Monday, April 9, 2007

The Sham of Registries (Wk 22: PREGNANCY)

September 27, 2005

So I have a registry. Two, in fact. Funny that it's taken me 22 weeks to do this when I made fake ones before getting pregnant. Perhaps the difference is that the fantasy ones required less thought. Four raised-dot sherpa blankets-- everyone needs that, right?

With the real ones, I have to consider how much space I actually have to store things and how little some people shop by your wish list. I've attended 60-person showers with only a third of guests purchasing things off the registry. Women above the age of 35 seem to think you need a silver baby cup more than you do a breastmilk storage container.

So I figured that creating a small, strategic registry will help those who do buy off the list know which things we most need.

A Real Mom Weighs In

Armed with an internet checklist, I visited a mother of twins. If she didn't know what you really need, no one does.

"Okay, what about those hooded bath towels. Do you really need two to four?"

"Hmm..." she recalls, "I've used them some, and they're nice to have. But when they're dirty, I just use a regular towel. That works too."

Scratch. I mark through that item. Besides, if the showers I've attended are any indication, we'll still get one (or two, or three) anyway. With a frog's head on top of the hood.

"What about those infant washcloths? Is a regular washcloth too rough for a baby's skin?"

"Nah," she shrugs. "I've used regular washcloths before."

Scratch. And to think one store insisted I need three per bath: one to soap up, one to rinse off, and one to dry off! Cha-ching goes the cash register.

Some things I didn't even have to ask about. While one list clearly stated my need for five different strollers-- that's all five, mind you-- I figure I can make it through the first year with just one. Though I admit, a jogging stroller would be nice. If I jogged.

Scratch, scratch, scratch, down the list we go.

Leaving Me With...

Obviously, some things I would like to have: a bouncy seat, a play mat, a boppy pillow... While I realize that babies throughout the world thrive without these things (mom's boob and a good sling go a long way), I'm American enough to want a little luxury.

And I look forward to seeing what all non-registry items my friends are dying to give! Ribbon-lined burp clothes, hand-crocheted booties, and the requisite baby china! How fortunate we are to be able to give our babies such items, and some of us to have homes big enough for five strollers. (Update: These days, when I think of what most American babies are offered, "fortunate" is not the word that comes to mind. More on that later.)

Still, I can't help but remember one of my own baby pictures. I sit naked in the bathroom sink (no plastic infant tub), a giant grin on my face. My grandmother is reflected in the mirror behind me, an ordinary bath towel in her hands, waiting to scoop me up.

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