How Much Have Babies Really Changed in 30 Years? Or, Do I Need Those Blackout Curtains?

Every day, I’m bombarded with yet another thing I haven’t done in preparation for our child.

I haven’t put up blackout curtains.

I haven’t decided on sleeping arrangements — our room, his room, other.

I haven’t washed the covers of the Rock N Play, the bouncer, the swing.

The parenting board I frequent is full of gear guides for stuff I HAVE TO BUY.

Thread upon thread of stuff that was a waste, things you wished you’d gotten, silly buys that turned out to be absolutely necessities.

I was reduced to paralysis more than once over the past nine months about whether we needed a baby monitor, and if so, video or audio, and which kind, and where to put it. I even bought a special nightstand — perfectly coordinated in color and style, of course — upon which to set said monitor, since it has to be no more than 3 feet away from the baby or else tragedy will strike us all. Or which kinds of diapers to stock up on — which brand, the sensitive or sensitive with dry technology or regular or what. Or even if we should stock up. And what kinds of wipes? And the perfect combination of diaper creams to have on hand. And whether our crib sheet really matches the rest of the room.

And sometimes, while all this stuff is a welcome distraction, it made me forget that I’m growing a human being inside of me, and really all he needs is food, something to poop and pee on, shelter from exposure, and love.

OK, that was a huge cliche. But you feel me, right?

The blackout curtain debate was especially fraught with tension, as experienced mommies have been clucking at me for over six months that of course we need blackout curtains — unless, of course, we absolutely crave our child waking us up screaming every morning at sunrise.

I’m pretty sure he’s going to wake us up screaming plenty even in the dark, so…

Thing is, I slept perfectly fine in a normally lit room with normal blinds when I was a child.

And I slept in my crib from day 1.

Granted, those were the days when it was recommended babies sleep on their stomachs, and parents simply sat their tots on their laps for car rides. And there was that one morning that I slept in until, like, 10 a.m. and my parents, wide awake and terrified and glued to the bed, argued for 15 minutes about who would go to check on me because they were certain they’d find me dead. And my mom smoked in my face, like, all the time.

But still.

I didn’t have a Sophie, and I wasn’t swaddled. I was *gasp* formula fed. I got a pacifier from the start. Everything I touched and ingested was probably teeming with BPA (I know, I know — I’m going to die of a million cancers by the time I’m 40, we have to give our kids a fighting chance, we know better, etc.). I was fed purees. Out of a jar.

The indignities.

I don’t want to sound like a mother-in-law or anything, and safety recommendations are safety recommendations. But when it comes to all the stuff, and the books, and the recommendations, and the guides, and the e-pinions, and everything else… it all matters about the same as it did 30 years ago, or 50, or 100.

Which is to say, not much.

And for the record, we’re not putting up blackout curtains. You’ll be the first to know if we end up regretting it, but there comes a point — and we’ve reached that point, 10 days before D-Day, 17 days before my scheduled induction should this little spawn decide he’s extra comfy for way too long — where money, time, and energy run out, and you just have to cut your losses and run. This is that point.

I’m prepared enough. I deleted all my spreadsheets. We have a ton of stuff we’ll never need, but damn, it looks cute.

Bring on the baby.

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