Baby racket - the price we pay, literally

We just went to Hollis' one-year check-up and vaccination appointment. He's growing normally in all points, including weight, which means that we have to upgrade to a new car seat. Usually, at 20 lbs or 1-year old you can switch your baby around to face forward. Rear facing car seats are not equipped to do this, so that means you have to get a new one.

But if your baby is sort of in a gray area (20 lbs, but not a year old, a year old, but under-weight, etc.) then you need a convertible car seat. Or, maybe you're listening to the new experts who say that keeping your baby rear-facing for as long as possible (i.e. as long as he'll stand it) is really the safest for him and so that convertible car seat is your only option due to aforementioned weight-restrictions.

And the reason you didn't get a convertible car seat in the first place is because they're generally not very good for infants with floppy necks and you can't take them into a restaurant with you or use in some sort of travel-stroller system. Oy.

So, I've been researching convertible car seats which will be good for up to 65 lbs in some cases. Of course, the highest parent- and safety-rated one is over $200. OF COURSE. And as a parent, you feel like the biggest turd if you try to cut corners when it comes to your kids safety. Buying clothes at the consignment store? No biggie. Going the cheapest route possible on a car seat? Not cool. Oh, so not cool.

I try so hard to reconcile our one-income lifestyle with the growing needs of Hollis (and our future baby, whenever that happens). I research almost every purchase to death. Comparison shop, do the eBay thing, Craigslist, hand-me-downs, and I've hunted down the most obscure little online stores known to man just to save $5. But I still feel like I'm being robbed and I'm somehow and accomplice in it.

Five minutes after the first picture was taken. He loves that cupboard we keep full of things that are safe for him to play with.

I can't keep up with all the new gadgetry necessary. Although, I am doing my best to resist a constant buying pattern on crap. However, I splurged on some toys for Hollis' first birthday that I otherwise would never have gotten. I have been of the opinion that "flash" is for adults, not babies, but he overwhelmingly is drawn to all things with noise and lights and my old tupperware was fast losing its appeal. So, what was I to do? I went and bought him a little kitchen to put in his safe-zone in my kitchen. It has all the bells and whistles, literally, and songs and music and lights and the coolest kitchen sounds imaginable. He loves it in there and he will play and play in there while I cook dinner. - I like to imagine we're both cooking together! -

I also got him a noisy wobbly-ball thingy that makes noises and a little travel piano. If it weren't for his grandparents those would be the only modern toys he had!

I think one positive thing about being pretty isolated from other parents is I don't have a keep-up-with-the-Jones' complex. I don't have any idea what the Jones are doing to entertain their 12 month old, you know? I have an idea from the gym day care (did you know that they have these baby-swing things that infants just love and they sleep and sleep in them? Or these weird little dome thingies that a non-mobile baby will just stare at for an hour without moving or crying?? - yeah, me neither). And my friend, Les, with the twin girls, she also has a ton of cool stuff. Her house looks like tot's fantasy playland! So I've gotten some idea from her, too.

Anyway, I've been on a PBS kick lately and have been Netflixing all their documentaries where they take a 21st century family or group and put them in another time period and watch what happens. The kids always hate it at first (no TV, video games, etc.), but by the time they leave, without exception, every kid is amazed to realize they had fun without all those things and will miss the games they played when they only had their imagination and two hands.

That's what I want for Hollis. I want to be careful to not always buy the easy toy/gadget/whatever. Obviously, there's a line to be drawn, as I said before. I guess I've had to learn when to splurge and when to scrimp. I think I'm doing the right things, but it's definitely a learn-as-you-go kind of thing. It'd be great if money were no object, but I hate to say that, let alone think it, because money IS an object and always will be. So, let me amend that by saying, it'd be great if I could, with good conscience, be really irresponsible with my money and buy whatever I wanted for whatever reason. Ha!

Until then, it's Goodwill, eBay, and the occasional splurge on a high-end safety item for me!

1 comment:

  1. A) Cooking dinner together?! What a great scene!

    B) I think you're totally right about there being a baby racket. Like they can get away with jacking up the price because a guilty parent is a parent who will fork over the dough?

    Perhaps it might make you feel better about that 200 bones if you reason that it's an investment to be spread over more than one child? I know, it's not better.