Thinking about babies

Posted: May 3, 2016 in Musings
Tags: , ,

No, we’re definitely not thinking about having another baby, even ’twere it possible.  However, I have a very good friend in the last stages of pregnancy, whose shower I attended this weekend.

I’m not a connoisseur of baby showers by any means.  I was never given one, most of my friends being men, and I don’t know if I’ve attended another one.  My greatest fear for this one was that we’d play all sorts of (dumb) games, but we didn’t and it was fun.

However, I was amazed and amused at the variety of baby/parent “necessities” my friend received.  I didn’t even know what some of the things were, so I guess things have changed quite a bit in the last 30 years!  Although we didn’t have any family members to hand things down to us, there was an older couple at church who had a crib and changing table for their grandchildren, now too old to need them, who sold us these used but serviceable items for very little money.  That was helpful, as we didn’t have much.  We got a used swing from someone else, an item worth its weight in gold.  A good stroller and car seat are necessary and we bought a comfy chair, Monty-Python style, for me to sit in while trying to stay awake to nurse the girls.  A front pack for carrying a baby while walking was also a necessity.

As for clothes, we bought most of their things for many years from a children’s thrift/resale store.  No shoes until they were actually walking outdoors.  Until then, socks and bare feet were fine.   All too soon, children want/need more expensive clothes and shoes, although thrift stores/resale stores have always been a major part of our shopping.

There are, of course, more things were useful and I don’t mean to denigrate anything given as a shower gift.  I’m just saying, don’t get distracted by the “stuff” and define your worth as a parent by what’s on your baby’s back or how fancy the room furnishings are.  Don’t overwhelm with toys.  Get and read books from day one (or thereabouts.)  Carry a child around, show him/her things while naming them, take walks, spend time with them.  They grow up all too soon and that love and time and those experiences are the things  they’ll remember most, not how expensive or how expansive the room furnishing or the items filling the toy box.


  1. Nicely put J. Good advice. Seems we both had a ‘John-Boy Walton’ style upbringing.

  2. RuthsArc says:

    It does feel like a very different world regarding baby stuff, doesn’t it.

    • Ruth, there’s just a lot of “stuff” in the world, period. It’s easy to get sucked into getting more and more of it, but to my mind, better places to put money and time, at least for the most part.


  3. ksbeth says:

    wonderful advice

  4. macmsue says:

    My grandkids’ rooms look like Toy shops but most of it has been handed on to them, that’s because my two had their children later than their friends. No matter how many toys there are though it’s simply one to one attention they like best.

    • Even when you have lots of free toys, I think it’s a good idea to have a number of them put away somewhere, then rotate them periodically. That makes it seem as if the number is smaller and it’s not overwhelming. Contrary to what many people think, or at least what to believe, time IS valued by children (and other adults/friends as well). I think “quality time” is something of a myth or a cop-out. Not saying you have to spend all your time with your children, but they and your spouse need and want your time and attention more than anything else.


  5. This reminds me of extravagant weddings and down the road how they would rather appreciated the money in a bank account for a down payment on a house or in this case maybe a college fund. 🙂

    • Judy, so true and one of my pet peeves as well. Why spend $10,000 on a dress you’ll wear once, when you could invest that money and it would benefit you much more in the long (and short) run? Destination weddings are similar and then everyone invited has to spend a fortune to get there.


  6. joannesisco says:

    I’ve been to a couple of baby showers in the past few years and my reaction was the same as yours.

    An interesting post with Mother’s Day just around the corner. My babies are adult men now and although we didn’t have much while they were growing up, we had – and still have – a LOT of what really mattered in the end … genuine love and affection for each other.

    • I agree, Joanne. We didn’t have much growing up, but I didn’t even realize it for many years because my parents were there and we did lots of things as a family. My dad has said more than once that he worked too much, but that’s another thing I never felt. He did lots of things with us when not working and because his work week also included a half day on Saturdays, he was plenty busy. My parents gave us an abundance of the things that don’t need money to obtain and we did more than fine.


  7. Dan Antion says:

    Fortunately, I don’t get invited to baby showers. I am also amazed at the industry that supports the shower process – whatever happened to friends who could just figure it out?

    • I guess I don’t really know much about the industry. This shower was organized by friends of the groom and was very nice. An industry is NOT needed and really detracts from why you have a shower…unless the reason is to just get lots of “stuff.”


  8. Su Leslie says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

  9. Norm 2.0 says:

    Beautiful post – I totally agree. We didn’t raise kids but we did see this with our nephews.
    It really is so easy to get caught up in wanting to marvel and impress little ones with shiny new material things that we fail to see the one thing they’ll remember most is the time spent with them and the activities you did WITH them.

    • They also like simple things very often. When the girls were a bit older, I brought home a mattress someone was throwing out and they and their friends loved to go in the basement and jump on it. 🙂 I also got really nice Little Tykes toys from the tree lawn where people would set them, ostensibly for the garbage, but really for someone else to take.


  10. Most of our baby’s clothes and blankets were lovingly handmade. Quite a few were hand-me-downs for which we were more than grateful. Baby showers were unknown in my day, and like you, it amazes me how much ‘stuff’ such a tiny creature is supposed to ‘need’, and as they can’t read, how can they be so fussy about what labels their clothes have? 😉

    • Exactly! Or how much the clothes or toys or shoes cost? When they get a bit older, that’s not the example we wanted them to have, that’s for sure.


  11. I totally agree. Time spent with baby is worth more than any designer outfit or stroller or other so called necessity. I had no money with my children so everything was second hand and I was very grateful for that. Also second hand clothes have had all the harsh chemicals from the colour dye washed out so are less harmful as well. Not to mention that babies grow so fast that it is ridiculous constantly spending huge amounts of money on clothes that will only be worn once or twice.

    • That’s why a second-hand store is great. We could get beautiful, even very name-brand clothes that were like new, but cost less than something not so great new. I still buy a majority of my clothes at the thrift store or consignment store.


  12. Nice, comforting commentary about how life can be without all the extra fringes – but most of all, for me, was the carrying children around and naming things.

    Thank you,

    • I think carrying children around is very important. They feel loved and comfortable and know that Mom, Dad, grandparents, whoever, want to be with them. Naming and reading are part and parcel of the same thing and we didn’t do much baby talk with our girls, either, just talked with them.


  13. pommepal says:

    Times have changed, no disposable nappies back in the 60’s. And my son’s first cot was an old drawer!!!

    • Although there were disposable diapers/nappies when our girls were born, we had a diaper service and used cloth ones for a long time. Disposables are great for travel or for when you’re not at home, though. Yes, times have certainly changed, some for better, some not so much.


  14. Leya says:

    Times have changed…some good advice here, Janet!

  15. I’m still grinning about the intro. I think you and Bill would be awesome new parents, again, grin. That said, you’re so right about “stuff”, the good stuff – simplicity and memories, they are the best. Huge hugs.

  16. Very wise advice for today’s parents