I am that friend who doesn’t shop off your gift registry.

So you’re having a baby shower. Cool. You made a registry? How cute. I made one too when I was pregnant. I registered for nothing I needed. Hear that? NOTHING. I thought I knew what I was in for when C was still on the inside. I insisted that my maternal intuition kicked in the moment implantation occurred and that I knew what I needed to be prepared for Wee Cee. I registered for gadgets and gizmos aplenty. My Target registry had whosits and whatsits galore. But those baby thingamabobs are now collecting dust after having been used maybe once, twice tops. So here’s what I’ll be bringing you to your baby shower. You can thank me later.

We finally had to retire this adorable outfit. RIP polka dot sailor dress.

We finally had to retire this adorable outfit. RIP polka dot sailor dress. Into the box it goes and ziiiiip with the tape.

1. A roll of clear packing tape 

Murphy’s Law is the prevailing rule of babydom. You’ll buy your child tons of sturdy board books, but she’ll become obsessed with the big-kid paper books. This is Truth. She’ll love them so much that she’ll want to destroy them. Hence the tape. I’m sure you’ll find other uses for it too, like packing up all the clothes she grows out of. *Sniff.*

2. Adult diapers

Not to scare you or anything, but after you give birth, things will be a little disastrous down there for awhile. Eventually, you will run out of the Tucks pads they give you at the hospital. That’s why when the baby shower is winding down, I am going to be discrete and pull you aside and gift you a pack of these things. You’ll look at me in horror and wonder what the frack is wrong with me that I have confused baby diapers for adult diapers. But when the baby has arrived, you’ll be glad you have them, and you’ll be even gladder you didn’t have to buy them yourself. You’ll be glad you have me: your adult diaper friend. Also, I will be able to put “Adult Diaper Friend” on my resume. We all win.

3. A bag of ground coffee

Coffee, because duh. Now, I could buy you a giftcard to Starbucks, but that assumes that you have the wherewithal to get up, get dressed, get the baby dressed, pack said baby into her carseat, hope that she doesn’t throw a tantrum when she tires of her car toy, and then recall the esoteric code for “double whip skinny caramel macchiato latte with an entire chocolate bar on top” that you’re forced to recite once you get to the coffee shop. So here’s some beans. Let’s cut out the middle man.

4. A vinyl tablecloth

I suppose you could use this tablecloth for nesting. However, putting a cloth over the table once the baby arrives is about as high on my priority list as ironing my husband’s socks. So yeah, ain’t gonna happen. Put it down as a tarp under the baby’s highchair. That way, when you do get around to having a fancy-schmancy candlelit meal with other grownups, you won’t have to get down on all fours and shampoo pureed squash and peas out of the carpet.

5. A CD I burned of all my our favorite kid songs

Parenthood is a series of concessions, but the music you and your kid listen to together does not need to be one of them. I am a good friend so I have suffered through the horrible, mind-numbing stuff for you. I thumbed-down all the junk on the kids stations on Pandora and got to the root of the good music for you. Here is the fruit of my labor presented to you in a jewel case. It may look shabby, but I guarantee that one listen and you won’t be pulling your hair out or waking in the middle of the night with all ninety-seven verses of “The Green Grass Grew All Around” stuck in your head.

6. An outfit sized 18 months

Clothes are the bread and butter of the baby shower, but it seems like all of them are for when the baby is an itty bitty. That’s why I’m giving you a brand-new outfit for when your kid is bigger. By the time she’s 18 months, you will have discovered the joys of the thrift store, hand-me-downs, and baby consignment. And while we love heavily-discounted used bargains, we like new things too, so here’s a cute outfit for when your baby is a little older.

7. A giant decorative box

You’ve already heard that babies like to play with simple toys, so yours will get a kick out of playing with this one if that’s how you chose to use it. However, this box is really for you. It’s for when you want to clean up but not really (read: all the time). Take all the random crap the baby has strewn around the house in the span of a day and dump it in the box to be put away later. Outta mind, outta sight.

8. A really trendy necklace

Babies love your stuff. You can try to give them a kid substitute, but they will thwart you. C was totally unimpressed when I got her a little plastic baby keyring to substitute for my own filthy set of keys, which she was obsessed with. That’s why I’m giving you a really trendy, cheesy piece of jewelry. By the time Tim Gunn says it’s impossible to make it work any more, you can hand it off to the kid, who, by this point, has developed a sizable fixation on it.

