Ginbom's thoughts on George and Amal's baby news.
Hundreds of books have been written about babies, toddlers and sleep. You may even own one, or seven of them. You may have been asked to read one by your partner at two in the morning, when you thought you were being extra helpful by suggesting a transition into the crib before dawn. You may have even skimmed said book on a flight from Minneapolis to Laguardia, somewhere in-between binges of Homeland and the crack-laden Delta cookies they doll out. The Happiest Baby on the Block, The Ferber Method, The Cry it Out Book for Horrible Parents who will Definitely Scar Their Children, Turning them into Sociopathic Serial Killers, the list goes on and on. I can’t forget my all-time favorite, The No Cry Sleep Solution, which is actually a book for kinder, more gentle and morally superior parents at the end of their delirious ropes, who refuse to entertain the cry it out option. It’s the sleep book equivalent of your kid’s loose, dangling tooth that just needs a little tug so you can be on your merry way, but you just can’t bring yourself to yank it. This book should come with a forward that includes suggestions for family therapists and divorce lawyers within a two-mile radius. A disclaimer is necessary, a warning that your significant other might be sleep deprived and crazy enough to say sweet and reassuring things like “don’t even think about touching my nipples ever again.” This particular book should come strapped to a box of wine on wheels with a reusable funnel.
All of this sleep stuff isn’t simple, it’s certainly not easy, like almost all things parenting. There is not a one size fits all onesie for sleep. So why do we torture ourselves over a stage that will ultimately be a bleary-eyed blip on the radar? Because we can’t help ourselves, that’s why. All of us have that one friend whose kid sleeps seven to seven like clockwork, would sleep through an earthquake, naps twice a day in a crib for two hour stretches at a time. We are sleep deprived and crazy and we start to compare our sleepless lives to the well-rested Joneses. This phase, also known as the "self-loathing trapped under a baby blues so I'll eat a pint of Talenti with a grapefruit spoon" is only going to make you crankier.
That goddamn Chupacabra of newborns sleeps for twelve hours without waking up. How dare they have it so easy, you’ll silently whisper. No wonder they go out on a lot of dates, you’ll finally mutter out loud, pouring your third cup of coffee before the sun is up. I guess that means they can actually put their kid down on a non-human surface without it crying. Is that a thing? People can actually lay their kids down on objects? How nice that must be, you’ll find yourself crying. Why can’t we have this sleep thingy too? You’ll say to your partner, the one whose nipples you’re now banned from visiting. Not even conjugal visits until the child is no longer nursing or heading off for college, whichever comes first. Must you wear the baby like a sloth from sunup to sundown? Even sloths have to detach from their mothers to forage for leaves at some point, a tidbit of information you absorbed while watching the third installment of Wild Kratts in a row with your four-year-old, because you were too tired to move or get up to go to the bathroom. Why can’t she just forage in her own crib, you’ll ask? She needs to forage; she needs to forage goddammit!
More than ten thousand times the number of sleep books exist today than they did when I was an infant back in the seventies. In 1974, you were lucky if you had a proper crib that didn’t kill you if you stuck your head through the metal guillotine bars. Car seats? Those are for fancy parents. Who needs car seats when you have a convertible Mercedes without seatbelts and your big sister’s lap to sit on. The floor is also a great spot for a baby, if you’re wondering. Nothing reduces the risk of head injury or death quite like being wedged between your father’s briefcase and a windshield ice scraper. Times have most certainly changed since my parents were raising four kids in a foreign land filled with lawn darts and three martini lunches. Most of that change has been for the better, of course. There’s been a lot of progress in understanding what causes SIDS, for instance. Smoking and falling asleep on the couch with your infant on your chest while watching Johnny Carson, not such a great idea. We’re no longer told to place a washcloth soaked in whisky into our child’s mouth when they are a bit feverish or teething. Much more research now points to the emotional impact on a child’s development if they are repeatedly hit or spanked for misbehaving. Getting whacked with a wooden spoon if you spill an entire bottle of finger paints on the white shag would send Janet Landsbury into a tailspin. I’m glad there’s been so much progress.
