Babies R Expensive

Another indication that my life is beginning to change drastically: spring break trips are to Jackson, MS to sew nursery stuff, instead of Orange Beach or Destin. And I’m ok with that. My mom met me in Jackson, and along with my grandmother, we’ve been working on decorating Gracie’s nursery.

The majority of the time has been spent working on the bumper pads. Bumper pads are the Obamacare of nursery items. Apparently they can cause SIDS, so they’re outlawed in Chicago and all of the baby magazines have taken a stand in not showing bumper pads in any of their features. But, they’re super cute and the crib just doesn’t look right without them. So we made them, and I’ll put them up when I post pictures and then take them down once Gracie gets here. At least that’s the current plan. I’m sure there is a Tea Party website that promotes bumper pads, and if Rand Paul writes an article about how they’re safe, I’ll probably keep them up.

The other reason for the trip to Jackson was to register at Babies R Us. I ran in this past weekend to grab some cloth diapers for a Pinterest project and barely made it out alive. I’ve never seen so many unhappy men in one place, unless you count the fine china department of Belk at a charity sale event.

I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to go in there by myself again, so Mom came along and we met one of my best friends with her six-month old daughter at the store off Lakeland on Monday. Ashley and I were roommates in college, maid/matron of honors in each other’s weddings, and she’s gone through all the major life changes (wedding, babies, etc) before I have, so I get to mooch off all her hard-earned wisdom when I start each stage now.

Since it was a Monday, daycares were in session so it was blissfully quiet in the store when we walked in. I stood for a moment at the entrance, hypnotized by the huge expanse of first-world, consumer-driven baby crap. To my immediate left were Disney-themed bath wraps and to my right were rows upon rows of miniature girl outfits that looked like fashion collaborations between Miss Piggy and Boy George.

We sat down at the concierge desk to get the gun (I love the gun) and while the clerk was looking up my registry, Ashley tried to distract me from the impending task by asking if I had felt Gracie move lately. I was in the middle of my elaborate story about an E.T. finger-to-finger touching moment I had with my daughter when I looked over to see the clerk staring at me; her fingers poised above the keyboard with the most bizarre look on her face. Apparently she doesn’t hear many mothers compare their children in-utero to a Spielberg alien.

“WelcometoBabiesRUsRegistry.Hereisyourregistryscanner.Pleasescanallbarcodesontheactualproductnotthepricetag.Dontregisterforclothesbecausepeoplebuyyouthosenanyway.Wesuggestyouleavetheinfantcarelastbecauseit’sscaryashecksostartwiththefurniturefirst. Hereisacomplimentarybottleofwater. Congratsonyourbaby.”

The bottle of water threw my off guard for a moment. I know I need to stay hydrated, but was registering for baby items so tiring that I would need to drink in order to survive to the end? Surely not.


We were thankfully able to ignore the furniture, because my husband’s mother saved his crib, changing table, and chest of drawers (hallelujah for large attics). Our first stop was the swaddling area. Ashley swears by a brand called Aiden and Anais, and they have a lower-cost version called Aiden (Anais is a little snobby, I suppose). These swaddling clothes claim to regulate body temperature— I had no idea I was giving birth to a reptile.

I soon found out why the water was necessary. In order to scan an item onto the registry, you have to find the printed barcode from the manufacturer, which invariably is on the bottom of the product. Not a big deal when it’s diaper wipes and blankets. Kind of a big deal when you’re 26 weeks pregnant and wrestling a 60 pound box out of a shelf. I may have chosen a car seat based solely on the accessibility of a barcode. I think it has a shoulder strap. It may have just been a training potty in the wrong section of the store. At that point I didn’t really care.

We took the clerk’s advice and finished up in the infant care section. There is an entire wall, stocked floor to ceiling, of bottles and pacifiers. Each one has a different shaped nipple and according to experienced mothers and marketing campaigns, each child prefers only one type, but you have to buy all of them in order to figure out which one. I have a hard time believing that a child who can’t lift its own head can have a preference for a bottle. You either eat or you don’t, little one, so welcome to the real world. Alas, I am the rookie,and I’m sure that I will be throwing every bottle on the market at my child at 3 am in the morning. The bottle I use, according to various packaging, can change my child’s future. If I use the cheap ones, my child will have colic, burp a lot, be generally unhappy, and will never be on the Dean’s List in college. The only problem was that each bottle only fixed one thing— like buying shampoo, you can only get moisturizing, volumizing, or smoothing, not all three– so I could choose to have the “happy baby” bottle, but I would risk giving her colic, or I could choose the “easy bedtime” bottle, but I could risk giving her gas.

We ended our adventure in the neccessary-but-not-really aisle (alas, isn’t that the entire store?!). Ashley showed me two products that blew my mind. One was a straw/tube that you inserted one end into the baby’s nose -and I swear I’m not making this up– and you sucked the other end, pulling the buggers out of your child’s nose. Another was some contraption that you stuck in your child’s rear end that PULLED the gas out of their bowels. WHAT?!

So, my registering is over. Seeing the bugger hose brought me back to reality and helped me remember that I can raise a child perfectly well without 99% of what the store was telling me that I HAD to have or I was an evil person. But I wouldn’t be nearly as scared if I had baby wipe warmer.

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