Kaikaina recently entered the stage where all her friends are procreating and chided me for not using my three years of experience in baby-raising to produce any useful written materials. So herewith, I present my:
Modern Parent’s Baby Shower Wish-List
Forget the bonnets and mittens and “Baby’s First Teddy” bears. The new parent receives more of these than they could ever hope to use before the kid outgrows them—unless, of course, their child is blessed with more heads and limbs than is usually thought strictly necessary.
For today’s parent there are new necessities that they do not even know they need. Yes, you may get strange looks at the shower if you give these gifts but, trust me: you’ll get a phone call in 6-9 months saying, “We get it now…and thank you so much!”
The New Essentials:
Phillips Head Screwdriver set — preferably powered.
Not just for constructing the crib. Your pregnant friends are about to discover that every battery compartment of every toy anyone gives them requires a screwdriver. Worse, some toys are actually screwed into the packaging. You heard me. Four dollar cars screwed into a plastic insert because, you know, otherwise it might slip in its packaging and look unattractive.
A Bucket of Rechargeable Batteries in All Sizes
AAs and AAAs for toys and the big fat ones for mobiles, vibrating bassinets, self-rocking chairs, and, eventually, Hot Wheels track sets.
Everything takes batteries and the sooner they convert to rechargeables, the better for their baby’s future.
Buy one that can charge all sizes.
The small type you get in jewelry-making sets is enough: we’re not looking for something to help them steal the child’s first bicycle, just something to help them extract the baby’s toys from the insane plastic-coated-wire-secured packaging inserts.
Compact Scissors and Screwdriver/MultiTool Set To Take On The Road
So that they can break out the new toys as soon as they strap the kid into the car seat. Indulgent, yes, but you try explaining to a hysterical 18-month-old why they can’t have their heat-sealed, plastic-wrapped Thomas the Tank Engine right now. And all the way home…
Nice To Have
Bowls, Sippy Cups and Spoons
Because one day they’ll wake up and discover the baby reaching for their breakfast muffin and realise they need these things, but by that time the chronic sleep deprivation will have kicked in and the thought of another emergency run to the store is just too much to handle.
Plastic, Adhesive Throw-Away Place Mats
Because one baby should not stop a young couple escaping to Chili’s or Friday’s every now and then. Soon the baby will be sitting up and pawing a table freshly swabbed with a germ-infested rag by someone relying for their living on a small share of tips someone else collects. And let’s face it, no hip young couple is going to know these exist.
Little Packets of Shout Wipes
Eventually they’ll stop caring, like the rest of us, but until then let them try to make themselves presentable when they run out of the door and discover the baby-spit on the shoulders of their nice black tops.
Because, believe it or not, the sound of four grinning, grown men singing songs about food and dinosaurs will start to sound really good compared to all those other children’s music collections full of off-key singing children; and MIDI Mozart on the bassinet (enough to turn any child into a Classical Music hater later in life…)
When I created my first baby gift list in 2003 I knew about none of these things. I received lots super-cute newborn clothes that ended up being too small to be recycled for my second (monster) child.
On the other hand, I’m still using the spoons and bowls given to me by the friend who is an aunt of six, and the baby “grooming kit” given to me by an experienced mother.
Cute is good at the shower. Practical will generate smiles and gratitude years down the road.