Friday, November 20, 2009

A Grandmother's Dilemma

    When I visit Babies R Us or Pottery Barn Kids or Target or Wal-Mart, I stand amazed that I could even raise my children from infancy to adulthood. The rampant materialism to which many Americans fall prey (myself included) could not be any more obvious than with regard to the baby product industry. Enter one of these baby stores, and it feels a little like "shock and awe." I am in awe at the marketing, the diversity of the options open to parents, and the sheer volume of the products available (for example, there are more car seats available than would fill a grocery store aisle), and when I look at the prices of the car seats, the baby beds, the strollers, and more...that's when the shock comes. I must confess that despite my best intentions, when I enter these stores I find myself immediately beset with a wanton desire to spend more money than I actually have to buy the enticing and engaging products that bear the label "Award Winning" or "Parent's Choice" or endorsed by the "American Association of Pediatricians"  but somewhere in the back of my mind lurks the knowledge that if I do so, I am succumbing to the hype and the hucksterism, and am becoming a victim of the very greed and tendency toward excess I so disavow. I talk big but the truth is that I am probably as guilty as anyone else in the store who is agog at the beauty and the plethora of choices. It requires a great act of will to close my mouth, shut my eyes, clamp the lock on my wallet and walk empty-handed out of these places. Truth be told, sometimes I win the battle and sometimes I do not.
   So I guess that I should be thankful that I did not even have the choice of a pack-n-play that vibrated, played animal and soothing nature sounds and included a mini-changing table and an infant seat. I was actually grateful for the hand-me-down swing I inherited from a friend that lasted through all four of my babies despite the fact that it was the old wind-up kind that made a screeching sound that woke up the baby whenever you turned the little crank handle. I also should be thankful that I did not have a video monitor and had to rely on my own two legs to get me up the stairs to check on my child with my own two eyes when he or she uttered a peep or worse a heart-wrenching cry.  And in my day, the word organic applied only to the food that I spooned into my toddlers' mouths. I did not worry about BPA free bottles, the paint on the baby bed, or the weight limitations on my rudimentary car seat even though if I had known then what I know now I probably would have. There was less to worry about because there was less to know.
   I also decorated my first child's room in yellow because I had no clue as to the sex -- unless you count all of the unsolicited advice that said "high and to the front it's a boy, low and to the back it's a girl" except that the other lady in the checkout line sized me up and rendered the opposite prediction, "high and to the front it's a girl, low and to the back, it's a boy." Thus I spent endless days and nights (9 months of them) wondering whether or not I would be blessed with a boy or girl. And I was never disappointed, no not once. In my day, to some degree ignorance or the lack of  knowledge really was bliss.
   At the very least, I am just glad today to be a grandmother who can shower and spoil my little granddaughter with a totally free and unlimited supply of hugs, kisses, and Honey love! Though I will confess I still drool and obsess over the baby product catalogs that cram my mailbox these days.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. We appreciate your input and feedback! Have a blessed day!