With all of our well-meaning effort to hear and acknowledge our children’s feelings, we’re left second-guessing our own decisions and behavior more and more. And the truth is, there’s not a sleep “solution” that will work for all. That’s why there are so many books on the subject. If you want to sleep with your baby suspended from the ceiling upside down to imitate the natural sleep patterns of fruit bats, I’m sure there’s a book out there for you that will validate that decision. I read an article not too long ago about a family that custom built two sets of bunk beds on either side of their own queen bed to accommodate their kids who constantly came into their room at night, looking for a warm body to snuggle. Do I think that the father must be some sort of twisted Ikea furniture assembling genius? Definitely. Did the sleep hack mean that his entire family got more sleep? Without a doubt.
The moral to my convoluted and booze filled story is that you should try, to the best of your ability, to focus on what works for you and your family and not to worry so much about that Chupacabra neighbor baby of the same age, who loves to sleep and nap on demand, who can also recite Spanish poetry and scenes from The Big Lebowski while your kid hasn’t rolled over yet. This too shall pass. The sloth baby will become a toddler who sleeps on her own and you will, eventually, be allowed to have a few unmonitored conversations with the nipples that lay beside you. You can do this thing. I’m cheering you on every step of the way.
Callum knew he wanted to be a leopard for halloween six months before "candy day" was officially here. It wasn't until the day of that he decided that we also needed to dress up to Trick or Treat with him. Last year, he barely made it down the block, his construction worker toolbelt weighed down by Pat The Hammer, he retired after only a few houses. This year, he was ready to party. His ask of me was simple. That I dress as a ghost. Unlike a friend of ours whose 3-year old told her father that he needed to be "garden mulch," this would not require much imagination. One old sheet from Arc Value Village and a pair of scissors later, I was a ghost. C asked Y to be a witch.
A bit more complex, especially for someone with her over-achiever crafty nature. Green face wouldn't do. She needed a hat, a wig and proper makeup. She also needed a broom. Without the right witchy attire on hand, I was hopeful that Uber would be able to deliver a last minute option, perhaps some old standby costumes to choose from. I happily took advantage of their genius "costume on demand" service and called for our special delivery.
What would this candy corn car deliver, we wondered? Witches? Pumpkins? Vampires? Equipped with its very own makeup artist, we'd be ready to walk around the block in no time. Yvette was excited, we quickly found the toddler some shoes and waited outside for our delivery.
The costume arrived, tucked away in a box, its contents unknown. "Everyone gets a mystery costume, you don't get to choose," which didn't sit well with Crafty. The makeup artist started working on Y's face right away, which yielded absolutely no clues as to which outfit awaited us. He's using sparkles, he's using pink! My Little Pony? Should we go as Bronies? Silence. Apparently none of the Uber folk spoke nerd. We said goodbye to our Uber team and rushed inside to see what fate had brought us.
What we pulled out of the box was certainly unexpected. And definitely not safe for trick or treating. Yvette refused to try it on. The Uber gods had bestowed upon us a "Sexy Ref" outfit. The team did not miss the "all women want sexy costumes" memo and we had fallen into the trap. There are only three costumes to choose from if you have boobs. Sexy Nurse, Sexy Zombie, Sexy Ref. I now know that Uber's core audience is a size 2 and in their early 20's. I decided to try on the costume, which gave sexy ref a whole new meaning. You know what's sexy, Uber? When Melissa McCarthy holds customers hostage inside a Foot Locker.
You'll be happy to know that I did not wear the above outfit outside. I did leave the house later that night as Tootsie, however. Tootsie, nowhere to be found on the list of sexiest Halloween costumes, showed very little leg but a lot of heart.
She even had her big reveal moment. Good day, Dr Brewster. I said good day Sir!
Holy fu**ing buckleberries! The royal baby is here! The royal baby is here!
I wonder how The Dutchess feels about the fact that her vagina is currently trending on twitter? Better yet, I wonder how Pippa feels about her sister's twatter on twitter? Pippa's on twitter and she's not pleased by all of the chitter about her twatter. Now that the baby is here, let's all just take a deep breath and jam your hype. Eat a crumpet, put on a jumper and don't get your royal bathers in a bunch.
