad moment. It was possible that soon we were going to be barred from the baby store.
We wheeled past diaper bags, and Partner wanted to know why we couldn't just use a backpack. I snarled at her. We dismissed every crib in the store. We questioned, when faced with baby bedding, our decision not to find out the baby's sex because everything was so damn gendered. Finally, we collapsed into the rockers for parents, each of us declaring our respective chair was the most comfortable chair ever made. We could have been on a bed of nails and it would have been a relief. Clearly we were on overload and after emptying our bladders, we came back together as a couple.
"We need to get out of here," I said to her. "We need to get out of here fast," she agreed. Finally we were back on couple wavelength, agreeing about something rather than arguing the merits of a separate bag made just to carry diapering materials.
We ended up at Target, which felt a little better than the Baby Store Hell, and then came home to do some online crap too. I have never been so tired. Registering for our commitment ceremony was fun. We spent hours with the scanner at our respective stores. We went out for drinks afterwards. We agreed about everything. But this baby stuff felt more high stakes. I could never set foot in a baby store again and be happy.
We still haven't decided on a stroller. We don't have a co-sleeper on our list. There's no crib out there I like. (Why is every cute crib a convertible? I don't want a convertible.) I'm debating the merits of buying a stroller online I haven't (or more to the point, Partner hasn't) even pushed around. Is this a really stupid idea? How much is too much to pay for a stroller? What if we get it and hate it? I need some serious help with the stroller. (I think I like the Peg Perego A3, but is this ridiculous amounts of money for a stroller? Shit. Maybe don't tell me if you think it is, because I think this is the one, but I haven't seen it in person even, only the Pilko, which seemed nice enough too. At this rate, we'll be lucky to have a stroller by the time the kid is five.)
I am six months pregnant and feel no more ready for this than I did when we got the first positive beta test. I'm self soothe telling myself all we really need is a car seat to get the kid home in, and other than that, it's all about the breast and diapers.
And love. Of course, love, the only thing I don't worry about providing and the only thing we don't have to register for.