Saturday, October 01, 2005 | There’s an old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young,” and that’s sort of how I feel about baby moons: They’re wasted on the people they’re designed for – couples expecting their first baby.

If you’re not familiar with the term “baby moon,” don’t feel bad. It’s a new term to a new concept in travel that caters to expectant parents.

The best way to describe a “baby moon” is as a honeymoon for couples before the little nipper arrives screaming and forces its new parents to change from normal adults who have an interest in the outside world to bizarre baby talking grown-downs who are more interested in discussing the finer points of Dora The Explorer than Katrina the Hurricane.

One of the first places in the United States to offer a “baby moon” package is the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, which has a three-night “Stress-Free Parents To Be Package,” that allows pregnant women and their partners to, as the press release states, “celebrate each other filled with lots of relaxation, especially before the baby arrives.”

Like babies, every baby moon package is a little different but the same, offering things like massage for the soon-to-be-stressed couple, romantic dinners and sparkling cider.

The Estancia’s package also includes an expedition to Nordstrom’s with a personal shopper and a photography session for women who want to immortalize their belly.

All of this sounds good and potentially lucrative. After all, people tend to have babies all year long, whereas honeymoons tend to be focused on a few key months.

However, trying to relieve the stress of having a baby before having the baby seems a little counterintuitive. I think pregnant women deserve a baby moon but it should prepare parents for stress, not rid them of it.

For instance, my pregnant wife and I recently participated in a baby moon and we came away wishing there had been more pieces to the package that would prepare new parents for how their life was going to change.

Resorts like the Estancia provide stone massage for Dads-to-be when it should be making them walk through an obstacle course filled with spiky toy dinosaurs. Not only is it an essential part of parenting but the plastic spikes provide important acupressure.

And instead of offering a variety of interesting movies that grown-ups might like, resorts offering baby moons should make it so potential parents on the package deal can watch Disney Channel reruns or episodes of Barney the Dinosaur.

That way, they’ll know what to expect for the next five or so years.

Also, instead of gourmet meals such as Chicken Satay, Coq au vin or anything with Brie, folks on a baby moon should have to eat chicken nuggets, string cheese and tater tots. Again, so they’ll know what to expect for the next five or so years.

My wife found her pre-natal massage relaxing but thought it would have been more helpful if, instead of relaxing new age music, the masseuse had played a tape of a child crying at full volume. If you can relax during that, you can mellow out during anything.

I’m not sure how she feels about my suggestion: Put fresh doodied diapers in the room instead of burning sage and other “aroma therapeutic” scents.

Don’t get me wrong: I think the baby moon is a great idea, even if it gives the false impression that giving birth is a peaceful, mellow experience.

Then again, many important rituals are also based on false impressions.

Weddings are based on the idea that love always lasts forever. Christmas is based on a fallacy that it’s the thought that counts and Prom Night is based on the irrefutable notion that it’s the perfect time to lose one’s virginity.

So what’s one more unrealistic ritual, right?

David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who finds himself singing the theme song to Dora The Explorer when he thinks no one is listening.

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