I've learned a few things about proper celebrity baby naming procedure from the Shiloh's, Sparrows and Banjo's of the world, but naming a royal is a horse of a different colour. Celebrities, in particular rockers and A-list actors, tend to gravitate towards names with an overzealous combination of helpless baby animals, cities or states and a Benjamin Moore color palette. Place names from above categories into a greasy fedora once worn by Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden and shake. Whatever emerges in whatever order you draw the names will be the moniker of your next child. Presto! Meet Halifax Fawn Dakota or Poppyberry Breeze Bemidji.
To name a royal, there is a lot more history to consider, however.
The following is an actual conversation between Kate & William, whilst lying in bed, reading The Sun on their Royal Kindles:
William: How about Cnut?
Kate: Cnut? Are you mad?
William: What? Perfectly respectable name. He was the former King of England from 1016-1035
Kate: Cnut? King Canute? Do you think that sounds regal? I don't like how you can re-arrange the letters to spell the royal twattage, for one. I veto Cnut.
William: Royal Twattage. Right then. I hadn't considered that. Do you fancy Henry? Very regal, very strong, what do you reckon?
Kate: I have two words for you. Tudor Dynasty.
William: What about James?
Kate: Too Scottish.
Kate: If he goes to University in America, they'll call him Dick.
Kate: I've never known a well liked or coordinated Alfred. Alfred is the last child picked for Polo, he's not an heir.
William: Aethelwulf? From House of Essex?
Kate: I don't think I'd shag anyone called Aethelwulf, sorry loves.
William: We could call him Blue. Royal Blue, perhaps?
Kate: Too pedestrian.
There are names that say heir to the throne, and there are names that say heir to the greeter with nice abs at the Abercrombie and Fitch store. I have a hunch we won't have a royal Hunter, Addison, Ace, Maxwell, Sparrow, Jayden or Blake on our hands. The modern duo may pick something unexpected for the child, but it will still need to sound commanding. My royal pounds are on the name Spencer, in honor of Princess Diana. But that's just my non-royal hunch.
It's no secret to the three of you who read this blog that Y & I love to watch bad TV. Especially when we're completely brain dead, sleep deprived or enjoying our (summer) cocktail of choice: St Germain w/ Blood Orange San Pellegrino and a squeeze o' lime. I think back to how we binged on Breaking Bad and Homeland when Callum was a newborn - and I get the shakes. I happily huffed an entire 3-season canister of Walter White, then chased it with a shaky-lipped xanax cocktail of Carrie Mathison and Mandy Patinkin like a strung out junkie. Those were the days. Now we're lucky to squeeze in a few precious moments with Tabatha while she kicks serious arse, takes those filthy hairy keys and takes over, before one of us is passed out, mouth open and slackjawed, drooling on the couch.
It's not easy to squeeze it all in. When you have to choose between sleep or waiting around for the Bachelorette to take a leap of faith off a skyscraper in Dubai, you know times are tough. Which leads me to my latest gripe. Naked & Afraid, the new Discovery Channel reality show, is not worth freebasing. It's neither naked, nor terrifying.
Within a few minutes of landing in their destination and greeting each other with their boobs and bits out, someone has woven a grass skirt, kilt or an argyle ball sweater out of banana leaves. One of the women on the last episode was so adept at making things out of the elements, she was no longer naked after 20 seconds. I'm sure she has a contract with Pottery Barn or Anthropologie to weave hammocks, chandeliers, 800 thread count egyptian cotton sheets and umbrellas at this point.
To the hopeful contestants who are looking to apply for the next season, I issue you a real challenge. Board a domestic flight at least 2 hours in duration from JFK's terminal 2 on Delta (aka, Pinnacle Airlines) with a 20 month-old. Walk down a sweaty maze of tunnels when it's 102 degrees in search of your plane. CLIMB stairs to board your mini plane, sitting on the tarmac, while carrying a 25 pound child, three carry-ons the size of a fire hydrant and one pair of baby-sized Keens so rank they could double as a bottle of ether. You are not allowed to bring an iPad, diapers, benadryl, alcohol, food or toys. You must refuse all offers of pretzels, peanuts or cookies. You cannot accept your coca-cola product, browse the snack box selection or opt for your lukewarm water without ice. I'll happily wipe my ass with your bamboo shavings if you hold my naked squirming toddler for three hours, as you attempt to prevent him from either
a) kicking the seat in front of him
b) pushing all of the call and light buttons overhead
c) opening and closing the tray table
d) opening and closing the window shade
e) harassing your nipples and armpits in an attempt to simultaneously nurse and burrow into your skin.
