(Don’t worry. This is done totally in loving jest. You know who you are out there…)
So, back along about a decade ago, while I was growing large with child and simultaneously racking up the frequent flier miles between here and Oklahoma, il mio sponso decided to begin a conversation about whether buying “the best” for baby was ok to do, provided you had the means. Along with that conversation (which, as I recall, got some really heated responses out of the internetz) was a side question about what kinds of things were, well, okay to skimp on. I, of course, make no such sort of studied inquiry. I never have. I probably never will. Amazon reviews, registries, and rich relatives are the way of life. I want the best for my child that my grandmother’s money can buy. So, some things I totally recommend:
1. Swing: Who doesn’t like that relaxed feeling they after tripping for a while, right? Rainbows and puppies and a gentle, rhythmic rock. No people to bother you. Just you and the swing. (Ours came from the neighbor, who was giving it away as her uterine-use days were evidently over, and it got me through the first three months of teaching piano. Price of swing: $0. Money earned because swing freed my hands: $380.)
2. Infant Carseat: Because one sleeps better at night knowing that the carseat (which we put over 25,000 miles on before it was outgrown) we bought was crash tested, legal for use in the United States, and kept baby safe. So what if he couldn’t use it until he’s five. Hell, they’ll redesign cars before then and the seat will be unusable anyhow. Also, goes with the uber-expensive stroller that great-grandma bought. (Cost of seat + stroller: $280. Money saved on gym membership because I carried that thing around at a whopping 32lbs for eleven months: $210. And I’m still using the stroller.)
3. Millions of Clothes: Being able to change him four times a day, if necessary, and still have a complete matching outfit in the drawer—shirt, pants, vest, socks, and hat—is the kind of couture that a self-respecting mother should strive for. After all, just because I wear the same clothes for days at a time and don’t brush my hair doesn’t mean that baby has to live that way. Also, it comes in handy for when you got busy doing things and put pants on baby but not diaper. Voila! Extra pants in the dresser! (Cost of clothes: $0, they came from the all-done neighbor. Money saved on the water bill because I could just change baby’s clothes instead of washing his little body off all the time because I make him eat naked because I don’t want to wash so many clothes: $50-80. Money saved on moisturizing lotion also from fewer washings: $30.)
4. Plates, Bowls, Spoons, Forks, Sippy Cups: Makes baby feel like a “big boy.” This way, when he gets to be two or so and I want him to develop homo sapiens manners, he’s used to trying to act like an adult by using utensils and dinnerware. After all, if I’m going to get the child a stinkin’ broom for Montessori sweeping—a broom his size, for those of you in Rio Linda—I can sure as heck get him a spoon that’s baby-mouth-sized, and a plate that sticks to the table/tray so he can’t projectile it at me. Also, if he hates the sippy cup, get him a straw. Put the straw in a sippy cup. Put the straw in your beer. Put beer in the sippy cup. Whatever it takes. (Cost of baby dinnerware: $25. Money saved on carpet cleaning, no broken adult dishes, and valium for when preschooler still insists on eating with his hands: $500+.)
5. Baby Bath Tub: How else can I tell if the water is warm enough? The tub has the little turns-white-when-too-hot ducky on it!
6. Crib: Ours turns in to a toddler bed, which is the way we’re using it now, and a full-size bed, which we probably won’t ever use. Again, a great opportunity for little man to feel grown up, transition gradually into adulthood, and start saving for college. What child in his own grown-up bed doesn’t want to start saving for college? Interestingly enough, we did co-sleep with our guy for the first year, completely by serendipity and not by design. He hated the crib. So I converted it to a toddler bed. Slept in it almost every night since. (Crib cost: $200. Peace of mind from having a no-drop-side crib that matches the furniture: priceless.)
That’s probably it for now. I can think of other things to post, but my mobile and active son is sleeping. Which means I’m supposed to be reading Scharnhorst or Machiavelli or Sun Tzu.