Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

Do You Speak The Ancient Baby Language?

And so our intrepid heroes descended into the dank, rank dungeon — the portcullis before them shuddering and shedding rust as it rose into the stone. Down below, they heard the gibbers and wails of… babies. Human babies, hungry for attention, their glistening teeth emerging from pink gums hungry for the blood and souls of heroes! Our two protagonists knew that this day would not be won easily; the babies were armed with Binkies, Boppies, and Bjorns, the wretched weapons of goblin children.

— From The Heroic Cycle Of Der Wendighaus, Book 72, Tenet 17

This past weekend, we went to Babies R’ Us.

The horror. The horror.

First and foremost, let me express my utterest disappointment that you cannot, despite the name of the store, procure any actual babies in this place. I figured, hey, we’ll pick up a baby for rent or purchase, we’ll see how we like it. We’ll train and practice on this baby so that when we finally expel our own into the world, we’ll have a little practice. Nope. They do not rent or sell babies at the inaptly-named Babies R’ Us.

Second and nextmost, let me express my complete amazement and jaw-dangling astonishment at the sheer wealth of baby goods for sale (“wealth” being a bit of a double entendre here given the cost of many items). You walk in there and it’s like, “Here, presented for your edification, are seven thousand strollers.” I don’t believe that adults have as much choice in automobiles as they do strollers for their children. Or car seats. Or carriers. Or bouncy things. Or formula. Or, or, or.

I feel like I’m an explorer trying desperately — and failing with equal desperation — to understand an alien culture. Boppy? Bjorn? “Have you checked out Badger Basket? What about My First Nuk? Foogo! Fuzzibunz? You probably need butt paste. I love my Bumbo!”

I just want to throttle someone and be like, “FOR GOD’S SAKE SPEAK ENGLISH OR I WILL SLAP THE PACIFIER OUTTA YOUR MOUTH.” Like babies aren’t going to be complicated enough, now I need a translator just to figure out what crucial products will help keep my progeny alive and not utterly ruin him as a human being? Can’t I just wash the baby in a tin pail? Can’t I rig up something with duct tape to keep the little tyke upright? Is it really unethical to feed him breast milk from a Super Soaker? Were there always Babies R’ Us installations throughout time and space? Did travelers on the Oregon Trail stop at the Babies R’ Us along the way? “You have killed a buffalo. Your baby requires a Bumbo. You have died of dysentery.”

What would the pilgrims have done if the Indians hadn’t already set up a store at Plymouth Rock?

Up until walking into that store, I figured I at least had a primate’s understanding of how to take care of my young. Feed him. Put him to sleep. Don’t try to shove rocks into his soft spot. Make sure to bathe him once every six months so that he doesn’t build up some kind of exoskeleton composed of calcified baby grime. But walking in there, you’re suddenly confronted with a wall — an actual wall — of bottle options. Big bottles, little bottles, various nipple attachments, some help with Colic, others give your baby the strength of five angry chimps, AHHHHH *head asplode*

Every piece of baby minutiae — every object one could ever imagine buying for your infant — comes in a thousand varieties. Choose the wrong one, and your child may grow up a con-man, a serial killer, or worst of all, a politician. It’s a whole lunatic industry. A churning hell-beast belching diaper-scented steam and leaving behind a crass rime of baby powder like the ashes of the dead. And this shit ain’t cheap, either. We spent a little while testing out “gliders” — aka the future’s version of a “rocking chair” — and of course, the lower-end cheaper gliders felt like you were sitting on a concrete drain embankment studded with broken abalone shells. The moment you sit in one of the gliders that’s actually comfortable you note, “Oh, this glider is $5,000 dollars. And it doesn’t come with an ottoman. Or arm-rests. Or the actual chair. It just comes with a little baggy full of screws, and then I have to special order the rest, and coupons don’t work on special orders and AHHHHH” *head asplode*

Me, I actually liked their one rocking chair. Seriously. It was comfortable as heck. Firm back. Snug. Good even rocking motion. I told the wife, “I like this one.” She stared at me like I’d grown a dick for a nose.

We got to the store early, and it was nice and quiet. But an hour later, the place was overrun by wailing, keening crowds of mothers-to-be and families checking items off of registries.

Oh, and everything for boys either has a football or a monkey on it. First, I never owned a football as a child. I want something with baseballs, goddamnit. Second, I love monkeys. I do. But ten minutes in that store, dang, I’m over monkeys. Done with primates. It took us forever and a day just to find one crib set with woodland creatures on it (owl, fox, bear, Snooki). And given that they were having a weekend sale, we decided to go ahead and procure some of that set — including this cute li’l lamp that we’d seen on Amazon before — and of course we get the lamp home and it’s crooked. Like, really crooked. So, back it goes.

Still, we managed to get out with our lives and, more importantly, our sanity intact. But next week we have to go back to return to the lamp. Once more, into the dungeon.

Maybe by then we’ll have hired a translator.