I wouldn't consider myself a terribly materially-dependent person. I'm not much of a shopper and I don't really feel a strong need to keep up with the Jones or anyone else. Our furniture consists of family heirlooms (thanks Teleps), antique store finds, curbside specials, and pieces Andrew is building. Exception: our brand-new bed, it took me months of futon sleeping to convince Andrew that new was the way to go. I know I'm not terribly virtuous in this though, there are many of our dear friends who are far more careful than I in this regard (do we just attract this sort of person?). This is all to say that for months, I've been craving and acutely feeling the need to acquire baby things, make purchases and stockpile stuff.
I have felt woefully unprepared for our new child mentally & physically. The physical is easier to remedy. Other expectant mothers did not relieve this anxiety. Who are these mothers having multiple showers before they enter the second trimester? Who are these women that have made all of their major baby purchases before I'd even met my midwife? And why did they have to ask what I had bought yet? Was it just for the purpose of gloating when I replied, "well someone gave me a onesie and bib."
I should say that actual mothers of babies worked to assuage my worries. Children hardly need anything they said. Don't worry, the stuff will come, they said. I was sure that they had genuine points and were telling me the truth. But have I mentioned my neurotic tendencies toward planning? I began to look at the baby stores, online mind you. I soon realized that actual trips to the actual stores could be further damaging to my mental health. How was I to know what to buy or ask for? How was it possible that there are 148 types of cloth diapers? Why when I am least able to choose things am I presented with hundreds of choices that seem to affect my child's well being?
Friends and family to the rescue! My newly-mothering friends graciously replied to emails that reeked of desperation: Help me! I'm drowning in a sea of possibly expensive and certainly varied baby purchases and I don't know what to do. Comfort came in the form of reassurances and recommendations. Kudos to Jordan who provided me with her own notes and spreadsheets on the subject of registering. The woman is always impressive. Her organization and thoroughness brought me to tears.
Then came our Thanksgiving Holiday run. Andrew's mother has mastered grandmothering with all the skill and aplomb of a veteran. Each visit has brought lovely gifts that have been as psychologically comforting as they are practical. Rick & Deb, provided us with a car-full of things that Amos has outgrown of the most useful sort: car seats, bathtubs etc. Liz generously gave her niece some of the unexpected fruits of her nanny job, while providing Andrew & I with some valuable parenting strategies that we hope to employ. Pangela outdid themselves by loading us up with bags of tiny clothes for our little one and a miracle-working pillow. I don't know how I was sleeping without this pillow. It's u-shaped and extends four feet on each side to envelop all of me in pillowy-goodness.
We drove home with our stash and I have continued to marvel over it these many days. Andrew is quickly coming to terms with what was before an apparently unforeseen consequence of baby-having. I casually mentioned that a nook in our entrance way would be a good place for a stroller. His eyes widened with fear as he realized that the actual baby stuff would have to have a place in our house. "It doesn't match my aesthetic," he said. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. This is the same man who, when we moved in together, placed all of my furnishings and belongings in our guest bedroom.