Stocking up for baby is grand experience

Going solo with a 3-month-old requires right equipment

April 07, 2011|Susan Reimer

I think we should throw baby showers for the grandmothers.

I am sure you can guess what inspired this conclusion. My 3-month-old grandson, Michael, was due for a visit, and this grandmother didn't have any place to put him.

No crib. No little bouncy chair. No swing. No car seat. No stroller. No little bathtub.

There is nothing grandmothers like better, of course, than a little grandchild shopping. But when I realized that Michael and I would be soloing during this visit, I was reduced to panic buying.

The pioneers did just fine, I am sure. And plenty of babies have slept in laundry baskets and dresser drawers. But that's not the route you go when you are trying to convince your daughter-in-law that leaving her precious bundle with you is not the same as leaving him by the side of the road.

I confess, I haven't been to one of those big-box baby stores since the mid-1990s when my kids and I shopped there for birthday party presents or good-behavior bribes.

Even when choosing something for my friends' grandchildren or my grandnieces and grandnephews, I try to be really classy and visit a baby boutique.

But that's not where you go when you need to outfit a nursery. Fast.

I was lost immediately. And haunted by all the safety warnings to which I have paid no attention for a decade. Suddenly, every item on my list looked lethal to me.

I could see myself and my grandchild on "The Today Show," telling Matt and Meredith that the pack-and-play I had chosen collapsed on Michael like a house of cards, and the "jaws of life" were needed to rescue him.

I took a deep breath, and chose a little bouncy seat and a portable crib, linens for the crib, a package of diapers, some wipes and a few burp cloths.

And I felt like I needed a drink.

I passed up the "What happens at Grandma's stays at Grandma's" bib because I didn't think it would inspire the confidence of Michael's mother.

I bought one of those giant sponges on which you place the baby while giving him a sponge bath and flashed back to all the evenings I had spent soaking Michael's father in the kitchen sink in an effort to calm his angry mood.

And suddenly, I was lost. It was nearly 30 years ago, and I was careful choosing the items I needed to care for my first child. Kate Middleton won't make choices with any more love or care than I did back then. Before Michael became the family's little prince, there had been another little prince.

I returned home with my purchases, calmer now. This would be an investment in my new future. Michael, I hope, will not be the only baby who comes to stay with me.

There had been one thing I knew I didn't need to buy: a rocking chair. The one in which I rocked my children still sits in my bedroom, waiting to be called into service again.

If it turns out that Michael hates his bouncy chair and can't stand his portable crib, there is one place I know I can "put" my grandson.

In my arms. In that rocking chair.

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