Having your first kid is not easy. Despite all the books and the advice, there’s really have no way of knowing what you’re getting into or what you’ll need to survive it all. Every parent gets a bunch of crap when they are having a kid, and a fair amount of it are things that they initially have no real idea what to do with – until they suddenly need to figure it out REAL QUICK.
It’s kind of like a computer game where you collect all sorts of random items you can’t fathom any use for, and then you get to a specific puzzle and it suddenly becomes clear that the only way to solve it is by using that jar of butt paste you somehow acquired way back when.
But that initial ignorance does nothing to dilute the usefulness of those items, and without any single one of the five essential baby items on the list below, our first year as parents would have been even more difficult.
So if you’re due to have a baby, maybe this list will prove helpful. But if it doesn’t, don’t blame me; I’m not the idiot who decided to destroy your social life by having children. That was your wife. Anyway, without further ado, here is a list of the top five baby-related items we’ve relied on over the first year-plus of our kid’s life. All of these items can be acquired online, but don’t overlook Babies ‘R Us. Their sparkling customer service is a good incentive to buy your supplies at one of their locations.
*Please note that obvious items like diapers and etc. did not make the cut because those are things without which the BABY could not survive. We’re talking about parents, here. God knows we spend enough time talking about babies.
Five Essential Baby Items
- Diaper Genie
Not as magical as an actual diaper that grants wishes but indispensable just the same, unless you want your house to smell like Robin Williams after an hour of stand-up. It looks like something out of an Apple store or a Ridley Scott movie, which makes sense, because what’s inside is both some next-generation shit (literally) and the kind of nightmarish imagery that only HR Giger could dream up. But it seals in your baby’s waste, greatly reduces – if not totally eliminates – the presence of fecal odor, and makes it easy to dispose of the accumulated diapers (unfortunately, it won’t ease the constant fear of the diaper bag exploding while you’re carrying it outside). It’s clutch all around.
Every kid likely has some different version of this – Linus has his blankie, Maggie Simpson has her pacifier, I was obsessed with Garfield dolls (don’t judge). We’ve found that our son prefers a creature that wouldn’t be out of place on Dr. Moreau’s island: it’s a little blanket with a lion’s head grafted onto the top. He loves the thing; in fact, once he gets his hands on it, he brings it to his face and immediately goes into sleep mode. Even while standing! It’s amazing. Whether you go with a lovey like ours or not, I highly recommend finding SOMETHING that triggers your kid’s sleep cycle. It’s essential for your sanity.
My iPhone/Blackberry/TV Remote
Don’t go buying a bunch of inexpensive (yeah, right) toys for your kid, just give him your really expensive stuff to play with. My kid can’t get enough of my most expensive electronic gadgets, including my iPhone and my Blackberry. Click here for proof. The fake toy phones we’ve bought to try and fool him? He sees right through them. And laughs at us for trying something so foolish. I’m being mocked by a person who only just graduated from chewing my iPhone to yelling at it.
Ergo Baby Carrier
If you can get over the fears that using a harness to press your child against your chest will suffocate the kid, it can be a lifesaver. My neighborhood is incredibly baby-friendly (Park Slope WHAT!), but still, there are some places – bars, stores, etc. – that don’t allow strollers. FASCISTS! Unlike the Baby Bjorn, the Ergo lets you wear your kid side-saddle, as a backpack (handy when hitchhiking!) or as a front-pack, and doesn’t have an allegiance to any particular tennis player. It also supports more weight than the Baby Bjorn, so you can strap your kid to your back ’til he’s ready to drive. So leave the stroller outside and laugh at the gentle shop proprietors whose space regulations you’ve thwarted! “Bartender! Another round!”
My recent tweets about its bone-chilling whale sound setting notwithstanding, this product is essential. A cuddly and portable white noise machine, we stick it in the corner of the kid’s crib, or under his stroller, or in his open mouth (only on special occasions) to help coax him to sleep via the soothing sounds of a rainstorm or a heartbeat or an impending whale-based apocalypse. It also helps drown out his crying, something I assume works very well, because when we put the whale sounds we can’t hear a thing and there’s no way he’s not shrieking in terror that entire time.
Honorable Mention goes to the three Bs: