Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Items Unlike Cape May Diamonds

My son ponders the long road without Babies R Us return merchandise credit. 
The Nature Conservancy's South Cape May Meadows preserve

No Wiggl n Lern & Jump n SafeT Plageer. No that's not Gaelic, that's how manufacturers of baby items spell circa 2012. Correct spelling is not appealing to the adults that purchase babies items. Correct spelling makes them close their wallets in disgust. "Don't they care about my child? Don't they employ marketing people to assist with spelling so that I must stare at the box wondering 'What the h*ll are they selling here?'"

An era has passed. All of our Babies R Us gift cards and returned merchandise credit has been spent. No more wheeling a purple shopping cart through aisles of plastic debris, long distance baby control devices, learning toys, learning blankets, learning bibs, learning diaper pails, learning sippy cups, learning headphones and learning telephones, and many other momentarily and never useful items.

Our mantra was "We really need this Item. We must go and purchase this Item immediately. We have Babies R Us store credit, we might as well use it." After storming about the house without the Item, agreeing that we surely needed Item. Look, how hopeless the house, family, baby, and future all were without the Item. Shortly, we relaxed and agreed, "Let's wait to see if we really need the Item. Maybe we can get it used, borrowed, or won't need the Item." Often we forgot about the Item.

Nursing bras were necessary Items. Diapers, thin terry cloth washcloths, a small dresser, all pretty handy Items. A good selection of board books, necessary. Devices and Gadgets were not necessary Items.

Ergo Baby carrier - we were enthusiastic about stepping up from the hand-me-down Baby Bjorn. It was pretty good for several months of hiking and shopping, then my son got the idea that he too would walk like his parents. Adiós, necessary Item.  Ergo Baby, you were built like a tank, no baby would fall from the clutches of You, Ergo Baby. (One might experience near accidents with a wildly convulsing baby who exclaims, YOU ARE NOT PUTTING ME INTO THIS BABY CARRIER. NO NO NO.) Alas, Ergo Baby, your useful life was so brief. You are survived by several worn out pairs of shoes.

So, let us turn to the Ancients. How did the Ancients live without Babies R Us return merchandise credit? Were their toys imaginative? Safe? I'd bet yes because the Ancients are credited with many other outstanding achievements recorded and unrecorded, buried and revealed. The Ancients were fruitful and prospered. Without Babies R Us.

Waving at Ourselves.
Cape May State Park

The Ancients may have stared long into reflective pools surrounded by blooming swamp rose mallow while dragonflies alit their shoulders to nibble on the mosquitoes nibbling on the Ancients' flesh. What, no plastic mirror toy? Heaven forbid the child contract encephalitis, fall into the muck while father receives a cell phone call, be allergic to swamp rose mallow, have 'an issue' later life because the child did not have a mirror toy.



The Nature Conservancy's Eldora Nature Preserve

If Babies R Us had sold sticks, my son might have been more interested in our visits to the store. Then again, he would have selected one, then a other, passed the one in his right hand to me, changed his mind, taken it back, given me the one in his left hand, dropped the one in the right hand fifteen feet down the aisle for a stick with leaves, shaken it, picked off the leaves, selected a minutely tiny stick, dropped it, gotten angry at a too big stick stuck one the shelves, and thus, left the place a big bark strewn mess.

It's much easier to reshelve plastic, and possibly even rudely scattered plastic zippered pouches which customers have secretly opened, examined the contents for size and quality. The customer having become immediately bored by the color sage, improperly refolded and restuffed the Items into now bursting packaging. Why bother selling sticks?

Besides, my son would have soon noticed the door and ran outside with no sticks (I mean, STKKS n PLAY & LEARN) purchased.

Sunset Beach, Cape May Point

We, the Ancients, meanwhile, will amuse ourselves in the dunes, finding the debris of other Ancients who have travelled farther and more dangerously than we have. Their boats have capsized and led the survivors to a new places with new foods, new smells, new terrain.

We'll admire the red cedars, windswept and rooted, so different than their upright nature in our homelands where they grow on land tilled and then abandoned.

Cape May Diamonds 
Sunset Beach, Cape May Point

We'll search for diamonds, wondering if we've found them. Is this a diamond? 

There's always a cellophane balloon 
Sunset Beach, Cape May Point

We will find messages from other Ancients. We'll note their ability to create and greet, to leave their mark with some permanence. I'll leave their small marks behind - are they cursed like the tombs of the Ancients? Will I incur their wrath if I touch? 

A figure in yellow, a yellow rain jacket, walks aimlessly. His cheeks are lined. He grabs the balloon, it's just trash, not cursed or important. Just trash waiting to drift to the plastic islands in the sea. 

The beach has been the only place my son has parked himself and explored. 
Sunset Beach, Cape May Point

For now, my son points emphatically at the door. OUT. I want OUT. He doesn't point with desire at stuff in stores. He will. Soon even.

For now, I'll imagine us as the Ancients. He, his father, and I drifting down the beach our pebbles and reeds, the sky's gulls, the wide ocean, all play enough for us.

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