It's not that tough to survive 21 days on a tropical island, if you're a parent. It sounds heavenly to be shipwrecked. Let me be your island-mate? I'll climb trees with my ripped right arm, crack open coconuts with my thighs and sing you songs from PBS shows like Caillou and Dinosaur Train, all while foraging for bananas, finding water holes and cooking your fish over an open flame. Bring it on.
I've had the best intentions of getting back to the blog over the last four or five months, but the demands of the real world, the one that doesn't allow me to search thirty minutes for the perfect visual to snarkily accompany my new mommy analogies, have definitely gotten in the way. My son is now 10 months old. He's pointing at everything, chirps and squeaks out little noises like a bottle-nose dolphin, and has become pretty good at feeding himself microscopic pieces of food with those little pincers of his. Food that I cut up for him and then cut in half again, I should add. Chokaphobia, people. It's real. If you learn nothing about reality TV, Dancing with the Stars or the scientifically proven formula for predicting the next Bachelor from reading this blog, then let this one piece of information stick with you. For the love of God, whatever you do, please do not feed your babies popcorn. I once read that a child's airway is the size of a straw, and popcorn is the number one choking hazard for little ones. I smell melted butter and I get the shakes. My neurosis may have just saved a life. Who knew I was in the lifesaving business? Watch out, Dr. Phil, there's a new mustache in town.
Looking back at former entries, I wish I could have a bit of a talking to with my former childless self. If I could, I'd let her know what she was in for, how to prepare, and that no matter how sleep-deprived I get, having a kid will always be the best and most important thing that I've ever done. Sleep is over-rated. You know what's not over-rated, though? Eating out at restaurants with your wife, taking your time between courses, cozying up to a good conversation, the nightly special, the best pinot noir that Santa Barbara County can offer.
Sadly, this type of dining experience is now long gone, and all but a foggy, distant memory. Eating out at restaurants used to be easy breezy in the beginning, when our baby was a motionless burrito. For a while, babies are a lot like drunk frat boys. They drink, they wet their pants, and then they sleep and sleep some more. They sleep a lot in those early months, which makes things like dining out or going to the movies during nap time completely doable and enjoyable. Before long, your child will begin to have opinions about things. And this is when parenting start to get interesting. What was once a harmless quick change from ones-ie into PJ pants may soon turn into a carnival ride. Throughout this process, you may find that you'll give up objects of great monetary or sentimental value, just to keep your child from contorting himself on the changing table. It's a deal you make with the devil in exchange for serentiy. The day I willingly handed my son my too expensive to utter eye-glasses, was the day I realized that parenting a 10 month old is a lot like juggling angry kittens. I try not to get peed on, scratched or bitten on a daily basis. If the kitten enjoys the yarn ball, by golly, let the kitten play with the yarn ball. Sure, you may find your kitten has tied itself to a chair or ingested a teensy bit of wool, but those 30-90 seconds of free time make it all worth it. And no one got hurt, not even the sheep. Also very important.
Dining out with Callum these days has been quite tricky. I highly recommend partnering with someone who breast feeds. You have no idea how quickly a good boob can turn the beat around if things start to get ugly or those breakfast burritos are starting to get chilly. I must say the words "Honey, maybe he wants milk?" at least 10 times a day. Am I a slacker, unwilling to put the time in and take that lonely restaurant stroll with our child, while my wife tries to eat her banana pancakes more quickly than a Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest victor? Absolutely not. But one can only stroll so much before one's breakfast starts to look unappetizing. The mighty, all-powerful breast-feeding boobies, really do deserve their own holiday. I worship at the altar of the mama latte. Yoka-toka-latte-mamma. Free your lady's marmalade.
