Saturday, March 17, 2012

Helping Out

I spent this morning at Babies 'R' Us.  The other night my cousin Lori asked if I might be interested in helping her good friend Mandy populate her baby registry.  She wanted the experience of a real mom.  God knows I would have loved that when I did it.  My registry experience was less than blissful.  You can read the post on it here.  I remember two other shopping trips--one with my mom early on, during which she marveled at the insane amount of stuff available these days, and another with Lori which may have been a refinement trip.  That trip with Craig was pretty awful because it was so overwhelming.  I had a list of advice from my cousin's wife to help me, along with Babies 'R' Us' list of suggestions.  It's hard to know what you'll really need, what will work for your baby, and how many you might need.  I think some of my panic came from a concern about how able I'd be to go pick up things we needed once the baby arrived.  I didn't want to be trapped at home and have to send Craig to pick up something, as he doesn't always have the best instincts with things like that...judging, at least, by the multiple phone calls I get when he does a rare grocery run for me.  He tries, but...yeah.

I pretty much felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown in the middle of the store.  I'm not a decisive person as it is, so putting me in a situation like that (particularly while hormonal) was a recipe for disaster.  At the time I compared the experience of a wedding registry vs. a baby registry.  For a wedding registry, you're just getting stuff that you want.  For a baby registry, you're getting stuff that will provide your baby a comfortable existence in the world.  Maybe it's partly to make the parents' life a little more comfortable, too, but it's certainly a different vibe.  I wanted to make the right decisions to ensure we had what we needed and guided people in the right direction to make sure they spent their gift-buying money on the important stuff.  Not that we weren't grateful for everything, but I wanted to make sure we weren't going to be running out at the last minute picking up sheets or bottles or onesies because we didn't get them at any of our showers.  It took a lot of planning and coordination, but it all worked out in the end.  We were still running to the store for various items and exchanging duplicates for months, but we had the vast majority of what we needed by the time Jacob came.

Anyway, this time around it was definitely different.  I was the one "in the know", offering up advice and recalling my experiences.  Some memories came flying back, while others were harder to recall (when did we have to start giving Jacob vitamins, anyway?).  It was interesting to see how the product selection differed.  In some cases there were cool new offerings, like a diaper bag with direct wipes access, 5-second rectal thermometer, car seat handle cushion, a standard high chair that converts to a travel seat and booster, a baby tub with a base that converts to a stool, or a bathtub spout guard with storage on either side.  In other cases there were improvements in the offerings, like better variety packs of feeding products, better prints on linens, or more compact pack-n-plays.  In some cases, the offerings weren't as good.  They didn't have the burp cloths I liked, and the Diaper Champ was nowhere to be found.

It was an interesting throwback to my experience, but it felt good to have a little more knowledge this time around.  It actually excites me for when we have another, to be able to upgrade some items and buy a few key things to enhance what we already have.  Of course, things could be seriously different next time around, but at least we'll have the option of trying what we have and narrowing down the selections if we need something different. 

I was a little nervous about how it might feel to be among a large number of pregnant women, but it wasn't bad.  I mean, I definitely had moments where I was longing to be one of them.  There was a grandma there holding her seven-week-old granddaughter, who was SO tiny despite the fact that she was over nine pounds at birth!  That baby was so sweet and it made me wistful for the tiny baby stage.  I know it's not easy, but oh, is it ever special.  I thought back to my little basketball belly and all the excitement it created.  I was so happy for all of those mamas-to-be, though, and perhaps the jealousy was tempered by the fact that we're not officially trying right now (Disney hiatus is still on until at least June, I think), so I'm not in the throes of frustration with my cycle and negative pregnancy tests.  I'm in a weird limbo where there may be a problem but there's no mounting evidence so it's just staying out of sight, out of mind for now.  Most of the time. 

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