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Beware the STUFF!

2005-09-15 - 2:29 p.m.

Yes, Iím less than a week away from 20 weeks/halfway there! This is freaky but very cool. You realize that, at this point, all weíve bought in the way of baby stuff is, like, a t-shirt? And itís probably too big for a newborn?

Hereís the thing: thrice Iíve gone to a large store with a baby-oriented section, with every intention of at least making notes on what to buy/register for. Thrice Iíve gotten overwhelmed by all the stuff and really just did a cursory walk-through and left. I donít know what Iíll need for sure and whatís just ďnice to have.Ē I donít know what Iíll need immediately and what can be bought later. I know there are lists I can find on the internet and Iíll almost certainly look at them, but in the meantime Iím just not ready to bring more stuff into a house thatís already too cluttered (I still have gifts from two Christmases ago, sealed in plastic and with the tags on). Nor am I ready to surrender my perhaps naÔve notion that, ďOur parents didnít need all this stuff for us when we were babies, do we really need it?Ē

Seriously, how is it that my parents packed my sister and I into a tiny hatchback and didnít even fill the trunk with supplies for us, yet my sister in-law had to buy a minivan just to accommodate her one child and all the related accoutrements? Itís not like, at one year old, my niece is a goalie or some such thing. Apparently, nowadays all you need to be to require such complicated and bulky equipment is a baby.

I wish I could remember where I read this so I could give credit for it, but one of my favorite quotes on the subject came from a Q&A I read a few months back:
The question was along the lines of Ďis it true that babies are very expensive?í and the answer was:

ďDo you own one of those battery-operated pepper mills? Because if you do, yes, your baby will be expensive.Ē And it went on to explain that itís the parents that determine whether a baby is expensive or not and parents that like all the gizmos and gadgets will spend more on their babies.
I know Iíll need something to clothe Grommet in (especially since itíll be the middle of winter); I know that Iíll need diapers (duh!) and a car seat to bring him home in. I know heíll need a place to sleep of some sort, and I have vague notion that one of those U-shaped pillows would come in handy for breastfeeding.

But beyond these things there looms an entire world of baby stuff that Iíve never had any experience using or needing, and there are a lot of decisions to make. Some are relatively easy for us: Soother or thumb? (Thumb.) If the Gromís a boy, to snip or not to snip? (No snipping here.) Some are less clear-cut in my mind: Diaper service or disposable? If the latter, do we pay extra for the unbleached cotton kind? Are we really dooming our child to SIDS by not having air conditioning? And how much are we going to be willing to compromise our principles when faced with the choice of sticking to themÖ or paying for a battery-operated, plastic gizmo that will eventually end up in landfill for eternity if it means even just a little bit of peaceful sleep? I suspect itís easy from where we sit right now to say that our kids arenít going to have all the gadgets under the sun, or a lot of plastic stuff, or watch a lot of TVÖ but how tempting will those Teletubbies become if they can get Grommet to stop crying?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime, maybe Iíll do research in the next couple of weeks. If thereís something you found absolutely essential for your kids, or your own sanity when you had Ďem, drop me an email (talpidaeAThotmailDOTcom). Believe me, Iím going to need all the help I can get.

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