A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hang out with a friend of a friend. While most of my friends either are moms or have no intention of becoming moms, this particular acquaintance was of the variety I don't often get to hang out with anymore - the expectant new mom.
It's fun to relive those days of expectation and excitement. Picking out all the gear is overwhelming, but an exciting sort of overwhelming. You have a vision of how everything will be, and you can't wait until the star player arrives.
But it's also sort of hard to restrain yourself from being the know it all buzz kill. You know that there's a lot of baby stuff you don't need, you know that there's a lot they'll learn once the baby goes from theoretical to real, but you shouldn't be the one to teach them that. Trust me, they'll learn that pretty much everything will get either pooped or spit up on (probably both) and that you probably shouldn't take anything out of the box until you're sure your baby will like it. I was hugely excited to get the best swing, because I had friends swear up and down that the swing was the only thing to stop their baby from crying. I assembled this expensive monstrosity, only to find out that the place that my personal baby thought that the swing was the worst place ever and cried harder than ever once she was strapped in. Fortunately, baby #2 liked it, and I could justify it, but I used to really resent that swing sitting there, mocking me.
Anyway, it's a balancing act. New parents will learn for themselves, and they'll find themselves torn between being the expert guide and the buzzkill for their new parent friends, and the circle of life continues.
But when it comes to certain things, a degree of "knowing" can be really helpful. As this new mom talked about her car seat choices, my sister advised her to check the expiration dates, since often, the stores will rotate the older seats to the front, and you may get a few more months by choosing the seat in the back. I advised her not to register for her child's full lifetime of car seats, since there's a chance a booster could expire before her child is ready to sit in it six years down the line. And this started the conversation about making sure the car seat is safe - both the right seat and the right installation.
It's not often that you can spend a good forty minutes talking to someone about LATCH, and how it works, but in this aspect, I actually felt like she was happy to have someone who had really experienced how this worked. Because when you do leave the hospital with your single digit pound bundle, it can be terrifying to strap them in and just hope you did it right. So when it came to that, it's not a buzzkill. It's a help.
Now when she realizes that the wipes warmer isn't necessary...that one can be a live and learn.