The Things We Buy

I’ve never gone into a Toys “R” Us store and not gotten angry. Not so much at the toys or the electronics, they’re the same overpriced pieces of shit that are sold everywhere else. What infuriates me is the baby section, Babies “R” Us. When you travel up and down the aisles, you see overpriced crap that America seems to think you need for your children. I’m talking about the $280.00 swing, the $100 shower spa tub for newborns, the $1000 (Yes, $1000) crib set up. I could go and on and tally everything you didn’t need into the thousands of dollars. Thank god it’s been done for me. My opinion: this is what’s wrong with the majority of parents in the nation! They are bullied into thinking you need every single thing on the shelves in order to be a good parent. And as a new parent you are completely willing to listen to all the bullshit that you are being sold. We figure that someone else must know better because they’ve obviously raised a kid and we haven’t. Or, at least they’ve spent the research and development money into figuring out what we need. If you take nothing else from this article take this: Large corporations have never successfully raised a child. Remember this when you go into any baby store.

Guess what? You don’t need any of what’s on those shelves. It’s true that as a new parent you have no clue what you are doing. But half the fun of raising a kid is knowing that you’ll grow and learn with them. Mistakes are made in the process no matter if your kid is using $50 a box diapers or $10 a box diapers. Personally, I’d like to save the $12,000 (annual american amount) that I would have spent on us useless things like bottle warmers and diaper genies (http://www.parenting.com/article/the-cost-of-raising-a-baby). Thoughtless consumerism is driving our economy up and sinking our parenting skills into the Primo Freedom Trainer (toilet).

I believe that all the useless shit that is sold to us is just a way to further us from the actual caring process. Originally, I was upset when we got our carseat (a gift from my sister in law) and I realized that we wouldn’t be able to carry our kid around in it. “HOW WILL WE CARRY HIM!??” I shouted to the heavens while thrusting my fists into the air. Upon further discussion with my wife and the sense she kicked into me I discovered how to carry a baby without a car seat. You carry them with your arms wrapped around them and guess what? It works! I thank god for that car seat. Sometimes I’m lazy, and the fact that I couldn’t be lazy about carrying my son, has helped me be a better father.

25 Baby Products Nobody Needs  Another mindless product

Every time I saw a baby in public before I had my own, it was in a container. So many times the baby goes from the crib to the bassinet to the swing, to the Boppy to the car seat and then remains in the car seat until the process is reversed. Don’t forget to shove a bottle in your kids crying face during this process. Oh and don’t forget to pick him up and pass him around. This is such utter bullshit! Want to know why kids have some of the problems they do? Because they’re not held enough. My son was late to crawl and isn’t walking on his own yet. I completely blame myself and my wife for this. Yes, we held him and carried him close to our bodies (no container) as often as we could. He’s hardly ever fussy and when he is, its nothing compared to the simple whine of most kids. I’m not saying just by holding him more that we’re raising a more confident kid. There are studies that suggest that a baby left to cry or left alone will grow up with more instabilities than that of one who is held more often. It’s proven that newborns and babies that are contastly put into containers have an emotional disconnect not found in kids who’s parents physically touch them. (http://birthpsychology.com/content/vital-touch-how-intimate-contact-your-baby-leads-happier-healthier-developmentEven when we traveled, Jude would be held by either me or my wife or he would be placed in the chest carrier where he snoozed upright next to our chest. And, trust me I’ve heard this argument “Well, he’s a newborn and he needs a stroller that can take up the entire Costco aisle and survive a nuclear missile attack because I have things to do and I won’t be stopped.” No ones going to stop you from your errands an NO HE DOESN’T! Guess what else he doesn’t need: a fitted puffy quilt to go over the shopping cart he’s sitting in.

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT FOR?

Speaking of Costco, Myself and Jude were in that wonderful establishment one day buying our monthly supply of diapers and peanut butter when I saw it. New parents. When you have been a new parent you can spot one from a mile away. It’s a completely useless super power. It was easy to spot this threesome. The wife was shuffling mindlessly with her baby in the car seat on some sort of mechanical contraption that hooked onto the cart. I swear to god, Davinici designed it. The baby was of course, asleep. The husband was doing what I like to call “The tired daddy shuffle dance.” Sometimes as a new father, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for my wife or as a father. My hypothesis is that this happens because the baby relies so much on the mother during the first couple months of life that the father will do anything to be involved. This guy was doing 10 times the normal dance . Obviously at his wife’s beckon call, he was carrying on him a nice black baby bjorn bag. The stylish yet accommodating diaper bag was bursting at the seem. I imagine it was full of diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, bedding; you know: everything you would need for an hour trip into Costco. The only thing I could actually see that was in the bag was spilling out of it. A monkey arm hanging out the back and teething rings wrapped around the straps. A full bottle was kept snug in the mesh bottle holder! I wanted to shout at him “HEY! YOU DONT NEED ANY OF THAT!” I felt bad because I too felt that we needed all those things when we first went out with our son. All of the things I shoved meticulously into our baby bag could have lasted us at least a year after the world ended.

I’m waiting for the day that they sell us an entire bright blue (or pink depending on gender) quilted fitted interior cart thingy so we can just put our newborns and kids into the shopping cart next to the goddamn produce and not have to worry about either things getting the slightest mark or bruise. I look around my son’s room right now and think: “Nope, didn’t need the changing table, not when he shits wherever he wants to.” In reality, he didn’t even have his own room until he was four months old. Thats what happens when you get pregnant in a one bedroom apartment (I could go off another forty years about the space that’s wasted on ridiculous sized houses that people buy, but…).

Learning to work with what you have is something that every parent should learn to do. Bathe him in the sink, warm his bottle up in hot water. Owning all the things that Toys R Us is trying to sell will not better your life with your baby. Generations and generations before us didn’t need a tinkle towel. They dealt with the fact that if your kid pisses in your face, you change your clothes and get on with your day. Side note: I have been peed on at least a dozen times in numerous ways, I have also fished shit (the kids, not mine) out of the bathtub and I still don’t think you need this. It’s truly sad that most of the products on the shelves are completely and utterly useless.

Trust your instinct. Leave the useless shit at home. Pick up your kid.

     –AF

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