Originally Posted by ellah
As you can tell by my post count, I am new here. I don't have children yet, but I am thinking about it. I will be honest, the thought scares me to death. I would like to believe it is possible for my home not to change as drastically as I have seen with other people. Are baby showers really necessary? Can you make it clear that you don't want tons of toys and junk for the baby? Is it possible to live with just the necessities? I don't believe for a second that boppies and all those other things are necessary. But in this day and age it seems the first thing women do when they get pregnant is register for ten thousand things at babies r us and clear out a wing of their house. I know that "a baby changes everything" but I interpret that as emotional change. Has anyone ever been successful at keeping the rest of the changes minimal or am I delusional?
I have a 3 year old. He has a room, which has a toddler bed in it, a pile of stuffed animals, and a closet with groups of hanging clothing in various sizes up to 5T (he wears either 3T or 4T right now, and I purchase for seasons ahead on clearance). We have a rubbermaid box of toys in the family room, and his kids books fill a bookcase.
I don't think that baby showers are useless. There is a LOT of crap that you use during the first 6 months. What I registered for and received at my baby shower: our carseat and stroller, clothing in 3m-12m, kids books, crib/toddler bed sheets and bedding, a pack'n'play, a boppie, an infant tub, a basic bouncer.
What I found extremely useful . . .
- the carseat (duh)
- the stroller (I had a kid who varied between loving being worn, and hating being worn)
- the clothing
- the pack'n'play: I kept it downstairs, and it was where he day-time napped for months; a Moses basket would probably be equally useful for that. But we also took the pack'n'play on trips later (I have one of those kids who proved not fond of cosleeping and could push me out of a king-sized bed by 6 months). We also pretty constantly used its changing table because it was the easiest one to use.
- the boppie: trust me, you need something that offers you some arm support during the marathon nursing sessions of the first three months. The boppie definitely worked better than pillows _for me_. It was also GREAT at supporting a congested, sleeping child in an drainage-oriented position during various head colds his first 2.5 years of life. Nowadays, the boppie is in the kid's reading corner, where he uses it for seating.
- a basic activity center. Starting about 12 weeks, one of those activity centers could keep him occupied while I was cooking dinner. We didn't have a fancy one, but just a plastic bridge-thing with a couple of animals hanging from it.
- the bedding: the crib converted to the toddler bed. I got a pile of waterproof mattress wraps and a bunch of crib sheets. Still using both to this day . . . nowadays, as we struggle through nighttime potty training.
- the bouncer: for those times when he was refusing to be worn or held, and being a complete crabby-face. Also, I could put it next to the tub, put him in it, and take a shower.
What I found useless:
- the infant bathtub. The kid much preferred being laid on his back in the tub in about an inch of water.
- various kids toys that need batteries: the kid is not all that interested in them, and they randomly make noises IN the damn toy box. Over the first year of his life we received: a baby elmo, a talky puppy, a dress-me elmo, and a baby tad. The only one still around is the baby tad, because the kid likes to play his music at bedtime.
What I liked, but we could have done without
- the swing: it worked for the same reasons as the bouncer but was a lot less portable. And expensive.
- the mobile: whatever. dumb.
Then, keeping the junk down going forward . . .
Well, we kind of got lucky here. My family is a book-giving family. Birthdays, christmas: half the gifts are going to be books, another quarter clothing, the last quarter toys. My husband's family is a "money into college fund" family, so we've received even less junk from them.
As I said above: in our family room, we have one rubbermaid container that functions as a toy box, and almost all his toys that are present on the first floor fit into it. Next to it is smaller rubbermaid lego box. That toybox and his lego box are his first floor toys. In the office on the first floor, we have a bookcase. Half the bookcase is kid's books (the other half is my cookbooks). Cleaning up his toys/stuff on the first floor takes me about 5 minutes if it's a total disaster.
We also have a basement playroom, basically for the stuff that's too big to be on the first floor. We inherited a Thomas table from a neighbor, and he has enough track+trains to make a decent layout on it. We have a kids desk, where we store all his art supplies. We have a kids table, two chairs, and some games nearby. We have a little tikes basketball hoop (his specific request for his third birthday). Oh, and his wooden blocks are down there, because I got sick of him dumping them on our hardwood floors upstairs.
The kid is just getting into the whole gift concept, and we've already introduced the "toys in, toys out" concept. He knows he has to pick toys out of his toybox to give away before Christmas.