Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Baby Expo

I've refrained a lot from talking about my parenting choices on this blog, mostly because (and I didn't know this until after I found myself pregnant) everything, and I mean EVERYTHING baby related is controversial. It seems that there are at least two camps on every possible topic, sometimes more, and each side think the other is doing untold physical, psychological and emotional damage to their children by doing whatever it is that they're doing.

It's insane. Don't even go near the topics of formula feeding, co-sleeping, baby training or controlled crying unless you've got some kind of protective head gear. I've seen women almost come to blows over this stuff. Now, I'll admit I have some opinions about how I will raise Lil' Edges and some pretty definite ideas around things such as child restraints/extended rear facing for example but I'm not a psycho. To each, their own. I don't see the point of getting all fired up in a no-win argument since, at the end of the day, we're all just doing whatever works within our respective families. 

So why then, did I want to go to the baby expo, a gathering of single minded fanatics ready to convert or condemn everyone in their sights? I can sum it up in one word: Discounts. Massive fucking discounts. Some of these retailers offer up to 50% off their stuff. 

I went last year. I was only a few months pregnant at the time with absolutely no idea what I was doing, what I needed or even where to start. I wound up feeling so overwhelmed that at the end of that day, I didn't so much as make my way towards the exit, as hastily retreat to the safety of my car and sob uncontrollably for 15 minutes. Fun times.

This time around things are different. With a grand total of 6 months parenting experience under my belt, I knew stuff now. I decided to have another crack at it, but this time, I had a plan. I knew what I needed and what I wanted more information on. I was only going to check out those stalls, the rest I would just pass by. A simple plan really. What could possibly go wrong? Apparently not taking every flyer, brochure and free sample offered to you at these things is like showing up for dinner at your aunt's place and telling her that her food's not fit for the dog. 

A guy shoved a flyer into my hand claiming they had the safest (they weren't) and highest rated (nope) rear facing child restraints on the market. I scoffed and screwed it up. I have bored the pants of my poor partner about the inadequacies of the Australian standards and rear facing. In fact, I may or may not have been bending his ear about it on the way in to the expo this morning.  
"Do you want to go over there and have an argument with them about car seat standards?" Mr Edges teased. Er...(thinking about it) no, let's keep moving.

Another guy tried to give me a brochure on disposable nappies. I waved him away. He chased me and argued with me even after I told him I use cloth nappies. In the end he physically shoved the brochure in my hand and told me to use their online store claiming they were the cheapest. Not cheaper than Coles though.  

A woman selling a baby toy I despise approached me, I put my hand up and said no thanks. She muttered something under her breath as she walked away. Lil' Edges is 6 months old, how does she know we don't already have one? Why assume it's political? Although, I have to admit there was one stall holder who tried to give me something and "Oh fuck no." escaped from my mouth before I could even stop it. 

Some stuff was just not relevant. Pre-natal vitamins, baby swaddles and cord blood banking don't apply when your munchkin's already done a half lap around the sun and yet they still seemed offended when we walked right by. 

And then there is the absolute shit like the overpriced chocolate bar in the personalised wrapper with your baby's name and birthday on it. You either eat the chocolate and are left with something you could have printed out yourself for free or you save the chocolate bar and end up with a mouldy keepsake that gets devoured by ants. Seriously, what is the point?

but I digress... 

I have to question how useful shoving fistfuls of paper at people really is? Last year I came home with reams and reams of flyers on every piece of crap you can imagine. I tried to sift through at home but honestly most of it ended up in the bin unlooked at. One of the things I wanted more information about today, was eczema treatments. One stall just shoved an envelope of samples in my hand and moved on to the next person while another stall holder had a chat with us about Lil' Edges skin, gave me some cream to try on her arm and provided some useful tips. I ended up buying a tube of their cream while the envelope of free samples sits unopened on the table.  

At any rate, I think my baby expo days are over. Next time I want free information and a discount I'll just google it. That noise you can hear is Mr Edges jumping for joy at this news.

* I understand the images to be from this book.

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  1. I LOVE this blog post.

    Thank Christ you went to the baby expo. You've entertained me and now you know it's not safe to put Lil Edges in the fish tank while she makes friends with Bubble and Squeek.

  2. Unorganized thoughts:

    1) Babies are like Rubbermade; they're resilient. It's okay to screw things up with them because they bounce back from just about anything.

    2) This post is hilarious!

    3) You ought to write a scathing e-mail to every company whose representative offended you and chastise them for it. Most will be ignored, of course, but there's always a chance that someone's boss is just itching for an excuse to fire them and you can be that excuse.

  3. I can totally relate!! I went to my first baby expo this year (probably the same one but in my capital city) and it was overwhelming! I took almost everything that was shoved at me and now there's a bunch of useless information for overpriced (but crap) products sitting in an expo bag at the bottom of the nursery wardrobe.
    We bought our pram there (actual bargain) and learnt some things, but mostly I just wanted to go home and forget the ordeal!
    I was/am pregnant for the first time so while I got bombarded with crap, I think it would be worse going back once I have a baby! I can't stand hearing baby extremists going on about their points of view. I think you can have your own opinions but there's no excuse for ramming it down peoples' throats or being judgemental. Everyone's doing the best they can.
    Love the pics in the post :)

  4. Love this post, and your blog!
    When I first had my son (3years ago) I assumed everyone was so critical because I was only 20. How wrong I was... Do people not realise it's in our nature to nurture children? Perhaps we'd all be doin a better job if we were just left to get on with it, in our own way... and dont even get me started on Gina Ford!!

    Ps I just started a blog of my own- check it out at

  5. @Redact_That Yes, exactly. Disaster averted. I can only imagine how much a fish therapist costs.

    @Travis_McClain They are resilient you're absolutely right, it doesn't stop me worrying though. I like the idea of writing the scathing e-mails but in reality I'll never find the time. I mean it's what day 6 of NaNoWriMo and I haven't even started. :-s

    @Kez While rummaging around in a cupboard yesterday I found yet another bag from the first expo that I hadn't even looked at, let alone sorted through. I vaguely remember shoving it in there with a 'if I can't see it, it doesn't exist' frame of mind. I put it right back after realising what it was lol

    @Whoopsie_Daisy Hi, thanks for stopping by. Urgh, Gina Ford, I hear you. We have a similar woman in Australia who's almost a carbon copy :-/