Tag Archives: baby gear you may or may not need

I’m doing that tilty hand motion to show I get that it’s iffy.

I was better today, in a small way. You know that space I talked about yesterday, the one that’s there, waiting for me to fill in, waiting for me to look at all of these areas where I can improve and just… go ahead and improve something already?

Well, I did.


I typed a whole big justification for My Baby Is On A Leash And Here Is Why My Baby Is On A Leash Let’s Discuss Our Feelings About My Leashed Baby And Get It All Out In The Open here, but ah, fuck it. I’m not the bridge between the leashers and the leash… nots. You stay on your side of the line, I’ll stay on mine.

I bet I come out of this entry looking like a huge jerk with no taste.

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you are very aware (well, assuming that you follow me and give a crap, which is not necessarily the case) that my mother had been visiting up until last night.

I mostly just rolled my eyes and gritted my teeth and let her hold the baby as much as she wanted to, but there was this one point where I just snapped and I don’t think my head went back on straight for the rest of the visit.

We were getting ready to leave to go to a baseball game, and I had been walking around packing Penny’s bag and gathering everything we needed for the evening. Phil said to me, “Do you have the tickets?”

And, since I did indeed have the tickets, I said, “Yes, I have the tickets.”

And my mom jumps in and says, “Where are they?”

Is it not enough that I said that I had them? She needs to know the exact location of where I had them?


I was annoyed. I was very annoyed. I was annoyed with everything I did being double checked, with being reminded of appropriate care of Penny, with the raised eyebrow and repeated requests to do things the way she thought they should be done even when I refused.

We were at IKEA at one point, looking at some shelves, and she read the warning next to the shelf – something about using the proper mounting screws for the wall type. When we got home and showed everything to Phil, she reminded him that the SIGN SAID to use the proper screws for the wall type. And again the next day. And then again when we were talking about the fact that we would eventually hang the purchased shelves. “Just remember, the SIGN SAID –.”

As if we need her to continually remind us of the sign’s instructions to hang the shelves properly. AS IF WE EVEN NEED A SIGN to instruct us to not hang shelves in OUR BABY’S ROOM in such a manner that they might FALL ON HER HEAD.

After the ticket thing, I said to my mom, “Do you realize how many things like that you’ve said this week?”

And she replied, “I realize that you’re hypersensitive.”

Excuse me?

Nothing makes me angrier (that’s just a saying, a lot of things make me equally angry or possibly angrier) than being put in a position where I have to JUSTIFY feeling a certain way. Putting someone in a position where they have to defend the fact that they have FEELINGS is not right. You shouldn’t do that.

Ugh. I’m too annoyed to even say a complete 500 words about it all.


You guys, the visit totally wasn’t all bad, or even mostly bad. Yes, I was irritated a lot. Yes, I snapped at her, repeatedly. But we did a lot of fun things and got a lot of work done on Pennysylvania as well.

Remember when I asked you about my repurchasey obligations when returning wedding gifts? Well, we took the pots back to Macy’s, and I figured I’d get a few bucks and maybe we’d find, I don’t know, a throw pillow or something for Pennysylvania.

Except, when they rang the pots back through, they gave me a much fatter gift card of store credit than I was expecting. Like, “Here, have the MSRP of the pots that no one actually ever charges, plus an extra 10% because why not, and on top of that, here’s a little ‘Sorry we sold you exploding pots’ consolation money. Go nuts!”

We looked through the baby section and weren’t especially into anything we saw, probably because Macy’s sells Carter’s and we’d already completely demolished not only Carter’s, but the Kohl’s Carter’s section as well the day before.

We did, however, go back to the furniture section and locate the perfect mattress for Penny’s floor bed. My mom was insistent on buying it, telling me that maybe I should look for it at another place for a better price, or that maybe another store would charge less for delivery. That turned out to not be the case, but regardless, I had a gift card and there wasn’t much else I really had a need for at Macy’s, so I felt like it made the most sense for me to buy it. Not that I don’t appreciate my mom’s offer to buy things for Penny – I totally do. I just don’t see a reason for either of us to spend money that doesn’t need to be spent, and a gift card is basically pretend money.

With delivery charge, I ended up paying $32 out of pocket for Penny’s floor bed mattress. I think that once it’s installed in her room, I’m going to call it Martha Stewart Exploding Pot Memorial Island.

We went to IKEA the next day and it wasn’t until I was hauling our self-serve furniture off of the shelves and arguing with my mom about who was paying that she said that she was paying because she wanted to buy the mattress. She followed that with, “I wanted to buy the crib. Your grandmother bought your crib.”

So, basically, I accidentally flaunted a tradition she had wanted to continue or establish, first by not having a crib and then by paying for the mattress myself.

I feel kind of bad about that, I really do. I understand what she wanted to do now, but I don’t know that if I had known that to begin with, I would have done anything any differently. The floor bed is right for us, and the pots-I-don’t-use in exchange for a mattress scheme really saved a lot of money. My money, her money – whatever, money saved.

I’d like to think it turned out okay in the end, though, because she did buy out almost the entirety of IKEA and even though she was paying, she stuck very closely to my vision (over the top) and tastes (poor) for the room. She did draw the line at the carpet with the broccoli on it, but nothing is really stopping me from going back to get it.

Here’s a small taste of what is being installed into Pennysylvania over the next week or so:

Additionally, we got several different sets of shelves. There are some picture rails that we’re putting at low-ish points around the walls, to display board books within Penny’s (eventual) reach. Also, three plain square LACK shelves that will be hung high above the changing table, in view of the bed. I’m planning on putting some large photos of the dogs and Phil and I on those.

We grabbed another kind of shelf unit thingie that has six cubes of space in it (MY DESCRIPTIVE POWERS ARE VAST!), and that will either be hung low or placed on the floor and anchored to the wall. Small, safe toys and other items will be placed in the cube to help keep her room organized and give her a sense of everything having its own place. We’ll rotate a few toys in and out of those areas.

OH, and another thing – a clothes hanger in the shape of an octopus, like to hang a bunch of clothes to dry instead of a clothes line. I’m going to hang that from fishing line above her bed and use it to make a mobile. I’m not especially crafty, so it will probably consist of six pictures of Phil doing thumbs, a spoon, and some marker pictures drawn on toilet paper squares. I don’t know. I’m a big picture person, not a details lady. Let me know if you have any ideas about what to hang.

We also hit Target and got some deep purple sheets for her bed, as well as a sort of floor-rocker. One of those kid’s video game chairs, kind of? It’s like a rocking chair with no arms or legs. For now, we’ll keep it next to her floor bed for us to sit on to read to her or, more likely, read Twitter on our phones while occasionally insisting she fall asleep RIGHT THIS INSTANT. My mom snagged an owl-shaped pillow, and I grabbed another carpet – a rag rug that I’d been looking at every time we went to Target. I don’t have any place in mind to put it yet, but it was on clearance for $7.50. So. It was almost silly not to buy it.

I tried to put it on the floor in the living room, but Sheldon laid on it for a while and then tried to carry it away.

So. Construction of Pennysylvania is underway. Let me know if you have any fun ideas in obnoxious colors.


Hey, remember when I said we went to a baseball game?


Oh, the baseball game. Penny won the “My Parents are HUGE IDIOTS” Award for that one.

How did I forget how LOUD a professional sporting event is? You guys, she screamed and cried in terror every time the crowd roared, or they played walk up music, or ANYTHING HAPPENED AT ALL. We were looking for the exits by the second inning. And then? She fell asleep. She fell asleep and slept through a good inning or so of the game, and when she woke up, she was normal. Completely unbothered. As if the whole start of the game had never happened. A total 180. That didn’t stop us from leaving at the top of the seventh, though (the Diamondbacks had clinched all that needed clinching the night before, so it wasn’t especially suspenseful). Good thing we left when we did, as there was a power outage just minutes after we got there, followed by the Diamondbacks laying down a 15-1 asswhupping on the Giants, which would be totally awesome if I gave half a crap about either team at all.


Anyway. Good visit. Good progress made on Penny actually having a space in our house, instead of just laying wherever we find room to put her down, with her belongings scattered willy nilly about the place. Good baseball game (courtesy of Operation Homefront AZ and Sanderson Ford Seats for Soldiers). Good… diet soda I just finished drinking. Good thing I’m going to the doctor this afternoon to attempt to start the process of addressing incredibly difficult post-partum anxiety. Good… uh… hey, I got into Pottermore! That’s pretty good.


OH, I remembered what I wanted to ask you! Can you recommend some prints to go in Pennysylvania? I mean, it might be tough for you to match my discerning and elevated sense of style and decor preferences, but I have faith in you, Internet. I am looking for some awesomeness for the upper walls. Have you seen anything? Ideas for things to hang from the octopus tentacles to make an acceptable baby-stimulating mobile are also welcomed.


PS. Penny has a tooth. A tooth-let. A harbinger of tooth.

PPS. I know you don’t think I went all week without some new diapers coming in to this house. Also, this one is on the way. Fun diaper stuff coming soon, if you’re into that kind of thing! Lame-ass diaper stuff coming soon, if you’re not into that kind of thing!

PPPS. OH ONE MORE THING ABOUT MY MOM. I would make baby observations, like “She isn’t rolling yet,” or maybe we’d see a baby walking around and I’d say, “I can’t wait until Penny can walk,” and my mom would jump in to DEFEND PENNY, going, “She will!” As if I’m maligning my dud of a baby. I KNOW SHE WILL. She’s not going to go to college unable to do anything but put her face into the carpet and shriek out her indignation. I’m just SAYING.

New crouton, floor beds, potential hippiery, and gift obligational awkwardness.

1. I am extremely slow with changing the link over in my sidebar blog roll – well, it’s only one link, so it’s more of a blog crouton than a blog roll – so I figured that the people who don’t read this site through a feed reader have probably stopped checking. But I just changed it! Which doesn’t mean you should stop visiting Not Bagels. It means I got off my lazy butt. Well, no. I stayed on my lazy butt while I changed the link.

2. There are still spots open for The Blathering! (This is my roommate. We’re both sadly excited to spend depressing awesome nights away from our babies. We’re looking forward to sleeping. It’s going to rule. In a bummer kind of way.) Why don’t you come to The Blathering? If you don’t want to go because you don’t do bars and karaoke and nightlife and cocktail dresses, that’s not a good reason. I’m shooting down your reason. I don’t do those things. I’ll bring Settlers of Catan for us. Looks like I’ve poked some holes in your defense. See you there.

Unless you do like to go out for drinks and dancing and ride mechanical bulls. Then guess what? That stuff will be happening, too. Looks like you’re SOL on reasons for not going to The Blathering.

3. People ask me a lot where I find all of my in law stories to read and be outraged about, and I will tell you my trick. Find a really active set of forums somewhere – any kind, but ideally some that cater to ladies, for the most part. Wedding forums, or pregnancy forums, or really, anything. Then just do a search on one of the included message boards for “MIL.”

Baby name forum?

Wedding forum?

Pregnancy forum?

Anything. Anything at all. Any kind of topic. Whatever you can think of, there’s a forum for it. And if there’s a forum for it, there’s someone talking about how their in laws RUINED IT.

A current favorite, though? Grandparents.com. It’s got parents-in-law AND children-in-law on the SAME MESSAGE BOARDS. It’s GLORIOUS.

4. Here’s my baby:

She’ll be moving in to her own room sometime in the next few… a while. My mom is coming to visit and we’re going to work on putting together her room, both because I need something to do other than pretend to be totally into it when my mom wants to stand around and gush about Penny (not a gusher, myself) and also because Phil is not especially interested in baby bedroom creation.

We’re doing a floor bed. I think we have pretty good reasons for choosing the do a floor bed, the main one being that we won’t have to buy a crib. Second main, I guess, is all the benefits of and reasoning behind doing a floor bed make logical sense to us.  I haven’t yet decided if we’ll do a crib mattress or toddler bed mattress for the floor bed, or just go ahead with an adult twin. If you’ve done a floor bed, what did you go with? Any tips? I’m kind of nervous about where to put it in the room. I don’t want her to roll between it and the wall, but will she be heavy enough to really wedge it away from the wall with her body? I’ve never seen a picture of a room with a floor bed in any place but a corner, so I assume it works out.

Any first hand floor bed experience is greatly appreciated.

5. With all the cloth diapering and the floor bedding and the intent to skip rice cereal and purees and instead follow a baby-led weaning style of introducing solid foods, sometimes I feel like I might be turning into a hippy. I mean, if someone had told me they were doing all of those things, before I had my own kid, I’d definitely think they were kind of a hippy, in a harmless way.

But all of these things, when I’ve looked into them, have just really made logical sense for us. Note how I’ve italicized selectively so that the wild Internet understands that our choices have absolutely nothing to do with their choices in any way. Anyway, is this how people become hippies? I thought you started out hippy and made your choices based on levels of crunchiness (which, by the way, I HATE – I mean, the word crunchy used as a descriptor for these types of things, mainly because I think it’s stupid). But maybe the road to being a hippy is paved with adorable cloth diapers and floor beds.

For me, though, I think what it actually comes down to is that I hate spending money on things I don’t like or personally need. I don’t need a crib, thus, floor bed. I don’t eat baby food, therefore, Penny can eat what we eat and like it. I don’t wear diapers, so… okay, I like the diapers. So I spend money on them. THEORY HOLDS UP. Not hippy, just cheap.

6. Also my baby:

7. Your opinion requested, but not a reality, rational, or fact-based opinion. A FEEEEELING opinion.

We got two cast iron enameled casseroles as generous and lovely wedding gifts. I loved them. Okay, actually? I loved that I owned them, because they made me feel like a lady who might some day make something that would require that very specific type of cooking vessel, instead of just dragging out the biggest pan I can find and using it for everything. And one time? I used them both to make soup, because I am a lifelong container misjudger and started with the small one and moved to the big one.

But Arizona isn’t really a place where you make a lot of soup, or make anything that needs to sit in a very heavy pot in a very hot oven for a very long time. I guess other people probably do, but I don’t. So, in the time I have owned them, I really haven’t used them too much.

Reading Princess Nebraska the other day, I found out that they have been recalled, because the enamel can crack and send BURNING HOT SHARDS flying at you. So, I can take them into Macy’s for a full refund, in the form of store credit, I believe.

Since they were gifts for the wedding, I feel obligated to replace them with something similar, since the givers intended for me to have cast iron enameled pot thingies, and had chosen them off my registry, in fact, where I had CHOSEN THEM FIRST, myself. So I should take them back and replace them with other heavy pots, even though I didn’t use them too much. Because maybe someday we’ll move somewhere cold (PROBABLY NOT, WE’LL BE IN ARIZONA FOREEEEVVVEEERRRRR) and I will need them. Maybe I will grow into a lady who uses those kind of pots, just like I grew into a lady who only has 1 out of every 5 or 6 dinners turn out inedible, instead of 1 of every 4 being good, 2 being edible, and 1 going straight into the trash.

Or maybe, I could cut myself a break, and just stick to the spirit of the gift and get something kitchen-related. Sheldon did just eat our good slotted spoon.

But, like I said above, I am going to start working on Penny’s room, and I bet that Macy’s has one or two cute things that we could use. Or I could put it toward her floor bed. But the gift givers did not BUY Penny a present, they bought presents for Phil and I. They didn’t know about Penny (or that Penny was 10 weeks underway at the wedding). But Penny-room-items are what we need, though at the time of the wedding, we DID specifically request, via registry, these pots that I actually never use.

So. Internet. If you end up having to return a gift, do you feel (note – FEEL – because I KNOW I can do whatever the hell I want) obligated to replace it with something similar? Would the fact that it was a gift from a registry that YOU CREATED, thus something you SPECIFCALLY ASKED FOR, have any effect on your response?

Understand that I will absolutely do whatever the hell I want when the time comes. I just want to know if anyone else has ridiculous feelings of obligation tied into the whole gift return/exhange business, and since I am the most average girl in the world, I AM SURE YOU DO.

Should I live in fear of someone coming over and saying, “Hey, where’s that 2.5 quart casserole in cobalt blue that I got for your wedding? I’d love to SEE IT!”

Even better, do you have any stories about awkward gift returns? Have you ever gotten something so awful/tacky (my pots were neither, I’m just EXPANDING) that you had to immediately return, donate or throw it away? Has anyone ever come over and asked to SEE the gift that you returned/donated/threw away? OH GOD, WHAT DID YOU EVEN SAY?

7 things you need to cloth diaper that aren’t cloth diapers.

First, two points:

1. I put the words “cloth diaper” right there in the title twice so that I wouldn’t sucker any of you people who are SO NOT INTERESTED IN CLOTH DIAPERS SHUT UP ABOUT CLOTH DIAPERS into reading words that don’t apply to or interest you in any fashion. So. If you proceed past this point and complain, you will be pointed at, and then laughed at. Because, come on.

2. Let’s address the word “need” here right off the bat. I’m using the word “need” in the way that normal people use “need.” You know, in a basically standard but non-completely literal sense. The way that people who don’t have blogs get to use the word “need.” Okay? I’m using it in the non-blogger fashion. I know that YOU didn’t neeeeeed any of this stuff and that I’m just ridiculous with all my highfalutin baby gear, and YOU just neeeeeeded a running stream and a couple of rocks. I’m sure there’s a medal waiting for you in Heaven, the Spartan Sector. Really. But I’m using “need” here as in, “I’ve found these items necessary, and you might as well.”

Moving on. Seven things you need to cloth diaper that aren’t cloth diapers.

1. A cloth diaper safe butt cream.

While rashes do tend to appear less often with cloth diapers than disposable for MOST (I hate you, Internet, for making me qualify every damn thing ever) kids, they do still happen. And you can’t put A&D or Desitin or Triple Paste or whatever ass spackle you like best on your kid when she’s wearing a cloth diaper. It will not cause you extra hassle, it will not be a difficult situation, it will ruin the diaper. Well, not ruin if you’re willing to go through an elaborate process of boiling and washing with Dawn over and over and over, but — yeah, ruined. Don’t do it.

Personally, we use coconut oil. It’s a solid oil with a low melting point, so you scoop a little out of the jar and it melts right on your fingers. Then you apply it to the buttular area. It’s a good skin protectant and will help cure minor rashes as well.

When I was out looking for coconut oil, I found this:

This is not what you are looking for.

There are a lot of options out there. You don’t have to use coconut oil. If you do, though, some of them have no smell and some will conjure up images of tropical vacations and baby butts. So. Your choice.

2. Fleece liners.

Fleece liners to go inside of your diapers because of exactly the opposite of what I just said. Sometimes there are rashes that tropical fruits (nuts? what?) cannot cure. And you will need/want to use the heavy duty butt cream. So you’ll need to either put your kid in disposable diapers until the rash cures (which is a bit backwards, if you ask me, which you didn’t), or you can put down a fleece liner to keep the cream off the actual diaper. I use Bummis.

Another benefit of fleece liners is that while fleece is not waterPROOF, it is water RESISTANT and also pulls moisture away from its surface with pressure. So, if you have a kid who is especially sensitive to being wet at all, as in will shriek at the merest hint of dampness, fleece liners can help you extend nap time by providing more of a dry feeling.

You do have to change cloth diapers more often than disposable because they don’t hold the moisture away from the skin as much as disposable does, and I definitely don’t advocate delaying diaper changes, but naps. Come on.

ALSO? Fleece liners are… ahem. Non-stick. Not so much for breastfed baby business, but when your kid starts being a little more solid in her production? A fleece liner will allow you to shake the mess off right into the toilet. So. There’s that.

3. Cloth wipes.

If you’re going to cloth diaper, just go for the full buy in with cloth wipes. If you’re cloth diapering for cost benefits or environmental benefits, it’s a no brainer. If you have other reasons, you should still use cloth wipes because of the convenience of just throwing everything into the laundry together. Phil has finally converted over to cloth wipes, not because he wants to, but because I just didn’t bother to keep track of his disposable wipe needs and he can never remember to keep track himself. I’m happy he switched because I have fished several disposable wipes out of the washer, and that is ridiculous.

I got my cloth wipes on Etsy. They’re cute. You can also cut up receiving blankets or baby towels or t-shirts or use cheap baby washcloths. Whatever. Get some cloth. Wipe butts with it.

4. Squirty bottles.

Cloth wipes need to be wet. You can do this in any of a thousand different ways. Wet a wipe in the sink whenever you need one. Keep water by the changing station. Keep damp wipes in a plastic baggie or in an empty disposable wipes box or go fancy with a wipe warmer. We use squirt bottles. Sometimes I squirt the wipe, sometimes I squirt Penny’s butt, and then yell “BUTT PUCKER! BUTT PUCKER!” until she starts smiling like a loon.


Your squirt bottles could have water in them, or you can buy concentrated wipes solutions in all kinds of scents from places like Etsy – here’s a good shop. A lot of diaper brands also sell their own line of butt wash as well. Personally, I make our cloth wipes solution. There are recipes all over the Internet, but it’s basically mostly water, a touch of baby soap, and some kind of oil.

I even have a travel squirty bottle for the diaper bag, but it’s empty now because a few days ago we came home and there was this ENORMOUS YELLOW JACKET on the door knob and I had to jump in bravely and squirt him away.

5. Toilet sprayer.

A toilet sprayer attaches to the toilet and is super easy to install. It sprays. Not everyone uses one of these, but we do. Some people dunk and swish their diapers in the toilet, some people have utility sinks, and some people don’t rinse at all, especially for exclusively breastfed babies. Penny is exclusively breastfed so we don’t strictly need to rinse, but… ah… sometimes you just want to anyway. Rinsing can help prevent staining, and maybe just also make you feel better about that diaper sitting until your next washing.

In the future, into solid food, again, still not strictly necessary, but you WILL need to rinse off/scrape/clean your diapers in some way before they go in the washer at that point in your kid’s digestive life, and we’ve decided on a sprayer. We use the BumGenius one, but there are others and you can even rig up your own if you’re talented with with hardware store type activities.

6. Cloth diaper safe laundry detergent.

Everyone has one they swear by, but to be honest, it comes down to what your water is like and what your wash routine is like and some other kind of magic invisible factors that lead to a lot of trial and error. Pick the wrong detergent and you will have the “stinkies” (actual thing!) or problems with repelling, which is pretty much exactly what you don’t want with a diaper.

Right now, we use Charlie’s. It smells terrible (cat pee) in the bottle, but smells like nothing on clean clothes/diapers. What should you use? No earthly idea. You’ve just got to screw around with it until you find what works. This may be the first one you try, or it may involve a lot of angst and Internet searches. Good luck to you, intrepid launderer.

7. Bags

You’re not going to want to use one of those fancy diaper pail jobbers because the last thing you really want is a plastic sausage casing of poop-filled diapers you intend on using again. Yeah, good idea. Wrap it in plastic. Let’s keep it fresh.

Anyway, you need bags. You can get a hanging bag, which I think is pretty cool – FuzziBunz makes one, and it’s just like an old fashioned, non-automatic diaper pail straight out of 2002, without the actual can. Personally, I use a Planet Wise  pail liner and had every intention of buying a pail to line, but I didn’t. The bag either sits in the laundry room or the bathroom, depending on situations. It’s a great bag, though. Super sturdy and well made and does great in the wash. When Penny fully moves into her own bedroom (when I put my bed in the living room), I will probably get a pail, because it seems disrespectful to her to go into her room and throw gross diapers on her floor.

I also have two travel size bags as well. I don’t care for them, because they have drawstrings and I’d rather have zippers, and they also haven’t held up too well in the wash. I don’t care for mine, but I do care for the smaller bags in general. We keep one in our bedroom at night so we don’t have to get up and walk to the non-pail, and obviously I carry one in the diaper bag when we go out. This is another thing you can buy on Etsy if you want. Go for zippers, though.

So. Aside from, you know, cloth diapers, those are the things I use for cloth diapering. If you’ve got something else to recommend, I’d love to hear it, because I’m in that early stage of parenting that basically totally revolves around my kid’s butt.

It’s been almost 6 weeks so I’m basically an expert. King Expert, if you will.

And you WILL.

So, before Penny got here, when I was really dragging my feet about shopping, I made a post asking what you, the Internet, thought I would need for a new baby.

Now, everyone is different and someone’s need will absolutely been someone else’s “TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY OMG DON’T BOTHER,” especially because there is a small cadre of women swooping around the Internet who are VERY HARDCORE about “all baby needs is boobs and diapers!” and want you to know that if you buy ANYTHING ELSE AT ALL, you are a silly first time parent who doesn’t know anything about anything.

I’m not going to tell you what you don’t need, because honestly, you just can’t know what you don’t need until it’s sitting in your house and you’re sitting there as well, not needing it. And I don’t think that anything I’m listing is an absolute necessity, because it’s true, I guess – all your baby needs is a boob and diapers, assuming your baby breastfeeds and has a butt. Which are both big assumptions, you know. But look, it’s 2011, we have Amazon.com, and the ability to resell unneeded things on Craigslist, so seriously, “BOOB AND DIAPER!!!” shriekers? Shush.

Anyway, after almost SIX ENTIRE WEEKS as a parent, four and half of which the baby has actually lived in this house, I feel I am now in a position of great experience, and I shall speak to you from on [this] high [stack of pillows] about what stuff we have absolutely used the shit out of.

Also, I will be linking to Amazon for these items, but not a single one of the links is an affiliate link – not because I’m opposed to earning fractions of cents off of your backs, Internet, but because I am too lazy to sort it all out – so if you’re the type who is opposed to me having any amount of money as a result of your clicking actions, you can let down your guard for this blog entry. This is a safe zone for you.

(Oh my god, I just realized I’m about to write a list post of BABY ITEM SUGGESTIONS. I don’t even know me anymore, you guys. But I’m pretty sure only the part about the pack and play is SUPER boring. Skip that part. The rest is okay.)

Here’s the stuff:

The Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper: Those first couple of nights with Penny at home, when we truly believed that her survival was conditional upon our eyeballs being on her at ALL TIMES, this thing saved my butt. It keeps her RIGHT THERE, right near my face, but still in her own containment bin. As someone who was interested in co-sleeping but had NO PLANS to EVER bring her into the actual bed (aaahhh HAHAHAHAHA), it was perfect. And now it is basically the most deluxe nightstand I have ever had. You can fit a ton of shit in there! Also, it’s extremely well made, the sheets are soft and fit very snugly, and the resale value on Craigslist is really quite high, even after a full child’s-worth of use. For what it’s used for, I’m glad we went with the Mini. It’s not too small, if you’re concerned about the Mini vs. the standard Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. I think I’d only consider a full size, now that I’ve used the Mini, if I was expecting twins or a warthog, maybe.

Also, if you don’t care about color, these things usually go on sale or clearance at BRU or Wal Mart if you keep an eye out.

My Brest Friend nursing pillow: I know there’s a few different nursing pillow options out there, and I went over them all so indecisively that I didn’t actually end up having a nursing pillow at all until Phil went out and bought one for me while I was in the hospital. I had planned to try nursing her for a while and then figure out which pillow worked best for me, but I had trouble holding her up because get this – babies are wiggly and breastfeeding is hard. I know the Boppy is popular and can be used as a baby prop and what not, but I love the Brest Friend because it straps around me and I can get all set up and THEN go grab the baby, with a little baby table right at my waist. She doesn’t roll around on it because it’s flat, and Phil uses it to play video games and give bottles.

It’s kind of a bitch to have to strap it on in the middle of the night so sometimes I don’t, but I always regret it. Probably because I have enormous boobs. Highly recommended if you have enormous boobs. THE LADIES KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

The NoseFrida: Look, I know some of you swear by the blue bulb and that’s fine. I just want to point out that the NoseFrida does not go INSIDE the nostril like the blue bulb does, making me much more confident as a new parent when it comes to the risk of brain stabbing. And I know some of you are like, “Ok, I’ll click on this and reading… reading… WAIT, you want me to do WHAT? With my MOUTH?” and to you I say, well, get over it. Yes, the concept is gross, but it’s not gross in practice.

Except, it is gross in practice, not because of the mouth-snot thing, but because an ENTIRE BABY NOGGIN’S-WORTH OF BOOGERS is going to spring out of your kid’s face the first time you try it, and you will be like, “Oh, shit, I had no idea that was even THERE, I am the WORST PARENT EVER, and what if I hadn’t gotten the NoseFrida and my kid went to preschool with a head COMPLETELY FILLED WITH SNOT and couldn’t learn shapes or colors because there was no space in the head?”

Seriously. It sounds gross, but it’s not, and there’s way more snot in your kid’s head than you know. Help a baby out.

A bouncy seat: A bouncy seat was one of those things I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy, because like swings, everyone says their kid either LOVED it or HATED it. But we realized that we needed a place to set the baby down on the regular, so we picked one up. We got ours at a consignment store (Once Upon a Child) and if you’re comfortable with used baby gear (we are, to some extent – bouncy seat yes, car seat no), I suggest doing that. I’m glad we went ahead and got it because we use it ALL the TIME. On the floor in the kitchen when we’re eating dinner, on the couch when we’re watching TV or playing games, on the floor near the computer so we can rock it with our foot, on the bed when I’m awake but not ready to get out of bed yet. Also, it solves a major dilemma – what the hell am I supposed to DO with a newborn when she’s awake? I felt guilty putting her back in her bed to just lay there. BAM. SEAT. Excellent parenting, self.

Basically, it lets me feel like I’m doing things and engaging the baby, but when it comes down to it, these first few weeks are basically moving her from one containment unit to another.

Also, you can put it on the floor while you’re in the shower, something I should have figured out way sooner, having taken several 3 minute showers fraught with paranoia about the dogs learning how to work a doorknob and finding a way to LICK the BABY.

(She’s since been licked.)

Waterproof pad thingies: We have a couple of different kinds, and I bought them with the intention of putting them under the sheets in the co-sleeper and pack and play, like a responsible parent, but you know what, the truth is, they mainly come into play in the middle of the night. We spread one out on the bed because even in our extremely tiny house that is the same size as a decent two bedroom apartment, with two established changing stations within 15 feet or less, we change her in the bed at night.

Ask me how many times she has to pee off the pad and onto the sheets before we wise up and start making the very short journey to an actual changing station to do diapers in the night.

Answer: I don’t know. It’s happened a lot and it’s going to need to happen a LOT MORE TIMES before getting out of bed to change her is an attractive option.

Pack and Play: Honestly? Another place to put the baby. I’ve come to the conclusion that you really need a lot of places to put the baby. There needs to always be a baby containment unit nearby, no matter how small your place is. I’m sure eventually you get comfortable with putting the baby in another room and shutting the door, but for now, while she’s sleeping and waking up all at random and sometimes will allow herself to be put down and sometimes won’t, a place to set the baby as soon as an opportunity presents itself is vital.

Plus? Changing station. I don’t know how, in such a small house, we have three places to change the baby (two official, one my side of the bed), but we do and we use them all. You need lots of places to put the baby and lots of places to change the baby. I’m not sure exactly what would happen if we had less places for putting and changing, but I can tell you I’m positive that I don’t want to know.

A swing: We also have one of these. I don’t know if we need it, but my mom bought it for us when we were still up in the air on whether or not we’d get one. Penny isn’t totally sure how she feels about it yet, but in general, she does like motion (the stroller, the car, etc) and seems to be warming up to it. Also, it’s pretty damn swanky and I like to look at it. Sue me. She also looks adorable and tiny in it. Also ALSO, it’s a place to put the baby when you feel like you’ve been putting her in the bouncy seat too much, and I know you’re wondering why the hell where you put the baby even MATTERS, but you just wait until that point where even though your kid is still sleeping a lot, they’re spending a larger portion of time with their eyeballs looking all around and you feel like you need to put on some kind of small, homegrown three ring circus affair for her entertainment.

OR? You can put her in the swanky swing with the dangly spinny doo dads and pat yourself on the back.

Seriously. You wait until the baby is awake with the looking around eyeballs and see how long you try to make awkward conversation before you’re looking around for a variety of stimulating places to PUT her.

Dear self, try an ACTUAL CAMERA once in a while lest Penny grow up believing that 2011 was just a very grainy, cellphoney-esque year.


I’ve looked over this list again and will say, IN SUMMATION: We have found that a variety of places and things to put the baby IN or ON is extremely helpful. The wider the variety, the less time you will spend trying to figure out how to entertain a newborn, even though you logically know that all she wants to do is LOOK at stuff. Logic has no place here, people.

There are also a whole rack (HA!) of feeding and nursing items, but those are for another day because as you know, that’s been a whole ISSUE in this house.

OH and ALSO? A frivolous thing that I kind of laughed at when I saw it and did not buy, but we totally could have used: The Itzbeen timer. Even now, it seems kind of over the top to me, but for those first couple of days at home – even before Penny came home – I was fucking LOST. We had to get a white board so that I could write down when I had taken my medications and when I would need to take more. Once she came home, I wrote down feeding times and amounts and when the next feeding was due.

Even WITH the white board, I forgot to take pills and one time, woke in a panic, convinced that I had slept through the entire night and had not fed Penny at all between 8pm and 9am. (I had.)

Even NOW, almost 6 weeks out, King Expert and all, my short term memory seems to be on vacation. I can’t count the times I’ve asked Phil, “Where did I put that down? What’s going on? Am I having a stroke? Seriously, is this a stroke? Look at my face. Is it even? Am I having a stroke? I’m having a stroke, aren’t I?”

(Have also accused both Penny and the dogs of “activating my brain tumor,” but that’s a different thing.)

The timer may seem kind of ridiculous and I don’t think I’d buy it myself, but that and the NoseFrida may be my go to baby shower gifts in the future, for efficient snot sucking and non-stroke reassurance – both extremely important in these early days.

As for having stuff and not using it? Honestly, we aren’t totally prone to over-buying and did try to keep our purchases reasonable and limit them to only what Penny would need in the first couple of months, but I can’t really say we own anything that has proven to be absolutely useless. There’s stuff that I’m sure we could go without, but really, we’ve used just about everything.

I think the only surprising thing that went completely unused are some onesies – see, some onesies are long and skinny and some are short and wide. Have you met me? Well, if you have, you’ll be as surprised as I am to know I have a long skinny instead of a short widey. (You should know that as of right now, I’ve decided to refer to babies as “long skinnies” or “short wideys,” as if those two phrases were nouns and also acceptable ways to refer to infants.) I mean, not that everyone’s kid looks just like them, but looking at Phil (almost 5’10”, averagey) and me (5’2″, widey), if there was ever a case for the production of a short widey, we’d be it.

If you happen to have a short widey, let me know right away, because I’ve got some adorable short pink widey onesies for your widey’s early days.