Heads up to my family at this gift-giving time of year: The minute I get a grandchild, all of you will be lucky to get any presents from me. I'm planning to spend my entire gift budget on that baby. There might be a little bit left over for a couple of iTunes gift cards for the stockings, but don't get your hopes up.
And when I say the minute, I mean it. I have a detailed spreadsheet on what kind of grandmother I'm going to be and it does not include me in the waiting room of Labor and Delivery, hovering about and horning in on the parents' birth experience. There is virtually no where to shop in the hospital. So when I get the call or text or whatever communication we're using by then that "It's a baby!" I'm going to be poised, coupons in hand, to run down to Macy's and start buying baby ornamentation.
Because my grandmother plan does include me getting my mitts on some of this amazing baby merchandise that's out there now. I can't help but believe that scientists have been working around the clock to develop the softest, palest and cutest things for babies. They are all ridiculously expensive, but I'm pretty sure a lot of the money is going to R&D. Have you seen the Little Marc Jacobs Pale Pink Bunny Babygrow for $115 at Alex and Alexis? My granddaughter will rock that. As soon as I figure out what a babygrow is and how it differs from the 1960s classic footie pajamas. I think it's made out of a fabric that massages and moisturizes the baby's skin cells.
So once that little person arrives and crowns me Grandma, you may not get any presents from me, unless you're open to a pull-toy or a bunting. I look forward to being done with TV show theme mugs, golf balls, slippers, scarves, wallets and whiskey. Proof that buying for adults is so hard that the fun is sucked right out of it? One year for Christmas my sister Kathy bought my grandfather a carton of cigarettes. We had gotten him so many bottles of Old Spice that he could have built his own schooner with the empties. We were all pretty desperate. Next up was paying his electric bill for Father's Day.
Not that I haven't enjoyed buying for some if not most of the adults in my life. I'm just running out of ideas. And it's becoming a drag. The pleasure center of my brain is harrowing its focus. It's basically saying that unless it's as soft as a newborn kitten's neck-fur, forget it. I might buy it, but I'm not going to enjoy it.
Christmas shopping for a variety of ages starts out normal. I plod along and mechanically go to the As Seen on TV shelf at Walgreens, the Delightful Stocking Stuffers section at Old Navy, the red tag sale at Macy's, picking up things here and there. And then when I get to the people on my list who can take a nap in my tote bag, it's like the scene from Wizard of Oz where everything turns to color. As I walk in Baby Gap, I want to turn to a fluffy dog stuffed animal and say, "We're not in Sharper Image anymore, Toto."
I went to a baby shower for my cousin's daughter not too long ago and I had an absolute blast shopping for a gift. At the shower the mom-to-be sat down to open her gifts and about every third box was from her mom, my cousin Linda.
These weren't just boxes. They were big boxes full of baby things. There was more than one homemade quilt that Linda had made. Along with everything a new mom could possibly have on her wish list.
"Linda, what the heck?" I said to her after the third time I heard, "Oh, and this one's from my mom again!"
"I know," Linda said, hanging her head. "I can't stop. I buy every baby thing I can get my hands on. I need help."
"I'll help, you!" I said. Shoot, I'll help you shop for the baby until she turns 12.