Two Fridays ago, I found myself wandering aimlessly around Baby City, Craighall. It dawned on me that this is perhaps how the male species feels inside Sandton City: dazed and confused. To his credit, the manager caught sight of me all the way from inside his office and came bounding over.
"You look lost," he said.
"You have no idea," I replied.
About an hour later, I think he was wishing he'd left me alone. His selection of changing mats – available in icky pink, powder blue and white – was met with "don't you have that in beige?". Seriously, the pink was really and truly icky and white just does not go with my nursery's colour scheme.
The camp cots were the worst. I honestly couldn't help turning my nose up. "They're all so ugly!" The poor man looked exasperated, but even he could not defend them. They were hideous. The prams were almost as bad. The one I was interested in, was available in – wait for it – lime green. I mean, whatever happened to good, old, black and white? It's neutral, timeless and stylish – ask Coco Chanel! For a bazillion dollar industry, the design of baby furniture and equipment leaves alot to be desired.
Feeling bad for taking up half the manager's morning, I decided to move on to "big and functional" and proceeded to purchase these exciting products: a breast pump, a magic nappy bin, a baby monitor, a bottle steriliser and a thermometer. I got to the till and nearly gave them all back. I had to cough up the equivalent of six to eight pairs of shoes! And I'm not talking about R200 pieces of plastic from Rage. I mean, six to eight pairs of genuine leather heels!
Luckily, nature has a cruel way of ensuring that mothers-to-be can't wear beautiful shoes, even if they want to. I have literally lived in a pair of Ipanema flip-flops since Week 20. The Husband's comment last week probably sums up my swollen feet situation best. At the end of every ante-natal class, the trainer makes the women put their feet up and instructs the men to massage their shoulders. So you can imagine the bird's eye view this gave The Husband of my beautiful feet. "Oh my God!" he exclaimed, properly noticing my feet for the first time. "You have Shrek's feet!" The thing is, I couldn't really deny it. They looked extra-terrestrial.
With or without my Shrek-like feet, I was still without the two thousand items that one apparently needs to buy when one is having a baby. Fortunately, I was saved in this respect by the Nerd Network. I have a friend whom I'll call Glamour Girl from Glenhazel. Whenever I want to feel like I'm not the Most Disorganised Mom-To-Be Ever, I give her a call. She's due ten days before me but she's far too busy putting her fabulous taste to good use, by decorating the homes and mansions of Sandtonites. As a result, she couldn't give a stuff what shape, form or colour her baby's camp cot comes in. Also, she's completely Type B and she's taking this whole "baby thing" in her glamorous stride. Fortunately, she has a network of girlfriends who have taken it upon themselves to ensure that her baby will be kitted out. I was introduced to one of these girl's at Glamour Girl's 30th birthday a few years ago. Eight tequilas down, Glamour Girl turned to me and said:
"Natalie! You mush meet my friend Talia! You two would get along shooooo well!"
"Why would they get along well?" The Husband wanted to know.
"Becaushe… becaushe…," replied Glamour Girl, "they're both nerds!"
Naturally, I was somewhat offended at the time. (Not least because The Husband thought this was the most hilarious thing he'd ever heard). However, three years later, knocked up and totally intimidated by a store called Baby City, I feel differently. Here's why: Talia, in addition to being a fellow nerd, is now a mother of three and has marched Glamour Girl around Baby City, Baby Boom, Dischem and Pick 'n Pay – all in a morning's work. She now has everything she needs for her babaloo (as they say in Glenhazel) and she was willing to play shopping guide to me on Saturday. We set off for Baby City at 9am yesterday morning and three and a half hour's later, I apparently had virtually everything I needed and had only spent the equivalent of five pieces of leather footwear!
Never under-estimate the power of the Nerd's Network when it comes to baby shopping…