As a parent, I have had to change my opinions about various concepts. For example, now instead of "not liking children" I "like my own children." And, I seem to be able to tolerate kids who are less than or equal to Will's age. I actually have some experience dealing with them, so I know what to expect. This means, that yes, I will babysit for you if your kids are under age 2 and greater than 10 lbs. I still am uncomfortable with tiny babies. In fact, I think Dan changed Alex's diaper for the first 2 weeks nearly every time because even though he is big for his age, he was still so tiny.
If you have kids, or you have gone to a baby shower recently, you realize that there are some commonly accepted assumptions in the baby stuff industry. For example, the common baby registry includes: a plush shopping cart cover, an exersaucer, baby-proofing devices, crib quilts, baby bath tubs, high chair, stroller with 5 cup holders, bassinet, crib, pack & play, and lots of other stuff. Now, some of the stuff is necessary. Like a high chair, for instance. But really, do you have to get three different places for your child to sleep?
Baby proofing stuff makes a little more sense. Of course, you won't need it for 7+ months. Unfortunately for us, by the time Will was old enough to need baby-proofing, he was also smart enough to defeat it. Here he is with that device that prevents kids from turning door knobs.
Baby proofing devices have to be dealt with on a step-by-step basis depending on what your kid likes to get into. In addition to baby proofing, I don't buy people these things for baby showers:
As the mother of large children, I realize how big kids can get, quickly. Even if you don't give birth to babies that are over 10lbs, it is likely that your tiny 7lb baby will double his birth weight by 4-6 months. (I have heard this. Not sure since my kids don't double their birth weight until they are 1 year old.)
It's one thing to make a memorable blanket for a baby that they can keep forever. Kids don't really say, oh yes, Angela got me this fuzzy yellow blanket from the sale rack at the baby store. As I don't have baby blanket making skills, I don't give blankets at baby showers. There are so many people out there who actually can make blankets, that the baby will end up with lots of them anyway. What about a baby quilt that matches the nursery design? That's the other problem with buying baby blankets. You're not really supposed to put blankets on new babies because they are a "suffocation hazard." So the matching nursery quilt ends up being a matching wall hanging.
It is likely that the parents have a stash of stuffed animals from their childhood. If not, they probably have at least a few bears holding hearts from Valentine's Days during their courtship days. Therefore the least likely stuffed animal I am likely to purchase for someone is a bear. However, if I can't avoid the desire to purchase a cute cuddly thing, I try to go for something unique like a moose or a llama. My dad got Will a llama from the Chicago Field Museum store at O'Hare. It is awesome. Llama was one of Will's first words. Of course, it is sometimes difficult to figure out if he is asking for "llama" or "mama," but with only two choices, we figure it out. Stuffed Animals not for you? Go with a cute stuffed microbe instead!
Um, babies don't walk. And it is impossible to predict the size of the kid's feet when he becomes a toddler. Yes, it is adorable that the little kid is wearing little shoes. But it is far more practical to buy a 6 pack of socks, especially when you compare the price of socks to giraffe Bobux or airplane Bobux or Robeez shoes. They keep the kid's feet warm. They barely even need to be washed. Remember, the baby isn't walking. And initially they don't usually get their feet into their mouths. Ok, ok, Will did have the giraffe and airplane Bobux. But I didn't buy the giraffe ones. And, yes, you will soon see pictures of Alex wearing his tiny Vans flame shoes. But I didn't buy those either. I blame Aunt Robin. (Ok, I confess, I bought the airplane shoes so he could wear them on a few of his 30 airplane flights prior to turning age 1.)
It seems that everyone I know is now pregnant. Or, perhaps I have fallen into socializing with people who are having kids. So, if I come to your baby shower, what can you expect? Perhaps something boring like a baby store gift card. They are useful in that they can be accumulated to buy practical, expensive things (I recommend single-sided). Or, a baby sleep positioner. I know, it sounds silly and unneeded, but only until your baby's first cold. You elevate them so that they breathe better and therefore sleep better. Other favorites of mine:
- Snack traps - they won't prevent your car from being a wasteland of Cheerios and goldfish crackers, but it will help a little
- Corkscrew type baby bottle brush
- Bibs (you can never have too many, the kid uses them for years
- Sippy cups - these get lost easily, extra valves are also useful
- Teething rings that have handles - so that when you freeze them (against manufacturer instructions, but more effective for relieving teething pain), the kid can have something to hold onto besides the ice part
- Tiny Diaper Bags - carrying a giant diaper bag everywhere is useful sometimes, but it is great to grab something small and go
- Extra Boppy cover - more than one is very helpful for laundry time, same things goes for diaper changing pad cover
- Nursing Wrap - easier than trying to position a blanket with your teeth
- Baby Safe Feeder - awesome to help little babies self feed, ice is also good in these for teething