Friday, August 14, 2015

How We Attack Registering for a Mystery Baby

Last weekend we started the registering process. Well, actually, before we left for Maine I had stopped into Buy Buy Baby and done the paperwork for registering, so that when I came back with Bryce we could just get going with the fantastic scanner thing. 

Registering to register was a bit of a feat in itself. First, I had steeled myself for the courage to walk into Buy Buy Baby, by myself, with nary a baby bump to be found, and ask about the logistics of registering... Did you have to make an appointment? What happens when you don't have a due date? How do you do this for adoptive parents? I walked into the store and BOOM, promptly ran into a very pregnant teacher I know who is due in August. Kinda wish that hadn't happened. First, because it created an instant contrast to my experience and how different it is, and second because I had to hear comments about "pregnancy brain" and see belly rubbing and all the things that I think just become second nature to very pregnant women, but that I won't experience. I have made peace with the fact that I am not bringing a baby into this world through my body, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't still sting when direct comparisons arise. When I am looking so much at all the wonderful things we gain from adoption and am looking forward to attacking this registering for gear thing with joy, it sucks to immediately be reminded of the loss that brought us to this new adventure. But I digress. 

Buy Buy Baby has a spot on their paperwork for the question, "Is this an adoption?" But even so, I had to pick an arbitrary due date, and was supposed to give a date for the supposed shower. Which, at that time, didn't exist yet but I knew something was going to happen. We are having TWO showers, actually, a topic for a separate post, one for school and one for family/friends, but I didn't have dates or anything. Which made filling out the paperwork problematic. Apparently my "due date" is February 15th. I toy with making it earlier, because of completion discounts and the possibility that we could have our baby come home sooner (or later), but for now I feel like the same faker I was when I signed up for Amer.ican Baby magazine four years ago. I found out that when you sign up to register, you get this giant goody bag. It's filled with coupons, and samples, and a completely overwhelming "guide" to all the things you will need as a new parent. There was a lot of breast-feeding paraphernalia (are there other uses for breast pads?), but they did also include a small can of powdered infant formula and a coupon for bottles, so I guess it was not entirely skewed to breastfeeding. It's a nice thing, that bag of new-parent goodies, and I felt like walking all over town swinging that polka-dotted new-baby-store bag, daring people to ask me about it. (But I didn't.)

Anyway, when we arrived for our actual first foray into registering, we had come with a plan. We made our own pared-down list, based on my baby binder articles, Pinterest advice, and the advice of friends. The advice from friends is always tricky because one person will tell you a Boppy is not useful at all and takes up valuable space, and another will tell you that the Boppy is the BEST.THING.EVER!, so I guess we have to make up our minds on some of these things. (Feel free to weigh in on your favorite baby gear in the comments section.)

We also came with the plan that we were only going to attack the major items, the ones that make you feel like you are buying a new car (or maybe a new house), the ones that would most likely reduce me to hyperventilating and rapid heartbeat and a major fight-or-flight response. We gave ourselves two hours on a Saturday evening. 

When we got there, the lady at the desk said, "Do you need help printing a registry?" 

I said, "No, we actually are here to register for ourselves. We're waiting adoptive parents." 

And she squealed, with genuine excitement. She realized that we had already come in to set up, and already gotten our goody bag, so all that was left was to set up the scanner. She handed it to Bryce, and said, "This is for Daddy." 

Bryce teared up. He laughed his nervous laugh and said, "You are actually the FIRST person to call me that." 

I said, "Except for me, of course!" And then, like an idiot, I added, "But not in a creepy way, har har!" It's a miracle they didn't revoke our home study right there. When I'm nervous I put double entendre on everything, and the last place where sexual innuendo is appropriate is a BABY STORE. But my calling Bryce "Daddy" didn't really count, since usually it's in reference to the cats. 

It was a nice moment that I nearly ruined with my blurty mouth, but was salvaged. 

We started looking at cribs, even though we are totally going with another, smaller, local business store for the crib, and then moved on to gliders. 

