Portrayal of a Pregnancy Test

A detailed venture through the mind of a woman who has just peed on the proverbial stick:

Did I pee enough? Maybe I should have peed longer than five seconds, just to be sure.

What if I peed too much? Can that happen? I should have read the directions more carefully.

I’m losing it. Directions to pee on a stick? Sometimes I wonder about myself.

But what if the pee stream was too strong? Is it possible that pee can break the test? No, no way. Well, probably not.

I don’t want to look yet. I’m going to wait three WHOLE minutes this time.

There is no freaking way this will take three minutes.

Ok I’m looking.

Is that another line? I can’t tell. Ok I’m going to put it down and wait until a FULL three minutes pass. No more peeking.

Omg, if that was really a second line, then I am pregnant. Nine months until I have a sweet, beautiful little angel in my arms!

Nah, that wasn’t a line. I’m not pregnant. Ok, good. I can drink as much wine coffee as I want now.

If it’s a boy, I love the name Nathan.

But girl’s names are cuter. Maybe it’s a girl.

I hope I don’t get morning sickness. Or heartburn. Or hemorrhoids.

But, honestly, am I even ready to have a BABY right now????

I can’t afford a baby.

I am going to look SO FAT in maternity clothes.

How the hell has it only been two minutes?

I need to clean this toilet. I can do that while I wait. Where’s the Lysol?

Wait. If I’m pregnant I shouldn’t be using cleaning chemicals in such a small space. Right? I’ll clean the toilet after I find out whether or not I’m preggers. I’m all about priorities.

My friend’s sister got a false positive once. I always thought there was no such thing as a false positive. Maybe my friend was lying. Or maybe the test was broken. Maybe she peed too hard. I knew you could break the test with strong pee!

My other friend didn’t know she was pregnant for like five months. She was getting her period and everything. Crazy stuff. Good thing she wasn’t a big drinker.

Ok, screw this three minute bullshit. It’s been long enough. I’m looking.

Is that a second line or what? I think it is. But it’s so faint. I can’t tell. I don’t even know if it’s really there. Am I seeing things? Am I hallucinating right now???

*Holds test up to light* I totally think it’s another line! I’m pregnant! OMG!!!!!!!!!

Wait. IS it another line? I better take another test.

Or two more tests.

Or ten.

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Note to my mom: No. I am not pregnant. Well, probably not.

Bunk Bed Envy

This weekend, Big M and I replaced the Lightening McQueen toddler bed owned by every other little boy in the United States and the crib never used by either of my children with a set of bunk beds.  Little M is in LOVE with his new bed, as any person who’s spent every night for the last three years in a tiny bed covered by a hard, laminated mattress would be once finally entering the wonderful world of normal-sized beds.

Last night, after a particularly exhausting day, I was making Little M’s bed with his new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sheets and I found myself lingering up there on that top bunk for a few extra moments longer than necessary.  It just looked so cozy, so private.

I was insanely jealous of Little M in that moment.

It was like having your own personal, cloud-covered room floating in the sky where you can do whatever you want and no one can see you or bother you. And since it was 7pm, Little M was going to get to spend the rest of the night in that little haven.  No dishes to wash, no bills to pay, no baths to give, no floors to wash, no lunchboxes to pack, no work to be done, nothing.  And he has NO CLUE what a gift that is.

Youth really is wasted on the young.

I can’t count how many times I wish I could just crawl into a private, little, cozy space and just be left alone for a while. I’m not new to the idea; as a child my parents often would find me huddled in the back of the hall closet with a book and a flashlight.  Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

But as adults, it is something we don’t get to do nearly enough.  We don’t get to hide from our own lives enough.  There is no metaphorical top bunk haven for most of us.  We steal time when we can, but it is it enough to keep us sane?

I leave you with this awesome scene from the HYSTERICAL show The Middle, where mom of three Frankie uses the restroom at her job to steal a few minutes of “me time.”

