This baby is only two pounds with an 80 percent survival rate outside my womb and yet she's already completely changed my life.
In an insane effort to "prepare," I find myself constantly hunting for deals because of this neurosis that I've developed. I call it All Things Baby. If it relates to a newborn, I'm all over it. If it doesn't, I don't bother. I'm like a heat-seeking missile steered by pastels and fluffy fabrics.
For the first time in my life, I don't have a clue what's in style. The mere sight of the fall fashion magazines, which I usually fawn over, now make me sick. Cute little button-down tops and hip-hugging jeans aren't even in my vocabulary at the moment. Not only do I not fit into them, but any new clothing purchases in this house these days are pint sized. At this point, I consider it a success if I wear matching shoes out of the house because I can just barely see my feet to check.
My pathetic excuse for a wardrobe isn't the only casualty. All Things Baby has infected other parts of my life, as well.
Last year at this time, I would've been absolutely disgusted that the throw pillows scattered on my front porch furniture haven't matched the rest of the house ever since we painted outside more than a month ago. Green pillows on a red brick house with a tan porch? I know. I should be ashamed. It's amazing I still have the balls to walk my dog down our street. Frankly, I think I'm high off the knowledge that I don't live in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association. Me and my hideous unmatching sun-bleached pillows can't be blacklisted.
It's like I'm subtly giving a middle finger to my neighbors.
And, sadly, it doesn't even matter that Pottery Barn is likely having a sale on outdoor pillows right now. Being the best store on the planet, it probably has the perfect 18-inch square pillows in a tan ticking stripe fabric on clearance.
But, strangely enough, I don't even care.
DO YOU HEAR ME RETAILERS?
I DON'T CARE!
YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME ANYMORE!
Sure, it's kind of freeing, but at the same time, I'm in completely unfamiliar territory. It feels odd not to have a gravitational pull beckoning me to The Gap. Well, I still go in there, but I beeline for the baby section. Instead of ogling the latest set of ballet flats, I'm standing in the corner squeezing the plush yellow ducky and laughing at the electronically generated quacking sound. Then I squeeze the monkey. Then the frog.
Yes, I have become a complete loser.
A complete loser who is no longer in the much-coveted 18- to 25-year-old shopping demographic. I buy things like mulch and economy-sized hand soap instead of CDs and $200 sneakers. Glamorous.
Part of me wonders if the stores noticed. Whether some executive in a plush office somewhere spotted a blip on The Limited retail sales figures in February after I found out I was pregnant. I picture them mourning my loss of business, calling big all-night meetings where they order Chinese take-out and the boss screams, "No one leaves this office until we figure out how to lure Kelly back!"
But little do they know that I'm doing the system a favor. Sure, I'll never be in the target demo ever again, but I'm about to nurture something that will grow up to buy CDs and sneakers.
And just think of all the phases in between! Newborn to infant to toddler to pre-tween to tween to pre-teen to TEEN! And by then, I'll probably be well into the $4,355,065,220 they say it costs to raise a baby born in 2007.
So I guess the retailers shouldn't worry too much. Just because I'm a lost cause, doesn't mean I'm gone forever.
Pastels and fluffy fabrics are just the beginning.