Guess which one she still wanted to play with.

Guess which one she still wanted to play with.

What is something you wish you had been given before you had kids?


  1. A wipe warmer. My mother thought I was crazy when I said I didn’t want/need one, but then bought me one when Logan was a couple months old. Let me tell you – I hate changing those poopy diapers when I DON’T have the warmed wipes. Fact: warm wipes help take poop off better.

    1. I have heard that the wipe warmers are a load of crap (bad pun intended) but I never thought about how much easier wiping poop would be if they were slightly heated. That is a good one! If we go for round two I will have to consider getting one!

      1. I miss it when I don’t have it (especially now that he eats anything and everything in sight…). Best $17. Ever.

      2. wipe warmers are great for baby boys. for some reason they don’t mind a warm wipe coming at their junk and are less likely to pee all over you!

  2. Your gift suggestions are excellent! They are all very practical things that a new mother does not realize she will need but will actually come in very handy in her life as a mom. The 18 months clothes are especially useful. I actually got clothes from some of my friends in that size and boy, did I learn to appreciate them! My daughter was a preemie but she grew so fast! She was very long and skinny and her legs stuck out of everything in no time at all. I had to take in everything to fit, however. You’re right. You don’t need a bunch of gadgets.

    1. Gadgets are fun BEFORE the baby is born and you’re like, “Wow! How cool!” But then, once she baby arrives, they quickly lose their novelty. It is insane how fast they grow, indeed! Right now C has mostly grown out of all her pants and I keep insisting that they’re capri pants since they come to her ankles :D

  3. I wish I’d had the bibs that fold up and catch things. It made going out to restaurants (or eating at home) a whole helluva lot easier to clear up. We were 3 months in before realizing that those pretty, cute, adorable, kitschy, BLA BLA BLA baby bibs were useless. Once we did realize though, I bought a few of those, and saved countless outfits and social occasions. NOW, here’s something I wish someone had told me: feed your baby in his/her diaper (at home). Pretty clothes are for being seen. If you’re at home, no one needs to see your spawn being impeccably dressed.

    1. WORD. We save all the pretty things for outings. Most of the time, she just wears a onesie and some cotton pants at home. And I totally agree with you about the scoop bibs. I really need to get some of those because the seat of her highchair is truly disgusting.

  4. May I also suggest a giant grocery bag full of empty toilet paper and paper towel holders?

    1. YES YES YES! For her birthday, we are going to let her go to town on her very own roll of TP. She is obsessed with it.

      1. I am so pleased for all the attention you have gotten for this post. Why? Because I love to be validated. Last February I was getting in SO MUCH BIG TROUBLE for even THINKING about getting you things not on your registry, even though I knew so many thins on registries are not used. In the end I think I did as I was told. But now I am vindicated, Muah hah hah!

  5. The adult diapers. Why does no one believe me when I tell them that they will stand up and urine will flow out of their body? That their pelvic floor will be on the floor? You are a good friend, indeed. Note, they also need a plain old wastebasket because mummified diapers is just gross. Make it small so those dopes get out of the house quickly.

    1. We are all in denial about the “accidents” that occur during those first postpartum weeks. Luckily, it’s brief enough that it’s now a distant memory for me. Now I’ve just got a bunch of adult dipes stashed under my bathroom sink as a grim reminder of those first days. Whenever I want to have another baby, I just glance at them. It is excellent birth control.

  6. Ok, clearly meant the dipes get out of the house, but you probably don’t want dopes in your house either.

  7. I am singing The Green Grass Grows all around now :) After about four weeks of potty training, I think my gift would be a giant bag of M&M’s and a gift card for carpet and couch cleanings. Funny post…so much of the stuff on the registry is useless.

    1. That is a great tip about the potty training gear! As we get closer to potty time (not to be confused with “party time”; actually, they’re interchangeable) I will be sure to stock up on the candy and the cleaners. You can never be too prepared.

  8. Adult diapers… What? No, no. Don’t tell me. I don’t think I want to know, yet. I’ve gotten someone’s kid the 18 month sized outfit. Those infant onesies that are adorable and cost $30 will only fit for roughly half a day. People don’t realize I’m thinking ahead!

