Sunday, April 5, 2009

Le Freak, Boutique

Just before Dos was born, a co-worker gave me a gift certificate to a fancy-schmancy baby store near my office. Correction: not "store." Boutique. La-dee-dah.

On the day I planned to use the gift certificate, Bug got a stomach virus and when she wasn't spewing all over the place, she was sleeping deeply on my chest and very pregnant belly. Not exactly perfect conditions for shopping at a boutique. By the time she was better, I was in the hospital, birthin' Dos and didn't exactly have time for boutiques.

The gift certificate has been sitting in my purse for over a year now. I finally got a chance to go to the store last week and, oh my, yes it is a boutique indeed. White walls, white floors, white shelves, and expensive white towels, sheets and blankets. You can tell that people go there BEFORE they have a baby because no conscientious parent would haul a barfing, pooping baby or grabby, sticky-handed, crumb-faced toddler into a store like this. Sorry, boutique.

The boutique had such beautiful things. I think I touched every blanket they had and they were all as soft as a baby's skin. I shook the rattles and squeezed the stuffed animals. I may have even nuzzled an organic cotton bunny. All heavenly. I fell in love with a palm-sized, wooden rattle/music box that played "Alle Meine Entchen" so sweetly I almost cried. I tinkered with every toy car and train, thumbed the pages of nearly every book.

I jealously eyed the staged nurseries. Everything matched so carefully and precisely that it looked like page in a design magazine. Hearty cribs with delicate linens. Porcelain night lights and decorative plates, hand-painted with lambs and bunnies. I thought back to Dos and Bug's room, with the 20-year-old hand-me-down crib and Ikea bed covered in mismatched sheets, no door on the closet and books haphazardly stacked on the shelves. Am I a bad Mommy because I didn't paint the room pink when Bug was born? Are my girls suffering because I haven't spelled out their names in pastel wooden letters over their beds? Would Dos sleep better if she had a $75 scent diffuser by her crib? I had to pull myself away before I felt the need to tear up my Mommy card.

Then I rounded the corner to the strollers. Not just any strollers. The Lexuses and Mercedes of the stroller world. The strollers were sleek and gleaming. They had cup holders perfectly sizes for venti soy lattes and BPA-free bottles. These strollers were ergonomically designed and built the the same material used in car and airplane production. They had ports for ipods. One had speakers. I think I drooled a little as I reached for the price tag on one of the strollers.

Have I mentioned before, or has it made itself apparent that I am budget-minded....some might say "cheap"? Yes, well, I *do* gasp and go gog-eyed when I see a $1999 price tag on a stroller. Unless it pushes itself and teaches my child three languages there is no stroller on earth worth $1999.

I backed away from the strollers and started looking at the price tags on other things. A matching set of 600 count crib linens? $210. A cashmere romper? $98. That dear little music box? $54. I knew that I would never be back in this place again. I wanted to make the most of my gift certificate and go home to hand-me-down kids' clothes and second-hand stroller. Back to the homemade bedtime mix CD on our creaky old boombox. Back to my giggly girls who didn't seem to care if they weren't wearing designer clothes or any clothes at all for that matter. Better access to tickly ribs and armpits.

I left the store with a small bag of fun odds and ends, all of which are going in the girls' Easter Baskets. I think they'll like them as much as the very non-boutiquey candy I bought for them at Target.

The girls' room doesn't have a theme other than "comfortable." I didn't put a whole lot of thought or money into a design concept. I don't worry if their toys are organic or free-trade as long as they're smart and safely built. Their room doesn't smell like lavender and fresh-baked cookies. I'm not a boutique kinda mama, I guess. That's ok. I think my girls love me anyway.


ingrid said...

you rock. :)

you make the most awesome pancakes. and you *make stuff* with your kids like wonderful valentines day cards. it's worth a million boutiques. as is comfort.

Eli said...

Another winning post. Love it, and I love your attitude. Please try to feel a little less guilty.

Heather said...

Ingrid: Thank you. I will make a tulip pancake tomorrow in your honor.

Eli: Thank you, too! I don't feel too guilty this time. I know the girls have the things they really need, the rest is just window dressing.