So, we’ve had the ultrasound, and all things seem to be in order womb-wise. Bravo! I etch another important date into my calendar as a hallmark toward the finish line: registering. Woooo hooo! I know this will be a blast like Buzz Lightyear couldn’t imagine, and it’s the next big thing I become excited for. Scanning what will become gifts for me, me, me (baby, baby, baby) with a handy little gun thingy? Mooohaa haa haaa! Weeeeee! Yaaaaaaay! Get it? It sounds fun, right?
The decision is made that Nick will not participate in the registry process, something he’s completely ok with – trust me – and I’m ok with it too as long as he doesn’t feel left out. Instead, my registry companion is my sister-in-law, Billie. We pick a day in late April to do the deed. She and Brandon (brother-in-law-Billie’s-husband) will bring their three girls up. Brandon and Nick will hang with the two oldest, and Emmie, the newest addition at just 4 months or so, will be joining Billie and me on our fabulous excursion.
The day I’ve been waiting for arrives. I eat a big lunch and hydrate before the big game. And we’re off. First stop? Supersonic, baby superstore: Babies R Us.
Billie unbundles Emmie from all of her many straps and buckles, grabs her purse, and flings the baby bag over one shoulder. I watch this simple ritual and something unsettles me. Oh, shit. We’re here. This is really happening. Look at her. Look at her with all of her baby paraphernalia hanging from every limb, baby included, and…and…that will be me soon. Only, she’s so good at it. And I’m….well, not. I have no idea what I’m doing. I suddenly don’t want to do this. I do, but I don’t.
I start to sweat as we get Emmie settled in the cart and approach the little kiosk where they give you a fun little baggie full of coupons, samples, and magazine subscription material. We sit down next to a couple, also about to embark. I try to pay attention as the “teacher” goes page-by-page through the little registry book and explains how to use the gun. As the presentation continues, I think of my pathetic little registry list folded neatly in my purse, and realize it’s crap.
The presentation is finished as my performance anxiety begins. I look around at the store that suddenly seems huge – if it’s so huge, why do I feel like it’s choking me? “Where do you want to start?” Billie asks. “I don’t know. I’m kind of nervous” I squeak.
“Let’s start over here.” She points. We’re off. Thank God for Billie. ‘Cause let me tell you…there are probably no less than 300 different brands and styles of pacifiers alone. What the hell happened to just poppin’ a plug in a baby’s mouth? Instead, there seems to be steep competition between companies to precisely recreate the female nipple.
Billie patiently walks me through each item – why it’s needed, or why it’s not. When you need to consider options and when it’s ok to just try something. She is Master. I am Grasshopper.
My first few trigger pulls are shaky, but with each scan my hand steadies and I try to let myself have fun instead of being the worrier. My anxiety wanes – although, I’m overwhelmed the whole time mainly because there are just waaaaay too many options out there for every little item. When we finally make it to car seats, my head hurts as I frantically try to retain all that she’s telling me about the four thousand freaking car seats in the isle. “There’s the car seat, and then you’ll need the base. You’ll need an extra base for Nick’s car. Or you can get a travel system, which includes the car seat that snaps right into the stroller…..” She rattles on. I nod feverishly as if the bobbling movement will somehow shake this important information into the deep recesses of my brain.
I decide on a travel system. Seems practical, right? All-in-one? We roll one out for a test drive and Billie checks it over for safety, comfort, etc. Things I would never have considered, honestly. I would have said, “Oooh, that’s a pretty color. I’ll take it!”
I find one I like style-wise, and it passes Billie’s test too. I practice folding it. It folds up with ease. “Ooh, I like this!” I titter excitedly as I try to open the thing back up….but it’s….it’s….damn it! Why won’t this f*&$# thing unfold? My face grows hot. I start to sweat again as I struggle with the contraption that has wounded what little pride I’d developed over the past half hour. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of it. Finally, Billie points out a latch and voila – done. Jesus.
We continue our excursion the rest of the day, heading over to Target as well, and I can only describe my feeling throughout as cautious excitement. This is fun. But it’s still overwhelming. And it takes for-ev-er. The whole project takes no less than three hours, and I’m parched, hungry, and exhausted. Billie neither eats nor drinks. She is a machine. And I mean that in a good way. She’s kind of like Super Mom, and I’m glad I have her for the day.
We finally make it home. I blabber on to Nick about everything I registered for, and ask if he wants to review the registry online. “Nah, that’s ok. I don’t need to see it.” I don’t let it hurt my feelings (well, maybe a teeny bit, but whatever) because in the end I count my lucky stars that we didn’t try to just do this on our own. I would not have registered for anything I needed. Honestly, the registry would have been probably eight items long. Or it would have been full of crap I didn’t need.
I’m not saying singles, or couples can’t handle registering on their own. I’m sure plenty of folks do just fine and dandy. But, this incredulous mom worries about every detail. That it’s not good enough, perfect enough, right enough… And for the likes of me, I needed a pro to guide me through. Thank goodness I had one. My only hope is that when we ran into my boss and his wife at the store, they didn’t hear us discussing nipple cream.