A Crazy Week: One Kid Watches Breaking Bad While the Other Almost Kills Her Dad

I wasn’t planning to write again for a few days, since I wanted to spend the next few nights catching up on some reading before all the awesome fall TV shows begin and my brain reverts to its television-induced mush state. Oh, and by “catch up” on reading, I mean read my first book in about six months. Fellow book nerds, I apologize. Kids are the anti-hobby.

Anyway, so I wasn’t planning to write a new blog today but this week was just so amusingly eventful that this bad boy practically wrote itself.

It all started last Saturday night, when Little M, who is FIVE, got his first set of digits from a girl at a birthday party for one of Big M’s coworkers. The little stud doesn’t even know his OWN phone number yet and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even realize that phones exist for reasons other than playing Angry Birds and Temple Run. But he knows one thing now for sure: when you get a girl’s number in front of a bunch of grown men, you get A LOT of high fives.

It was seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I overheard him and his new friend talking at some point, and she was telling him that she slayed a pretend dragon for him or something. Before I could even mutter an “awww” she grabbed an empty envelope off of a table and penciled her name and phone number for Little M, complete with a little stick figure picture of them together. He said to her “you can call me ANYTIME.” Can we say cuteness OVERLOAD? I was dying.

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And Little D was so excited about the whole thing that she dove right into a giant slab of concrete, face first, and has been rocking a rather large, ugly gash on her nose ever since.

The excitement for Little M didn’t last long, though, because on Sunday he began to complain that his throat hurt and he refused to eat. Turns out that after a whopping one whole week back to school he managed to catch coxsackie. For those of you who have never heard of this poorly-named ailment, it’s basically a virus that causes children to develop giant, painful sores all over their mouth and throat and is usually caused by touching dirty things. I guess Little M’s designated cubby wasn’t properly disinfected for the beginning of school. Or maybe he licked the slide at the playground. You never really know with little kids.

On Monday, Little D ripped the scab off her nose and threw it at Big M. Then she ripped off her fresh band-aid and threw it at Little M.

Fine, then. Bleed. Your decision, not mine.

On Wednesday, Big M found Little M watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. We usually let him watch Netflix in his room for a little while at night, and since we live in an apartment that is just a bit larger than a celebrity’s walk-in closet, we can always hear his TV and know what he is watching. Well, that day I guess I was too absorbed in the season finale of Big Brother my reading to hear someone being called an “ass clown” inside his bedroom.

Whoops. Parenting fail.

On Thursday, Little D whacked Big M in the head with a giant xylophone while he was asleep on the couch. It was kind of brutal to watch for a minute there, but he was totally fine. Maybe she has some kind of ESP going on and heard me calling him a lazy bastard in my head.

But getting hit with this thing had to hurt:

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The week came to a colorful end on Friday at the kids’ dental checkups with what I’ll now refer to as the worst five minutes of my life.

Little M went in first. He is a total pro by now because we have been going every six months since his second birthday like clockwork. HAHA!! I couldn’t even write that without laughing. The dentist’s exact words at his last visit were “you can bring him every six months if you want, but once a year is fine.” Um, who the hell is voluntarily bringing their kid to the dentist more often than necessary?? So it was really just his second visit but I wasn’t worried because he is always an awesome patient. I honestly don’t even know how we are related, because I almost fainted in the middle of having a cavity filled recently and I’m also probably on some secret bad-patient list circulating around the medical community, Elaine Bennice-style. But I digress. My son is an awesome patient; the kid once took three staples to the head after a bad fall without blinking an eye. He rocks. Unless we are talking about cutting his toenails. Then he sucks.

Little D went next, and she’s more of an unpredictable patient. I mean, she’s not even two yet, so I knew it would be no walk in the park. But this was wayyyy worse than I could have ever imagined.

