Avoiding the "stuff" - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 39 Old 10-08-2009, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ellah View Post
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.
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#32 of 39 Old 10-08-2009, 12:55 PM
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I learned my "must-haves" by what I shipped to my parents' house in FL and *had* to have for visits.

Traveled with: sling, car seat, stroller (used as luggage cart) and diaper bag (which can be anything, mine isn't conventional) - small blanket lay baby on, change on, etc.

Had down there (parents generously provided per our request - for multiple grandkids, though): high chair, bouncy seat and boppy

Clothes, nappies and a few v. simple toys. Also cloth dipes to use as burp cloths, cover up boy babies to avoid getting hosed while changing, etc. are really useful.

HUGE help was to take felt-backed rubber pads and cut them in pieces to cover changing spot (our pad at home.) I kept them in a stack b/c invariably you get pee or poop on the changing pad/area and it was so helpful to be able to peel one away for the wash and have a clean spot ready to go for the next change - very convenient.

I used the swing at home (DS would not nap - and it was the only place he'd snooze a bit during the day.)

Another super helpful "gadget" was a high chair that clamped onto table tops - most babies are too little to sit in restaurant high chair (which are also grubby) for a while. Plus you can keep them right next to you in a booth. I was never a fan of tipping the restaurant high chairs over to put the bucket seat on, and sometimes I'd want baby out of the sling so I could eat hot soup or spare them the indignity of ending up with noodles on their head. Here's one type: http://www.amazon.com/Chicco-Deluxe-.../dp/B0000789S0 Actually, we even traveled with that because we found it so useful.

Never used: pack and play, shopping cart seat "cover" (just wore baby)

One last tip - if you're new to slinging, get a pouch (snap) sling like one from kangarookorner.com (that fleece sling was INVALUABLE) to me - very easy for a newbie and nice & cozy for baby. If you have the cash, as baby gets older an Ergo is awesome. I wore little babies in the front and then on my back as they grew. I remember one zoo trip where I started off with a 6 month old in it, and ended up with my 2 1/2 year old in it by the end. Even with 2 little ones 20 months apart, I never needed a double stroller (WAY too big for me to manage and deal with) - I just slung one (front or back) and used the stroller if needed for the other.

I started off registering for a bunch of stuff (v. excited, and hadn't found MDC yet) and the above is the knowledge I've culled from basically having 2 babies at once.

Mama to DS (8) and DD (7) Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement.


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#33 of 39 Old 10-08-2009, 12:56 PM
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We mangaged with very little baby stuff. We had the carseat (of course), a boppy, and a small bouncy seat (the ones that recline). We don't even have many toys.
We are able to avoid "The Stuff" because we don't celebrate holidays/birthdays, so people don't have the opportunity to buy us things.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#34 of 39 Old 10-08-2009, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
2. Is it possible to have a child and not have your home change drastically? Well, not really, in my opinion. I guess it depends on what you mean by drastically.
I would agree and add that I don't think it's desirable. I've had people tell us that we should keep the children's belongings in one room in the house. Why? They live here, too. It's as much their house as it is ours. We do try to limit toys to some areas just for the sake of mess and not stepping on toys in the middle of the floor. We do the same with my paintings and DS's projects, too, though. We're probably somewhere in the middle in terms of the toys the kids have, but we definitely don't try to limit them to only a small portion of the house anymore than we do ourselves.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#35 of 39 Old 10-08-2009, 02:45 PM
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I live in a one-room yurt with my husband and 8 month old, which definitely requires me to keep the stuff accumulation to a minimum. I just told everyone who wanted to give us stuff that we only wanted used things (or homemade), have really only bought one baby thing (a woven wrap) other than diapers, and have been quite aggressive about passing along anything that he's grown out of or that doesn't work for us. So we do have a doorway jumper type thing in the middle of the room now because he loves it, clothes of course, and a few toys and books, but that's about all.
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#36 of 39 Old 10-08-2009, 03:09 PM
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We didn't have a LOT of stuff with DS1, but definitely more than we needed. Since then, we have moved internationally twice (thus donating a lot of the baby stuff), so when DS2 came along we pretty much had to start from scratch.

