Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Lure of "Stuff"

I am a sucker for Clinique Bonus Time. I don't wear much make-up usually. A wee bit of concealer, blush, powder and lip gloss. That's about it. But whenever Clinique starts giving away those darned make-up bags with the free stuff, I try to come up with any excuse to buy enough make-up to warrant the $19.50 you have to spend to get it. I get like a little kid with new Barbie clothes. I get my free stuff, then I come home and spread it out all over the couch and sniff and dab at all of it. usually ends up in my cute little box above the toilet. Never to be actually used. Why am I so happy to get free eye shadow when I don't even wear eye shadow?

I am trying to prevent myself in being this way about baby "stuff." And I have been really good so far. Thankfully, I am really not much of a shopper. I also have a husband who sees that look in my eyes when I pass by Baby Gap. "You will have a shower, Ellen," he says, "Don't even think about it." I started thinking about money and materialism and priorities this weekend, whilst wandering around the mall with my little Clinique bag. It's so easy to get caught up in the lie. Jason and I are currently on a tight budget, trying to completely rid ourselves of debt. We're not in a bad spot, given from what I've read of the normal American family's debt. But frankly, I don't like having a bit of debt. It makes me itchy.

Unfortunately, the people who work in Baby Land know exactly what buttons to press. Those soft pastel colors, adorable mobiles, cute footies. They get you that way. They also get you the "safety" way... if you don't get that Duckie Bathtub Temperature Gauge that quacks when it is too hot, you are playing with your child's life! How could you even think of not buying that Fisher Price Long Distance baby monitor? They also hook you the education route. Apparently, it is imperative for your child to be looking at a black and white checkered gizmo that plays Beethoven, rather than that equally as fascinating (at least to your three month old) moth on the ceiling.

Some women tell me that there are some things that you can't do without. Like a bouncer seat. I've never heard a mother say, "Eh, skip the bouncer." It's more like, "Get the bouncer. It will save your life." I was looking at my registry list today, thinking of the Must Haves. Actually, there are really very few. A crib. A car seat. A high chair. A changing table (although some women just plop them on the bed.) A stroller. Diapers. Some onesies, socks and pants.

But then there's all of this stuff that the workers of Baby Land have convinced us are neccesities. For instance, if push comes to shove, you can use a pillow instead of a Boppy. You can use your ears instead of a baby monitor. You can use your arms instead of a Baby Bjorn. You can use the kitchen sink instead of a baby bathtub.

Not to say that I would mind receiving all that cute or unneccesary stuff, which is certainly on my registries--hey, who am I to refuse a like a Prince Lionheart wipes warmer? But it's nice to know that my daughter is not going to end up selling crack cocaine just because the wipes were cold on her newborn tushie.


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