Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

Baby Gift Madness: Preying on Pregnancy - Helping Dads (Help Moms) to Draw the Line Between Wants and Needs

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 Let's face it, shopping with an expectant mother is like shopping with a toddler- they grab everything in sight, not having a clue what they want, and you just try to quietly put things back on the shelves when they're not looking. It's a battle you can't possibly win. The truth is your wife sees a new baby as an excuse to go on a shopping spree, and she can sit there with her innocent little "who me?" smile and tell you that I'm wrong, but she knows I'm right and if somebody doesn't step in and stop the insanity, soon (i.e. NOW), it's going to get ugly.

Giving a pregnant woman what I like to call "found money" (you can call it baby shower or registry gifts if you like) is like giving a kid a squirt gun and asking him to use self-control. Not bloody likely.... The key is to show her the error of her ways- and, no, you're not the right "guy" for the job. It takes a woman to know one, so you're going to have to fight fire with fire (or irrationality with slightly older, more mature irrationality). If your wife is the first of her friends, or the first of her siblings to have a child, well, you're screwed, but if she has older friends or an older sister with older kids then you can leverage those relationships to your advantage. I'm not saying older is wiser, I'm just saying "older" learned their lesson when the baby registry money ran out and they had to start forking out their own cash to pay for the real expenses of having a child; "older" wishes they could go back in time and talk some sense in to their younger self;  and, most importantly, "older" has no problem telling your wife what to do.

"It comes in sterling silver and 24 karat gold...."
 Look, it's not like the clerk at the local baby store's gonna do it. Her job is to help your wife spend all of that baby shower money in one place so it all shows up at your house on one huge tractor trailer, already assembled (for an extra charge) so you never have to worry about buying anything "baby" related every again. Nice Fantasy for the clerk as she hands your wife the scanning gun from hell and sets her loose in the store, but a nightmare for you when you realize your wife ordered a $1500.00 stroller that no one wants to buy her, and you're gonna have to fork over the cash for something you could have purchased for half the price.

No matter what she says, your wife doesn't NEED anything (other than a few select necessities that need not break the bank- clothing, crib, change table, stroller, car seat, bassinet, diapers, wipes, toiletries, to name a few) but she WANTS everything. Sounds like your wedding, doesn't it? Actually, it's a lot F-ING worse. So here's a list of all the s@#! you actually need, a list of stuff you'll never need, and a list of things you can ask other people to get you with the caveat that it'll probably sit in a box in the basement until you decide to sell it for a quarter at your next garage sale.

Bare Necessities 4 Baby:

As I said before, it is best to seek the advice of someone who has been in your shoes, learned their lesson and wants to help you before you make the same mistakes (as a couple). Of course, opinions are like certain orifices (starting with an "A")- everybody's got one, and most people are talking out of it. So, choose wisely.  This will help you get a clue:

Don't Even Think of Scanning That!:

Here's a list of things you either won't need (see baby wipe warmer), or just won't need til much later on. Consult your "expert," and when in doubt err on the side of caution (i.e. leave the store before they can talk you in to scanning any more sh@#)!

The Garage Sale Pile:

Here's a list of things most couples put on their "baby gift" wish lists that only come back to bite them in the butt. Ask for them at your own peril, knowing if you just asked for cash you would have saved $400 in diapers before your kid reached a year. (On second thought, forget the cash, just ask for diapers...).

  • Embroidered blankets with your kid's name on them- you'll get ten, use one, and only be able to re-gift to kids with the same name and gender
  • Clothing- request (via email) that no one buy clothing as gifts as you have more hand-me-downs than you can handle. This isn't true, but it will save you from receiving clothing you wouldn't feel comfortable giving to a charity... for blind kids. 
  •  Books - you'll get a ton of these used, why bother asking people to buy them new? Too many just make your kid's playroom a fire hazard, and your budget for getting necessities smaller.  
  • Digital Picture Frames - you know you're just going to post them on Facebook!?!
  • Toys-  that's what first birthday parties and grandparents are for. Everyone else should be directed to help you to buy the big ticket items you need, but can't afford. My kid played with a can of pinto beans for the first three months of her life, I'm sure yours won't need a $100 playset.
Note: Anyone who doesn't get you a gift by the third week after your child is born, probably never will, but will mention it every single time you see them- "Oh, I left your gift at home again...Next time?" Have fun with them buy calling them and inviting them to your house to see the baby... daily.

And there you have it. In the words of my Grade 11 Law teacher, "Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer Beware," and don't take "sh@#" from nobody!!! (Unless they're letting you buy wholesale...)

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