Something a bit weird happened to me a few weeks ago. In the space of about 20 minutes I transformed from fairly well balanced young woman (ha! we are talking relative here before anyone sniggers too loudly) into a fully fledged scarily obsessive cutesy baby obsessed gender stereotype. I wanted to buy baby things and I wanted to buy them now!
One minute I was wallowing in the novel experience of not feeling sick and actually being able to think clearly. In my excitement I decided to have a laid back search for some 2nd hand cloth nappies on eBay – “that would be useful in a few months time” I naively thought. Then, Boom! I was lost. Unable to do anything productive with any free moment except coo over sickly cute items on eBay, tugging on Chris’ sleeve for the millionth time attempting to convince him to also gaze longingly at some piece of tat from Mamas and Papas or Jo Jo Maman Bebe. (even in my total madness I had expensive tastes!)
He obviously didn’t – having not lost all his functioning brain cells like me – although I am impressed at how often he managed to politely glance at the screen and look moderately excited before getting on with some actual useful job or an enjoyable life affirming activity.
For the past 2 years I’ve been working to get stuff out of my life. I’ve used the time I would have spent shopping to do fun things like drink cocktails with Chris or tea with my mates or plant mulberry trees in the garden or read an
improving trashy book. I’ve sold or given my tat away in an effort to avoid the drudge of dusting, cleaning and sorting it. In particular I’ve wallowed in the reduced clutter that doesn’t now fill my flat and makes it an even nicer place to live. Within minutes I’d lost sight of all those ideals. I didn’t want to see my mates, or talk to Chris or watch a film, I wanted to search for baby crap on eBay. It was horrific! Not least because I was painfully aware of what I was doing but seemingly unable to stop myself.
In particular I became obsessed (and I do mean obsessed) by a stuffed horse
and baby blanket both from Mamas and Papas.
In the space of 3 evenings I bid on at least 50,000,000 actions and thankfully lost nearly all of them. The pitfalls of trying to buy things secondhand on eBay saved me in that respect. The following Saturday I decided to take affirmative action. Realising that one of the problems was despite searching, clicking, bidding and occasionally even buying! madly, I just didn’t have anything cute or fluffy to actually hold in my hands and sate my desire. Despite feeling sick and fat and bloated I didn’t have anything real to connect me to the bubs in my tummy. I was basically a grumpy, spotty, bloated lady hunched over a PC feeling a bit sickened by her behaviour.
I needed something tangible – not just a grainy scan pic.
Chris and I headed to our local charity shop which I’ve since discovered has an amazing kids section (much of which donated by my best mate down the road, lol) and I was like a woman possessed. I grabbed wildly at baby grows and cuddled soft toys while Chris stood steadfastly by trying to pretend I wasn’t attracting stares from other shoppers.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a full on wave of morning sickness hit me. I’d been nausea free for about 2 weeks and then suddenly without warning there I was about to projectile vomit all over a cute wee elderly ladie’s well polished shoes. Unable to do anything, not even stay standing, I sat down without warning but with a mahousive bump in the middle of the floor of the shop while fascinated shoppers pretended not to gawp at the crazy lady clutching armfuls of baby clothes and sitting on the floor.
Poor Chris, as shocked as anyone, was amazing. Trying to find me a chair, comfort me, shield me from staring shoppers and even totally dealing with the fact that despite the sickness, despite the sitting on the floor, despite the stares I was still swiping wildly at the rack of babygros and cooing over knitted jumpers. He even carried on passing me items as I pointed them out amazingly not looking half as embarrassed as he probably felt. It wasn’t my finest hour I’ll be honest.
Thankfully some of the obsession has now passed although not before I accumulated a whole box full of clothes, toys and nappies which I occasionally get down from the top of the wardrobe and shuffle through if I feel I want to buy something else.
Some super generous mates have donated outgrown items to add to the box of shame but I have to own up to the majority of this madness!
It’s really easy to see how parents spent thousands on newborns and kids as they grow. What with hormones and aggressive marketing it’s overwhelming and I’m really thankful that buying second hand makes it just a little bit harder for me to bankrupt myself and slightly limits the impact my spending has on the world. I am soooooo thankful for all those lost eBay auctions. I’ve not shamed myself in a charity shop since that day although i have bought something in just about every chazzer shop I’ve walked past in the last month. The amount of baby tat in the world is terrifying. All those resources used to make items that so many people buy new and then give up after just a few months. I can’t really understand why anyone buys clothes etc for babies new! (I do understand the importance of car seats and mattresses but they are one item in a world of consumer hell)
In case you were wondering I did get the horse – (and then felt horrifically guilty about the whole 5 quid it cost including postage)
But not the blanket. Even second hand it is just waaaaay too extravagant. Although I may save up and make an informed, thoughtful decision to buy it in a month when my hormones are less likely to spur me into pointless consumerism.
It probably helps that I found these two amazing blankets at the local shit market for 50p each.
The smelt very strongly of wee when I picked them up and I usually hate tartan (yes even tho Chris is Scottish. that doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to have some taste. ;)) but something about them made me fall in love. When I got them home and washed them I discovered that
a) they no longer smell of pee and
b) they cost about £25 a pop and are all about the Royal connection. I’m a bit scared I might be called a fraud if I use them out and about in a posh area. hee hee hee