So much change has happened in my life in the last 10 years
since I've had my son. He has grown up,
I've grown up, and we've welcomed a wonderful husband and stepfather into our
lives. And now we have a baby. And as you can imagine, things are quite
different in the baby world after a decade. In some ways, I'm an old pro at this (no emphasis on the "old"), but
let's be real—I'm the Class of 1994 dork who is going back to high school
wearing a headband and a Hypercolor t-shirt thinking I'm pretty sweet. And I'm getting schooled.
The baby gear is different now. When you wait 10 years to have another baby,
the hand-me-downs have already been handed to others. It's just as well because I wanted updated
gear anyway. But WHOA, a whole new world
of baby products have emerged. I feel
like Encino Man lumbering around the baby store, curiously pushing buttons with
my neandrathal fingers, covering my hairy ears and letting out Chewbaca-like
yelps as I run from the swings section only stopping to pick up and eat a fruit
snack which was on the floor. Many of
the products that were available when my son was a baby have already gone into
extinction, much like Brendan Fraser's career. I've had to familiarize myself with all the new options. Shopping for baby gear is overwhelming.
Buying a stroller is like buying a car, especially since I felt like I was
reading "Car and Driver" when I read the reviews. The choices range from a base model Graco to top of the line Stokke,
whose price tag is just as annoying as trying to pronounce "Stokke." And then there's the Kids Kustom's stroller, "The Roddler." Its price starts at
$3500. It's the Rolls Royce of strollers
boasting a fender design based on classic Buicks, stainless chassis inspired by
aircraft design and tops that come custom in ostrich, stingray or alligator. I call that "I hope your baby blows out and
makes poo angels in it."
And now there are nursing cover-ups such as the Hooter
Hider. Love that name, but I can't think
of a better way to draw attention to the fact that I'm breastfeeding in public
than to put a circus tent around my boobs. It's telling bystanders that "There's a circus going on in here!" Come
one, come all.
Ten years ago, Evan had some serious baby gas. His sister has the same. But now there's The
Windi, a rectal catheter that whistles when gas comes through it. It sounds as amazing as it does hilarious, and
with the kind of gas Stella's been ripping, I was expecting to hear the theme song
to the "Andy Griffith Show." Instead I
heard that voice in my head say, "SUCKER!"
Ten years ago, baby monitors allowed me to hear my baby cry
from the other room. Now they allow us
to see the baby with infrared night vision and speak to them through the
intercom. Am I watching my baby or a
scene from Zero Dark Thirty?
How we once ever knew when the Ziploc bag was sealed, when our beer was cold, or when it was time to change junior is beyond me.
The baby training philosophies have changed. When Evan was a baby, the Ferber Method was
leading the way. "Let the baby cry it
out," was the counsel. I tried this for a
short period until I realized it was crazy. The idea was to let the baby self-soothe and
cry until he fell asleep on his own after he realized crying would get him
nowhere. Yes, let's create horrible
feelings of abandonment and emotional scarring in the baby by letting him use
his only method of communicating his basic needs of love and attention then
letting his very own mother ignore him for hours. Thankfully, now people have decided that
parents shouldn't start emotionally scarring children until they're much
There is now a "wetness indicator" on diapers. The yellow line on the crotch of the diaper
turns blue when wet. Thank God for
color-indicators. How we once ever knew
when the Ziploc bag was sealed, when our beer was cold, or when it was time to
change junior is beyond me.
Ten years later, my body is different. I was 26 when I had my son. Things were getting back to normal within
days of giving birth. This time my
hormones are out of whack, things have been thrown out of joint and it has
taken longer to heal. Let's just say
back then I bounced back like Tigger, but today parts of me are resembling Eeyore.
I'm less worried and more worried at the same time. Sure, I've done the baby thing once before so
in ways I'm more relaxed. I know that
babies are resilient, that the weird-looking stuff in their diaper is usually
normal, and that babies reach milestones at their own pace. But with all the stuff on the Internet, I
started questioning my knowledge and experience. On a nightly basis, I frantically nudge my
baby awake to confirm that she's breathing. And up until three weeks ago when it was clear that her vision was healthy,
I was constantly doing the "Three Stooges" eye-poke gesture stopping just short
of her face to see if she could see it coming and blink.
Yes, much has changed from when I was first a mother a
decade ago. There are more options,
things are cooler and sleeker and I'm feeling my age. I'm also more aware of how quickly it all
happens. How my baby boy became a 10-year-old in the blink of an eye. I am
aware of the precious nature of every moment, and I appreciate it more
now. I vow to enjoy my baby daughter and
her brilliant older brother in both the milestone and quiet, subtle
moments. I don't want to take anything
for granted. And, if someone wanted to
invent the "she's about to poop so hard
that it explodes out her diaper and goes up her back" indicator, I wouldn't
take that for granted, either.