Just so you know that I’m not a monster, she had an issue with teeth staining (which turned out to be from her poly-vi-sol vitamins, FYI) and I was concerned. I probably wouldn’t have taken her to the dentist yet otherwise. I know they say to bring your baby to the dentist like when the first tooth pops out, but do people actually do that? I suspect not, because the PEDIATRIC dental assistant looked at her like she’d never seen a baby before in her life.

So I didn’t realize he was planning to physically remove the stains from her teeth right then and there until it all started happening. With sharp, scary, buzzing and whirring tools on her little, teeny, tiny, baby teeth. The dentist and I sat across from each other and held down her little flailing twenty-pound body while she screamed and cried and gagged and choked and then bit him repeatedly for about five excruciating minutes. Halfway through it I think I might have begun screaming too. When she started desperately calling out “mommy” through sad little gasps and gurgles, I think I lost my shit.

When it was all over she immediately hugged me and stopped crying, then my sweet little baby girl smiled big and said “thanks” for her new toothbrush, then waved and called “buh-bye, see you!” through big, puffy, tear-stained cheeks.

Major melting mommy moment.

As we walked out, we caught some of the annoyed-looking people in the waiting room breathing a sigh of relief to see us go. Sorry that my daughter being tortured was unpleasant to your ears, assholes. Hope you enjoy your root canals.

Oh, and he told me to have her come back in six months. Um, we’ll see.

UPDATE: It’s Saturday night and apparently the crazy week isn’t over yet. Little D just took a dirty diaper out of the garbage, opened it, and threw poop all over her bedroom.

I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

Kindergarten Basics for Moms

Well, Mommies. It’s happened. The kids are FINALLY back in school getting their ABC’s and 123’s on. Can I get a WOO-freaking-HOO????

You and I may have finished elementary school last century (literally, for most of us) but I thought I’d have a little fun taking us back to kindergarten today with a new perspective on the stuff our little ones are learning in school right now. Feel free to really get in the spirit by draining out half of a juice box and funneling in some vodka before you read on. It’s fun!

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Disclaimer: You won’t learn anything from me. You probably never will.

First, let’s learn our colors!

Red: The color you see when you’ve gone out for dinner with your friends (for the first time in six months) and come home at 10 p.m. to find your husband on the couch watching Terminator 3 with your four-year-old son, who, like his little sister, is still wide awake, fully clothed, and filthy. Oh, and the remnants of the dinner you set out on the table for everyone five hours ago are still sitting on the table, congealed leftovers and all.

Blue: The way you feel when you realize it’ll probably be another six months before you go out with your friends again.

Green: The color on your face after you leave the bathroom for thirty seconds during bathtime and come back to find a trail of turds floating around in the tub—and your daughter splashing around with them like they’re her new bath toys.

Yellow: The color leaking through your freshly-changed newborn’s diaper onto the pair of pants you just put him in for the first (and last) time, indicating that he needs another change—and bath—ASAP.

Next, we’ll do numbers!

Number 1 – This is the number of birth control pills you have to forget to take before you end up getting prematurely pregnant in your early twenties while still living with your parents and making enough money to qualify for food stamps.

Number 2 – This is the number of bites your daughter usually takes of her dinner before she tosses it over the side of her highchair.

Number 3 – This is the number of back-to-back episodes of Bubble Guppies your child watches every time your mom, sister, or best friend calls to chitchat on the phone.

Number 4 – This is how many times you have to tell your son to get dressed in the morning for school before he actually does it.

Number 5 – This is the number of times per night you get up to pee when you are pregnant. Also the minimum number of meals you eat in a day when pregnant.

Moving on to shapes!

Circle – This is the shape of the tambourine your son threw across the living room that hit your husband in the face and gave him a fat lip (which was kind of funny, although hubby didn’t think so).

Square – This is the shape of the pillows on the couch that serve no purpose except on rainy days to help build forts that you are praying the kids will stay inside of all day long.

Rectangle – This is the shape of the television that you swear to your pediatrician your kids never watch, but that in actuality brings a great amount of joy to every member of your family.

