I'm not sure if we Americans are compulsive planners with a pre-determined agenda to birth babies over spring break, or if we are all driven to have sexual relations in the hot summer months because our bodies desperately, secretly want for us to have little spring babies popping out in hoards and droves that we can dress up in adorably cute overpriced Easter outfits, or if lots of churches and organizations just have marriage enrichment (ahem, sex conferences) in the summer or what... but there are little pregnant people running around everywhere in Dallas and it seems like every department store in the city has gotten word that there are lots of little babies on the way.
I went to TJ Maxx today to buy an orange juicer and a cute scrapbook (neither of which I found) and ended up thinking about having another baby simply because the little people clothes were so stinking cute.
Hear me say, another 9 month pregnancy is NOT in the picture for Ryan and I unless quite a bit of science fails and medical maladies occur. I am perfectly content adopting from this point on. I have NO desire to be pregnant ever again.
(Don't judge all you ladies that pop em out and run marathons three months later and then pop another one out after that like it's the easiest thing in the world. Don't judge me!!!)
I love Squirrel. But I gained 52 pounds and ate like a carniverous wooly mammal, couldn't see my feet, broke out in vicious acne, couldn't sleep for like three months (wait! Actually,I haven't slept through the night... in over a year), and I still can't feel half of my stomach where an entire human being was plucked out of my gut after my entrils were taken out in front of my very eyes.
It was not the glowy, amazing, proud-to-be-woman experience I was told it would be.
I found myself praying, "Lord, why me? Make it stop. Pleeeaaaase. It's 35 weeks and you know good and well she can survive and be healthy at 35 weeks so would you please take her out of my wooly mammoth stomach?"
Now that Annie is here, Ryan and I sort of feel like maybe we are a one child kinda family. At least until God radically changes our hearts or until our sleep is restored to us or until I see the writing on the wall... in blood.
But back to baby mania. Here I am in TJ Maxx getting all sentimental and wanting to feel a little baby in my stomach again simply because the Easter dresses and brown and pink polka dot section of the store made me feel happy and left me longing for the little tiny breaths of a newborn baby.
(And girls, this is is what time does to you. Makes you forget the HELL of the last three weeks of pregnancy. The first three hours of pushing. And the first three weeks of sheer delirium. Time is playing a dirty, dirty trick on us. And really, you ladies who had it easy... stop judging and having flowery thoughts about the beautiful, worshipful, momentous birth of your child. I can feel you out there and you are killing me. There is nothing beautiful when that water breaks and kersplats all over the floor.)
EARTH to Jenny! What is wrong with you? Run! Get out of this store! It is the devil!
A few cute dresses, a piggy bank, and plush blankets is not an acceptable way to rationalize having another baby (neither is thinking about how it would be nice to have an excuse to eat cereal and other random meals at 3:30 a.m. in the morning and be able to get away with it).
So I bought a few gifts for my pregnant girlfriends, bought Annie a dress, and got out of their as quickly as possible and told myself that the giddy little girl feeling inside of me was a result of a commercial, consumer driven, capitalistic store! End of discussion.
My Baby Favorites
But it all got me thinking about my baby favorites. Oh the joy of babyshowers *can I just please say that if you have not recieved a thank you card from me yet, I promise, one day it will come and I am sorry for not saying thank you faster and please don't judge, seriously, i haven't slept through the night in a year* I have always wanted to make a list of baby things I swear by and the things I could have done without for any new moms who care to hear my two cents. But first, I must tell you what Ryan's criteria was for almost everything we bought for Annie and her nursery. His mantra: If we didn't live in America, would we buy it? If we couldn't get to Babies-R-Us, could we live without it?
He has clearly not been into Babies-R-Us. Because you basically need everything in that entire store if you are going to keep your child alive and kicking. Right? Right.
I don't want to be a kill-joy... but I do have to comment on what an amazing job the marketing teams for baby departments have done in milking preggo ladies for every emotional, nurturing, sentimental, scared, lustful, prideful desire they have in their bodies before birthing their babies. Shame on you people for making Babies-R-US into the Six Flags for estrogen deranged, high strung, emotional women carrying around little alien babies in their stomachs!!! You actually make us believe that we need your stuff and that we are bad moms if we don't get it.
Like our babies will not grow bones without your enhanced formula and our babies will not have good posture without a Boppy and our babies will never be smart without Baby Einstein and our babies will be much safer in a $1,000 Bugaboo stroller and our babies won't let us wipe their butts unless we use your diaper wipe warmer and our babies won't feel loved unless they are tied up like a monkey on our backs at all times with your fancy shmancy sling and our babies will most certainly not thrive intellectually without a small baby computer that teaches them three, count it, three languages. I walk in your store and have already failed as a mother because my nursery is ghetto and hodge-podged and my daughter sleeps in a crib that is, gasp, 19 years old (can you imagine the illegal contaminants in that thing?) and I cannot buy all the things you glamorize and say that my baby needs in order to make it in this world and to come out safe, intelligent, and fully developed!
On top of that, I'm too cheap to buy the organic, save-the-planet version on all your end caps, so now not only am I a bad mom, I am aplanet earth destroyer.
Truth is: Love, time, a parent's intuition, milk, protection, and basic shelter... that's all they need. Our kids are gonna make it.
His quiet voice of reason...
Every time I wanted to spend money we didn't have on (completely cute and amazing things) that Annie didn't really need, Ryan would quietly say, "Jen, do we really need this stuff? I mean, you know, if we were raising her like in an area of poverty or a place of simplicity, would you really spend this kind of money on color-coordinating and decorating a nursery? She can't see it, you know. It's sort of for your own pleasure, isn't it?"
And he was right.
Ryan by no means ruined the experience for me. I love Annie's little nursery. It is simple. Borrowed. Mismatched. And within our means. It is still quirky and cute and spunky... just like our little girl. But it didn't cost a fortune and it didn't consume our time, desires, and money. At the end of the day I love that my husband desired for us to set an example for Annie from day one that materialistic things; having the cutest, most trendy, expensive little Pottery Barn nursery wasn't important. He wanted our little girl to grow up in a room that was more about what she created it to be instead of what mom and dad spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on. He set the tone of simplicity and constantly reminded me of what the whole experience was about, and I followed kicking and screaming every time I saw another cute thing that shehad to have for her room...
My unsolicited two-cents
So have fun all you preggo ladies. Make the nursery cute, fun, homey, and perfect for your little squirrel, but check yourself as you go!If you can't design your dream nursery and feel like every other mom can... don't believe the lies. You are normal! It's just a baby; it's not the pope's bedroom. Need I remind you of Jesus' first abode? Or Abraham Lincoln for that matter? Don't go there. A room is a room is a room. Your kid has no clue. You keep your eyes and your heart focused on what is important.
And if you have a pile of receipts with four digit numbers and find yourself agitated that the painter didn't perfectly match the border of the walls to the lamp and garbage can and the crib bedding... take a deep breath and remind yourself... it's just a room. Not a palace. It's a baby. Not a king.
And now for my most favorite baby things? You will have to check back tomorrow!
Jenny Simmons is a dynamic storyteller and lover of people who uniquely sees God’s redemptive hand at work in the world around her. She is a sought-after musician, author, speaker, worship leader and Bible teacher.