A few days ago, Chris told me that I was invited shopping by his mother.
My initial reaction was – I am not ready for this. You don’t understand. My mother in law is a world class, perhaps even world champion shopper. She has freakish endurance for spending entire days at the mall. So much so that Chris’ sisters used to break up shopping with her into two shifts – AM and PM. To endure an entire day – it takes stamina, it takes sports drink, it takes at least a week taper to be sure you are adequately rested.
How could I prepare in a few short days? I sat around for 3 days doing nothing but visualizing my best shopping day and wearing compression socks. By the time Saturday rolled around, I had my game face on, I packed a banana, I was ready.
All of the Waterstraat girls – that would be the MIL, Meredith, 1-year old Aubrey and MegMeg – headed out to BuyBuyBaby. Oh yes, we were baby shopping. Because not one but two of us are expecting – my sister-in-law is due on September 20th!
We did an initial walk around the store when someone suggested that Meredith and I start our registry. I’ve been holding out on this because how exciting does it sound to spend several hours in a large scale store scanning things – things that you want, things you need, things you think you need, things, things…there are so many things I had no idea where to even begin. In situations like this, it is therefore best to not even start. I had nightmares of myself standing there with a registry scanner so overwhelmed by bottles, car seats and bouncy chairs that I just run in fear straight into a Pack n’ Play to hide and mumble to myself.
Meredith and I walked up to the registry counter and I announced that we were there to register. The clerk looked at her, looked at me.
Together? (enter long awkward pause) Or…separate?
Oh for crying out loud. Let’s get two things straight – one, I am not into tall Asian chicks and two, I am married to her brother! No, we’re not together. Now give us separate scanners.
Scanner in hand, we descended upon the store. I immediately went to the bedding section and scanned in about 20 monkey fitted sheets – so cute! Followed that up with a Baby Bjorn, some pacifiers, a bathtub. That about covers it, right? Wrong. MegMeg, the voice of maternal reason, began telling us everything we would need.
Now, if you are pregnant, some advice – go register with someone who recently had a child. They know things. Things you do not know, things you cannot read about in Consumer Reports. It’s called current real-life experience. And so Megan suggested some important things we’ll need:
-Born Free bottles (Dr. Brown’s are too hard to clean)
-Bumbo chair (forget a highchair for awhile)
-Orbit stroller (costly but so worth it for the sake of your back)
-Medela nursing pads (lots)
-Fisher-Price swing that rotates, vibrates, sings, dances and also if you press the star-shaped button makes a damn good cup of coffee
-Summer Infant Monitor (video & audio) to spy on child in bed or husband in man cave (is he really cleaning it up or just playing Modern Warfare II again)
There were other things – many other things – but that about covered $5000 of the basics.
Over the next hour, we kept scanning. Eventually, I went off on my own and left the two sisters together. But every once in awhile, I’d hear Megan shout out something like “BREAST PADS, YOU NEED BREASTPADS” so I’d run over to find Meredith scanning something in with a puzzled look on her face and saying to me:
Do you think anyone will buy me breast pads?
Probably not but how fun is it to register for them?
LIZ, I FOUND THE RECTAL THERMOMETERS.
There’s a sentence you never thought you’d hear someone shout along with your name.
Megan would go through an aisle and find something that she remembered we needed – get these nipples, you need this bib, get the giraffe that makes sounds, a humidifier, baby nail clippers – dear god this a lot of stuff for someone that (hopefully) weighs under 10 pounds! And, then, in a giant a-ha moment, Megan shouted:
MY BREAST FRIEND! You need one of these!
Really? I do?
She explained how it worked to me and, I have to admit, in theory it sounds genius. You strap what looks like one of those things they sell peanuts in at the ballpark to your body, then you go to pick up the baby and you have somewhere to rest them while breastfeeding. I might not use it nor even need it but I’d like to run around the house while pretending to sell snacks to Chris as he rides his bike so – scan it in!
Power Bars. Power Bars. Get your Fruit Smoothie flavored Power Bars.
When all was said and done, I scanned in over 50 items. That seems like a lot but I know that barely covers it. The good news is that if you each donate one dollar to the support Baby ELF fund, about 10,000 of you later I might have it all covered.
Thank you in advance for your support.
After BuyBuyBaby, the MIL suggested we go to Neiman Marcus. Think for a moment about that store. Think about me. Right now you are laughing.
I don’t blame you.
We started with lunch in their café. Everything was going ok until we realized baby Aubrey ate an entire bowl of butter while we were talking. She had the biggest smile on her face (and then had the biggest crap in her diaper about an hour later….). After lunch, we headed up to the kids department. I was told to find a “going home” outfit. In case you don’t know what this is, it's the outfit the baby wears when going home from the hospital. When shopping with the MIL, you do not question the absurdity of things, you just follow direct orders. I was looking for a going home outfit.
Unfortunately, they had one outfit for infants 0 to 3 months. That’s right – ONE. I looked at it, and wasn’t sure at first. You see, the outfit had pirate ships on it. Whenever I see or think about pirate ships, I think about the joke about the pirate. Did you hear this one? There’s a pirate walking around with a steering wheel sticking out of his pants. So you walk up to him and ask, what’s with the steering wheel in your pants ? and he says Argh, it’s driving me nuts.
I cannot dress my child in this without thinking of that joke but I had no other choice. I picked up the outfit. And even selected a matching hat. And about $$$$$ later, I had a going home outfit. Ships ahoy.
(you can now all hedge your bets on how long until Baby Waterstraat shits up the back of it or…shits ahoy)
Next up we sat around in the kid section while Aubrey played in a $110 play house. I want one! We started talking about Meredith’s baby and my baby and baby names. You see, we’ve already got this baby named and his name will be Max. It’s a solid name, a name you can grow old in and we like it. So spare me the stories about your neighbor’s dog who is also named Max, the kid who sat in the back of the class that only talked about Dungeons & Dragons who was also named Max – we don’t want to hear it. Besides, all that matters is that we have the MILs support. She told me so. And then she very seriously turned to me and said:
But you know we will be calling him MaxMax.
And with that, we got the Filipino stamp of approval. I couldn’t be happier. We thought long and hard about a good name that could easily be doubled. This child will be named Max(Max). But if he comes out and I decide he doesn’t look like a Max, I have the right to name him something else.
Back at home, I added a few more things to the registry. Some tub toys, a few mattress pads, and PeePee Teepees. I’ve heard that when you have a boy these are mandatory. So is a rug that matches the bedding, receiving blankets, bibs with monkeys and….give me enough time and I’ll scan in the entire store.
The crib is in Max's bedroom. There’s a rocking chair with a monkey sitting on it, waiting. And I have a registry. Holy crap I’m having a baby in less than 4 months! Nothing like a little reality setting in. I’m not scared though. I’m totally ready. Really, I am!
Now, excuse me, I’m just going to go find the nearest Pack n’ Play, crawl into it and mumble to myself for while…