Star – This is the shape of those little pasta things you feed to your kids when they are babies that they spend five seconds eating (or spitting out) and that you then spend five hours cleaning up because the damn things are all over the house.

Diamond – This is the shape of the ridiculous rock on that bitch’s finger who gave you a dirty look when you picked up your son from school today because your two-year-old daughter accidentally stepped on her stupid, fancy Louboutins. Seriously, it’s kindergarten dismissal. Not Fashion Week at Bryant Park.

I was planning to do letters next but I think I’ve had a few too many “juice boxes.” Guess we’ll save that for another lesson.

Class dismissed!

Remembering 9/11, Today and Everyday

“This is my worst fear. It’s not keeping my students safe from terrorists, it’s knowing what to do when the Chaplain comes to take Johnny out of class because not letting the terrorists win means sometimes the good guys have to die. And those good guys have kids, and they’re sitting in my classroom.” –Tucker Elliot, The Day Before 9/11

I found this quote on the site goodreads.com like the book nerd I used to be, and it hit me pretty hard.

I was a clear-headed nineteen year old college student when the 9/11 attacks took place. I was at my home in Brooklyn and relieved to not be in school that day because my 9am journalism class was canceled for election day. I stood next to my father and held his hand as I watched each tower collapse, weeping and filled with complete terror.

Hoping to someday become a writer, I immediately took in the massive media coverage. I observed how it affected us all, and wondered how anyone could even accurately portray with words the enormity of the tragedy and chaos that was currently happening right there in my backyard.

As a New Yorker, I worried about friends and family who were in Manhattan that day, at school or at work, walking miles over bridges and desperately trying to locate loved ones while escaping the horror unfolding downtown. I was angry that someone had done this to the place I’d called home my entire life. I’d always viewed 9/11 that way, through the eyes of an angry but very, very proud New Yorker. Fellow New Yorkers will understand this, and fellow Americans will too but in a different way I suppose.

Someday many years later I’d experience memories of 9/11 in a different, new way– as the wife of a Marine and a proud supporter of our brave troops who continue to sacrifice so much in order to avenge the atrocities of that day and keep us safe from experiencing that kind of evil ever again.

Today I am a parent, and I see memories of 9/11 through yet a different set of eyes. Children losing parents– babies who will only know the person who gave them life as a face in a photograph; this is not the way it is supposed to be. As a parent who can’t even fathom not being around to witness the first steps and birthdays and graduations and weddings of these little people who are literally my EVERYTHING, it just seems so damn unfair. So senseless. So wrong.

Perhaps I’ll never stop gaining new perspective on the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001. Because everyone has a story, everyone knows exactly where they were and what they were doing; and here in New York, everybody knew somebody forced to say goodbye.

We may change and grow as people a little more in our everyday lives. But as witnesses to this catastrophic piece of our nation’s history, one thing will always remain a constant: the memory of the fallen, the bravery of the heroes, and the unity of our people as a nation will always live very deeply within the hearts of every single one of us. No one can ever take that away.

nbnjn

It’s Never Too Early to Be Annoyed By the Other Parents at School

Sitting in my son’s new classroom yesterday, my butt wedged into a tiny wooden chair designed for either a five year old or an oompaloompa, I found my mind wandering a little during the kindergarten orientation. I have a habit of people watching, and the habit was distracting me from giving Little M’s teacher my full attention.

But only a little bit! I swear I heard like 97% of what the teacher said. Teachers, please don’t kill me.

