Parents: Buy More Stuff!

The last few weeks have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that parenthood is the hardest job I've ever done. I think about other parents' situations: being a single parent; poverty; working full time (or more!); a sick child; any of a host of other scenarios in which people take care of their tots, and I have to give them a hearty round of applause. Three cheers. Seriously.

But that's not what this is about. This is about those objet de bebe that I couldn't live without. Many of which I would have laughed at, thinking, "Ha, that's just more consumerism insanity! Nobody needs that thing!" And yet here I am, singing their praises.

In the food department, I've found that the nipples to these Avent trainer sippy cups go perfect with the Avent bottles. They don't come together that way. So ya gotta buy both. Bastards.

Toys: I've discovered that each parent is destined to hemorrhage all their disposable income on one company's products. Little Tikes is mine.

This piano is awesome. It's completely indestructible. And it sounds like he's playing "Clare de Lune" every time he starts plonking the keys.

They also make all these little instruments, which I promptly bought and enjoy. They make another bigger, cooler piano which I have to go spend more money on. Crap.

In the "Is that really a good lesson to teach your child?" department, this hammer is awesome. It makes hitting things just like in the cartoons! Complete with Warner Brothers soundtrack, tap your head and it goes "SPROINK". Hit the cat, it goes, "Wooga Wooga." It's a perfect lesson in how not-dangerous tools are! But it makes me laugh, and that's good enough for me.

In the "Give me a five-minute break, fer god's sake!" department, this doorway bouncer wins hands down. He bounces and bounces and bounces...

Carrying devices. I had NO IDEA how much time, energy and money I would spend on carrying devices. Or course, I didn't know that I was going to have a monster baby, either, which makes the necessity of a good carrier all the more important.

At this point, I'm too small and the bun is too big for the Bjorn. It's even getting too cumbersome for Papa. So I've investigated all the other conveyances. And the truth is? I need them all.

Strollers? Yeah, I got two. I swore up and down that I wasn't going to be one of those mothers who kept buying a new stroller for each new need. And I've been pretty happy with my initial choice, but getting the stroller in and out of the car all the time was a serious bummer because it was just too big. So I got this one too. Better than an umbrella, lighter and smaller than our main one, plus a rain hood. What can I say. I'm a sucker for the tech.

Now strollers are all fine and good, but sometimes you just need to schlep the little tiddler from point A to point B without some big cumbersome thing. And then I saw a woman wearing this. It was almost too good to be true. Small, portable, completely un-earth-mother, it was like a little dream. But knowing that my tot is a little bit on the hefty side, I looked for a slightly more robust version and bought this: The Hip Hammock. It's like a messenger bag for a baby and totally easy to use. The only problem for me is that I'm too damned small to wear it for long because the boy pokes up right under my armpit, forcing him to hang forward a little bit. Sucks to be small. But I think it's a brilliantly simple solution for many people. Don't spend twenty extra bucks on the deluxe. As far as I can tell, "Deluxe" equals "Ugly Fabric and Change Purse" on this product.

Ever in search of the perfect solution (there isn't one) I looked at last down the aisle of the earthy crunchy granola eaters. The slings were just not my thing, plus who in their right mind spends forty bucks on a strip of fabric? But there was this Ergo backpack carrier which I tried on in a store called Mother Nature's (of course) which, while disturbingly ugly, was pretty freakin' comfortable. They only had it in faded denim at the store, but on Ergo's website they have it in black. So I bought it. And when it arrived, I looked at it sideways, wondering if I could force myself into it, especially with the little Guatemalan embellishment on the back. But I gotta say, it's the best carrier I've found yet, as long as you're going to keep the tiddler on for a while. I can walk for a pretty long time with him in this carrier without feeling completely beat-up which is a success as far as I'm concerned.

The biggest problem with this thing is that you need to be a yoga master to get the tot on your back safely without help from somebody else. I've done it three times, and each time it's a little adventure in bendiness. But it would definitely fit most body types and they will custom-alter it for you if you're tiny. How awesome is that? Of course, I had already bought mine before I figured that out.

So that's it. My completely unhelpful list of things I can't do without. May it help in whatever tiny way to make your foray into tot-rearin' that much easier. Because we need all the help we can get.