There are many torturous events in life, and one of those right up there with Funerals, Weddings, Class Reunions and other gatherings of people you must suffer through, is the Baby Shower.
I’ll use my “officer friendly” rule here for telling stories in school: “Someone I know” got married. I was glad to finally see it, after all, she was living a way too fun and carefree lifestyle. No one should just pick up and move to the northeast on a whim, or move to California for six months for the heck of it. Single people can do that crap and get away with it. With married people – you have to find two jobs, probably sell your house, and someone is going to lose all their friends. When you are dating and someone pisses you off, you change your locks and your phone number and send them a text saying “fuck you” and stop calling them until you’re drunk and horny. But when you’re married, that type of thing doesn’t go over well, and generally leads down the road to family court or someone getting their penis cut off in the middle of the night.
She had only been married about a year when the news came out that this person was pregnant. I was utterly shocked. For one thing, I’m 40, I can’t imagine starting over with a kid now. She’ll be pushing 40 when the kid pops out. Can you imagine graduating high school and all your friends say, “That’s so cute you brought your grandma, where’s your mom?”. Of course, for mom and dad there is an advantage. When the kid graduates college, you can sell the house and retire to Orlando with the rest of the snowbirds. Odds are, unless the kid gets knocked up during some drunken teenage mistake, you might not live to see your grandkids.
Grandkids seem great. All the fun of doing stuff with kids, but you get to send them back when they start being a pain in the ass. And you can fill their heads full of stuff that mom and dad will have to sort out later.
But – part of being pregnant is people give you stuff. I’m not sure who started this shower thing. It’s an excuse for women to shop, which they can do quite well on their own, without any reason or justification needed.
It’s like a welfare program run by your friends. I think there should really be some sort of anti-fertility drug everyone takes. When you want to have a kid, go have to apply for a permit, take tests, have your house checked out by Social Services, see if you are financially stable, etc. etc. Then they give you the fertility pill, and away you go. It would sure cut down on a lot of teen pregnancies… Still, the shower would come into play. Your friends could come around, see what you need, by you crap, and then the DSS guy could come out and check out all your cool stuff.
So – with baby showers comes the responsibility to shop. I’m not invited, I’m not interested in being invited, but as a married man I’m probably going to be sucked into going shopping. I hate shopping for myself. I would probably being wearing my t-shirts from the 90s if my wife didn’t make me go shopping. Shopping for her is almost as boring, unless it leads to me going into Victoria’s Secret or something. At this stage of life, a trip to VS is more likely to lead to flannel pajamas or soaps than something slinky with straps on it, but at least I can check out the hot clothes on the mannequins. Shopping in the digital age is finally becoming more fun. She can try on things in the dressing room, and have my daughter text me a picture while I sit outside the store on one of the “man benches” strategically located around the mall.
Once we get the baby shower notification, I find myself in the baby section of WalMart, Toys R Us, and Babies R Us. I’m sorry, but after shopping for me, my kid, and my wife, shopping for yet another person is one of life’s little pleasures, ranking right up there with standing in line at the DMV or going to the dentist. Thankfully, the shower-ee is registered at several places. However – I really think WalMart having a wedding registry is somewhere in the Book of Revelation concerning the end times, but they have it.
Registries are always good for a laugh. I remember getting the Sears “Wish Book” as a kid. Before stores sold toys year ’round, a kid would have to pick out all the stuff he or she wanted from a Christmas catalog, and hope to get everything needed to get them through the year without dying of boredom. I think a wedding or baby registry is a lot like that. As kids we would write down item after item, giving lists to our parents that the King of England probably couldn’t have filled. Registries are like that.
“Hey, we’ll have this kid for a while, we might as well ask for enough stuff to at least get him through Kindergarten. Get the car, let’s go fill out a registry, and let’s put stuff on there that no person in their right mind would really buy us!”
Wedding registries are the same way, like someone you haven’t seen in years is really going to buy you the eight-place setting of dishes (that you will only use twice a year) for $900.
Some of the things asked for on the registry:
The $250 “Baby View” wireless nursery monitor. Seriously? Her house is 1100 square feet. An open door and a strategically placed mirror would do the job. What the hell are baby monitors for, any way? Someone asked me why we didn’t have a baby monitor. For one thing, the kid was fifteen feet across the hall in the next room. “It’s for hearing sounds in the night,” they said. Well duh. If you like hearing every twitch and burp the kid makes, I guess those are for you. Personally, I want to sleep through the night. If the kid really needs me, she’ll shriek at the top of her lungs. Humans have evolved to recognize a crying baby as one of the most irritating sounds on the planet, right up there with any “Verizon Ringback Music-on-hold” song. But a video feed? Of course, that’s a multi-pupose gift. In their teen years, you point the camera at the door, and know when they are sneaking out.
Boob-Ease Nipple balm. I’m sorry, I can’t look at my relative and think of her nipples. I’m just not into country music enough, that thoughts of my relative’s nipples are acceptable in my house.
The “safety first baby view mirror” – Apparently this is for moms who have been in car wrecks before, and have problems turning their heads ninety degrees to the right to glance at the kid. News flash – the kid isn’t in front of you driving a $55000 SUV, about to brake hard because the idiot in front of him almost missed a turn. Look in front of you when you are driving, look at the kid when you are stopped at red lights.
“Little Remedies New Parent Survival Kit”. I assume this contains a bottle of xanax, a quart of Jim Beam, and the number to a local sitter. I’m not sure what else could be necessary for survival. Maybe a placebo invented by a teacher thats supposed to cure the flu?
Pacifiers. As a parent, I know the choice of a pacifier is an intensely personal one for a child. Our kid went through about eight before finding one she was happy with. When you find one you like, buy a case of them, because odds are they will quit selling them six months later, and you’ll be up a creek. Asking random strangers to buy you a pacifier is like asking your relatives to buy boob-ease nipple lotion.
And finally, don’t put anything on a store rewards card. I made the mistake of buying someone some diapers using my Bi-Lo bonus card. They have your name for a reason. For the next five years I get mail from pampers, wanting me to try their products…