I recently made a trip to Rochester to see my daughter Maggie and her Luke, and went with her to an appointment for an ultrasound. Wow! Ultrasounds have changed since the last time I was all preggo. In other words, they’ve come a long way, baby.
I could see my granddaughter’s face, hands and toes and even got a look at her kidneys. She was practicing her breathing while we watched. Everything was so clear, and it was easy to see that little critter in there sucking on her hand. She even turned and looked at me, which was fun and a little bit eerie. I realize she couldn’t see me, of course, but the way she turned in my direction made it seem like she was looking at me as intently as I was looking at her.
I remember the last ultrasound I had, the only one that my husband Eric attended. Not his fault, of course. Uncle Sam was in charge of where he had to be back then. I’m pleased with the fact he was at two out of three of the births, though he did leave about 20 minutes after one kid was born to go back to his company. He was the Navy equivalent of a drill sergeant at the time.
So when I had an ultrasound with Matthew, the youngest of my crew, Eric was seeing it for the first time. We already had a daughter and a son, and happened to be preparing for a garage sale right around that time. Eric explained this to the friendly technician who was doing the ultrasound.
“So, we just need to know which stuff to get rid of,” he said.
The tech took out her little magic wand and took a look at the baby. Because I had seen ultrasounds before I knew right away, but was too busy looking at my baby to say anything.
“Get rid of the girl stuff,” the tech said.
It took Eric a minute to process that little piece of information, then he pumped a fist in the air and yelled, “Yes!” Apparently he had wanted another son, just hadn’t been very vocal about it before the ultrasound.
That particular son just left for college this fall, so it’s a good thing we have a grandbaby on the way. We were fresh out of kids to play with.
I couldn’t believe how different things are medically for pregnant women now. I mean, the process of growing a baby hasn’t changed much, but there seems to be a lot more appointments and tests involved. Maybe it’s just because Maggie has some health issues (the baby seems to be actually making her healthier, which is baffling her doctors), so she’s being seen more.
The other thing that blows me away is just how much equipment is needed to raise an infant these days. Good golly! I had a crib, a highchair, a bulky old playpen and a swing, all of it used. I had a small umbrella stroller and a walker, which were the only two new items. Oh, we had a car seat that was unwieldy — getting it into a vehicle was like wrestling a wild anaconda into a matchbox.
Now babies apparently need basinets and play gyms and bumbo chairs and special pillows and travel cribs and huge strollers with cup holders. Electronic toys, videos, ergonomically correct furniture, educational mobiles, playlands and bouncy chairs are also required. The swings have multiple settings, play music, and can go side to side or back and forth. The walkers don’t move, but the baby has 86 toys attached to the tray of the thing that has replaced walkers. The car seat has a base that stays in the car, another for plopping them down in a house, and a spare for someone else’s car. The crib is apparently made out of gold, which is the only explanation for why they cost so much, and the mattress and bumper pads have to match and be beautiful.
Egads. Do you suppose this explains why kids these days think they are entitled to everything? After all, when approximately $10,000 of baby equipment is waiting for them the minute they come out of the womb, why shouldn’t they always have the best of everything the moment they want it?
The funny thing to me is that the babies couldn’t care less. Whether the highchair is covered with cute bear fabric and matches the travel crib and swing or not, they are still going to sit in the darned thing, spit out food and whip Cheerios at the dog. And they’ll still ignore the super expensive playland because they’re too busy crawling around in the box.