After putting up a good, long fight against nesting before our daughter was born, I eventually gave in (somewhat) to the throes of parental preparation. And then life happened.
The first time I heard of the store Buy Buy Baby, I thought it was a joke. Like, ha ha, when people have babies, they’re pressured to buy everything possible, it must be a euphemism for the big box retailer who specializes in baby things and backwards R’s, right? No? It’s a real store? Oh my god.
It starts off slow. If you’re like me, you don’t want to buy too much stuff too soon, lest things go awry. So at first, you buy nothing. You stay away from the baby aisles entirely. But then, as the months go on, you warm to the idea a bit. You might start a Pinterest board of stuff you think is cute that you’ll come back to later. So it begins.
I’m not saying I suddenly bought everything under the sun. On on the contrary, I think I kept it rather sane. There were some cute onesies I’d fall prey to from time to time, and rainbow socks and legwarmers, obviously. But on the whole, I was feeling like I’d kept my cool. I was sane and was not going to make outrageous purchases of things I didn’t think a newborn would really need. I looked at the Mamaroo but I did not buy.1 I was doing so well, y’all. I kept it together.
Until the woven wraps.
There’s a thing called babywearing, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: wearing your baby with a carrier-device–like the popular Ergo or Moby wraps2 or pretty woven wraps. And oh, they can be spectacularly pretty…and spectacularly expensive3 as far as fabric goes. Of course, strollers are carriers that are expensive too, but you feel like you’re getting more out of the deal somehow when the purchase is bigger than a bolt of cloth. But they are achingly pretty. And so functional! This, I insisted to myself, would be a useful purchase. I’d just Google about and find the best kind, then find the best price, and we’d be in business. My baby didn’t need much, but suddenly, she needed this wrap. I needed it. We both needed it. Was this nesting? Well if it was, it was necessary, I told myself. This was important! Thus, I fell down the Internet’s babywearing rabbit hole.
I think my downfall came in part because the babywearing wrap world is similar to the obsessive and limited-edition-hoarding world of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab that I have loved for many years. You can swap with other obsessive hoarders, try new stuff, and if you don’t like something and the market is good, you can get your money back to funnel directly back into the obsession. It’s the perfect storm for seducing yourself into thinking that spending the money isn’t bad (it’s also an awesome product, so that helped!). I’d given up the essential oil perfume hoarding a while back pre-IVF, so perhaps that’s another underlying reason why the babywearing wrap online community was the siren song it was. It felt like home.
While I may have obsessive tendencies when it comes to hobbies, I also try to fund those hobbies with cash that isn’t really allocated to anything else. So, I looked around. Since I’d sold off a chunk of my perfume to fund IVF,4 that was out. But there was the bike sitting in the backyard, unused, unloved all these last eight months. I’d been thinking of upgrading the bike post-baby anyway but hadn’t thought about seriously getting rid of the current loyal steed until that moment. Did I want the bike, or did I want a wrap for my baby?
Onto Craigslist the bike went. I felt so…parental. Like, of course I’m selling this bike from my 20s5 for my baby to have something nice. That’s just what you do: put your baby ahead of yourself. As I watched the new owner ride my fixie off into the sunset6 and looked at the wad of cash in my hand, I was happy. I would buy a pretty woven wrap for my baby. Goodbye, self-carrier…hello, baby-carrier.7 And look! I gave in to “nesting” without being mindless. Rah rah Hayley! Stickin’ it to The Man! Or something!
As it does, real life happened and our washing machine broke. So, the very next day, that cash got forked over to pay for a new one. One could argue that a washing machine is a way more important baby accoutrement than a pretty woven wrap, but I wanted to stomp my foot and declare it unfair. All my selflessness, the wonderful poetry of giving away the me-carrier for a wee-carrier down the drain.8 But then…life isn’t that poetic. Sometimes it is; sometimes the crunchy poetic thing works out. Other times it doesn’t, and you end up doing the boring, necessary thing instead. That’s pretty parental, too.
Photo by: Jason Pratt
- Though I might have stalked Craigslist for a while… ↩
- Both of which friends gifted us, so the fact that I became obsessed with the woven wraps is even more absurd and unnecessary! ↩
- $80-$300 is a typical range. ↩
- It’s an expensive hobby and essential oils aren’t great for pregnancy. ↩
- OK I’m 27, but still. I go to bed at like 9:30; I’m practically Gandalf the Grey. ↩
- This isn’t even hyperbole! It was dusk! ↩
- Again, remember, we’ve already been given two carriers, so this is INSANE. ↩
- Just like the water that was overflowing from the old washer! ↩