Just so you know, gliders are huge. We discovered this after picking out a beautiful upholstered recliner thing that could live again in our living room, that had both rocking and hidden recliner lever features, and had high arm rests to help support a feeding baby. It wasn't until later, as I made a fancy graph-paper diagram of our nursery to illustrate how small it is (91 square feet, people), that I realized that a 36" by 36" glider wasn't going to FIT IN THE DOOR (35"), much less not be completely overwhelming in the nursery. 
See that massive purple thing?

But remember that nook upstairs that is my office? I think the glider will fit in there, if we get a smaller one. It's right across from the baby room and right outside our room, and has a nice big window, so that should work. Our first registry item wasn't a total bust, even though we have to take it off and it gave us both a minor heart attack realizing how tiny our nursery space is and how much rearranging/finagling we have to do to fit all this baby gear in our home... 

Next was Pack N Play, and we registered for a slightly fancier one that had a vibrating "snuggle seat" instead of the infant cradle thingamajig that flips to be the changing table on the other models. The snuggle thing is actually a bouncy seat that comes out of the Pack N Play, so it's two pieces of gear in one. It has electronic noises and stuff, but they are actually not so annoying. The soothing nature sounds made us have to pee, so that may be a feature we regret. 

Then, we met this gem of a lady. She helped us with the Pack N Play features, and then high chair stuff, and then stroller/car seats craziness. For a high chair, we went with a space saver booster seat thingamabob from Fisher Price. The one they had in stock that didn't have electronics (WHY IS EVERYTHING ELECTRONIC?) or extra doodads was the "exclusive" design to Buy Buy Baby. It's a sleepy elephant on the back with gray and aqua. Well, not that this matters at all, but gray and aqua match our new kitchen, and they are fairly gender neutral, and I like elephants. This elephant looks downright depressed, but most of the time it will be covered up with precious food-splattered baby, so I can forgive that unfortunate design. AND we don't have to have a separate high chair taking up space in our 1600 square foot house. We are fortunate to have this square footage, I know we are, but man it feels tight when looking at all this stuff. 

The car seat/stroller was the last thing, thank goodness, because it was completely overwhelming. I let Bryce take over almost completely, as he is all engineery and that is a major strength when comparing safety features. I did all my tests for the stroller that a wise friend suggested -- one handed maneuverability being the most important. We chose the City Mini GT by BabyJogger, because it was light, folded with one flick of the wrist (that was some David Blaine magic!), had bigger tires but not ginormous tires, could go over multiple surfaces, and the tires were filled with foam, not air, and covered in all-terrain rubber. So we liked it A LOT. It meant we had to get the carseat separately and get an adapter, but the stroller will last a long time and it's rugged yet not huge, so it will save us having a second stroller until we want a cheapie umbrella stroller for travel. Although this thing was pretty slick, how quickly it collapsed into a flat object. The carseats were a blur, because of all the safety features and whatnot, but I think we went with Chicco for both the infant car seat and the convertible car seat we need for later. Originally we registered for all three types of convertible car seat so that we could later make a decision after researching, and we had hit maximum fatigue (and hunger for the Indian food we were planning on afterwards). 

So, that done and with a LOT of further registering to do, we had our celebratory Indian food meal and I posted this picture up on Facebook, essentially announcing that we are waiting parents and the preparation time has begun: 
Could those smiles be any bigger?
What I didn't think about... that people might start looking at our registry immediately. Which is unfortunate, because right now our registry looks COMPLETELY OBNOXIOUS. Only large-ticket items for the most part. We go tomorrow to get a bunch of other stuff done... all the feeding/carrying/clothing/first aid/bathing/bedding/toy type stuff. We went Tuesday to the crib store to pick out that important item... we just have to order it. We also chose the dresser that coordinates, and the Moonlight Slumber waterproof dual-sided mattress. Which was, I think, cheaper than the one in the megastore. We opted for chemical-free versus organic. All the choices regarding all of this are dizzying, and you can't help but wonder if you're making the right calls or messing up your baby already. I'm sure that's normal. 

