Thursday, September 29, 2005

Top ten list

Every baby book always has a list of “must-have” baby items, like the porta crib or the changing table pad, but there are always several essentials left off this list, and so I’d like to start my own list of “stuff you’d never see on such a list, but which is every bit as essential.”

1. A singing duck. Yes, you read that right. Not only do I not mind a toy that sings (in this case “singin’ in the rain”) but I treasure it, as it is the only thing that allows me to get clothing on my son. I lay him on the changing table; he cries. I grab the duck, start the song and sing along with it, and soon he’s laughing and no longer appears interested in reporting my arm-manipulating onesie-putting-on techniques to the human rights commission.
2. A short haircut. Sure, if you don’t have kids, you say you’ll never have “mommy hair.” We all did. But after dealing with hair-pulling and maintenance issues, most of us cave.
3. At least one dog or cat, preferably more than one in case the primary pet is not being cooperative and you need a spare.
4. Servants. Preferably a laundress and a dishwasher. And someone to clean up after pets (see #3).
5. An automatic coffee maker. Okay, we don’t actually have one of these, and the only thing I can think is…why not?
6. Ziploc baggies, all sizes. You need them for snacks, to pack out haz-mat diapers, changes of clothes, and storing keepsakes you really mean to do something with one day. They are the underlying theme behind what little organization in my house exists: somewhere, there is a baggie for everything (and everything in its baggie.)
7. Nicknames. Yes, these are the perfect passive-aggressive tools for chiding your infant’s behavior without hurting feelings. We call Davis “Mavis” when he’s being particularly grumpy, and this semantic exercise allows us to pretend that we simply have a high-maintenence guest and we only have to deal with him until Davis returns. Lest you think we are ganging up on my son, my husband as I also have similar names for each other. He’s “Ray” instead of Jay and in a moment of sparkling mediocrity, I came up with “Meff” for myself. If you want to complain, please direct all comments to Mefanie.
8. The numbers of local Chinese food, pizza and other takeout restaurants. Add “a driver” to # 4. Heck, also add “a gardener to tend the money tree” while you’re at it.
9. High-speed internet. Pictures, movies, blogging, emergency baby-item purchasing. Totally essential.
10. Girlfriends. Preferably ones that either have kids themselves or don’t mind your droning on about yours, but you gotta have girlfriends. At the risk of sounding like a chain letter or a sappy Hallmark card, I will say that girlfriend are your cheerleaders and confidants, and sometimes, if you have amazing friends like mine, they also bring you lunch. They let you complain about whatever annoying thing that happened to you today at the grocery store without once pointing out that there are people like the Katrina victims who would be happy to have a house to keep clean and a table to have to put food on, and when you tell them something awful you’ve done, they’ve always done something at least equally bad. They don’t think you’re a selfish slob because you watch TV instead of doing something wholesome like joining a book club or baking pies for the elderly, and they always have extra wipes/diapers/baby distractors/chocolate.

Okay, so the next post might be something along the lines of “crap they said you’d need for a baby and yet never used.” Please feel free to add to this present list or make suggestions for the next one in the comments section!