When I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Bean, my husband and I took a day to daydream about our little one and set up our registry.  I think I even daydreamed about the trip to register!  In my mind we walked, starry-eyed, into a big name baby store to choose the perfect carseat in which to bring home our perfect baby, who would coo at us as we gently took him/her out to nurse peacefully while we gazed down at him/her lovingly.  And then we would lay him/her down on beautiful, pristine bedding and watch him/her sleep before sneaking away to snuggle and watch movies together.

The daydream went off the rails pretty quickly.  My husband dreads shopping in any form and only got excited about some dinosaur bedding and decor ("what if we have a girl?"  I asked, proving that my pre-motherhood self was not so aware of feminist issues.  And my husband answered that "everyone likes dinosaurs...").  So he was cranky.  I was still dealing with morning sickness if I went too long without eating, so we had to leave halfway through to eat lunch (halfway through because I think we spent 5 hours in that store!).  So I got cranky.

After hitting up the bedding and picking out a crib that was neither too expensive nor too flimsy-looking, we went for the layette (P.S. that's about when I learned that "layette" is FancyPants for "newborn clothes.").  Not knowing whether we were having a girl or a boy, we checked out the gender-neutral options.  The gender neutral theme was a greenish yellow and frequently adorned by a teddy bear.  The color was so repulsive and the bear so unadorable that I nicknamed the character "Booger Bear" and declared we would own nothing in the Booger Bear collection.  We could go find something for the baby to wear when we knew whether head-to-toe blue, pink, or purple was appropriate!  (We found out the sex of both our kids when they were born.) 

We headed over to the carseats, strollers, and high chairs and were regalled with Tales of Usefulness by the father of preschool-aged twins who had recommendations for ev.ery.thing and wasn't so great at letting us confer, or so much as finish a thought.

We left exhausted, lacking excitement about much of anything on our registry, and feeling rather disgusted with the American consumerist culture.  Or maybe we just had decision fatigue after FIVE HOURS in a warehouse stacked floor-to-ceiling with baby stuff.

bundles of joy

Five years and two very different babies/kids into this parenting gig, and I wish we had registered for some nice practical items- soft blankets and towels of natural fibers (so they stay soft longer!), and a no-pressure cloth diaper trial package in particular.  And I didn't realize how practical BabyLegs were at the time, but I would have loved some newborn-sized, as well as a few pairs of the original infant/toddler/preschooler variety.

For my second baby, I did register for teething jewelry (the current favorite seems to be the Chewbeads Jane necklace, which I see on moms all over town and they look awesome!) and we bought him a Sophie (another very popular baby item!).  Other sweet, well- and ethically-made, soft toys from companies like Miyim and Moulin Roty.  These are great as a lovey to be snuggled, and also sweet items to accessorize the nursery (before Baby has much interest in snuggling anything non-human).  And don't forget rattles of various kinds (including my favorites - wooden rattles and clutching toys!), which will last into toddlerhood!

Though I didn't hesitate to put bath products for my baby on my registry, I did end up feeling surprisingly picky about which ones I would put on that perfect skin.  It had never seen air, let alone soap!!  TGN carries some wonderful products for babies.  And for new moms - I hestitated to put skincare or postpartum-y stuff on my registry, but some friends went off that beaten path and gave me teas and lotions and salves that were not only great for healing, but helped me carve out time for myself.  Taking a shower or putting on lotion, or even drinking a cup of tea while I snuggled my baby helped me carve out my new normal just by having rituals that included my baby (or at least kept me at his beckon call).

Lastly, if you're local and looking for something better than Booger Bear for your layette?  Stop into the shop and check out some seriously cute - and often gender-neutral - options!