Why I Hate Babies 'R' Us

Here's something you should know about me.

I don't think I have the baby gene.

You know the one I'm taking about. The one that triggers women to ooh and aah over other people's children, the one that takes pleasure in shopping for baby gifts, the one that causes ovaries to ache when confronted with a picture of an adorable child in a magazine or on television.

Take my cousin Analissa, for example. She TOTALLY has the baby gene. As little girls growing up together, I remember that her bedroom was filled to the brim with baby paraphernalia -- everything from baby cribs to baby bottles -- so that she could play "house" or "babies."

In contrast, my bedroom had a spotlessly organized desk complete with a hanging whiteboard so that I could play "work" or "school." I would pull out my little elementary-school textbooks and teach my students (i.e. stuffed animals) math and english. And then I would carefully record their grades in a ledger book. (Yes, I realize this makes me a total nerd).

Years later, my baby gene is still missing-in-action.

Walking into the baby mothership that is Babies 'R' Us with my mom (who, it must be noted, was the one who suggested the visit to the superstore in the first place, likely a result of her very strong can't-wait-to-be-a-grandmother gene), my general lack of interest in all things baby reared its ugly head once again. I felt like I had just landed in a foreign country and couldn't speak or understand the native tongue. What's a Johnny Jumper? Wait, is a binky the same thing as a pacifier? Is a Bumbo like a Dumbo?

The other thing I disliked about my venture into Babies 'R' Us was that it seemed to reinforce all those things that already annoy me about our typical American way of life -- supersized stuff, the unneccesary posing as the necessary, image-conscious, convenience at any price, way of life. In general:

we buy big houses with rooms filled with things instead of people,
we value busyness and speed over reflection and growth,
we spend countless hours fixing our hair, doing our makeup and shopping for clothes while neglecting the care of our souls and our intellect,
we know more about celebrity break-ups and hook-ups than we do about current political and social issues.

We are all guilty of it, to some degree or another. And I know I'm crossing into annoying soapbox territory here, and I'm sorry. It's just that in my own life, I am weary of it. Yes, it has a purpose and a function, and in the right place at the right time, stuff can be pretty darn fun. (Speaking of which, I can't wait to get my hands on this little beauty. Green, please!)

But don't you ever feel like it is all just... too much? Do you ever find yourself craving substance?

It's sort of like with weddings. All that worry about the centerpieces and choosing just the right typeface for the invitations and deciding who willl scatter the rose petals down the aisle before the ceremony -- only to find that one of the most memorable parts of the day was discovering that my cheeks hurt from smiling so much because I was insanely happy just to BE MARRIED to him.

For the record, I am over halfway through my pregnancy now and have made two baby purchases - a set of gender-neutral onesies and a board copy of one of my favorite children's books. Not that I should get any awards or anything, but I am pretty pleased that I've been able to resist getting caught up in all the decorating and buying and really just focus on the miracle happening within.

I know I have to start buying baby necessities soon. But I find myself yearning for intangible things, instead.

Like the sweet, swift kick in the gut my baby gave me late last night. It startled me so much that I laughed and smiled and put my hand to my stomach and whispered, "I'm anxious to meet you, too!"

Huh. I guess I do have the baby gene, after all.

Postscript: As my mom has wisely pointed out to me, a lot of the "stuff" that I am disenchanted with now is going to make my life INFINITELY easier once the baby actually arrives. I get it, I really do. I will probably be thanking the good people at Babies 'R' Us for selling me my diaper genie or my nursing boppy pillow or whatever. So, I'm trying not to let my general apathy for all things baby cloud my common sense, even if I DO secretly harbor fantasies about letting my kid sleep in a drawer and giving him or her a cardboard toilet paper roll to play with.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree BRU can be so overwhelming. Really all the baby needs are diapers, some onesies, a few blankets and you. All the rest is gravy.

    You may want to check out "Parenting Inc." by Pamela Paul. It will help you get some perspective.