This time around, we really don't have a lot of baby gear, but what we have is useful and good quality. These are the things I am glad we have:

-Two good quality strollers: a small Mountain Buggy Swift and one Phil and Teds double stroller. I babywear a lot, but use the strollers too. We could probably get by with just the Phil and Teds, but I like having a smaller one for the toddler if I'm wearing the baby.
-Too many slings and baby carriers: but hey-I use them. I could probably get by with one or two, but they don't take much space and I can resell them.
-Cosleeper: This time around, we have a cosleeper, since we have a really soft pillowtop mattress on our bed and it feels unsafe to cosleep in it.
-Activity Gym: We actually use the activity gym mat a lot this time. Baby likes it. (We have the one from Skip Hop, which I personally think looks a bit more toned down than some of the light and sound ones out there.)
-Tripp Trapp chair for the table-our toddler still uses it. We'll probably get a small IKEA antilop high chair for when the baby starts solids--one that can be stored in case we have guests visiting later. Then, the baby can move to the Tripp Trapp when DS1 is three or so.
-Changing mat: essential
-Crib: DS1 still sleeps in it, and DS2 will probably move there when he's around a year or so.
-Diaper bag (could well be an unconventional one, but we have a Skip Hop Dash and are happy with it.)
-car seat
-cloth diapers

I think that's pretty much all the baby gear we have. I sort of wish we had a bouncy seat, but we decided against it since I wouldn't use it much. I do put him in his carseat on occasion. (We don't drive much, so it's not like he sits there much on a daily basis.)
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#37 of 39 Old 10-08-2009, 04:08 PM
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No, you definitely don't need to go crazy buying tons of baby stuff. I have definitely skipped things that others consider have-to-have, but I have splurged on some things others probably wouldn't care about (changing table is one) too. However, I can definitely see the grandparents and aunt and uncles giving us tons and tons of things that we really don't need once the baby is here, so I'm guessing we are going to have much more stuff than we need, but that's ok and I hope to be able to steer that to at least some things that will be more useful and lasting and less "junk".

But yeah, your house and your life will change quite a bit. I think some go overboard with how much they change their house (but if they enjoy it, then I see no problem with it either), but there are definitely things that will change, but depending on your personality and your kids, it can be very different from family to family. But yeah, expecting no change is unrealistic.

Katie trekkie.gif - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13  hug.gif 



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#38 of 39 Old 10-08-2009, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
I would agree and add that I don't think it's desirable. I've had people tell us that we should keep the children's belongings in one room in the house. Why? They live here, too. It's as much their house as it is ours. We do try to limit toys to some areas just for the sake of mess and not stepping on toys in the middle of the floor. We do the same with my paintings and DS's projects, too, though. We're probably somewhere in the middle in terms of the toys the kids have, but we definitely don't try to limit them to only a small portion of the house anymore than we do ourselves.
This is our approach, but my adult addition was that the storage in the main parts of the house had to be relatively pleasing to my eyes (we have an Ikea expedit bookcase, the low one, in the living room and in the rec room, with baskets that fit on the shelves and can be moved from one floor to the other).

If we're talking about older kids my mantra is "Toys are not a blight on my spotless existence."

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#39 of 39 Old 10-09-2009, 12:25 AM
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OK. I didn't read all the posts, but please don't bash the boppy. It was a lifesaver for DS #1 who nursed non-stop, day and night for 18 months. Funny though, DDs #2 & 3 weren't so keen on it. So I'd say every child is different and not to have expectations one way or another. Set your goals and then let it flow from there. Be willing to grow and change with the needs of your child. Teach them your values (like not being materialistic) and then be flexible with their need and interests. You'll be a happier mama!
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