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Baby Stuff

Jenny Feldon

I’m a little superstitious about preparing for the new baby too far in advance. Not as superstitious as my mom, who insists she won’t buy a thing until she sees the whites of #2’s eyes, but enough to put off dealing with the nursery until I felt reasonably sure we’d make it to the home stretch. At almost 33 weeks, I’m finally ready to clear the junk of out of the “office,” brave the storage closet, and get #2’s room ready for his homecoming in December.

Wow. We have a lot of baby stuff. This is one of the best things about having a second child; all the major paraphernalia is in place already. Mechanical swing, bouncy seat, high chair, infant car seat. All good to go, and in remarkably good condition. There are also books, sensory toys, rattles and teethers. It’s embarrassing to see how often I fell victim to consumer madness when it came to “must have” baby things. Someone should have stopped me long before we acquired seventeen different sets of stacking cups. Did we really need every stretchy, brightly-colored crackling, squeaky dangling thing ever made? Needless to say, we’re pretty well stocked. There’s just one problem. E has seen her baby stuff appear from hiding—and she wants it all back.

“I don’t want this to go in Brother’s room,” she whined when her pink (sorry, #2) bouncy seat emerged from the closet. “This is MY seat.” The Whoozit she snubbed dozens of times when I desperately waved its cute googly eyes in her face? Fascinating. Sophie the Giraffe? Her new best friend. And the teethers she used to throw across the room in disgust? Delicious.

Forget the age-appropriate, developmentally challenging toys that are scattered all over the living room. Forget the big kid books she loved last week, like Knuffle Bunny and The Lorax and The Enormous Crocodile. We’re back to reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar…over and over again. Board books about colors or animal noises are also in the rotation. I knew I was going to have to go backwards with another baby in the house. I just didn’t realize we’d be starting before he even arrived.

E’s new favorite seat in the house is the Bumbo (another item she hated as an infant.) Should a two-year-old even fit in a Bumbo? Maybe I’m not feeding her enough. We use her stroller, on average, about once a month—I’d been planning to swap out the regular seat for the infant car seat adaptor since she wails every time we make here ride in it, anyway. But now I’m afraid—because that’s “hers” too. Let’s face it, almost everything  that needs to go into #2’s new room was hers. He’s got his own bookcase, a new carpet, and a blue elephant doll I just couldn’t resist. The rest of it was E’s. And if she vetoes all of it moving into Brother’s room, he’s going to be left with nothing. Or we’re going to be broke.

Thank goodness we decided, after much agonizing, to buy a new crib. I didn’t procrastinate on that one; it’s already in the room and fully assembled. Seeing E’s reaction to the transfer of possessions makes me even more certain that letting her keep her crib was absolutely the right decision. That, and the fact that I routinely leave her in there playing with her toys while I take a shower in the mornings…

Will E get over her “mine mine mine” attitude about her old baby stuff? I can understand where she’s coming from; a lot of changes are happening in her world and it’s got to be hard to deal with it all when you’re only two. Especially since I’m having a difficult time myself, and I’m several decades ahead of her. But in the meantime, what am I supposed to do to cushion the blow? The idea was for E to get used to seeing all the infant stuff around the house, not commandeer it for her own personal use…Help!