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As a dude, buying baby stuff has never really come up in the normal day to day… ever. When I was single and friends were having babies, I would hop on Amazon and find a quick item, never really thinking about registries, let alone walking in to a store full of baby gear.
About six weeks in to my wife’s pregnancy, we had a quiet weekend and thought we’d check out some stores to get our feet wet. We had done no research on much of anything up to this point, blissfully happy IVF had gone so well. Before we left, I Googled “bye bye baby” to find out when they opened. I found it amusing that the name was utterly capitalist and unapologetic “Buy Buy Baby.” I laughed and thought the arrogance of this store! We joke Whole Foods is called “Whole Paycheck” but no one is going to name the store that. Perhaps it was a copyright issue from the popular 1960s song. Regardless, I still didn’t realize the impending mental onslaught that was about to happen as we walked in the door!
On the drive over, we discussed keeping a low profile and hoped we’d run in to no one we know. My wife is a TERRIBLE LIAR. I kept telling her, “we’re shopping for someone else.” She’d reply, “who?” See what I mean – terrible! We parked, not in the pregnancy spot, although my wife wanted to. I joked, “you’re pregnant but I’m not about to get a look as if I’m some callus asshole parking wherever he pleases.”
I don’t think you can be prepared for the baby focused overload the store delivers. After 5 minutes, I was like “WHAT THE F@#k is ALL OF THIS????” Why are there this many boxes to hold wipes? How many bottle types are there? Do I need to buy a plastic “cage” to wash my bottles in? As a man, do I smile and nod when asked my opinion on anything breastfeeding related?
I’m a guy… where’s the “gear!”
When we found the stroller and car seat section….no words can describe how lost I felt. You show me a showroom of Ferraris and I’ll find one I like. Faced with the option of 25+ stroller options, I felt as helpless as a leaf in an October wind storm. I’m having twins so that helps a little to narrow it down but then there are countless accessories and bags. Strollers for their first car seats and then those are only good until they reach so many pounds or inches! Do I want a kickboard? Color? Brand?
Car seats….uh, what’s the safest, best one? That may seem easy. Well it’s not, why can’t there be ONE!!!! Are any reasonably priced? By the way, someone certified has to install it! How much extra is that?
Our first visit opened our eyes, a lot. We made a not so subtle quick exit after 20 minutes. We grabbed a nice lunch and went home avoiding any other baby stores for a few weeks. After 24 hours, I immediately started doing research online for the best things out there, as well as figuring out what we exactly we would need!
Fast forward seven months, we’ve prepared as best we can and in some case doubley so. But like any first time parent there is that unease of never being totally ready. It reminds me of Sun Tzu’s quote, “Everybody has a plan until first contact with the enemy.”
The gear has been purchased, the car seats installed, the clothes sorted by months and the diaper service on stand-by. All we do now is wait and wonder what we forgot to buy. Hopefully it won’t be something we realize at 3am!
Joe Campagna is a soon-to-be dad of twin girls. He recently completed his second and final marathon and is hoping to watch as much sports as he can before the babies arrive. Joe is a former chef and general manager who has strong opinions on food. Although he knows his way around a kitchen, he is still learning how to navigate this whole dad thing. He resides in Chicago with his wife Jen. You can follow his musings: @chifoodsnob on Twitter and Instagram.