I was pondering the other day what kid stuff I would choose if I had to pick 5 favorite things. After four babies in six years, there are a few things that I really love. Some I discovered later into the game and some have been around from the start.
1. Phil and Ted Stroller (with double ‘jump seat’ attachment) – This is my newest discovery but it still makes the list because it is so wonderful that I’ve sold every other stroller that was taking up space in our garage since this one is so top notch. It has options for every possible baby/kid scenario. It is incredibly lightweight, it folds up so small that it takes up a fraction of the space in back of my van compared to my other recent strollers (the Joovy Caboose and the InStep double baby jogger). We often go out without a stroller, but when we need one, this one fits the bill in every way.
2. Ring Sling style baby carrier (like the one I bought from this darling Etsy shop) – I’ve been through about 12 different baby carriers. Most have been sold on Craigslist. The only remaining ones around here are an Ergo, a Baby Bjorn and my ring sling. The ring sling is so easy to nestle a newborn in and so quick and easy to slip a growing baby into for a hip carry. Mine is a deep cranberry Tencel material and it still feeling positively yummy. It packs up super small (which has become one top priority criteria these days!).
3. Food. Dinners I mean. Okay, so it’s not a baby or kid product. But there is something completely magical about getting to dinner time and having someone bring you food when you have a new baby. Or in the months/years that follow when the days are still quite chaotic and exhausting, opening your freezer to find….real food. Not a frozen pizza or corn dogs. Food that nourishes and leaves you feeling full and good. Food that you made. Food that your friend who has five kids made you and brought to your freezer. Food that Dream Dinners made or maybe the deli at Costco made? Yes, that kind of food. Absolutely priceless. (And diet coke has been my long-standing unhealthy vice/coping beverage since day one as a mama.)
4. Swaddling blankets and special blankies. The first for new babes who startle themselves awake. The Miracle Blanket saved our life more than once when we were going crazy with fussy babies. It is weird looking and expensive but worth it’s weight in gold. The second for all our kids has helped in them sleeping on their own. They have all had a blanket that was special and smelled like their smell that they would snuggle with to sleep as they got older.
5. A diaper bag that is organized, functional and easy to clean. I had to delete the word ‘cute’ because honestly, it wasn’t on my list. For our first three kids, this was the Eddie Bauer diaper bag backpack. It worked so hard for me it didn’t matter that it wasn’t pretty or trendy. It held loads of clothes covered with bodily fluids of every kind. It was big enough to hold snacks and baby supplies and serve as my ‘purse’ even once we had three kids. It was small enough to fit under the stroller. It was black and waterproof. Need I say more? I love that backpack. But for baby four I did splurge and get a darling pink camo Wendy Bellisimo diaper bag that I have had such fun using the past year!
The things I didn’t need that I bought? The list is long but on the top of it would be the giant carseat stroller combo thing. I would have just needed a good carseat and then maybe the cheap little carseat carrier stroller if at all. Also things like bottle warmers, powder scented bags for dirty diapers, a swing/bouncy seat/baby rocker (none of our kids spent much time in any of the above no matter how hard we tried).
And all the baby toiletries I thought I needed! I had lotions, creams, washes and products up the wazoo. And now, we just use Burt’s Bees Baby Wash for all 4 kids and some apricot oil if their skin is dry. Same for baby medicines, holy cow we used to have a baby medicine for EVERYTHING. And we shelled out doses of Tylenol like it was candy. Last year I threw it all in the trash (since it was expired anyway!). And now we have homeopathic tablets we use as needed and give a dose of Tylenol every once in a blue moon.
My how things change! I am continually amazed at how simple things can be, how much we can do without (whether it is voluntary or involuntary) and how my perspective on parenting is ever evolving. Just when I think something is worked out…it isn’t. There is no “I have arrived”, there is simply “We’re at least on the road” and doing our best every day (which on days like today means getting really, really dirty and laughing till we scream…and drinking diet coke…and eating tamales from the freezer that I bought from a darling little Mexican girl at a garage sale).