It must have been a riot watching George and I shop for stuff for Claire before she was born. As first time parents, we found ourselves with none of what we needed to purchase. If I see a skirt I like, chances are I have a top to match at home. That new couch will probably need to match our Oriental rug. With a new baby, you start from scratch. You walk down the aisles of Babys R Us pitching items into your cart left and right. And if you aren’t careful, you get that momentum going and end up with a baby food maker by Remco and 50 pairs of baby socks. Or you get sidetracked by the cuteness factor and buy a wool jacket that will fit her in August.
Another challenge is buying stuff for an unknown entity. I heard the following question from my husband over and over again, “Are we going to need that?” My repeated response was “I don’t know. I’ve never had a baby”. There are many head-scratchers that begin with the words “how many” or “what size”. How many receiving blankets? What size diapers? How long will she be in newborn clothes? Like the proverbial trying to read the instructions outside of the box you’re in, it’s all a big mystery.
A good piece of advice is to keep receipts. I doubt there is a more prolific return aisle than the one at Babys R Us. If you don’t, you will end up with what George calls “The Land of Forgotten Toys”. He was good about keeping the receipts, but then returning stuff turned into a job. And there is no need for another job when you have a newborn. We had piles of things that needed to be packed in their boxes, boxes cluttering the hallway, lists made of replacement items. The result of conversations that started or ended with something like this: That’s the second swing that’s made her cry. Why did we buy so many sheets? Who conned us into thinking we needed a (fill in the blank)?
As she gets older and we get wiser, we have become much more strategic. We still play the “how many diapers will she use before she grows out of that size” game. But we’ve gotten pretty good at it, and we know where to buy the cheapest ones (Amazon). The basics are checked off our list. I have the next size clothes folded and ready to go. I’m pleased to report that we spend less time as consumers and more as parents to a happy, beautiful and growing girl.