Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Great Baby Swindle

The Rant That Occurs After El Capitan Goes Baby-Gear Shopping

I'm more than a little amused by the activities of the new parents around me. By some twist on fate, my sister and one of my best friends from college both hatched their first bundle of joy just weeks apart earlier this year, and another friend is expecting just after the calendar flips to 2006. I haven't spent enough time with the friends to see how badly they're infected with the babyrabies, but Sis has a full-blown case of it.

From the moment little Sammy hatched, he's been bombarded with dozens of geegaws meant to "stimulate" his tiny little brain into feats of astounding growth. The first time I got to hold him, less than a week old, my BIL was handing me some noisy blinking light stuffed toy to wave in front of him. That apparently not being sufficient, Sis popped in a DVD of some proto-Teletubby garbage, and urged me to turn the chair that direction.

Far be it from me to let her know that newborns can only focus mere inches form their nose! I shrugged & complied, thanking my lucky stars that I wasn't made to autoclave myself and dress in a biohazard bunny suit before seeing the sproglet.

Looking over the wares at the online Babies R Us store while shopping for this weekend's baby shower, I'm constantly amazed at the thousands of critically important items you absolutely MUST own, lest your child grow up to be like.... me.

Naturally everyone wants the best for their child, I won't argue that. Still, it seems that those most desperate to do a good job are the ones most likely to fall prey to the hucksters and snake-oil salesmen. Like the wedding industry, it's a house of cards built on insecurity and fear. If you don't go overboard, you're not keeping up with the Joneses, and your precious bundle of joy will have to go to a cow college.

Pshaw, I say! Bollocks!

$20 says that Albert Einstein lay in a crib with nothing more than an old pork chop bone to play with. Another $20 says that Isaac Newton got his stimulation by plague-ridden rats crawling over his teeny little noggin. Hell, I had to amuse myself as a kid, most of the time. Once I could crawl around the house, I got into everything. Even managed to eat a couple of fistfuls of dog kibble, and I still turned out OK. Well, there's that tendency to pee on trees whenever I can, but that only bothers the neighbors when they forget to turn their electric barrier fence on.

My point is, for untold thousands of years, humans have managed to raise fat healthy babies without $150 crib decorations and $80 baby intercoms and color-coordinated diaper pails. I mean, for crissakes, does it matter what color a plastic bucket is when all you're gonna do is toss shitty diapers into it?

I'm sure I'll get my arm twisted into the 'proper mindset' and lose my pragmatic ways if and when I procreate. Until then, though, I'm of the opinion that as long as you keep 'em warm, clean, fed and loved, the baby'll turn out all right. All that other foofuraw is money better saved up for orthodontia and college!

As usual, your mileage may vary...