So I sat in the classroom with about twenty other people, and I chuckled to myself when I realized that I was officially part of a quintessential group of grade school parents. Some with notoriously annoying habits; a few standing out for other reasons; and still others (like me) just kind of blending in. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Head Shaker– this person shakes his or her head in sheer disgust at every word the teacher says. What? I have to pack TWO snacks per day? And put them OUTSIDE the lunchbox? Unbelievable.
  2. The Teacher – No, not your child’s teacher. This person is hell bent on ensuring that everyone, the teacher in particular, is aware that he or she also is a teacher. Look at me! I’m a teacher too! Yes, me! I know how the teacher feels!! I’m a teacher toooooooo! We get the picture, and teachers are truly wonderful people. But right now, you are a parent like the rest of us poor schmucks. Sit down.
  3. The Bad Seat Chooser – this person always feels the obnoxious need to unnecessarily sit directly in front of you, thus causing you to contort your neck uncomfortably in order to be able to see. He or she might also be partially blind, or else they would have noticed the FOUR other empty seats not directly in front of anyone they could have selected instead.
  4. The Allergy Mom – This person’s child is allergic to everything. Honestly, not judging here. Just observing. I can’t imagine what a pain in the ass it must be. Seriously I’m quite grateful that so far I’ve had no allergy issues with my kids. Just saying, there is inevitably always at least one poor anxiety-ridden and epi-pen wielding Allergy Mom in every class.
  5. The Child-Bringer – This person always brings their kids along, despite being told by the school repeatedly to leave them home. I know it’s often tough to get a sitter, and hey, I’ve been there a few times myself. But do you think that maybe you could ask your kid to quit whistling the theme song to Henry Hugglemonster while I’m trying to hear what to do in the event of a school lockdown? It’s just that it might be good to know that information one day, you know?
  6. The Bad Haircut – this person has a haircut so terrible that it’s literally distracting you from paying attention. Kate Gosselin called. She said she will trade you one of her kids for her hairdo back.
  7. The Blue Tooth – For some odd reason, this person feels the need to keep a blue tooth in their ear at all times. Are you listening to a book on tape or something? Seriously, like what’s the point? I don’t get it.  Doesn’t it bother your ear?
  8. The Stink Face – Forever looking as though they smell shit on their upper lip, this person probably couldn’t even be friendly to someone returning their lost dog. Unsurprisingly, Stink Face gave Allergy Mom the most revolting look ever when she heard that peanuts were a no-no in the classroom yesterday. Like sorry that keeping someone’s kid from going into anaphylactic shock and possibly dropping dead is an inconvenience to you, but you think you could keep the bitch face to yourself from now on?
  9. The Tattoo Guy – this person has a very large, very visible tattoo of their child’s name and birth date on his (or her) forearm. To be clear, tattoos are fine by me. But I am mentioning Tattoo Guy because I found it hilarious that he happened to be sitting next to the class birthday chart on the wall, which then caused me to nonchalantly cross-reference his tattoo with the name and date on the chart. It was totally the same date! Ha!
  10. The Dumb Question – This is the person who asks the dumb question at the end of the orientation even though the whole room is obviously dying to leave. If the school has labeled each child as either a “walker” or a “bus-rider,” then no, there is no third option for “gets driven home.” For real?? Enjoy wasting our time much?

It’s worth noting that some of the people on this list are one and the same. For example, the Head Shaker is the same person as Stink Face; the distracting bad haircut chick is also the person who sat directly in front of me; the Dumb Question also has the stupid blue tooth thingy in her ear. Basically, we can conclude that when people are annoying, they are usually annoying a multitude of ways.

So I’ve made it my business to point out those ways. And laugh. From a comfortable distance here behind my laptop. 😉

By the way, I have my first PTA meeting coming up so enjoy this post while it’s here.  It’s most likely getting deleted after I make my first “friend.”  If that actually happens, what with all this natural charm and charisma just oozing out of me…….

An Open Letter to My Allergies

Dear Allergies,

We’ve been together forever. You’ve been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Longer than I’ve known my children. Longer than I’ve known my husband. Longer than I’ve been able to purchase tissues at the pharmacy by myself.

You were with me on my first family camping trip, on multiple spring breaks and first days of school, at my outdoor college graduation ceremony, at the beginning of every pregnancy, on leisurely afternoon strolls with the baby carriage in tow and endless trips to the park with the kids.

