A warning for budding parents out there. I’ve written before about the abundance of unsolicited advice you’re going to get from every soul on earth who has had a baby, has seen a baby, was a baby once, or has a cat they call their baby.
Its going to come. It’ll be a constant flow of information from people who ‘are just trying to help.’
While this can be annoying, it is in no way as dangerous as the people close to you can be.
– Recently, I mentioned my wife had gone on a tear and started cleaning out the boys’ rooms. I came home to a pile of baby toys and accessories piled high on the lawn, ready to be shunted into a remote corner of the garage. You never really realize just how much CRAP you have until you start to get rid of some of it.
You see, once you have a child, everyone will decide what you need, and in many cases….get it for you. Often a steady stream of ‘helpful items’ will stream in to you long after the baby shower has been had, and well into the first years or so of baby’s life. The severity of this…..issue is also completely dependent on your relationship with your family. If you’re the black sheep of the family and avoided by everyone except around Christmas Card time….you’ll actually be better off. Believe me.
As for us, we are close with our immediate families. (extendeds, not so much…but those are stories for another day) Resulting from this closeness, is the fact that someone always has ‘a little something for the boys’ whenever we see them. Now that The Narrator is a bit older, its gotten a LITTLE easier, so instead of a plethora of bottle warmers, diaper genies, and random other whose-a-whats-its….he merely gets spoiled with toy cars or trains. I don’t mind so much because they’ll get played with, and not take up space in the closet.
My mother in law is the worst offender of this. For some reason, she feels the need to constantly shower us with things that are not needed….at all. And she KNOWS we don’t need them, because she doesn’t bother to tell us about them until she comes to visit, and is hauling a colossal toy out of the trunk of her car. The kicker of it is, that the bigger and more irritating a floor obstacle it is, the more likely it is to have come from a yard sale or the side of the road with a ‘free’ sticker on it. I can’t figure out where she gets the idea that we want/need all the things that other parents are trying desperately to get rid of.
From where I sit right now there are three toys that are sort of half sets of things that she has gotten from some garbage heap somewhere. The boys play with them from time to time, so we can’t yet throw them away.
On my side, they’re not to be forgiven either. My mother and sister have a nasty little habit of buying toys for the boys that there is literally no room for wherever we are living at the time. Stuffed animals that if won at a carnival would make you look hilarious walking down the midway with it, since it is as long as you are tall. Slot-car tracks that have seen the light of day twice since we got it, because the floor is constantly crammed with everything else, Train sets that require a half acre to get set up, not to mention 27 D batteries that last 4 minutes.
….And these are just the toys. Until I hauled the nonsense to the garage, we had one hell of an assortment of jump-aroos, bumbos, bouncy chairs, swings, strollers, seats, seat accessories……and on and on.
Don’t get me wrong. If you gift someone something they need for a baby, you will be the most loved human being alive. But think practical. Sincerely think about the purchase you want to make for a new parent. How big is the space they live in? Will this particular item violate zoning laws if setup is attempted? Noise? Does it make noise?
Think simple. Diaper pails. Diapers. Wipes, even clothes. Little, practical things. But if it happens to be anything that has an “As Seen On TV” sticker on it, or you found it at a garage sale….just don’t. Or some jerk son-in-law will end up blogging about you to an anonymous internet audience.