So, back to our friends and the baby registry. I remember saying to them at the time; "Well yeah, a baby registry seems hard because you haven't even met the kid yet." This is certainly one reason. Not only do you have to do all this research on what all the things are, but some of those things are great for one kid but are not for another. Example: Everyone raved about a certain kind of swaddle and said we needed to have six of them, but they essentially swallowed our petite daughter whole until she was nearly two months old. At this point, they declared that swaddles were no longer considered safe for anyone over two months old because these babies could roll over and not have access to their arms. The pervasive they are always making new proclamations like this on PBS and NPR. Thus, we promptly ditched the swaddles she'd just grown into. Said friends with children only a few years older than ours had their heads spinning that the recommendations could change so quickly on that one. It's impossible to keep up with all this stuff...
But the other reason it's difficult to create a baby registry is that, well, babies are little. Little things should not, in theory or in actuality, take over your house with a burden of crap. To quote The Princess Bride; "... anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something." And you'd better believe they really sell it. When I first got a phone call from someone at our baby registry site, just to see if I were satisfied with their services and if I were open to their suggesting more products, I had to quickly come up with a nice way of saying; "Oh my God, please don't ever call me again for something this trivial." I'm still not certain I fully succeeded on the "nice" part of that.
When I think back on the first few months of our baby's life, if we had nothing more than a car seat with stroller base, a co-sleeping bassinet, a sling, some onesies, diapers, and Butt Paste, (yes, that is a brand name), we would have been totally fine and prepared for several weeks, if not months. The "rock n' play" chair hand-me-down and bath tub we received were totally great bonuses. And we love her "sleep sheep" that creates nap-inducing white noise. You also have to take as much free shit as they will give you at the hospital; their swaddles, those little baby kimonos, diapers, etc. But really, our grandmothers didn't have all this other gear and our babies don't demand it either. I checked the safety of our car seat on Consumer Reports, but I'm not the type to research every trendy piece of baby gear for the perfect one for us. We didn't try out strollers ahead of time and we didn't do any online registry surveys or anything. If that's your thing, you do you- it's just not for us. In fact, better yet, go ahead and do it and we will be happy to yoink all your research and copy your purchases! For better or worse, we found that many people ignored our online registry anyway, because we didn't have a baby shower and because well, kids clothes and books are just more fun to shop for than, say, bottle sterilizers or breast pump attachments.
Now, I may not be into the most trendy baby items ; the ones that denote some sort of baby social status but we do have some standards. When I was still pregnant, my mother took us up to their attic to show us a bassinet we might want to use. The husband had never been up there, but I think I can safely say, he will never forget the space. My mother is not actually a hoarder, so everything is organized and labelled and sectioned off. Most people, however, don't have several sets of 100 year old shoes or a section of clothes marked "Polyester pant suits: 1970's" in their attics, so the images are remarkable and can certainly make an impression. My mother was our tour guide into this vast land of family heirlooms and elementary school art projects, as only she can really know its intricacies. (Every once in a while, she goes up there and says she is doing a big purge, but she mostly just gives away a few items and then re-organizes and moves stuff around. This is also true for the basement.) We crouched across the low-beamed space and were taken to a covered mound just spitting distance from the absolutely enormous Bonnie and Clyde poster that I cannot figure out why we still own. When the bassinet was unveiled, the husband and I noticeably shuddered. It was a 70 year old, (at least), faded wicker piece resembling more a dilapidated rickshaw than something we would ever imagine putting a newborn in. My mother tried to insist on the soundness of its structure by shaking it around, which proved in no way reassuring as ancient, (possibly lead paint?) dust mites went flying. We politely declined. Let me correct that. The husband politely declined and I probably said something to her to the effect of; "Are you high? We're not putting anyone in that."
I was reminded of all this today when scrolling through Pinterest, which yes, I do like to do, because all this being said, I do revel in decor projects. I love a good "before-and-after" blog, photo series, TV show- you name it- I'm on board. I did eventually have fun when our girl was about 6 months old, and outfitted the nursery, which was previously a guestroom, all ready for her to spend nights in and for us to play in. For a while, I just kept saying; "I wouldn't have picked this green, but it's fine. She's a baby. People are ridiculous with these nurseries; she doesn't care what the wall color is." Later, the husband loved that the wall color, previously deemed "fine" for a nursery was suddenly deemed "unacceptable". "I tried to live with it, but I can't!" I said. The wall color was then changed to another more acceptable shade of... you guessed it... green.
I thought of all this "stuff" for babies when reading a style blog I found today. This particular post was about an admittedly beautiful nursery, but the writing on the subject had my eyes rolling immediately. The mom, who had designed the space, was quoted as saying; "I have a deep passion for wallpaper, so finding the perfect one was very important to me. " I honestly didn't know one could have a "deep passion" for a paper that gets put on a wall, like just the paper itself and not the idea of creating a space. The paper... that goes on a wall...she has a deep passion for that... She felt so passionately about this paper, in fact, that finding the PERFECT one was of tantamount importance. I mean, what would have happened if she hadn't found the PERFECT WALL PAPER?! I can only imagine the despair of knowing that maybe your kids could have gotten into Harvard if only you'd found "the one". I can tell you what else this woman has a passion for; putting her children in overly twee winter hats indoors and awkwardly posing them for professional photos on a perfectly white carpet that will be surely soon be covered in snots and Gogurt, (yes, that is a brand name). But it's all good, because the wall paper behind them is perfect. It is literally the best thing she could find; superior to all the other wallpapers.
Personally, my very favorite thing about our girl's nursery is this antique mirror from my parents' house. As a child, my mom had it hanging in the garage and I could never understand why. I thought it was so beautiful and deserved a place in the house. It is beautiful in its way, but as an adult, I can understand why it never made it inside. It's cherry wood with a mirror in the center and two flowery paintings of Victorian moms and daughters. It has four coat hooks and one is half broken off. It's worn-looking and mildly ridiculous in its ostentatious formality bordering on kitsch, but several weeks into the fog of having a little girl, I called my mother and asked if she still had it in the attic for me. "Now that I have a girl, will you send me my mirror?" I said. She still had it, of course. It was wrapped up in the attic and a Post-it was attached with my name on it. And with all the new stuff out there, for this room, this antique is perfect for us because it speaks of my childhood. Just like the husband's teddy bear sits on top of our girl's toy chest, I hope she looks at these objects with the same wonder that we did as kids. That is the real magic of "things"; the way they make us feel. And we get to relive our own feelings watching our daughter make memories with them.