Guest Writer Jeff: Buying Baby Clothes

My brother wrote a short narrative about his recent adventures buying baby clothes. It was so good, I had to include it on my site.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Today I bought my first baby clothes. You see, I wanted to surprise Elizabeth, to show her I love her and our daughter. And as a show of solidarity between us. The pregnancy is very real for her (as it should be). The child is actually growing inside of her. She can feel the baby moving and kicking. I cannot. She is ?showing? now, as they say. But it really wasn?t until the ultrasound that it became real for me. To see our baby moving, to see her spine and fingers and toes. Wow. It was amazing. To find out she is a girl. This was quite a surprise. The historical ratio of males to females in the Kuban family is almost 3 to 1. My grandmother had to have nine kids just to get two girls. There are about 7 girls out of 25 grandkids. Our money was on a boy. However, almost everyone we knew told us we were going to have a girl. Though I?m not entirely sure why. ?Jeff needs to have a girl.? ?It would be good for you.? ?You don?t know what it?s like.? True, I did grow up with 3 brothers and a youthful dad. But it took a while to deprogram our mom into a mother of 4 boys. I?m just kidding, she was always a wonderful mother. And I will also agree that there were quite a few times that I did not understand her at all. For instance, her daily ritual of going out onto the deck and screaming ?Save me Jesus!? and ?Take me now Lord! I?m ready!? Hmmm?. My mother still wore dresses and makeup. She had 87 purses, and sweatshirts with sequined snowmen. All hallmarks of womanhood, right? Not enough, apparently. And then I got married. Don?t get me wrong, I love being married, and I love my wife, but isn?t it enough that I live with one irrational, emotionally-driven, estrogen packed being? How would another one ?be good for me?? How would having a girl rid me of all life?s problems, and set things right again? Or do they say it just to watch me squirm? Do they get some kind of sick pleasure out of telling me I? m not going to get what I want? Like the insane old lunch lady who would ask if you would rather have pizza or the pimento cheese sandwich, to which you would of course reply ?Pizza,? only to have her turn around and say ?Sorry, honey, all out of pizza. Here eat this yellow paste with red and green spots in it that we call ?cheese.? Bwahahaha!?

Any how, on to the baby clothes. It would be a nice surprise. A way to show support. Besides, how hard could it be? I know what is ?cute.? I?ve seen babies with nice outfits, and babies with hideous ones. So I went to Old Navy: trendy clothes without the trendy price. I walked past the men?s section, and women?s, and came to the section that I have managed to avoid my entire life: the baby section. And not just a general baby section, but the one for baby girls. Immediately, I was engulfed in pink and purple. I felt out of place instantly, even though I tried my hardest to look as though I belonged. Like the freshman on the first day of classes who walks two miles out of way because he ?knows where he is going.? He looks at room numbers out of the corner of his eyes, and after taking a wrong turn will dart into the bathroom like that is where he meant to go. And after sitting down in a classroom will not leave even if it is History of the Feminist Movement. And that is certainly where I was today. I was the guy who failed to realize why there were not any urinals in the bathroom, who went one aisle to far in Walgreen?s, who did not see ?nursing mothers only? on the door. Retreat! My mind screamed. Cut your losses, and go home. Tell Elizabeth you went but couldn?t do it, she?ll understand. It?s the thought that counts, right? And then I was hit by the flood of realization that this would be my plight for the rest of my life. Just wait until puberty, my sadistic mind taunted. This ain?t nuthin?. True. So with the thankfulness that I could postpone infinite amounts of embarrassment for at least 10 more years, I endeavored to persevere. It took quite a while to find a suitable size. Having no prior experience with shopping for babies, I had no idea what ?2T? meant or up to ?23 inches.? Well, I could guess on that last one. Thankfully, Old Navy also included approximate age. Since I could unquestionably say how old our daughter would be when she was born, I looked for ?0.? I found Daisy Dukes for newborns, tank tops for newborns, and a plethora of dresses. I needed to narrow my search. No pink, I thought. Elizabeth has mentioned that before. No winter clothes. No Winnie the Pooh (I don?t know about you, but having Pooh Bear all over the walls, and bed, and clothes, and dressers, and toys has always kind of disturbed me). So what?s left? Ah, here we go. A bodysuit thingy. Blue is for boys though, right? Don?t want my daughter confused before she?s 1. What about white? Come on. You can do better than that. What about these? A t-shirt with some pants. Easy enough. ?The pelican likes to fly in the sky? one of the shirts proclaimed. So? Besides, it has a little too much glitter. Crocodiles? Despite the shirt?s version of how crocodiles behave (apparently they like to build sand castles), I seem to remember them being a little less cordial. (Again, we?re trying to minimize confusion.). Only a couple left. This one has big face of a cat on it. Now, I?m not the biggest fan of cats, not to mention the purple leopard print pants, so I declined that one too. Here we go! A nice happy elephant, with striped pants. All the elephants I could remember were happy (except for the ones in the zoo, or course). And it looks fun. Triumphantly, I took my chosen item to the checkout line. The clerk looked at me with the most dumbfound expression I have ever seen. She slowly scanned the outfit, while looking at me as though I had a little finger growing out of my forehead, that was happily wiggling ?Hi? at her. I gave her my card, and she scanned it, still staring at my forehead finger when the register beeped. She looked at the baby outfit, then back at me, and asked ?Would you like a gift receipt?? To which I cheerfully replied, ?That won?t be necessary.? I signed on the line, and she gave me my bag. As I climbed into my truck, I looked down at my bag and sighed.