Sure, children are expensive, but being a parent doesn't have to mean being suckered into buying useless things.
Yesterday we moved to a new house. Well, an old-new house, really. It's 105 years old and has the scary basement to prove it. And as I sit here unpacking, I marvel at how much stuff we own. Useless stuff. Things that we have carted around across the country with us, yet haven't used in over a decade. My husband has an entire box of Led Zeppelin and Smashing Pumpkins t-shirts with holes in them that he refuses to part with. Even Jack, my infant son, has way more stuff that a 29- inch child with no job or credit card should possibly own.
So I thought I could devote some time in this column to discuss the top five useless baby stuff that we got suckered into buying (because everyone swore we'd need it) but never used.
When I was pregnant, this was the one item my friends insisted we would use daily. Even my mom sung the praises of the baby swing. My husband wasn't sold on the idea, but I wore him down with nagging, prenatal persistence. I was a woman possessed...I mean, what kind of parents would we be if we didn't provide a swing for our child? One baby and $100 later, I can safely say that we used that swing for maybe ten minutes. From the moment we tried gently placing newborn Jack in the swing, it elicited such screams, that we were afraid child protective services would be called. Now it sits in our attic...a dusty, painful reminder that I should listen to my husband more often.
Okay, I confess...we did use this contraption for about a month, when Jack was still too little and slippery to safely bathe him in the big-person tub. But it was usually more of a hassle than it was worth. By the time Jack was 6 weeks old, it was easier to scrap off his dirt with a wet washcloth, or by actually getting in the tub with him.
Crib bedding set
This one pains me. My sister bought it for my baby shower and it's absolutely adorable with little blue elephants all over it. But we don't use the bumpers or the quilt because they aren't safe for infants, so all that leaves is the dust ruffle (which is barely visible in the crib) and the crib sheet.
For those of you who aren't familiar, this rubber object is used as an ergonomic seat for infants. A baby Barca-lounger if you will. We encountered two issues here. For starters, our son has been in constant motion since the day he was born (before, now that I think of his nightly acrobatics when I was preggers). Trying to make him sit still in the Bumbo was like trying to train our dog not to run after squirrels. He kept trying to wiggle out and would cry until we unleashed him from the vulcanized rubber. Additionally, little Jack inherited his ginormous thighs from my DNA, so by the time he was two months old, we couldn't squeeze his chicken cutlets into the leg-holes anymore.
Jack had the auspicious fortune of being the first grandchild on both sides of the family. So, this kid seriously raked it in for Christmakah (we swing both ways). We have an entire wall of our house devoted to blinking, talking electronic toys. This toys sing songs in childlike, creepy voices. They teach Spanish and colors all at once. You'd think that Jack would be loving all of this baby gizmos, but no. Typically, he'd much rather play with a wooden spoon or chase the dog around the house. He also gravitates to any type of electric wire. If we allowed him, he'd be in hog heaven playing with an extension cord all day long. I'm not saying that children shouldn't have toys. This is just a mere comment that it takes very little dinero to occupy a baby.
So what were your biggest purchase regrets for your children? Leave a comment and share your experiences and pass along some tips on making babies less expensive!
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Photo: John Markos O'Neill