You bring me to actual tears with every blooming flower or blade of freshly cut grass I smell; and I even sniffle a bit at the thought of us being together throughout the beautiful upcoming autumnal season of falling leaves and brightly colored trees.

For although it is very early in September and I still have one foot in summer, the other foot is already quite firmly planted in the fall. Your early arrival this year has been proof of this; it seems you simply could not stay away. I do enjoy the fall, so for the reminder of its approach, I suppose I should thank you.

But…. We need to talk.

I will put what I have to say as gently as possible, as I want you to know that the time we’ve spent together has always affected me deeply through the years and that will never change.

But I’m just going to come out and say it: I want you to go away. Far, far, away. Like, please get out of my life and never come back again. I want you on a one-way flight to the tallest field full of pollen-covered ragweed that you can find and I want you to stay there. Forever.

It’s just that I have had one runny nose and one sinus headache too many. One shortened trip to the park too many. One uncontrollable sneezing fit too many. No one even says “bless you” to me anymore. I certainly do not feel blessed during allergy season anyway.

Living next to this doesn't help.

Living next to this doesn’t help.

Quite simply, enough is enough. I’m sick of walking around with what feels like a miserable semi-permanent cold before cold and flu season even begins. I cannot spend another day foggily fighting exhaustion after taking some supposedly non-drowsy allergy medicine. And do you know how difficult it is to supervise my children through slits of puffy, barely open, watery eyes? It is even harder to prepare dinner without accidentally sneezing in it occasionally (sorry family!).

And that overpriced allergy medicine, by the way, will need to come out of the kids’ college funds soon. Between that and the half box of tissues I go through per day, I think I could afford to just pack up and move someplace that I’m not allergic to.

(Ok, you got me there. The kids have no college funds. Sounded good though, right??)

Also, well, there’s no way to say this nicely. So I’ll just come out with it. You’re not only highly obnoxious, but you are seriously embarrassing as well. Do you know what people do when they come in contact with a sniffling, red-nosed, swollen-eyed person wielding a fistful of balled up tissues? They back away. Quickly. And then they scoff at the muttered quasi-apologetic “it’s just allergies” explanation you’ve given, as though they believe you are carrying a vial of smallpox around in your back pocket.

Oh, and speaking of red noses, it wasn’t funny when classmates called me Rudolph as a child, and it isn’t funny when my own family does it now. Also, when I try to scratch my itchy throat with the back of my tongue, I’m pretty sure it sounds as though I’m clucking like a chicken. Not sexy.

Allergies, we are through. No more excuses, no more sticking around for three months at a time, no more pop-up reappearances after I think I have finally gotten you out of my system. It ends today. I want you GONE. Out of my life for good. Pack your Claritin and Kleenex and GO.

Sincerely,

Stuffed Up and Fed Up

Baby Gift Do’s and Don’ts, or Why New Parents Can Buy Their Own Diapers

I love the heck out of my sweet babies, but I don’t want any more of them. I’m done. As much fun as it is to make bottles all day and lose sleep and go broke and have no life at all, I think I’ll pass on number three. Gosh, I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself. What’s today’s date, anyway….?

Unlike me, the majority of my friends know how to use birth control properly. So while I’ve been up to my elbows in dirty diapers for over five years now, most of them are relatively new to it or haven’t even begun their adventures in permanent babysitting yet. Like many people my age, I find myself frequenting baby showers all year long.

Since I’m not planning to have any more kids, the whole baby thing is going to be a distant memory soon. So I’m putting my two cents in on baby gifts now while I still know what I’m talking about. Who knows? In a few years maybe they’ll invent a changing table that actually changes the freaking baby for you. Then obviously all of my gift suggestions will be obsolete. Until that day comes, however, refer to the list below for my two cents worth of the five best baby gift “do’s” and five worst baby gifts “don’ts.”

