2010-03-25 / News

Preparing for baby’s first visit south

Flotsam and Jetsam
By Donna Drago

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a baby – and just as long since I have had to concern myself with items associated with babies. But this week, my grandson and his parents are coming to visit and I am absolutely amazed by how much stuff I have to beg, borrow or steal to make ready for this event.

My daughter gave me a partial list of things I must have more than a month ago.

It has been added to nearly every day since.

Of course, someplace to sleep is on the list. I lucked out on that one as another grandmother in the neighborhood let me borrow her portable crib. Then there’s the car seat, which was a lot more diffi cult to obtain. I tried neighbors and consignment shops, but was unsuccessful with both options. I went on the Internet to buy a car seat and was amazed by how many types there are.

These days, when you want to buy something online, there are usually reviews by people who have already purchased the item that give you an indication of whether it is a good product. You would think the reviews would be helpful, but they are not. When an item has 20 or more reviews – both good and bad – you just end up scratching your head.

To give you an idea of what I am talking about, all of the following quotes pertain to the same car seat – the one that I ended up buying. One mother writes, “I bought this car seat because it was the Consumer Reports #2 rated car seat, and their ‘Best Buy.’ The #1 seat costs three times as much, so this was a no-brainer.”

Makes perfect sense. Then, there’s a mother’s technical assessment: “In the rear facing position, the location of the strap release is too low into the seat and is difficult to reach it with your finger. Second, the buckle release button is very hard to depress. I don’t have really strong fingers but this is insanely hard to depress.”

This got me thinking about the relative strength of my fingers, which I always assumed was average, but I could be wrong.

Here’s another problem I didn’t realize I had to take into consideration. A mother writes: “My son has chubby thighs. In the beginning, it did not matter. However, as he got taller, the crotch strap got more and more difficult to adjust. I now cannot use it because it is just too tight.”

Okay, so am I supposed to call my daughter and ask her if my grandson’s thighs are chubbier than average? Or would that be insulting? I looked on the box that the car seat came in, but nowhere is there a mention of thigh circumference and how it might affect the functionality of the seat.

This woman is concerned about aesthetics: “So many of the car seats out there come across as mini lazy boy recliners with obnoxious amounts of padding and patterns.”

She must be an interior designer.

Then there’s a strictly positive comment: “My daughter loves it; falls asleep in it every time so it must be more comfortable than her other seat.” Finally, some good news!

So, I bought the car seat. We will just have to wait and see how it performs with a real baby sitting inside it.

Besides the crib and the car seat, we also purchased a baby swing for the porch. I figured this would be a good way to amuse my grandson on a nice day. We also now own a booster seat with a tray that attaches to a kitchen chair, so he has someplace to eat. I did not buy the large plastic mat that goes under the chair to catch the crumbs and associated ooze – I have two dogs who will happily do that for me. They will even lick his hands and face clean if I let them.

We have diapers and wipes – my favorite purchases because we will use them up and not have to find a place to store them for the next visit.

My daughter also gave me a list of food items to have on hand. My grandson is exploring new foods every week and this list keeps changing. The original list included things like frozen peas, sweet potatoes and cereal. But he keeps trying new things and his tastes are evolving. This week, my daughter says, his favorite food is “red beans and rice,” which is easily obtainable in the south – he should fit right in here.

It’s only a one-week visit, but I feel like I have prepared for them to move in. My only question now is: When they leave, where am I going to put all this stuff?

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