Tuesday, December 8

The One In Which We Register

Have I ever told you about the time Andrew and I registered for wedding gifts? No? Well. I’m not really going to tell you now, except to say that we hated every single stinking minute of it. Registering sounded so fun, you get the little scanner and you go around and pick out things you would like. Easy, right? Oh, so terribly wrong.

We couldn’t make up our minds about anything, and the pressure to make the right decisions, quickly, was very overwhelming. Take towels. Which towels were the best? Are those soft enough? Do they come in the colors we want? And what exactly are those colors? How am I supposed to pick out what color towels we will someday want in our future guest bath? All for a few pieces of terrycloth.

In the end, I think we went back to the store no fewer than three times to finally register for everything we “needed.”

Last Saturday we made the trek out to register for baby stuff. Since we knew how much we hated registering for wedding gifts, we came prepared. We had three separate lists of recommended baby gear from trusted sources, and a plan to not over think anything. We’d get in, scan the things we needed, scan a few super cute things, and get out.

The trip started out well enough. We got the forms filled out and received our scanner. Checking our lists, we began moving through the store. Our first stop was “infant care” (which is sort of a vague name for a section in a baby store, don’t you think?) and we quickly found ourselves faced with a bottle dilemma. I’m planning to breastfeed, so we don’t think we will need that many bottles. (All you parents out there may be snorting with laughter at my naivety. All I ask is that you let me down gently.) One of our list writers recommended two or three brands that she liked, and since we had no clue (and have read that our baby may reject any particular bottle just for kicks) we decided to go with what was recommended. But the list failed to mention that for each of the brands, there were numerous options. Too many options.

But after several minutes staring blankly at the packaging and furiously scanning our lists, hoping to see something we missed, something to clue us in as to what we should be looking for, we sort of gave up. We scanned two or three bottles (BPA-free, of course) and moved on to pacifiers. From then on, we were a little more carefree about the whole thing, figuring that we could always adjust our choices online and that since we couldn’t predict what Baby Langford would like anyway, we might as well not stress over it.

Almost two hours later, we found ourselves on the other side of the store, faced with the task of selecting one of those play mats, with the arches and the dangly toys and the bright colors. There really weren’t that many to choose from. Andrew was fond of one in particular, but I disliked it for some reason. I wasn’t really excited about any of them. Did I want my baby to look at an underwater scene or a jungle scene? Should we get one that played music? Was the smaller round one okay, or were the colors a bit too primary? It was ridiculous.

My head was spinning. The aisle was crowded, and Andrew couldn’t fit the cart through (BTW, we had a cart just to hold my water bottle and the three lists, not for actual purchasing of product. In case you were wondering.), so he went to the next row over to check out some toys. I looked up to see that he was not intently studying that play mats like I was and got frustrated. Why was he not helping me figure out this great mystery of the universe? He said he couldn’t fit the cart through and was waiting for it to get less crowded. But I need your help nowwww, I whined. And so he came over, and we stood in silence for a moment, again looking at the display.

And then the tears started rolling down my face. “Let’s go,” I said. “I need to get out of here.” So Andrew turned in the scanner while I composed myself and go we did.

I don’t really think the tears had anything to do with the floor mats. It was all just such a huge process. And when I tried to visualize one of those mats in our home I just didn’t know where it would go. Suddenly all those things we had been scanning became real products that we would soon own and soon have to find a place to put in our house. How are we really going to have a baby? How are we going to figure out how to do it? We couldn’t even figure out which stupid play mat was best, or what all those differently sized waterproof pads were really intended for, or why babies need specific baby washcloths. And it was all just a little overwhelming.

Or maybe I can blame this one on the hormones?


katy said...

Ben will attest to the fact that it is much harder to pick out a baby play mat than it is to care for the actual baby. Baby stores are designed to overwhelm you. Promise. I still don't like them :)

And Ben also adds that the only criteria you should really use when choosing baby "gear" is "will I care if the baby poops on this?" Because he inevitably will.

Courtney said...

You are right on about bottles, not naive at all...I think we own five and really only ever used two. And if you need more later, they're cheap.

And I agree with Ben and Katy about the poop test...get stuff that's easy to clean and you can't go wrong.

Lindsay said...

Registering SUCKS! I'm sorry the lists didn't prevent the meltdown in the play mat aisle. Let me know if you'd like some one-on-one, been-there-done-that mommy shopping advice. :)

Anonymous said...

I think you just got nabbed by the paradox of choice. I heard the book says that the more choices you're given, the less likely you are to choose anything.

Kenton said...

I am ready for all of the babies to come. Thinking about them day in and day out make everyone nuts.