I am frantically trying to figure out how we're going to make the nursery work in such a small space. I have SO MUCH OWL STUFF, so we decided on woodland critters for the nursery, because then I can incorporate the owls. And it's gender neutral. More on that as it keeps developing! These are exciting times, overwhelming times, but in a way comforting, because although our situation is due-date-less, I can imagine how we're feeling about the state of our house and the nursery and WHERE THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO PUT ALL THIS STUFF panicking is pretty typical of any new parent. We're on our way, for sure. 


  1. So, I'm formula feeding A due to low supply (as I'm sure you read) and I think that registering also somehow gets information to Enfamil and Similac and they'll send you samples! And coupons! And if you use the coupons, they'll send you more coupons. We haven't yet decided to use generic formula (I'm torn about it; on the one hand I'm pretty sure it's the same as the name brand formulas but I'm such a sucker for advertising). I'm sure you have so much of this advice already, but I'd recommend registering for the Boon grass (large size) and at least two, but I find that I like having three "trees." It's great and holds tons of bottles and bottle paraphernalia. I resisted getting a bottle warmer, but it's nice, however, I wouldn't recommend the Boon warmer, I just don't think it's that great. I know every baby is different, but I like both our Philips Avent bottles and our Born Free bottles. I'd like to plug the MAM pacifiers--they've worked the best for A and they have such cute designs. Finally, (again, more experienced moms probably already told you this), but I wish I had registered for side snap shirts as A has a giant head and hates having shirts pulled over his head and pants--I got a lot of onesies, but no pants!

    Registering is completely overwhelming; there are so many choices and so many lists and so many things that you may or may not need, and I'm still not sure if I did it right. I'm excited for you and I can't wait for your nursery to come together and I can't wait for your baby to come home!!!

    1. Ooh, samples and coupons are the best. I was advised to wait until the baby is born to stock up on formula, because you just don't know if the baby will need a special type or anything, but I have one sample already. We totally registered for the Boon grass after your recommendation! We went with the Dr. Brown's warmer due to recommendations from random in-store people and friends who have gone before us. Ah, side-snaps! We haven't gotten to clothing yet. We are still maybe halfway done... this registering business is no joke. I feel like we need to block out six hours and bring a meal to really get it done. ;) Thank you!

  2. I have a good friend who adopted her two children and she says she finally made peace with not being pregnant when she would see the swollen ankles and general uncomfortableness of heavily pregnant women, she would say to herself "Thank God, someone put a 10 month old in my arms!" I also made a T-shirt for her that read "pregnant on paper" which helped when they were shopping. I've been joking that the cloth breast pads can be re-used as coasters, but maybe the disposable ones can be knee pads for when your little one is crawling! So excited for you to be taking these steps to get ready!

    1. YES! There are definitely benefits to not being pregnant. I am starting to turn when I see late third-trimester folks to being just a tiny bit smug instead of broken up inside that that's never going to be for me. Oh, I love the "pregnant on paper" shirt idea! I saw a shirt that said, "Adoption is the New Pregnant," but I felt it was a little inaccurate and snarky. Hahaha on the coasters and knee pads... I'll find some purpose for them, or maybe donate them? I'm sure there's some place where women need breast pads. Thanks for your excitement!

  3. It's quite surreal to be handed the power of the scanning gun and set loose in the store. I researched and knew my way around IF like the back of my hand, but was completely lost when it came to actually being able to move forward to anything baby.

    We love our Boon grass drying rack. I do have a tree and a flower attachment, but would honestly use the trees more than the flower.

    We are formula feeding as well and love the Dr. Brown's Formula pitcher. We just warm the bottle up in water, so we skipped any warmer. Although when we travel to others' houses where there water doesn't heat up as fast or as hot as ours, I could see how I could maybe want one. :)

    Definitely register for just pants...we had to run out to Target after he was here, because I had nothing for the bottom side. I also have a love hate relationship with socks for babies.

    He's slept in his Little Loun.ger for the first three months of his life. We've taken it with us when we traveled to my parents' for overnight visits and we moved it downstairs during the day those first weeks.