Disclaimer: if you ever purchased a gift featured on my “don’ts” list for me, then I apologize in advance for this reality check. I did give pause before writing this blog because I don’t want to come off unappreciative or bratty to anyone. But I think people expect (and deserve) only the most brutal honesty from my blogs. So sorry, I gotta give the people what they want!

Truthfully, I barely even still remember who got me what. I may not have even known to begin with. Pregnancy brain + a baby shower spent distractedly opening a smorgasbord of baby gifts while suppressing the urge to scarf down every plate of food in the room and then lie down on the nearest couch to take a long nap = how on earth am I going to write a bunch of personalized thank you cards after this? Brutal honesty, remember…..

Can I go eat now?

Can I go eat now?

Conversely, if you ever purchased any of the gifts off the “do’s” list for me, please disregard my last statement. I totally remember everything. Loved the gift; thanks, um, whoever you are!

Also, you’ll notice I haven’t listed any large or expensive gifts. If there’s a $400 car seat or rocking chair or baby monitor on a registry and you’re the proud grandma-to-be, it’s kind of a no-brainer. Go ahead and whip out that AmEx, granny. It’s spoiling time.

Baby Gift Don’ts:

1. Bath Robes – Yes, they are cute. Sometimes the hoods are shaped like little duck beaks or crocodile mouths, and they come with little green and yellow matching fuzzy slippers. Adorable, right? Wrong. Because a baby can’t look cute in something he NEVER wears. Nobody uses those stupid robes! Like any sane person is going to shove some wiggling, slippery infant into an annoying terrycloth robe thingy with arms and slippers and a damn tie around the waist, when you can just throw a towel around him and get it the hell over with.

2. Handmade Blankets – It’s about the sentiment, and I do get that. You’ve poured blood, sweat, and several hours of soap opera watching or subway riding into knitting the perfect, colorful, homemade baby blanket for someone’s little bundle of joy. But I have some bad news for you, Martha Stewart. You could have saved yourself a lot of time and carpal tunnel syndrome by simply marching into a Babies R Us and grabbing a package of brightly colored onesies. Because, unlike your slightly itchy blanket, those onesies will actually be worn regularly. And no one is going to feel like shit throwing them out when they’re no longer being used.

I know it sounds harsh, and occasionally you do get one you really like. Even I have ONE that I love from an old coworker whose sweet grandmother knitted my son a blanket that matched the colors of my then-deployed husband’s cammies. It would be a cold day in hell before I ever got rid of that blanket. See? I do have a heart. But seriously, don’t make a blanket for anyone. It’s really not likely to tug on anyone’s heartstrings (unless their husband is away at war or something).

3. Wrong Season/Size Baby Clothes – Little D was born at the beginning of the winter, after we had a particularly cold and snowy winter the year before. So it was no surprise that I received several snowsuits before I had her. By several, I mean FIVE. It ended up being one of the warmest winters on record here in NYC and we saw not a single inch of snow that whole year.

But I actually liked the snowsuits; they were cute and Little D did wear some of them. What I found strange was the fact that one of the snowsuits I received was a size 6-9 months. I was due at the end of November, so six months later was….. April. Nine months later…. July. Didn’t need to be a math genius to figure out that the baby wasn’t going to need a thick, fleece snowsuit at the end of spring.

For the record, I ended up donating all of those snowsuits to Hurricane Sandy victims. There’s that I heart I told you about again!

4. Infant shoes – Fact: infants don’t walk. Fact (sort of): most infants don’t like having shoes on their feet anyway. Baby shoes are good for pictures, for the first ten minutes of a party, or maybe for a trip to grandma’s house. And also for ending up in the lost-and-found at shopping malls. But that’s it. Besides, there is not a pair of shoes on earth that is cuter than a pair of tiny baby feet. Free those little piggies, I say!

