January 03, 2005

Pacifiers and Onsies and Nipples, Oh My!

We did it. We went shopping. And, boy, was it an experience.

Apparently when I envisioned this in my head, I was picturing us, in the store, by ourselves. I left out one little detail: the fact that there would be lots of very pregnant people there and lots of very tiny babies there! Duh. But I handled that okay, aside from the fact that I felt like an imposter walking around with a big neon sign above my head that said, "I'm not pregnant or parenting, but I'm buying stuff anyway..."

And, oh, believe me it was clear that we were shopping for us and not for someone else's gift. R and I usually are pretty compatible when we shop together. Not this time.

We started out by heading for the diaper bag area. Heck, the thing is pretty much just a giant fabric purse with lots of pockets and compartments. That’s my kind of bag – lots of little places to organize things. I’m a great purse shopper, I can do this.

We round the corner to where the bags are. I come to an abrupt halt: There’s another couple there. My throat closes up. “But I don’t want them here! I want to do this by ourselves!” I whisper to R. Well, at least I think I’m whispering. Either he’s afraid they’ve heard me loud and clear or he’s afraid I’m going to burst into tears and cause a scene, because he grabs my arm and yanks me halfway down the diaper aisle.

“Let’s start someplace else,” he says as he drags me across the store.

So there we are, standing there in front of the pacifiers/bottles/nipples area. We've not been around kids much, we didn't babysit when we were growing up. We have absolutely no idea what we're doing or what makes a good/bad/indifferent pacifier/onesie/car seat/anything else baby-related.

So I do what (I imagine) most women would do - I pick one based on the color. But it was silicone all the way through, rather than having just a silicone tip and a hard plastic face guard, so R says, "No! Not that one!" He wants a traditional looking one. So there we are, standing in front of about five other couples, arguing about whether a pacifier should be judged based on color or traditional design or whether it's unkind to even judge the thing at all. And I kept thinking, "Ohhhh, it's going to be a loooooong 20 years if this is what we're like the whole time!"

Then we moved on to the bottles and nipples area. Who knew there are so many to choose from? We picked out some bottles, this time faster and with less fighting than it took to choose the pacifiers. Then I said, "What kind of nipples should we get? Do you think we need separate nipples, or are the ones that come with the bottles okay?" Horrified that I would mention a generally private body part outside the privacy of our own home, R hissed in return, "SSSHHHH! Stop SAYING that word! We’re in public!"

After hyperventilating our way through the bath supplies area and clothing section (why, why, WHY must the store insist on grouping everything by brand instead of by the type of product it is??), we finally got all of the loot home. I still don’t understand some of it, like the "sealing disks" for the bottles. Of course, I suppose it will become clear when I actually open the bottles. At least, I hope so.

And what’s the deal with burp cloths? Stupid question, I know, but why are these also called diaper cloths? Can these be used as cloth diapers? Not that we plan to use cloth diapers...but why oh why don't these packages have pictures that show the items as they're supposed to be used??

Now I’m trying to figure out how the heck to wash all the washcloths, receiving blankets, onsies, burp cloths and towel sets. I can’t decide between trying to find a small bottle of Dreft (friends swear we’ll kill the kid in a week if we use anything else) or just stick with our regular detergent, but less of it (other friends swear there’s no life-threatening harm in that approach, and they still have living, breathing kids to prove it).

Who would have thought doing a simple load of laundry could be such a paralyzing task? I know I’m not the only hopeful-mom-to-be who experiences these fears, but it sure feels like I'm missing the "maternal" gene right about now.

The shopping gene, however, is still intact. We came home with the biggest diaper bag there was, complete with about 50 different pockets and compartments and even a changing pad.

It’s my favorite purse yet.