A formula piece

Out at the mailbox I was greeted with a surprise.

Inside, I called to my Patient Husband, “Sweetie? Do you have something to tell me?” and I handed him a container of infant formula.

He looked puzzled. “Wouldn’t you have to tell that to me?”

Neither of us could come up with how they might have gotten my name. I am not — not — pregnant, and my youngest Kiddo is over two years old. We have no baby-related magazine subscriptions; I haven’t purchased a baby-related gift for a friend. I’ve purchased yarn, but not everyone who knits is expecting.

I opened the box to find an entire can of the stuff, plus multiple coupons for $$ off other cans.  I looked in the advertising material for a website where I could opt out of their advertising campaign and set the can of formula on the table to put in the “to be donated” stack.

It did occur to me that my mailman, who knows everything about everyone in Angelborough, probably thinks we’re about to become Eight Angels, Five Kids, One Family, but not a problem unless he tells everyone on our route.

Formula advertising is aggressive.  I’ve always made sure to check off the “I plan to breastfeed” box on any form with that option, and they’ve only targeted me more. Over thirteen years I’ve received bottles of liquid formula, coupons, “checks,” diaper bags, freezer gel packs, insulated bags, and magazines about infant nutrition that begin with “Of course breast is best, but–” and then follow up with twenty pages about how to choose the best formula for your baby and how to make formula feeding to work for you.

I don’t mind. I’ve donated up to twenty cans or bottles of formula to the food pantry because of their largesse.

That is to say, I didn’t mind until they broke my little girl’s heart. Kiddo#2 came into the kitchen while I tried to navigate the formula company’s website to find the opt-out screen.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“Oh, that’s infant formula,” I said. “It’s what babies drink when they don’t nurse.”

She said, “Oh,” and then three seconds later her face went brilliant with a smile as she gasped.

“No!” I exclaimed, because it wasn’t the mailguy I should have worried about. “No, it was a mistake! They sent it to us by mistake!”

Her shoulders deflated, and her smile drooped. Because for one hope-filled moment, she was a big sister to another baby.

I finally found the opt-out page and worded it strongly that I wanted to be removed from their list and never re-entered onto it. An hour later they wrote back with an apology and the assurance that I’d been removed. And Kiddo#2 has recovered.

But I think it’s kind of sweet how she was delighted by the thought of another sibling.


  1. capt_cardor

    I wonder if this is a little bit like that “pre-echo” business…


  2. Philangelus

    No, because if you’ll note the blog title, we’re still at seven angels. 🙂

  3. Normandie

    If an extra angel drops by, will you send him this way? I have a mission or two he could take up…

    1. philangelus

      I think you can rent one for ten minutes if you really want to. 😉

      1. Normandie

        Jane, I’d forgotten that story! So glad for the reminder.

        1. philangelus

          There are probably angels who like to sail, actually, so it can’t hurt to tell God that the Sea Venture is available for any angel who needs a breather. Then when you go out on deck, you can imagine a bunch of angels hanging out, rocking on the waves and enjoying looking at the tiny insects and the pretty fish.

          1. Normandie

            You are so much fun. I’m going to do just that. We’re here off Isla Coronado, near Loreto, and the weather is fine, the sea clear, and the bees stayed behind on Isla Carmen, thank you very much.

            I need a couple of those big ones, Lord, to go flying with my son on these evening training missions and with my daughter, to haul her back into the kingdom, kicking if need be. Enjoy the kidlets while they’re young (even when it’s hard, because I have been there and it was hard). Too soon, they out and off and you can’t round them up to get them to church.

            Did you hear about the crazy guy doing anti-baptisms? I’m sure glad God’s bigger.

          2. philangelus

            They can antibaptize someone all they want (what do they use, a hair-dryer?) but if it is what people say it is, then it leaves an indelible mark on the soul. And if it’s not what people say it is, then why not unbaptize people?

            In the end it all comes down to what baptism is or is not.

            Glad to hear the bees stayed behind.

            (If anyone is wondering what the heck we’re talking about, Normandie has been living on a sailboat for a while and posts her adventures over at her weblog, http://svseaventure.wordpress.com/ and you should go see the pictures she posts.)

  4. Cricket

    Parents of pre-schoolers and kindergarteners are more likely to have more babies than other demographics. Those kids’ friends also have babies. Just look at the pick-up line at the school. That first can of formula is key, since most parents are terrified of switching once they find one that works. Small cost to the company, bit potential return.

    My Dtr has finally accepted that we won’t have another baby. She’s shifted from begging for one to studying to be a baby doctor. I won’t complain.

    1. philangelus

      I don’t really get the whole kindergarten thing, because if you figure most parents are trying to have their two children three years apart, they should be done with formula by the time the oldest is in kindergarten.

      (Although maybe they think that if they send a formula-feeding mom a free can, she might use it and then switch after she sees it’s fine for the baby. Dunno.)

  5. Normandie

    A hairdryer it is. Craziness. And, yes, it depends on one’s view of baptism–or not. Maybe it’s just God’s view of baptism that matters.

    A story, Jane? I’m picturing it….the angels looking down at that hairdryer business and the fool in the monk’s robe waving it over people to get those last droplets off the forehead from infant baptism. (I’m covered–infant and adult. Glory!). “What do you think, Gabe? How soon before we’re going to see some smiting?” “Oh, I don’t think He’s there yet. But add it all together? Well…”

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