5. Diapers – I know a box of diapers seems like the most practical gift ever. Babies need LOTS AND LOTS of diapers, right? How can you go wrong? Aren’t they little shit machines? Perhaps, but no baby needs multiple mega-super-giant boxes of newborn diapers. Even if a baby really poops ten times a day for their whole first month of life, that’s still only about 300 diapers. Those huge newborn diaper boxes can contain over 200 diapers each (there’s that pesky math again). Don’t ever buy anyone newborn diapers. Or even size one or size two, for that matter. Actually, just don’t buy diapers at all. Babies outgrow their diapers faster than you can say “I changed the last one, babe!” Leave the diaper-buying to the people who know how big their kid’s ass really is, and go buy a boppy pillow or something instead.

Baby Gift Do’s:

1. Sippy Cups – Seems so simple and easy to buy sippy cups as a gift, or at least as an add-on to a gift. Yet people rarely seem to do it. Kids use sippy cups much longer than baby bottles. I admit that Little M is five and still uses them. You might think that’s a bad idea, but I think my couch has less orange juice stains than yours. So there. Now go buy someone a sippy cup.

And make sure it’s Disney, because they always have only two pieces to wash. You’re welcome, if you didn’t know that little tidbit of info already.

2. Books/Toys/DVD’s – This is another one I don’t see enough of. The mom-to-be will receive at least five of those little play mats or gyms or whatever Fisher Price is calling them these days, but the baby will probably spend fifteen total minutes laying like a blob on the floor and staring blankly up at the spinning octopus light or flapping butterfly wings before space in the house gets tight and the useless things end up in storage for the next kid to never use. Save the $75 they audaciously charge for a glorified floor mat and buy some Little Einstein toys that the baby will actually enjoy playing with eventually.

Books are great too. It might shock you because I rarely give myself an ounce of credit as a decent parent, but I am a huge advocate of introducing books as early as possible. My baby shower for Little D was actually book-themed. I’m kind of a book nerd. Well, I was before I had kids (and this blog) and had time to read, as well as the ability to get through a whole page without falling asleep immediately. But I think books are straight up awesome and kids should always have a bunch of them at home. I definitely don’t read to my kids as often as I should (and there goes my parenting credit), but I do know that it’s pretty helpful when you do.

Oh, and DVD’s also make really good gifts. I love me some Laurie Berkner, she is the true baby whisperer. If you’ve never heard of her and have a baby around that occasionally needs some shutting up, check her out. She’s like musical Benadryl for babies.

3. Baby Wipes – Diapers are a no-no, but baby wipes are a yes-yes. I’m not telling you to go gift-wrap a box of baby wipes or anything, but if you do I can promise that your gift will be more useful than about 80% of the other shit the mom-to-be will get at her shower. Just add the wipes to your gift or toss them in the wishing well. Or screw it, buy a giant box at Costco and wrap it up after all. She won’t be disappointed. It’s impossible to have too many baby wipes; see here for more of my thoughts on that.

4. Quality Thermometer – This is another underrated item that will be used over and over again for years to come. No mom should ever be without a really great thermometer. Kids are germy little virus-transmitters who get sick like a hundred times per year. If the thermometer on the registry is not the best model in the store, go ahead and buy her the better one anyway. She can just return the shitty one. In my experience, crappy thermometers are always breaking or giving the wrong temperature when you really need them to be accurate. Mom-to-be will thank you someday when her kid’s head feels so hot you could bake a casserole on it.

5. Pajamas – I am one pajama-lovin’ mama. I’m a firm believer that pajamas are always a perfect gift for anybody, young or old. And babies? Are in pajamas ALL THE TIME. I mean, if it were socially acceptable to walk around in footie pajamas, wouldn’t you wear them all the time too? Sure, it’s fun to dress the baby up in one of her 2,000 adorable outfits just to run to the pharmacy for more diaper cream and Diet Coke, but those pj’s are just going right back on within ten minutes of coming home. Basically, pajamas are cheaper than regular clothes and will be used wayyyyy more; it’s a total win-win.

So there you have it, my baby gift do’s and don’ts list. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I missed something? Are pissed because you gave me a handmade baby blanket once? Leave a comment and let me know!