A child is born and the immediate response from everyone close to proud new parents is “WE MUST BUY A GIFT RIGHT NOW!”
Seriously, they scream it like that, it’s really odd. I’ve got two kids and hundreds of useless gifts, trinkets, contraptions, tchotkes and pieces of junk cluttering up every spare nook and cabinet in my home.
At first, I felt bad throwing away well-intentioned gifts but then I realized “half this crap isn’t well intentioned at all” and most of it was a gift for the sake of gift-giving. It’s a total waste. It doesn’t help that dumping it all in the trash feels pretty damn amazing. I don’t throw it out until I smash it first. That feels real, real good.
For the benefit of those in the crowd who are going through the second baby boom amongst their friends, and feel as though they HAVE to gift, here are the thirteen things to avoid.
Not sure how many stuffed animals a baby will receive upon birth? Estimate the number of people the couple knows and multiple by five. I could throw away one stuffed animal a day for the next seven years and the stuffed animal population in my home would still match the city of Singapore. Just take your money, wipe your crack with it, toss it into the toilet and give it the swirly circle ride down the drain. Don’t flush yet, I’ve got a couple teddy bears I want to jam into the septic system.
Baby food maker
Here’s how you make baby food — boil whatever you’re having for dinner and smash it with a fork. An expensive processor is unnecessary. Option two is to choose from the hundreds of jars in the baby food aisle. Have you seen the culinary options for kid’s these days? They make a baby version of chicken tetrazzini! Kids eats better than adults. That might not be true, I sometimes spoon her leftovers into my mouth. You ain’t lived until you’ve had chicken in a jar.
The child is < 12 months old. The box clearly says 4-6 years of age. The gifter is a moron. Bring that back in four years because it’s not staying in my house.
My house has a dishwasher, how about yours? If it doesn’t, boil stuff like pacifiers and baby bottles.
Parenting advice books
“Here, you look like you’ll suck at this, check out these books.” We actually use our parenting advice books every day in my house. They’re under the camera monitor in the baby’s room. The elevated angle allows us to see the entire crib. Just to keep an eye on the baby we’re not adept at raising, according to all these books we’ve never read.
There are two annoying types of funny clothing — the first involves unfunny sayings written by sweatshop workers that read “Mommy’s Little Heartthrob” or “All Daddy Wanted Was a Tug Job” and they’re never funny/cute/original. All they do is remind the parent, and others, how many times a week the kid wears the same damn shirt. The second “funny” clothing is bought in spite or to rib the parents. For example, buying an Eagles shirt for the baby when dad is a Giants fan. Thanks. I still hate your team and I got to smash its logo down into the shit inside the diaper genie. BUT GOOD ONE DUDE!
Baby shower bathing cap
A hand over the eyes will suffice. The kid doesn’t need a visor unless he’s in the sun or a professional poker player.
An expensive video camera
“OHOHOHOH the baby is doing something awesome/hilarious/illegal! Honey! Honey! Go into the closet in the spare bedroom. There is a box on the top shelf with a video camera. Get it. Charge it. Read the directions. Wait for it charge. Then come downstairs and record me saying ‘Oh, you just missed it!'”
Religious gifts for nonreligious people
I’ve got no problem with any religion. I’ve got no problem with people who have zero religion. Whatever you do, it’s just to cope with the fact that one day this whole ride comes to a halt. Whatever helps you cope. I do have a problem with giving religious items to people who aren’t religious or couldn’t care either way. And don’t expect them to display those items in the kid’s room. You go on praying for the kid and his heathen parents and they’ll survive without a “Bless This Child” light switch cover.
My “first” anything
It’s baby’s first Christmas ornament! But if there are a thousand of them, which was really first? We might never know so let’s call it “baby’s first ornament in the recycling bucket.”
Gift certificates for “parents night out”
Honestly, parents will appreciate the sentiment, but will end up hating those little plastic cards for a night at the Cheesecake Factory because they’ll never get to use them. If they do go out they’ll just spend the whole night talking about the kids AND I’M TRYING TO EAT THIS MASSIVE PLATE OF BIG PEOPLE TETRAZZINI CAN WE NOT TALKING ABOUT POTTY TRAINING FOR A HOT MINUTE!
Any toy that makes noise
This might be tough since EVERYTOYMAKESNOISE but this is what people without kids don’t realize about toys that make noise — they continue to make noise long after the child stops playing with it and long, long after the family has gone to bed. They’re usually the most talkative at 3am, through the baby monitor, and when parents are finally in a deep sleep. Here’s some advice from a seasoned veteran — stab the doll in the plastic heart with a meat fork and dump the body in a bin far, far from the house. Cover your tracks. The doll WILL attempt to find you. Maybe…yeah…just move.