Nesting has begun in earnest as Teddy and I have spent every free moment frantically buying every conceivable baby supply that seems remotely useful: stroller, infant car seat, breast pump, baby bottles, furniture, glider, clothes, bulb aspirator, nail clippers, tiny hats, Onesies, socks, diapers, wipes, crib sheets, baby slings, bassinet sheets, changing pad, etc. I waddled through the aisles of Babies R' Us in a glazed stupor, almost catatonic at the overwhelming array of baby products to choose from. Not only is there a baffling amount of stuff to buy, each item involves making an agonizing choice between different brands, how many, what color or what size. Naturally, like any conscientious parent, I want the safest, highest quality product that my money can buy. I studied Consumer Reports and "Baby Bargains" by Denise and Alan Fields is my bible. Like any self-respecting parent, I don't want people to think my child was raised by wolves or anything, but the grouch in me wonders how much of this stuff is really necessary?
I grumbled and complained as I reluctantly tossed items into my overburdened shopping cart, feeling distinctly removed from the other pregnant women who were shopping around me with near religious zeal. I realize that in La-La Land, I am in the distinct minority when it comes to my lack of appreciation of the fine art of spoiling your child. In this town, it's not enough to keep up with the Joneses, there's the added burden of keeping up with the Spielbergs. I decided that maybe my buying decisions would be easier if I was a little more of a "star f***er." For those of you fortunate enough to have nothing to do with the entertainment industry, "star f***ing" is a term loosely employed to describe the grand old Hollywood tradition of kow-towing and brown-nosing to movie stars.
I'm no Hollywood player by any stretch of the imagination, but I've worked on the fringes long enough to see the practice of "star f***ing" within and without the entertainment industry. This practice goes on from the studio level where abysmal movies are greenlit just because a certain movie star agrees to star in it, to designers who toss expensive gowns at their feet in the slim hopes that it will be worn for some awards show. Ironically, the more rich and famous you are, the more free crap you get. And after a while, celebrities lose all concept of reality. I know this from personal experience when I was working for Wesley Snipes' production company, Amen Ra Films. I can say in all honesty that as a boss and human being, Wes is one of the sweetest, smartest and most generous people I've ever known. But he was definitely from planet Hollywood. I can't remember the last time he had to physically buy anything himself. When he actually has to spend his own money, he has a personal assistant who makes his purchases and a business manager who cuts all his checks. But most of the time, he just gets stuff for free. As a result, he has no idea what anything costs and would often balk at how expensive everything was, despite making millions per movie. Hell, even all his cars were "gifts" for finishing a movie. I remember one afternoon, he called me at the office, ranting and raving in a total snit because he loaned Woody Harrelson a brand new pair of his Nikes and found out from a production assistant that Woody had the nerve to play basketball in his shoes and probably scuffed them up.
I sighed and rubbed my head before venturing, "Um, Wes? You get like 10 free pairs of Nikes every week. There are unopened boxes sitting right here." I had to hold the phone away from my ear as a string of unprintable expletives followed about that not being the point and that Woody was a "no good, motherf***er with no respect for anybody" and since he couldn't get a hold of his personal assistant, could I please call Woody and give him that message verbatim? That's a whole other story in itself, but this digression was meant to prove my point about the sense of entitlement that even the nicest, most down-to-earth celebrities have. The saddest part is that there's often a trickle down effect, even the average working stiff believes that if Jada Pinkett Smith has a $1,280 Gucci motorcycle suit for her son, then damnit, their son deserves one too.
Since the most blatant examples of star f***ing is practiced by the media, I decided to pick up some magazines like "In Style" or "Fit Pregnancy" for some guidance. Sure enough, I wasn't disappointed. There were pages of celebrity endorsements for designer baby products and high-end baby toiletries which new mothers like Madonna absolutely can't live without. I know that in a previous journal entry I bemoaned the invasion of pregnant celebrities, yet even more insidiously seductive are the pregnant celebrities who finally become celebrity parents. Celebrity endorsements for products are nothing new; don't all of us want to believe that if we use the same mascara that Julia Roberts uses; by osmosis we'll magically acquire some of her glamour? By the same token, any baby product that is good enough for the denizens of their famous gene pool must be good enough for the likes of us. In fact, I just wanted to smack my head and cry out, "Of course, why didn't I think of that?" Here I am wasting my time agonizing over the Graco stroller vs. a Peg Perego when I should have bought that $5,000 Burberry baby carriage, or better yet, a mini-Mercedes that looks and rides like the real thing. After all, if it's good enough for Sean Puffy Combs' son then it must be good enough for mine.
I can't believe all that time and money wasted shopping for baby clothes at The Gap or Old Navy when I could have been buying cashmere booties from Versace and a tiny $4,000 mink coat from Gucci. Forget Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo, Mustela bebe products are so much pricier and well, so French. I should return that Kenneth Cole diaper bag someone had the nerve give me at my shower and get one from either Kate Spade or Gucci. Just the other day, I was browsing estyle.com and checking out their selection of diaper bags. I was gratified to discover that the one I was eyeing was touted as "Cindy's Pick" -- Cindy Crawford, that is, that former Miss House of Style. In fact, there's a whole section called "Cindy's Corner" designated for all of Cindy's favorite products -- none of which she had to pay for, I'm sure. There's even link to what's inside Cindy's diaper bag and her son Presley's toy chest. As if what's inside an overpaid Supermodel's bag would be relevant to me, but I couldn't resist. Of course, the inside of her diaper bag is immaculate and filled with fabulous Burt's Bee's products, an adorable change of clothes, and ritzy receiving blankets. I haven't even bought a diaper bag yet, but if it's anything like the state of my purse, I'm sure it will be cluttered and sticky with loose change, gum wrappers all over the bottom and stolen restaurant mints. Not to mention it will be virtually impossible to find anything.
Unable to stop myself, I clicked on the contents of the toy chest and ogled all the cute and colorful little toys. I realize that I don't have a toy chest and hardly any toys. In fact, I've forgotten all about the toys and I feel a twinge of horror that if the baby were to come today all he would have to play with would be some lint balls and maybe a used cat toy or two. I suddenly feel like Joan Crawford and barely suppress an urge to throw out all the wire hangers in the house. After a moment, I come to my senses and realize that I still have a few weeks of crass consumerism left and manage to calm myself. It's bizarre. Even though I hate to shop, shopping gives me a superstitious illusion of control. Picking the "right" stroller or breast pump has a talismanic effect against the unknown. I don't know how my labor and delivery will go, if my baby will be healthy or if I'll make a decent mother, but at least I know what to buy.