    1. You are a good friend! I can assure you that once their baby has grown, they are so grateful that you gave them a cute outfit to dress the baby up in!

      And no, you for sure don’t want to know about the diaper thing. Block it from your mind that I ever mentioned it ;)

  9. Agreed about the larger outfits. Apparently when buying clothes for a baby, many people assume that the baby is never going to grow.

    1. I know, right? I felt really bad when people bought super expensive frilly outfits in a newborn size for her. She was able to wear them for all of two days.

  10. Do we get bonus points for catching the “Little Mermaid” reference?

    1. Your score just went up by about 20 points. Such is my life now that I reference Disney princesses in blog posts.

      1. Yup. I pretty much know the entire 1989-2002 Disney canon by heart.

    2. Dude, I totally caught that too and started singing.
      Keep the Disney references coming, Em.

      1. That’s not commenting. That’s stalking with style!

        1. ….slimy yet satisfying.

          1. Nailed it. (Not a quote, just an opinion.)

      2. I just got The Fox and the Hound and The Jungle Book for C for her birthday, so you can expect lots of references to those in her second year.

        1. Niiice.
          …just take a glance at the fancy ants, and maybe try a few!

          1. I effing LOVE that song.

    3. Curly Carly · · Reply

      I was totally singing that in my head!

      1. I think there’s a “Love Bug” reference somewhere in paragraph three.

  11. Where were you at my baby shower?

    1. Probably scoffing at the idea that I would ever wear adult diapers myself before I reached the age of 82.

      1. I had a C-section so I didn’t need the adult diapers – but I would have wanted the coffee and I love packing tape – I keep a tape gun in the kitchen and use it for everything…

  12. When I saw the picture of Cee, I about flipped my shit because I thought she was dressed like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Then, after about half a second, I calmed down, actually looked at the picture, and realized I was projecting. But now I need to find a Stay Puft outfit for Squatch.

    1. Check your Twitter. I aim to please.

  13. Em, the world of mothers need to see your gift list. I hope you are putting these types of hilarious, wonderful accounts in some kind of binder. I’m serious — I love your “voice” and some of these (and I’m not even a mother) made me laugh out loud. I’m seriously sorry about that adult diaper thing.

    1. Thanks, Brig! I just found out that this post is going to be featured on BlogHer Moms today so I am pretty excited. More importantly, I’m thrilled that an even wider audience of people will know that I have worn adult diapers. I am all about instilling a sense of humility in my adorable offspring.

  14. You are a total genius! I have friends who are expecting a littl’un in July and hadn’t even thought what to get them. I shall get all of these things and pack them into the large decorative box so the adult diapers aren’t lying around for new Mum to be embarrassed about. Baby shower presents sorted! Thank you x

    1. I am so glad I could be of some assistance!

  15. Oh so you’re an asshole? – my immediate snarky response after seeing the title

    What are the kinds of things people usually do put on their registries? I don’t know anyone with kids and even if I did I doubt they’d involve me in their lives any further. At best I could be a good crazy uncle who nobody knows much about.

    Not only do these items seem simple, they also are probably a lot cheaper than the things most people expect to receive.

    1. Your immediate reaction is probably right when it comes to many other aspects of my persona. For instance, my Facebook page today?

      People (ie, I) put really dumb things on those registries. There are baby bath towels (just use the ones you already have), baby food makers (just use your food processor and a $1 steaming basket), and thermometers for the baby’s bathwater (just stick your hand under the faucet.) Look at all this knowledge I am imparting to you, Tim!

  16. Love that outfit! We had it, too. I was megabummed when it was retired. :)

    1. Even if we never have another baby girl, I will never be able to get rid of it. It’s so adorable.

  17. My future uterus thanks you for this.

    1. Don’t you have a uterus now? ;)

      1. Indeed I do, thank goodness.
        But right now, it’s unoccupied.
        So I guess my future occupied uterus thanks you.

        1. Mine is unoccupied too! Let’s do a happy dance together.

  18. A live-in nanny. Getting sleep in 90 minute increments was something horrible. But this list is amazingly accurate, and I agree with it all except for the adult diaper part, because I obviously would never know what that’s like, but I’m sure you’re right.