    Consider registering for sleep gowns or pajamas with zippers. Snaps in the middle of the night are my nemesis...especially when you get to the
    last one and realize you've done it crooked!

    I'm so excited that you're this much closer to getting your baby home!

    1. It is so true--I feel excited for about ten minutes and then get swamped with anxiety and feelings of complete inadequacy in that store. Bryce holds the scanner, which helps. :) Pants, will do! We are looking at that Chicco Lullago airflow bassinet collapsible thing, it's like $100 at Target and seems like a good choice for early months when the baby's in our room. I'd better get cracking on cleaning up my side of the room... :) THank you for all the advice and encouragement!

  4. Very nice there is an adopting parents option at the store. Glad to hear you guys are taking the time you need to figure it all out and what you want for baby-in-waiting-out-there-somewhere. So smart to break it down into more trips, giving you time to get thoughts and ideas together. Hope you guys are having fun with it. :)

    1. More trips is definitely the way to go! It is completely overwhelming, which makes me kind of sad because I always thought it would be so joyous. It IS joyous, but also causes so much anxiety in me. It's like infertility has caused this whole PTSD thing when it comes to prepping for an actual baby, because it's hard to believe a real live baby is coming to us, even with all our hopefulness! It is fun to see the list grow and to imagine these things in our home. :) Thanks for your encouragement!

  5. It was so weird to move from avoiding all things baby to embracing all things baby without a baby. But, I guess that's part of moving on from RPL to adoption.
    Now, I have mostly enjoyed starting to pick up things. But, I really hated the actual registry - there is so much out there that it's hard to know what to pick and what not to pick! I think you are doing great by starting with the big stuff, those are the ones that you really don't want to get wrong. From there, I think the little stuff will come together! Wishing you the best!

    1. Seriously--it IS a weird turnaround. I had bought onesies and displayed them in earlier cycles, to send out a message that we were "ready," but since that call was unanswered so many times I hid everything and we closed up the room for a little while. It's nice to think about it being far more hopeful than it's ever been, but also surreal to think that a baby will materialize in there at some point unknown. I feel woefully unprepared and panicky. But also thrilled and joyous. I'm sure you know the feeling! Wishing you the best as well...

  6. Yay that this trip back went so much smoother with regard to employees. Love it. And a great accomplishment to figure out all the big ticket items. I wouldn't worry about the registry list looking large item heavy. So many people register just for the discount of "unfilled" items that I don't think people give it a second thought. Plus with a possible school/work and family showers you never know if people want to go in on gifts to help you out with the larger items.
    As for items I love a nice soft seat to hold or rock baby in is a must. We ended up finding a small lazy boy style chair on clearance at a furniture store. It fits just fine with a dresser, and crib and I don't think our nursery is much larger. I love that your pack n play is multi functional (awesome!) and I'm big on recycling my kid gear (selling it at a discount to make room and money for something new) but not sure if that fits your plan or not. Excited for you both in the midst of scanners, planning and announcing :)

  7. First off, I am so excited for you! :-) I don't know how you feel about buying second hand, but I've found Facebook groups in my local area that are a constant yard sale. There is SO much baby stuff and a lot of it is barely used! Babies use so much stuff and sometimes you use it a ton and sometimes barely at all. Each baby and mommy are so different. The things that I didn't get at my showers, a lot of it I was able to find though the yard sale group.

    One thing in particular that I really liked was a video monitor. I know it's an expensive item, but something that you will be able to use all the way into toddlerhood and beyond. I bought just a regular sound monitor at first and then ended up splurging with a leftover gift card to get a video monitor. I have used it SO much!

    Some "small ticket" items that are easy to register for... diapers, diapers, diapers... :-) (I liked Pampers Swaddlers for the earlier stages with blowouts and then we just used Luvs) ...pacifiers, baby wash, baby toys, spit up cloths, blankets, bath toys. People are basically going to buy you whatever they want even if it is not on your registry unfortunately. The people at the return counter will get to know you on a first name basis. :)