It's been raining here. It's rained a lot this winter. But more importantly, it's raining babies! Oooooooh, I just love babies. I didn't really love babies very much when mine were babies. They were so smelly. And needy. And messy. And I don't think I was very much of a little kid person. But I am now. Isn't that always how it works?
Two of my BFF teacher friends and my new boyfriend (who slept in his carseat most of the time) went down together to a baby shower for another teacher friend of ours who is having her first baby in two weeks. Great shower, super cute, young couple, love them, etc., but have you SEEN baby stuff lately?
It's like I raised my children in 1890. There are video monitors! There is a three-sided pack-n-play that becomes a crib next to your bed! There are car seats that anchor into the car! Modern baby things are like Transformers. Car seats that become boosters that become strollers and later a robot babysitter. Even the bouncy seat is unrecognizable. Aside from actually securing your child in the chair, bouncing seats now vibrate, bounce, and turns into a swing and a child seat. Jesus. Really? All it was lacking were add-on wheels for when she turns 16!
When G was born, we had a hand crank swing, a crib, a car seat, a stroller, and (we thought) the greatest thing of all. It was the newest of the new. All the very best parents had them. It was the bouncy chair. The bouncy chair soothed, it calmed, it relaxed, it bounced. It was a death trap. It had a metal frame and a papa-san type fabric seat. The fabric stretched around the frame relatively tightly so that the seat would respond to the the bounce of the wire frame. And the baby was secured in with fabric strip that velcro'd to the side of the chair. You heard me. VELCRO. So, basically, we set our six week old sack of flour in a virtually upright hammock anchored only by velcro. It's a miracle she survived.
I should have known things were changing when I bought the shower gift. I went into the Target, a magical land from whence all great things come, printed out their registry, and went to the baby section. I innocently scanned the four-page registry. I wasn't concerned initially that I couldn't identify most of the things on the registry. Um, red flag? No! How hard could this be? Undaunted, I switched gears. I found an item in our price range and slid my finger across the page to see the "Bumpo" something something. It was in the same category as the high chair, so I went to the high chairs. No Bumpo. Car seats? No Bumpo? Is it one of those thingies you put over the teeming-with-bacteria shopping cart for little kids? (We didn't have those 15 years ago either - we just called it immunity building.) Nope, not a Bumpo.
I had dropped by the Target in between two appointments. I had exactly seven minutes to get the whatever-the-fuck-this-thing-is, wrapping paper, a card, check out and get to my next appointment. So, I resorted to Item No. 528 in the list of things that my mom does but I said I would never do. I became that older lady in the baby section. Who accosts the new mother. To ask for help.
But I was in a hurry.
Me: "Uh, I'm so sorry to bother you. But I can't identify anything on this registry. Can you tell me where I might find a Bumpo?"
Brief, awkward silence.
New mom: "Um, it's right there behind you." Sweet smile, look of pity. (The look may or may not have been because of my ignorance. It also could have been the gym clothes, which I may or may not have worn the day before, too. Hard to say).
Me: "Oh, right, great! Um, what is it?"
New mom: Sweet smile, look of pity. "It's a seat for your baby to sit in before it can sit up (??). It's great for when you're cooking or cleaning or working."
She was really very sweet and went on to extol the virtues of the Bumpo. After while, I stopped listening and wondered what was wrong with just sticking them in the play pen with some toys. Which is when I realized yet again, how fast things are changing and how long ago my children were babies.
I feel a little bit like the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey (yes, I have spent the last three days watching every epsiode. I was a little late to the party). When they brought electricity into the sitting room, Maggie Smith's character has to shade her eyes from the glare.
She's not ready for the future to come either.