    1. AMEN on the nanny. I doff my cap to you twin parents because I honestly don’t know you get any sleep at all when they’re really small.

      1. We didn’t…

  19. I’ve been to a few baby showers and — even before I had kids — was shocked and awed at all the crap people bought for expecting parents. I *never* thought sparkly nailpolish was a mommy necessity “when you need to feel special.” When do you ever have time to put it on? I also caught on to the 18 month old clothing pretty quick — that’s all I buy for new moms now — and was again shocked to hear someone at the shower say, “When is the baby ever going to wear that?” Good post.

    1. Dude, what is the deal with the nail polish???? Someone gave that to me too when I was pregnant! I truly don’t understand. I mean, for the fumes alone! Thanks, Tania!

  20. This is awesome, and duly noted! Also, you are hilarious. And congratulations on being featured!!

    1. Thanks! I would also like to add that we used EVERYTHING you gave us at the shower. You are a smart baby shopper ;D

  21. You are a good friend. No one…no one prepared me for the situation downtown after baby.

    1. I forgot to put stool softeners on the list, but I think that may be going a little too far.

  22. I wish I knew you when I was expecting because you are spot on with all your baby shower gifts!! :-)

    1. I am merely an expert at getting people to buy me things ;D

  23. Gift for the toddler and up parent: a plumber’s snake. There will be things tossed down the sink and toilet which can be pretty spendy to remove. A plumber’s snake costs about 15 bucks and will pay for itself ten-fold the first time you don’t have to call a plumber.

    1. I am actually extremely glad you suggested that because my daughter just started walking and therefore all our plumbing is at risk. I will pick one up the next time I’m out!


    1. I will see if I can make you a playlist ;D You are not the only person who has asked.

      1. OMG PLEASE. And no Laurie fucking Berkner. I can’t stand her.

  25. At first I was kinda upset with you for putting, “Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat…” in my head, and then you had to go all “The green grass grows all around and around” on me! What are you trying to do to my poor brain?
    Anyway – along with the diaper thing, or perhaps in lieu of the adult diaper thing – my midwife was amazing and had me get some super maxi pads, upwrap them, squirt some witch hazel on them, put them in a freezer bag, and shove ’em in the freezer for use those first few days. OH MY WORD! Tucks pads ain’t got nothin’ on those things! Your mama-to-be-friends will thank you if you pass on the advice. :)
    And two of Doodle’s favorite toys for the longest time were an old cell phone and a set of random keys.

    1. That witch hazel trick is something I really wish I had tried! If I ever have another wee one I will for sure try that!

      C was totally fixated on my phone so when my mom came to visit a couple weeks ago, she brought her an old cell phone that she was no longer using. It has been an absolute godsend for when we’re out in public and I need to change her diaper on one of those god forsaken changing tables. She loves it!.

  26. Seriously, those are great gifts! But you forgot one – a t-shirt with a nice bold print to hide the breast milk leakage when you go ou tin public. I told everyone I knew who had babies after me “Get print tops.” They latter thanked me and told me I was so right!

    1. That is really true! I completely forgot about the leakage once when I was out, which was tons o’ fun when I realized I was wearing a cotton blouse. Oops.

  27. Curly Carly · · Reply

    This is so cute! What great gift ideas! I especially love the adult diaper one. I had to buy my friend adult diapers after one of her babies was born. I know she wouldn’t have asked me to unless she was desperate for them.

    1. You are a really, really good friend. There is a special place in Heaven reserved for people who buy adult diapers for their friends.

      1. Curly Carly · · Reply

        You should stitch that on a pillow. What a profound statement :)

  28. LOVE IT!!!! I laughed out loud at the adult diaper one and the coffee one because HOW TRUE!!!

  29. I give my friends coupons for overnight childcare so they can take a night off and sleep.

  30. This was a fun post, but I got nothin’ worthwhile to contribute.

  31. Did I comment on this awesome post before? If not, I should have. I loved it the first time I read it and just came back to it because I remembered how great it was. I’m planning to see a friends’ new baby today and the only thing I could recall from this list was adult diapers. Kind of a strange gift when it stands alone, but when I buy the packing tape and ground coffee to go with? Perfect.

    Thanks for writing this!

  32. Adult Diapers? You’ve officially scared the bejeezus out of me.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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