Before I begin this post about baby registries, I would like to make an announcement: ONE! WEEK! LEFT! Thank you.
Registries are most useful for the first baby, because there is so much crap you need/want all at once. But first-baby registries tend to be...silly. It's no one's fault: you're pregnant for the first time and you go into a big baby store and what are you going to do? Basically click the "one of everything, please" button on the scanner. Tiny leather slippers for $29.99? Click! $5.00 Johnson's baby shampoo that you could get at Target for $2.50? Click! In utero flashcard set? Click! $24.99 receiving blanket that is exactly like the pack-of-4-for-$7.99 type except that it's rolled up and tied with a natural canvas bow? Click! White bibs? Click!
I think we can use many of our wedding registry questions here. For example, what did you put on your baby registry that you later used as an example to mock your own naivete? What did you register for that turned out to be pure genius, whether you knew it would be or not?
Registry or no, what did you get a ton of? What did you not get any of? Everyone told us not to buy anything in newborn sizes because we'd get inundated with it, but apparently everyone had heard about that because we got no newborn stuff and a ton of things in sizes like 18-24 months and 2T, which I then had to find a storage system for, and which then often turned out to be the wrong season when the baby finally hit that size. We also got four million hand-knitted baby blankets. Four million, seriously.
Did you find that parents gave you better, more practical gifts than non-parents? I found that some of my non-parent friends wanted to give me gifts long after it was too late. One non-parent friend visited when the baby was a month old, and she complained that I already had a car seat--she'd wanted to buy me the car seat. Um...I needed it...earlier than this--but thanks for the thought.
Did you get anything dreadful? We got a set of religious children's books for a religion we don't belong to, but I wouldn't call that "dreadful," just presumptuous and annoying. I am trying to think back, but I don't think we got anything that was "homemade toilet paper holder" bad.
What were your best baby presents? I'm thinking here mostly of things you didn't register for but that surprised you with their usefulness or sweetness. My brother gave my first baby a copy of a book he and I both loved to scraps as children--he'd had to search online and pay a million dollars for a copy, because it was long since out of print. One of Paul's co-workers gave us a Baby Morgan mini-blankie, which Rob still sleeps with, and in fact we bought four more of them as spares--and good thing we did, too, because the whole company went out of business and you can't even get them anymore.
Gift certificates were especially awesome for a baby present, because we didn't really know what we'd need. We got the basics (crib, car seat) ourselves, but we were looking at everything else and thinking, "Well, do we need a frontpack? Do we need a bouncy seat? A mobile? A swing? A playgym?" We didn't know. Gift certificates let us go out later and buy what we had figured out we wanted.
And what about non-first babies? Did you register? Did you get anywhere near as many presents? We got presents from what seemed like the entire world for our first baby, and then a little smattering for the second--but that seemed appropriate. It's almost like the difference between a first wedding ("set up a household" level of gifts, even if you've been living on your own for years and years) and a non-first wedding ("She can still use the crock-pot we gave her for the first one, even if she's cooking for a different man" level of gifts). First-baby gifts are to get you set up with all the stuff you need to move from non-parents to parents; non-first-baby gifts are mostly from people who love to shop for baby stuff.
A final note on baby gifts. Two of you have emailed me to ask if I have a baby registry or if you can send me a gift for the new baby. You are so, so nice, and also pretty and skinny and you have great hair and everyone secretly copies your fashion choices. But this is our fifth baby, and Paul thinks we already have twice as much baby stuff as we should (hello, it was on clearance), and besides, I can't give away my secret identity: even Paul doesn't know my real name isn't Swistle. But I am touched, and I thank you.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...