Posts tagged ‘equipment’

Baby Stuff Essentials

Now that the new car smell of parenthood has been replaced by the slightly ammonia-tinged smell of baby diapers, I’ve come to appreciate those items that are serving us the best as new parents. Obviously things like diapers, a crib, and button-snap shirts are necessary for any new baby, but I’m talking about those things that, while not critical to the survival of the young one, make the process of bringing up baby way, way better. Here it goes a list:

  • The sling
    – Nothing is more pleasing than carrying around your kid in your arms. However, it becomes apparent very quickly that even simple tasks like preparing a bowl of cereal or reconfiguring your TCP Port Forwarding settings on your firewall are more difficult while suspending your child against your chest. Thus several accouterments have been devised to remedy this situation. The most visible device, and one that has come to symbolize the “modern father”, is the chest carrier (or by brand-name Snugli): The kid is suspended from you in a reverse of the old Native American papoose backpack, thus allowing for free range of movement of your arms. But the unit that we purchased did not deliver on the promise of warm n’ fuzzy family unity, as pictured on the box. The unit was apparently optimized for a slight-of-build woman about 5’4″ tall, and not for my (ahem) bulky frame, and it had enough straps to keep a bondage fetishist occupied for days. Enter the Sling: It looks like a small version of the sack I used to deliver newspapers in when I was a kid. The baby lies curled up inside the pouch, and the strap goes over the shoulder like a bandolier. The weight is slight against your shoulder, no more than a backpack of books being carried to class. Freedom of movement ensues. If this was all it did, then it was worth the price, but we’ve found the delightful side effect of soothing the baby to sleep. The dark, comfy pouch must replicate the womb, coupled with the rocking and bouncing of being carried puts the boy off to sleepytown. A home run item!
  • The Pack n’ Play
    – Let’s call it what it is; a playpen. The playpen has become a forbidden term in the early part of the 21st century, symbolizing uncaring parents who neglect the primal bond of carrying your child all day long. But the problem with this viewpoint is the simple fact that playpens work: They allow a squirming, easy to lose child to be contained so a parent can tend to other tasks like preparing food for said squirming child. So what does an apparently enlightened generation do to shake off the stigma yet still have it both ways? You repurpose the same damn thing and call it a “play yard” (see, its not a “pen” where veal is kept but a “yard” where cattle roams free…!). This item is better known as a Pack n’ Play, and it’s not your mother’s playpen. It now serves as a bassinet, a changing station, and a…well, play pen. In our house it is the “downstairs nursery” where the boy can sleep and get a fresh nappy while ignoring the teddybear mobile over his head. The unit is portable, but a real chore to get it to that point. So I view our Pack n’ Play like a trailer park home: sure, it can be moved, but it probably won’t be.
  • The Mini-Fridge
    – Some of you may now be throwing a penalty flag, saying, “What the hell, man? A Mini-fridge?” Indeed. Here’s the plot: I bought a small cube fridge that you may see in a college dorm or someone’s rec room. The theory was that babies need things that require refrigeration, such as breast milk, formula, or teething rings. The fridge now sits in the nursery, providing convenient access to these items without a trip downstairs at 3AM. It also provides soothing white noise when the boy is napping in the crib. It also holds the copious bottles of fruit juice for the wife to replenish her precious bodily fluids while nursing. Plus, as the kid gets older, the fridge will move and become a valued addition to my office, where beer, soda, and snack veggies are within arm’s reach! A man’s solution? Yep. And as Bill Cosby suggested, “we are dumb, but we are not so dumb”.

Since we are at the very start of the child curve there are sure to be more such items in our future. We hope that among them are such items as these that help to grease the wheels of parenting.