Read on for my contribution to the world of baby bloggers and all of the what to expect books out there.
What To Expect When You're Expecting To Have An Uneventful, Leisurely Brunch with your 10-Month Old:
1. The Crusty Stare. You may get looks when you walk in. Expect these looks, welcome them, embrace them even, yet don't let them unhinge you. So you're saying you're not baby friendly in here? I'll show you baby friendly, Mr. We've been lucky to escape the glare, as we have a go-to brunch spot where everyone is incredibly friendly and understanding. Its kind of like Cheers, except no one is bald and I've never seen anyone from the post office eating there. They know us well and they know us by name. They know that we will actually get on the floor and pick up the dropped Puffs, the microscopic pieces of uneaten chicken, the dropped toys, the too ripe peach that was agrily flung from the high-chair and dusted the scarf of the woman eating behind us with a very fine, almost undetectable peach spray, two sets of car keys, sophie the giraffe, everyone's menus, the forks, six wooden blocks, the water bottle, the straw, two spoons, paper napkin holders, and one cotton sock.
2. Eat an entire meal in 30-seconds or less. This is key to the dining out with toddler, aka, juggling angry kittens scenario. Eat quickly or you may find a baby hand graze the yogurt that crowns your fruit salad, or a small wooden train driven through your hashbrowns. Without fail, your child will also experience what is typically referred to as a MBO (major blow out) approximately 2.3 seconds after your food arrives. Choose a restaurant with a wide roaming or grazing space, so that you can take your chicken covered child out of his sticky peach-juice high chair and carry him around the restaurant to look at fascinating things like thermostats, mirrors, fake plants, menus, doorknobs, and strangers. Once you've circled the runway a few times, check in on mom. See where she is in her hot dog eating contest. If your breakfast burritos are starting to wilt, its time to switch things up or use one of your lifelines (I refer to this as phoning in the boob.)
3. Make sure they have to-go boxes. Despite the best laid plans, you may not have that spare ones-ie in the diaper bag when you need it most. Sometimes honey boo boo just needs to skip the throwing of the puffs all together and get down to bathtub time. If you're fortunate to finish your meal before your child has torn through every toy, tater tot and key chain you own, be sure not to leave a ring of fire on the floor encircling the base of the high chair. Clean up those puffs and the peaches, recover lost and intentionally dropped articles. Wait staff appreciates the extra effort and it may mean the difference between a crusty-eyed stare and a welcome smile the next time you return.
Look, I'm no Dooce. My husband isn't a web designer or programmer, I don't live in Portlandia, I don't take professional photos and I'm not witty enough to have 50 million monthly visits. I do have a 4 month old baby who does droolishly adorable things and I tend to find the hilarity in parenting. Histamatic app for iphone makes most of my pictures look annoyingly grainy, yet a few have the subtle patina of cool. I firmly believe that a glass of wine after a long day of blowouts, nap protests and sleep deprivation is better than sex. Does this make me qualified to start a baby blog, along with the gazillion other moms who think they have something important to say? Absotootley.
As I sit here, Callum is practicing his best Cirque de Soliel, able to grasp his toes with both hands while willing them into his mouth for a gummy chew. I'd like to thank my sponsor, the Target baby swing on loan from our neighbors, that has kept him somewhat distracted in 15-20 minute spurts over the past four months. It gets harder and harder to get this nugget to sleep, which brings me to a recent AH-HA parenting moment.
#1: Do not, under any circumstances, ask your parents (if they last raised children when don draper was banging secretaries) how to get your child to sleep.
I should start by saying that my mother is an incredible mother. I never felt neglected, always felt loved and supported and grew up with a healthy dose of self esteem that lead me to believe I could do or be anything I set my mind to. She raised four children, we lived with her full-time and saw our father every other weekend once they divorced. We all turned out ok, not one bad seed, no deadbeats or addicts (minus the occasional Caramel Bugles bender) so naturally I sought out her advice when it came to everything new mommy related. I was a bit surprised at how Betty Draper she was about everything. Down to the gin & tonics.
