I get it, second time parents have a lot of baby shit already. Not the brown smelly kind of shit, but you know, pacifiers and diaper bags and bottles and little socks and onesies and all the other crap that goes along with having an infant. All the stuff that takes up 2/3 of the space in the car when you go on a trip somewhere foreign, like Wal-Mart. Because if you have a kid you know that at some point leaving the house required as much equipment and planning as a summit of Everest.
So, I understand that second-time parents might not need more of that stuff. What do they need? Diapers for one, because babies shit a lot. Liquor, for dad because he has to put up with another kid screaming for the next two years. Ritalin, because based on what I know of Elementary school kids, Ritalin is a LOT easier than parenting, especially when there’s two or more of them. iPads, because no one wants to share their iPad, and sometimes its hard to remember to clear the history.
So a relative of mine is having a second kid. We stopped at one, because one was the deal. No way in Hell was I going through that again. The announcements to friends and family, the buildup to the birth, the hormones, the hospital bills, the 327 doctor visits, the birth, the hospital bills, the sleepless nights, colic, illnesses, constant bottle washing, expensive formula, buying completely new wardrobes every six months…
NO! I was NOT starting over. After my kid was born I got fixed. One and Done. Best, Operation, Ever. And we had it EASY. Facebook wasn’t invented yet. Now you’re expected to chronicle every aspect of your pregnancy. Cutesy gag-me pictures of the happy parents, time lapse photos of mom standing in one spot in the same pose every week getting bigger and bigger, showing off all the baby shower goodies, the silly “hands shaped like a heart over the big belly” closeup. It just never ends. It’s hard enough being a working parent without making a constant documentary of the pregnancy.
My wife gets this party invitation the other day in the mail. I can tell its a party invitation immediately. First of all, it’s from someone we don’t know. Whenever you get a card-shaped letter in the mail from someone you don’t know or haven’t heard from in years, it’s best to just throw it away without opening it. It’s usually an invitation to something, and introverts like me prefer to avoid those things. Weddings, Funerals, College graduations, Baby and Bridal showers, stuff like that. Second, there’s this mistaken idea that lots of women have that says, “If you get an invitation to something, that means they expect you to send a gift.”
My thoughts are, if you GO, you take the gift, but surely no one expects a gift for just INVITING you? Your gift is your ticket in, and that’s it. According to my wife, that’s not how it works, “If you get an invitation, you’re supposed to send a gift.” I asked her why don’t we just start sending invitations to random people west of the Mississippi, and see what kind of gifts we get?
She fails to follow my instructions, and instead of tossing the unopened card into the burn box, she opens it. Now she’s committed. She can’t say, “I never got that card”, or “I had no idea I was missing such an important life changing event taking place on one of my only days off on the weekend.” Now we have to deal with it. Drive 45 minutes out of the way, waste several hours, and drive 45 minutes home. Yes, it’s a baby shower. But not just ANY baby shower. It’s a “Books and Diaper Party”. Remember what I said about second-time parents having all the baby stuff? Apparently they want to make sure they don’t get more of the same.
But this makes it really inconvenient on the party-goers. How do you invite someone to something but give them a shopping list? “Hey my bachelor party is next week, make sure you only bring Redheaded strippers, no blondes!”
And I know it’s not the parent’s fault, it’s the party planner’s doing. But for what she spent on the invitation, she probably could have bought a good deal of books and diapers herself. There was a fold-out die-cut diaper in three color ink, with a thin opaque paper insert with a little flower gem at the top, with a couple of different colors of ink. I want to take it down to the printers in town and say, “How much to make this?” Because I’m sure it wasn’t cheap.
But as shopping goes, books are easy. We have a kid, I’m sure we can find some old books around the house to give up. There’s also Amazon, which has some great children’s books, like
Go the F*ck to Sleep
That’s not your mommy any more: A zombie tale
K is for Knifeball – an alphabet of terrible advice
And of course, a big box of Cloth Diapers. Because nothing says disgusting like washing poo-coated cloths in the same washer as your work clothes. Everyone you pass will be well aware you have a child at home or in the car in the mall parking lot.