Our unborn dragon is now at 23 weeks and counting, and as Babycenter.com tells me, can hear sounds pretty well, so I broke out my iPod and played a little Billie Holiday the other day, thanks be to Susanne’s unending patience. One book I found suggests that I should play loud sounds in proximity to her uterus so that they won’t bother the dragon as much once it’s out in the world with us. I’m not sure I can pass off needing to vacuum our bedroom, as we have hardwood floors in there. Maybe I’ll blame it on the dust bunnies that have huddled under our bed. Protection in numbers won’t save those buggers from the Electrolux, after all.
The other major development on the baby front is the sudden and frequent acquisition of “things,” a new pipeline of products of everything from baby food processors to cargo loads of bright and cutesy onesies, breast pumps, pump sanitizers, all manner of diaper-and-tushie-related accessories, and educationalish toys that I’m sure a 3-week-old will surely require. It’s like socially condoned hoarding.
To further complicate the onslaught of plastic, Ecuadoran-made cotton clothing, and safety-assured seating (car seats, bouncy seats, bassinets, cribs, and strollers, they’re all super safe in case the child needs to be set down for a moment), there are virtual and real-life opinions presented to us about these things. Buy this, not that. You don’t need a baby food maker. OMG, the baby food maker SAVED OUR LIVES.
About the only item people agree is unnecessary is the baby wipe warmer, although one of the complaints is that it made the baby wipes too warm. It’s not the idea, I guess, it’s the execution?
Baby products as a market surpassed $6 billion in 2007, and advertisers are still looking for new ways to sell similar, if not the same, items to consumers. Because the diaper market is saturated, marketers have shifted to “training pants,” which to my eye look like bigger diapers with less absorbent material and more elastic. Somewhere in the middle of all of this are things we actually need to care for our little winged one. We turned to friends who are parents, and have gotten some advice, but there is still a lot of research to do before plunking money on a counter for these very many things.
I also want to note that all of this research takes a lot of time, something I’m not supposed to have much of after the birth. I’d go ahead and get started on reading up about the needs of my someday 6-year-old, but I’m concerned everything I read will be out of date by then. What’s a future parent to do?
Here’s an idea—I’ll attempt to let a lot of this go. One acquaintance remarked to us this weekend that she’d been improperly sterilizing her breast pump tubing, and so fed her daughter spoiled milk for her first three months. Break out the La Leche police! Good thing I could look over and see that the daughter, who just finished kindergarten, miraculously survived such abuse. Maybe we can relax about what kind of trauma our children will suffer at our best intentions.
Of course I’m not suggesting babies should drink sour milk, and of course this mother corrected the way she cleaned her tubes, but we all know that the point is the kid is fine, the mom’s fine, and in all likelihood, breast pump cleaning instructions could be improved.
I suffer from this culturally imposed concern, I know. On Sunday we procured a bouncy seat for $5 from a woman who no longer needs hers. I pointed to two stains on the seat, as if they were clearly live anthrax or botulism toxin. Susanne gave me a look, she of the even-tempered clan, and reminded me that there are still more products out there, in stores across the country, that clean such soiled fabrics. Yes, yes, I nodded. I’d forgotten myself.
Now if I can just remember to stay rational when I haven’t slept in six weeks. I’m sure it’ll be a cakewalk. A cakewalk past the play mat, foam squares, folding playpen, IKEA toy chest, and changing table.