Me: We finally got him to go to sleep.
Mom: Where is he sleeping?
Me: He fell asleep in Yvette's arms.
Mom: (Silence .. followed by deep, exasperated sighing ...) You really need to put him in his crib.
Me: We've tried, he wakes up the second we put him down.
Mom: You just need to let him cry. Make yourself a drink and try to tune it out.
Me: We're reading the "no cry sleep solution" and there are other ways to get him to self soothe.
Mom: Self soothe? Give him a pacifier and call it a day. You see all of those supernanny episodes where she tries to get teenagers to get back into their own beds? They wind up sweating and staying up all night trying to break them like wild stallions.
Me: Those kids are 3 or 4, they are not teenagers.
Mom: Look - he'll cry for an hour and then he'll fall asleep. If you don't put him down, he'll never learn. He's working you. Before you know it, he's 7 years old and he's still in your bed. You're just making it harder on yourselves.
Me: He's three months old, he's not working us. Yvette is breastfeeding, so sleeping with him in the bed is easier.
Mom: He's in your bed now? You'll roll over on him and smother him. I saw it on Nancy Grace.
Me: No we won't, mom. We're very aware of his presence. I was freaked out at first and we're hyper aware. It's natural, he feels safe with us.
Mom: Why don't you let him sleep in the playpen?
Me: We don't have a playpen, we have a co-sleeper. He hates it.
Mom: I'm going to buy you a playpen on ebay. Can you tell me how I turn on the computer again?
On the morning of February 14th, we carried the giant frozen space capsule that housed (our teeny tiny vials of frozen pop) into the doctor's office. This canister looked like a cross between an oxygen tank and a fire hydrant and weighed about 40 pounds. Kids in the waiting room had a sudden twinkle in their eyes upon seeing me, as if I was going to start twisting balloons into wiener dogs and swords at any moment.
One minute Y had her legs in stirrups, admiring her hand-knit sock wizardry, while Dr S worked her intrauterine insemination magic. The next, we're waiting to see if her belly button will collapse under the pressure of it all and pop out like a Perdue chicken. It's now September, only 10 short weeks shy of 40 weeks pregnant, and I'm starting to look at the babies in the Guest Services line at Target a bit differently.
"Oh yeah. One of those pink and cooing things is coming home with us. It's not just a growing kiwi fruit any longer, that kicks or has hiccups or creates freaky belly ripples when Y is trying to sleep. At some point, he'll be a permanent fixture. Jesus, we actually get to keep him!"
Before we get to the part where he comes home with us, we have to get through the "birthing" part. Did you ever see the fantastic HBO series Six Feet Under? If so, you might recall when Ruth starts to work on herself and starts attending the self-help seminar called "The Plan." She starts talking about how her life is like a house, blah blah blah, and that her house needs a new foundation. Y and I landed on a birthing class that feels like it could have been created by The Plan version of Ruth. The class has lots of metaphors for giving birth, lots of new terminology to trick your brain into "fear clearing" and positive thinking. It's not labor people, it's birthing. Get with the program. What's that you say? She's having a contraction? Guess again fine sir, that would be a "pressure wave." Now please go eat one of those brownies we baked for you and don't come back into the room until you've read our birth plan.
Don't take my mocking as a sign that I'm not on board, or report me to the Hypnobirth Council for Non-Believers. I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking, the birthing ball, the swaying of hips on all fours and barking like a dog if you need to, in order to get through. I think envisioning the birth of your child as a beautiful, pain free experience is a worthwhile exercise, just like envisioning the next promotion, or the next tennis serve is extremely helpful in directing your intention. Speaking of directing intention, there are some very highly intended moms out there who have set the bar extremely high.
