04 June 2008

Baby stuff

Shan and I talk about raising kids all the time. I think it's some new language that you learn only when you begin to replace yourself on this earth.

You see, when couples don't have children in the plans yet, they naively assume that they've got it all figured out. It will be a breeze, they tell themselves. All my friends with kids have shown me what I'm not going to do. They have made the mistakes for me, so I'm all set. Woe to you, you who speak from ignorance!

When babies do enter the plans, the conversations change. It starts all innocent, like, "Baby, when our kid gets here, do you think....".

You then have about eight months to figure out exactly how you're going to raise your offspring, what college your offspring will get mad at you for not paying tuition at, how best to potty train the offspring, how and when to discipline offspring, how other parents aren't raising their offspring correctly, and so on.

Once those eight months are over, you will have a detailed program, often running twenty to thirty pages long, single-spaced, containing information and graphs and tables, describing just exactly how you would like your little one brought up. One copy will go on the refrigerator, one copy will go into the fire safe with the homeowners policy and Grandma's pearls, and one copy will be distributed to every daycare provider and babysitter within a 100-mile radius.

After that, the little youngster arrives.

When you get home from the hospital, you will throw out the list, and start from scratch. Which is why, from then on, you and your spouse end up having all these relatively metaphysical conversations about how you will raise your child, while you are, in fact, raising your child.

You begin to almost wish that you lived farther away from everything, since the car ride to and from wherever is one of the best places to talk about the family, while the family itself sleeps contentedly in the back seat. Or plays with his rattle and drools everywhere.

It was one of those rides where Shan and I compiled a list of Five Essential Tools for every parent. Because we have a whopping four and a half months seniority on anyone still pregnant, we feel grossly overqualified to give out this list. This list is in no particular order, so just do yourself a favor and go out and buy all these items. You will need them.

1) A Boppy. These things are awesome. When mommy is nursing, they can prevent sore backs and arms. When baby is bigger, they can be a bed. Simply place on any soft area, cover with blankets, and presto! Baby insta-bed. We used ours when Eli was sick, to elevate his head so he could breathe better. We still use it sometimes, if he's down for a nap.

2) A travel system. Shan didn't include this one in her list, because she thought it was common sense. A car seat, with a detachable base, that hooks firmly into a stroller that can also be used without the carseat when baby is bigger: you really don't need anything else for babies on the go.

3) Receiving blankets. As many as you can afford. When baby is little itty bitty, they work great for wrapping him up like a burrito. They layer well. Since burp cloths apparently are not made bigger than a sheet of paper anymore, we use our receiving blankets instead. Eli has a tendency to hurl his half-digested formula a fair distance, in fairly large quantities, so the extra coverage is essential.

4) A jumper. When he's older, baby will love to jump up and down and play with the lights and toys. For times when baby wants to walk around, and mommy and daddy can't right now. He'll probably get so excited about his jumper that he'll barf every time he's in it. Eli does.

5) A bouncy seat. Serves the same purpose as a jumper, but before baby can hold himself up halfway decent. Eli's best friend for months one, two and three was Flizzard, a red genetically modified half frog, half lizard that hung out with him on his bouncy seat. Until they apparently got into a fight, and Eli requested that he be put in his jumper.

So there you are. Five Essential Tools for baby. There are other, probably more obvious things out there, but why cover those? You'll get those anyway, because that's what everyone buys babies and new parents. For example: we have enough baby shampoo to last Eli until he's got kids of his own. We have pacifiers enough to supply Mars Hill Kids for the next few seasons. We have enough blankets that we probably won't need to heat our house next winter.

But this list is things that you may not get for showers, and things that you will need in the future.


1 comment:

cator said...

Nice family you folks have there, I agree, you plan and plan then baby comes, and resets the rules, I love your list. If you don't know about Baby Bella you should check it out. As they say; The Top 3 Reasons to Join Baby Bella’s Mailing List
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