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I've got a friend who is pregnant. Eight months pregnant, in fact. Her first child, a girl, will reveal herself in just a few weeks, and see all of the things her mother has prepared for her.

The wonderful things. The wonderful, organic things. The wonderful, organic, animal-safe, vegan, cruelty-free, undyed, eco-friendly things that support the entire economy of a struggling, non-exploitive third world nation.

Those things.

The baby shower was an ordeal. Invitations had to be printed on natural materials from a renewable forest somewhere in Narnia. The "Approved Toy List" included free-range cotton diapers (they're free to walk around until they're harvested in a non-cruel manner that involves gentle whispering), unfinished wooden trains (just what every newborn wants) and food that...actually, don't get me started on the food.

At first, I was annoyed. "Why can't she register at Babies R US like everyone else, accept the PJ's that say 'Sweet Pea' and call it a day? She's just being difficult."

I was wrong. She's not being difficult. She's just being a newbie.

When Grace was born, we had no idea what to expect. It's a lot like packing for a trip to Mars. You know you'll probably need your toothbrush, and some clothes, but will your cell phone work? Do they have the internet? They must have a Starbucks; they're everywhere.

We bought a bottle warmer, a binkie sanitizer, a wipes box (because, you know, they don't come in a box already) and lots of other stuff that, six months into Grace's life, we either ignored or threw away.

My friend is doing the same thing. She wants the best for her child, and who doesn't? I'm going to guess that, a year from now, that kid will be running around with a Hello Kitty T-shirt, Robeez shoes and a pocket full of Twizzlers. She won't be any less loved, nor will her mother be any less loving.

It's one thing to save the world. It's another to find just one shirt -- any shirt -- that isn't stained with spitup and poop. Good luck to my friend. I'll see you on the other side.


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