The same class we've just completed has invited us back next week for a group viewing of a documentary called Orgasmic Birth. Sounds a bit like an oxymoron, I know. Apparently all of the crazy hippies and free birthers are doing it these days. This isn't on the birth plan. The chance that this will happen is as good as getting struck by lightning, getting eaten by a great white shark or winning the powerball. But hey - you can't win if you don't play, right? Aiming to have an orgasmic birth, or worse yet, expecting to, is like saying that you really have a thing for adorable, lisping blondes, so you're holding out for Drew Barrymore. Why put all of your eggs into one particular birthing basket, that seems as aloof as the Mexican Chupacabra or the Fisher King's Holy Grail? At the end of the day, I'm just hoping everyone emerges healthy and unscathed. Asking for an orgasm on top of all of that just seems a bit greedy. I hope the orgasmic birthers don't hunt me down now. I fear that I've angered the Kraken.
As if there wasn't already enough pressure to avoid the induction, the pitocin, the epidural, the C section, we now have youtube and orgasmic birthing bloggers and their goddamn bliss to thank for spreading their ... um .... joy ... all over the web. Regardless of how impossible all of this sounds, or how crunchy lesbo it may be, I truly think Y can do anything she puts her mind to. Except purr. I really hope she doesn't start purring while she gives birth. We weren't given a pre-made sign to hang on the door that says: Y is experiencing pressure waves and the occasional Big Cat Week roar. Please don't try to talk to her until she's done purring. Thanks, The Birth Partner.
If you watch the highlighted Orgasmic Birth 20/20 video above, you'll see what the heck I'm referring to here. Meow.
Y and I took what I had thought would be an innocent stroll into the local baby superstore today, inspired by a particular interest in a glider for the nursery. In order to get to the section where they house the rocking chairs, you have to walk through the entire store, front to back. I liken this experience to a dream I sometimes have, where I am suddenly transported back to high school, without any pants, unprepared for a chemistry test that I'm doomed to fail. As we pass the very pregnant women and their dazed husbands, registry scanners bleeping in hand, I start to notice that all of the men have the same glazed over look about them. With each blip of their scanners, they are mentally shelving their home-brew kits, the over-sized man chairs with cup holders, the Xbox Rock Band setup, which will now have a permanent home in the garage in order to make room for the crib. These guys look terrified. They look like they've all won the same hand of poker; but their prize is a ticket in steerage on the Titanic.
I've barely wrapped my head around the fact that Y's growing a tiny alien with hiccups the size of a corn cob. It's another thing all-together to picture that same corn cob in the bouncy vibrating seat that plays music while birds chirp overhead, in the high chair that converts to a car seat that converts to a 401K, in the are you fu**ing crazy, we're not getting that gazillion dollar stroller, laying its baby bum on the organic velour changing pad, with one of 2,000 varieties of newfangled organic rubber pacifiers in his mouth. Just how much stuff can one little baby need?
It's not just the stuff that terrifies me, it's that we might not get the right stuff. Some babies like a swing and some hate it, according to baby superstore helper Michelle, Michelle with godsons and several nephews she's been around since they were born, they are practically like her kids. Michelle could collapse that Chico stroller like no one's business. I can't put an Ikea dresser together, so there's no way in hell I'm going to figure out how to attach that car seat properly. I'm imagining bungee cords and duct tape. They'll have to call in Supernanny, who'll stage an intervention with me at once, decide to make me a sticker chart, rewarding me for remembering not to use the F-word and for properly assembling and then collapsing that terror of a Pack N' Play in less than 5 minutes flat. Side note. If Jo Frost does come visit, I'd prefer she left the purple outfit at home. You know, the one she wears with the white pumps? Just like Mr. Rogers, I prefer her in the khakis and jack purcells. Casual Joe.
After being overwhelmed by gadgets, nipple guards and the intimidating diaper wall, we made our way to the maternity clothes section. I use the term clothing loosely. Y was on the hunt for a pair of maternity shorts with a cushy waistband. The only shorts we saw were of the denim variety, and looked like they'd fit a Cabbage Patch preemie. Extreme short shorts, barely covering the vahoozalie, that some of the MTV Teen Moms wouldn't even be caught dead in. A few nursing tank tops later, we stumbled to the check-out line. From our vantage point, we could see the photography studio, where one of the employees was waving a stuffed giraffe over the head of a squirmy 10-month old. Now that would be a difficult job. Like herding cats. Here's to hoping that motherhood is a bit less like herding cats, and more like training Shih Tzus.