The Necessities

I've been slowly hitting the liquor cabinet today, in preparation of tonight's errand run to Babies R Us. (If you are unfamiliar with my disdain for this store, check this out.) If I were drunk, would it make it easier to tolerate the massive amounts of baby-this and baby-that? I wonder.

No worries, folks. I'm sober. Heading to the baby mega-mart this evening to return some Carter's jammies that tore after one wear and one washing and to shop off a friend's baby registry. I'm tempted to just give her a gift card. I know it's impersonal, but those were my favorite of all shower and baby gifts! That and diapers.

A recent post at one of the blogs I regularly follow got me thinking about favorite baby gifts...
My favorite gifts were:
  • diapers -- Before choosing to cloth diaper, we used Pampers, and we went through them like crazy. We'd received several packs as gifts. It was so nice to have a stockpile of them!

  • gift cards to Target and Babies R Us (Despite hating the store, there are still some things that you need, and that's where you have to buy 'em.) I used to think gift cards were impersonal, but they are great because new parents are always in need of SOME THING!

  • embroidered/monogrammed burp cloths - I like monogrammed stuff. Love to see Greta's name on stuff. I know not everyone is all frilly like that, but regardless -- it's fun to have a jazzed up every-day item.

  • books - I love to read. And I love to read to Greta. Children need to be read to. I don't think you can have enough books. If you get duplicates, keep one upstairs and one downstairs.

  • steaks - Some friends gave us a gift card to Omaha Steaks. His girlfriend was appalled. We were so appreciative, though! We ordered a couple cases of filet mignons, and it's been a treat. We don't always have the time to go out for a nice dinner, and it's so nice to just be able to thaw out some steaks, grill 'em, and have a nice meal.

And, with the risk of sounding ungrateful, which I don't mean to be... Things I could have done without:

  • baby bath robe -- Okay, fine. You think you're going to put your kid in a robe his/her bath, great. For us, that just wasn't gonna happen. Bath time is a friggin' CHORE, folks. By the time it's over, you're so glad that you didn't piss off the baby too much and that you've got her clean. You will not be in the mood to throw her in a bathrobe. If you are, kudos to you.

  • rubber ducks -- One is nice. Two make great bath buddies. But we have a whole flock of them. Some are dressed in princess gear, and another is wearing a Hawaiian lei. Some are still in the packaging. Perhaps I should make one of those pick-a-duck games you played at the local county fair as a child?

  • socks -- The only socks I will spend my money on are Trumpette socks or socks from Gymboree. Trumpette socks are pricey, yes. But they are really the only socks that have stayed on Greta's feet. I'd rather spend my money on something we've used the heck out of than than something cheap that doesn't work. Cheap socks are a waste of money.
  • any outfit made out of velvet, cashmere or any other pricey fabric -- I just had to have this holiday dress from Pottery Barn Kids. It was velvet. And dry clean only. ... She never wore it for Christmas, so I made sure she wore it on Valentine's Day. She spit up on it like five times that day.

  • things YOU think are just the greatest -- Gifts are great. And I'm so grateful to our friends and family who have given Greta gifts. But just because the Evenflo bottles worked great for you, doesn't mean they'll be everyone's favorite, too. Just because the lavender-scented bath wash relaxed you, doesn't mean it won't cause hives on someone else's child. And, my all-time favorite -- if, after scrutinizing someone's baby registry and PRIOR to shopping for that person, you ask them what they need, and they've already told you that they don't need that particular item, don't buy it for them just because it worked for your kid (who is now 13) when she was a baby. Maybe they already have that item. Or maybe they don't want that item. Some people don't want lots of baby clutter decorating their house.

  • baby blankets - I have enough blankets for Octomom's entire brood. Granted, I was the stupid one who over-registered for all these. I didn't realize I wouldn't need 50 receiving blankets and 15 stroller blankets. Turns out, my favorite blankets are my blankets from when I was little (they're so soft and broken in!) and then one a friend made me just because it's in a funky pattern and is unique.
Let me note... You could have told me all of this 8+ months ago and I wouldn't have heeded the advice. I think it's every mom's rite of passage, so to speak, to go a little willy nilly with buying her baby new things - regardless if those things are impractical or useless. How else do you learn?