When hubby and I were in Seattle this past week, we went to a Babies R Us. With a number of baby showers coming up, and our application to become foster parents still pending, it seemed like a good thing to do (since they don’t have this store down where we live).
I expected to find a plethora of things I’d been hearing about, some new things, and to have an awesome time. But after we left, I realized that the feeling I had was, in fact, disappointment. And it surprised me.
If you believe the advertisements, Babies R Us is “the” baby superstore. It is supposed to have everything a family needs for a young child. But it definitely did not have what THIS family needs for a young child.
Sure, I could buy blankets. Acrylic ones with fire retardant and created with chemicals so that even the packaging warns “wash before using”.
I could buy clothing – if I were OK with ones that are “Made in China”. Didn’t we Americans learn anything when we found out they were painting children’s toys with lead paint? Apparantly not, since we still buy things from them that we immediately give to children who put everything in their mouths.
I could buy baby formula. But isn’t breast supposed to be best? Then why does this baby superstore have exactly two short aisles as high as my shoulder selling items needed for breast feeding, while it has two long aisles taller than my head full of formula? (And that doesn’t even count the aisles of bottles, because they can be used with both formula and breast milk so I counted them toward neither.)
Then there are diapers – they sell exactly two brands of cloth diapers, and on the shelves were two packs of one, and one pack of the other. Yet disposable diapers were stacked upwards of six deep in every brand and size. And no diaper covers for the cloth, either, which is a very necessary piece of cloth diapering!
We went to the toy department – and found exactly one type of doll that came in both a “white” and a “black” design. *Sigh* As half of an interracial couple, variety in doll skin colors is going to be important to any child in this house. I appreciate that so many children’s dolls come in colors like red and blue, but when skin tones are available, I really REALLY wish the tones reflected real life. Even Crayola has removed their “flesh” color name, because they have realized that flesh comes in many colors. Why can’t doll manufacturers do the same? And since a few of them do, why can’t Babies R Us stock more of those?
And I probably ought not to get started about the whole “baby container” industry. Really, do parents today really look for any available way to put thier child into something and walk away from him/her? Infant car seats that you can carry around without ever touching your child. Baby chairs with interactive trays so you don’t have to interact with baby yourself. Talking toys to teach your child their colors and shapes. Bumbo seats so you don’t have to hold your child while feeding him/her. You could feasibly have whole DAYS with your child where you never touched them other than to move them from container to container, starting with breakfast and ending with bed. (And changing a diaper, of course, which you don’t even have to check anymore thanks to “color change wetness indicators”).
Sure, all this stuff probably makes parenting much more convenient. But is that really what parenting is supposed to be? Convenient? Done with minimum muss and fuss? What happened to people who actually enjoyed touching their child? Ones who pay enough attention to notice when their child wets or soils their diaper? Ones who hold their child while they eat? Ones who give their baby a wooden spoon and a pot to bang on while they cook, so the child can “help”? Why do we feel the need to fill their lives with plastic replicas of real life items, while putting the baby anywhere other than against our skin?
Please understand – I KNOW some of these things were invented because of the needs of special needs children and their parents. If you NEED one or more of these things, I am not condemning you. Invite me to your baby shower and I’ll even buy one for you. But to use multiple things to limit your interaction with (and touching of) your healthy baby is really starting to grate on me.
If God ever grants me a biological child, I fully intend to baby wear, cloth diaper, breast feed, rear face in carseats until at least age 2, touch my child at every opportunity, clothe him/her in fibers from suppliers I trust, and provide a generous number of toys that feature people of every race and that are not plastic. And his/her colors and shapes will be taught by me, not by something that runs on batteries.
I am surrounded by parents who do many of these things. I would have plenty of support for any of them. I think cloth diapering is the only out of the norm (for here) thing I’d choose to do.
And I guess I just figured out why there isn’t a Babies R Us where I live. It would go out of business. People here – including me – are different. And we like it that way.