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Advice & More July 2018

Baby, Oh, Baby! I’m Clueless!

By Sally Breslin

The vision of a mountain of old, used, disposable diapers that popped into my mind wasn’t an attractive one. However, I also had a flashback to my high school days when I used to babysit, and all diapers were made of cloth…and sat soaking in smelly diaper pails.

I recently was invited to something called a “sprinkle”…and I honestly had no clue what it was. My first thought was perhaps it was a party held outside in the rain.

Through some research, I learned that a sprinkle is a baby shower held for a couple’s second baby. I guess it’s because it’s not as large scale as a shower for a first baby.

All I can say is when it comes to buying things for babies, I’m pretty much clueless. I learned this the last time I was invited to a baby shower, which was about four years ago. Prior to that, I hadn’t been to a baby shower since Nixon was president. Back then, expectant mothers didn’t know the sex of their babies in advance, so most newborn babies started their lives wearing various shades of yellow or green.

But at the shower four years ago, the couple knew they were having a girl, so I set out to buy some cute little girly things for the baby. Everything for baby girls, I soon discovered, was pink – pale pink, neon pink, dark pink, flamingo pink – pink as far as the eye could see. After a while, I actually found myself searching for pastel yellows and greens, just to break up the monotony. I finally decided to buy something practical instead, something non-pink – like diapers.

“Are they going to use disposables or go the organic, eco-friendly route and use cloth diapers?” the sales clerk asked me.

“I don’t know,” I said, shrugging.

“Cloth diapers are making a big comeback,” she said, “they don’t harm the environment. I heard that a thousand years from now, today’s disposable diapers still will be sitting completely intact in landfills.”

The vision of a mountain of old, used, disposable diapers that popped into my mind wasn’t an attractive one. However, I also had a flashback to my high school days when I used to babysit, and all diapers were made of cloth…and sat soaking in smelly diaper pails. They also had to be secured with safety pins, which became potentially lethal weapons when the baby was squirming.

So I decided to forget about the diapers and buy a case of baby food instead. After all, I reasoned, all babies had to eat at some point. I checked the jars and they were dated far enough in advance so the baby probably would have a full set of teeth by the time they expired.

“Are you sure the mother-to-be isn’t planning to make her own baby food?” the same clerk asked me. “A lot of mothers are doing that nowadays, to make certain everything is 100 percent fresh and natural.”

Again, I had to say I didn’t know. Years ago, babies were fed strained peas, strained carrots and strained beef right out of jars. Nothing fancy, and it probably was loaded with salt – which, from what I’ve recently heard, now is strictly taboo (I’ll bet if babies could talk, however, they’d be begging for the salt).

“I thought I’d just buy a case of a famous-brand baby food,” I said. “I ate it when I was a baby, and I grew up just fine.”

“Well…if you’re certain the mother isn’t intending to make her own baby food,” the clerk said, arching an eyebrow.

It became pretty obvious to me that the clerk wasn’t working on commission.

I then noticed a selection of baby shoes – adorable little sneakers, Mary Janes, even cowboy boots – all so tiny, they looked like dolls’ shoes. I immediately fell in love with all of them. It took me quite a while to decide, but I finally selected a pair of tiny white leather sneakers that had a swirl of sparkly pink crystals on each side. They, I felt, were guaranteed to be “ooh-worthy” at the baby shower.

As I was holding them up and admiring them, a female customer who was looking at baby socks a couple feet away, smiled and said to me, “Those are adorable!”

I smiled back. “Yes, aren’t they the cutest?”

“Too bad they’re such a waste of money,” she said. “I mean, it’s not as if a newborn baby is going to be walking anywhere, not for months, so why does it need shoes? It’s kind of like buying a toothbrush for a goldfish!”

At that moment, I fully understood why gift cards were invented.

 

Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” Contact her at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .