Over the weekend, some friends of mine had a little open house to welcome my new son into the world. It was a great time with good friends, and I am so thankful that they though enough of me to host such a nice party. Of course, my big boy and his future wife (my best friend’s daughter, age 22 months) had to make things extra memorable.
Highlights included: the two of them putting toilet paper (unused, thankfully) in the (again, thankfully unused) toilet, splashing it around, and then EATING IT; my son dunking his new toy cell phone in the toilet, and my friend’s daughter giving the new baby a “drink” of Diet Coke – by dumping it on his head (once again I have to be thankful, the cup was nearly empty). I think that is the true sign of being the parent of a toddler. You look at the chaos they create, and instead of focusing on how bad it is, you think “well, it could have been worse!”
Because my two boys are so close in age, there wasn’t a lot that we needed, but my friends were kind enough to get us gifts all the same. My friends know how practical I am, so I got just what I wanted: lots of diapers, wipes, and storage bins for baby clothes. And of course, the ever useful Target gift card! I was also reminded of how clueless I was when I registered for my first shower. What did I need? How much stuff should I register for? Would I look greedy if I included expensive items?
Here’s what I have learned about registering for a shower:
1. People are going to buy you whatever THEY want to buy, which may or may not be what you registered for. People love to buy for babies. You may think they are buying a gift for you, but in actuality, you have provided them with an excuse to buy cute little outfits and teeny tiny socks. No matter how much you beg people to buy from the registry, some people just won’t care. So for this reason…
2. Don’t even bother registering for clothes. Trust me, you will get clothes. More than you know what to do with. Especially if you have a girl. My sister-in-law recently had a little girl, and her shower gifts were about 96% baby clothes.
3. Pack your registry full of essentials. Diapers. Wipes. Nursing gear, if you’re nursing. Bottles. Nail clippers. Diaper cream. Baby wash. Yes, I know these aren’t exciting items. But they are the things you really need. Unwrapping a pack of Pampers may not be as exciting as unwrapping an adorable layette, but they’re much more useful! Do everything you can to push people toward buying that kind of stuff.
4. Resist the unnecessary gadgets. Wipe warmers. Shopping cart covers. Those things you put over your son’s wee wee so he won’t pee on you. Yes, they are alluring, but you really don’t NEED them, especially in those first few weeks. My advice? Keep these things off your registry, and then reassess after you have your baby. You may find these things weren’t as necessary as you thought they were. I registered for a shopping cart cover when we were pregnant with my oldest, and someone was kind enough to buy it for us. It’s still in the package, and he’s almost 18 months old.
5. Cash and gift cards are not impersonal, they are awesome. Ok, I’m biased. I am one of those people who loves to get gift cards. My best friend thinks they are impersonal and no fun. No matter what your opinion of them, they really are useful when you’re having a baby. Ditto for cash. After your shower, there are still things you are going to need. After my oldest son’s shower, I had about 45 washcloths and no onesies. Gift cards and cash helped us fill those holes without going broke. And on that note…
6. Save some of those gift cards for after the baby comes. When you are home with baby, you will discover that there are things you need that you never could have prepared for. Maybe those scented wipes are irritating baby’s skin, and you need the sensitive variety. Maybe nursing pain has you in need of some lanolin cream or cool packs (that was me). Your little one may be bigger or smaller than expected, so you need diapers and outfits to match. Or maybe you have decided you really do need that wipe warmer. If you save back some of your gift cards (or cash), you will be able to cover unplanned expenses without draining the budget.
7. It’s absolutely ok to put big ticket items on the registry. I call them “grandparent gifts.” People know you need that stuff, no one is going to think you’re greedy. It’s good to include these things, because sometimes people like to go in together on a large gift. In my case, my mom wanted to get us a car seat, but she’s been out of the baby game long enough that she had no idea what to buy. Having a car seat on our registry made it easy for her to get exactly what we needed. So go ahead and register for that car seat, stroller, or high chair.
8. Don’t let your husband have the scanning gun. He will think he is in a video game and go crazy scanning things you don’t even want, and you’ll have to go online and take them off your registry after he goes to bed.
Maybe that last one was just at our house.