Thursday, 11 August 2011

Stuff You Don’t Need

While I admit that what first comes to mind when I read this title are things like more songs by Ke$ha, the return of stirrup pants, bills, movies starring monkeys, and menstrual cramps, that is not what I intend to write about in this post.  Specifically, I want to talk about all the baby-related crap that you buy when you are hopped up on the hormonal cocktail that is pregnancy and later regret, don’t use or end up trying to resell on Kijiji (which, BTW, does not work so well with Breast Pumps).

1.  Playpens:  People always say that it is ridiculous that you have to get a license to drive a car but any idiot can become a parent.  Well, if they ever do design a test to see if you are fit to parent, I think part of it should consist of setting up and re-packing a playpen.  If you can do this without crying, curling up in the fetal position and sucking your thumb, or throwing the whole freaking contraption out the window in an angry rage, then you will make a great parent.  
Aside from being the most frustrating contraptions in the world, playpens are completely unnecessary for YOU to buy.  I stress the ‘you’ part, because it is not the parents of the child that need to buy a playpen.  It is the people who want you to visit them who should fork out the bucks for this one.  You yourself will rarely, if ever, use the playpen in your own home.  Its main purpose is to be taken to other people’s houses, along with the 5 million diapers, bottles, toys, blankets, soothers, car seats, strollers, and other various paraphernalia that we are required to tote around everywhere we go.  So let grandma/grampa/auntie/hotel managers shoulder the cost and mental breakdowns associated with purchasing a playpen.   Then you can use the money you save to buy more wine, which you can share with whoever had the misfortune of having to put the playpen together.
2.  Diaper Genies:  To be honest, the only reason I bought a Diaper Genie is because Charlotte on Sex and the City said that it was necessary.  And in case you were wondering, it is never a good idea to make purchasing decisions based on the input of a fictional character.  At first I will admit that I was charmed by its baby-specific nature, but after wasting an entire ($8) refill pack because I could not find the end of the stupid bag, it lost its appeal. 
Not only is refilling it a pain in the you-know-what, but emptying it is too.  When you have a handful of poopy diaper and a screaming baby you don’t want to have to open up the damn thing, pull out a sack of crap, cut it off, tie it up, take it to the trash, and do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around, or whatever else you have to do to get the damn thing working again.  So ultimately you end up trying to shove the dirty diaper into an already full genie, resulting in poop smooching out the sides of the diaper and making another damn mess for you to clean.  Seriously, a grocery bag hanging on a doorknob works better and is a lot cheaper.
3.  Baby Monitors: They really need to put a warning on the boxes of baby monitors.  Based on the experience of a mom in my book club the warning should go something like this:  Caution:  extended use of this device could cause drowsiness, insomnia, and a strong resemblance to the zombies in Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  If symptoms persist, consult a sleep doula (yes, there are such things)who will solve your sleep issues by prying your baby monitor out of your twitching fingers and charging you $200 to do so.  We are not responsible for theft of our device by friends and family who are desperate for you to get more sleep. 
 Buying a fancy baby monitor is probably the biggest money waster for new parents.  You can get monitors with video surveillance, music, alarms and even pressure sensitive pads to let you know that your baby is still breathing.  But trust me, you don’t need any of it.  For the first few months, the baby will (most likely) be sleeping right next to you, or at least in the same room and you will hear every grunt, squirm and squawk that your baby makes.  Before you even get to the point where you are ready to move them to their own room, you will be so desperate for sleep that you will be turning up the air conditioning in December just to drown out their little noises.  The last thing you will want is something to amplify the noise they make at night.  As long as you are not deaf, you will be awakened when your child fusses, even if he/she is in another room – remember, this is one of those mom un-super powers I was talking about. 
So if any of you decide to buy these items against my good advice, I currently have some great (slightly used) baby crap available on Kijiji.  I swear the playpen suffered no serious damage from its trip through the window.   And I promise, I barely used that breast pump.

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