Sunday, September 10, 2006

Baby-related consumer-based activities

Yesterday we dropped a lot of money on cloth diapers (yes we are planning to use cloth diapers), a diaper pail, diaper covers, and a baby carrier. On Thursday, after we dropped my parents off at the Buffalo airport, we went to a Babies-wah-Us* and bought a co-sleeper bassinet that attaches to the side of the bed. It's exactly what we wanted, but we couldn't find the Arms' Reach brand in Canada. We also bought a couple of onesies and a couple of sleep suits with feet. One of them has little trains on it because Mr. Krapsnart is such a railfan. High cuteness.

*Our friend Steve K., lexicographer extraordinaire, calls it this because the backwards "R" is pronounced "wah" in the Cyrillic alphabet. I love hanging out with language geeks.

The other thing we did yesterday was go to a professional photographer who shot pictures of me and the belly (clothed and not), and pictures of me, the belly, and Mr. K. We've been together for more than 14 years and had never had a professional portrait taken before. We'll have a contact sheet (she uses film!) next week, and some prints sometime after that. I am very excited about this, and very happy to have found a good photographer on short notice. (Had tried Heather Rivlin a while ago, but she's booked at least eight months in advance.)

I feel like every step we take toward getting ready to have a real baby around will delay the imminent arrival that little bit more.

People have been asking where we're registered. This is a very good question. The answer right now is that we aren't. This morning I tried registering at the Sears Canada website. Feh, I say. Feh. The "Register online" page was nearly impossible to find, and once I'd filled out our information (which I hate sending over the Internet) I discovered that there seemed to be no way to add items from the website to the registry. So I called the 800 number and, after being talked at for ten minutes by a particularly loquacious CSR, confirmed that no, there is no way to do everything online; to add items you either have to go to the store and fire a scanner gun at the things you want, or sit at home typing in numbers from the (paper) catalog.

Grr. So much for Sears.ca, then.

(Martha is washing Charlotte's head as I type this. They usually have quite an adversarial relationship, so this is nice to watch.)

Even though we've bought some stuff there, I don't think I want to register with Babies-wah-Us because they seem to have been pretty crappy corporate citizens over the past few years. Amazon.ca doesn't have all the baby stuff that amazon.com has, and most things coming in from amazon.com would be subject to Canadian taxes and import duties on arrival. So I'm at a bit of a loss about a registry. It would be nice to have one so we could specify "no pink or blue pastel" (one of the biggest reasons we haven't been forthcoming about whether this baby is a boy or girl, even though we've been 95% sure for months*) and "no branding, especially no Disney." Much of what we're buying is in bright colours (babies see them better!), and, well, don't get me started about Disney. (They bought Pooh Bear, dammit. And never mind their stranglehold on the American media, and the sexism and racism in so many of their products, and and and... Like I said, don't get me started. I'll know I've lived a bad life if I die and find myself eternally trapped in Disneyland.)

*Recently I was talking to a friend about boy and girl babies, and mentioned that one of my cousins and his wife had been expecting one and been surprised by the arrival of the other. My friend's response: "That would have been such a disaster! We'd have had to redo the whole nursery!" I don't get it; I really don't. Everything we have so far is unisex.

And yes, I freely admit that my stances on corporate and personal social responsibility are inconsistent and even at times hypocritical. I could be far more diligent than I am about refusing to buy anything made in China; I could spend a lot more time researching the provenance of what I buy; I could get off my ass and actually move the money in my RRSP out of the big corporate funds where it lives now and into more socially responsible funds at the credit union. [FWIW, the bulk of my investments, made back when I was living la corporate vida loca ten years ago or so, are in ConglomMutualFundsCo's ostensibly "socially responsible" fund, which has done much better than many of their other ones.)

But: I live in a big city and almost never drive; I haven't eaten meat in 15 years; lots of my non-pregnancy clothing is made from organic cotton; and I do my damnedest to avoid buying anything made by Nestlé. I'm going to have to think about all this stuff a lot more so that I can explain it to our child over the next few years and provide enough education and facts to enable the kid to make her or his own decisions.

This is the long-winded way of saying that no, we are not registered anywhere, and probably won't be. We really appreciate the inquiries, though. You guys are awesome. If you really want to send us something, drop me a comment or an e-mail and I'll send you our address.

8 comments:

esquiver said...

"Canadian taxes and import duties" -- yipe! A very modest package is on its way to you, and I'm gonna be so embarrassed if you get hit up for taxes and duty when it crosses the border. Very sorry. I live in a little diplomatic pouch bubble-world, I guess; it didn't even occur to me. (I'm glad, at least, that when offered the choice between pink and blue, I reached way back in my memory and made an educated guess to go with white...)

/T said...

Emily,
Hello, long time, congratulations on the belly! Please do send your address to t.hallin thingie comcast thingie net - we'd like to send you a little something.
FWIW, I put a sizable chunk of my long term savings into Winslow Green Growth fund (http://www.winslowgreen.com). I like it - it can be a bit volatile at times but it's generally doing well and I like their choices. Tell Mr. K hi from us!

Tomas and Christine

Emily said...

E: no worries; generally we don't get dinged for gifts sent from abroad. I'm not sure what the rules are, but I've been wary of mail order from US-based companies ever since an ugly little incident a few years ago when DHL charged me duty of more than twice the value of something I'd ordered from Eddie Bauer, and eventually started threatening to break my kneecaps when I refused to pay. Haven't had a problem with anything sent directly from a person in some years, though. Many thanks.

T&C: holy cow! How great to hear from you! I'll send you e-mail.

mootmom said...

em -- T&C visited your blog 'cause I sent 'em there. :-) It's nice to be so near (physically!) to people who are so dear: I just hugged both of them yesterday. So... um... yeah, maybe you could send ME your address, too, hmmm? If you can't find me, email-wise, Mr. K knows how to reach me at work.

And for the record, we used cloth diapers for both of our boys (who are now, egad, 19 and nearly 17, can you believe it? one's in college, the other is applying now), and it's been surprisingly natural to explain our food, purchasing, and boycotting decisions to them through the years, leaving them free to make their own choices. If anything, their choices are even more radical than ours. Who'da thunk it?

Anonymous said...

You'll be getting something from me via the San Diego Zoo store in a few days. If you get dinged for any charges, let me know and I'll cough it up.

I'll be interested to hear how the cloth-diaper thing goes. I've had a few friends try going that route but then eventually give it up (mostly because of the cost -- I guess diaper services are ridiculously expensive here).

-- Doug

Anonymous said...

Hi Em, was just checking in to see how you're doing. Congratulations on making it to 37 weeks! You're in the home-stretch (pun intended).

I'm very sympathetic about the consumer-responsibility issues that you describe. It's hard enough for me as a single guy to try to do all the right things (including FINALLY becoming a vegetarian in 2003). I can't imagine the struggle for new parents.

BTW, not to sound b*tchy, but the backwards R in Cyrillic is actually pronounced "yah" (and not "wah") ...

Love from another one of your language-geek friends

Emily said...

Yeah, Steve's (Russian-speaking) sweetie mentioned that about "yah" as well. Sigh. "Babies yah Us" isn't nearly as funny as "Babies wah Us." Oh well.

Hugs to everyone. Babies seem to bring folks out of the woodwork, don't they? It's great to hear from you all.

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