Teddy Bear

By Beck

When I wrote last week’s melancholy post, I had NO IDEA that the very next day would be Babyfest 09: Emergency Time! Nobody TOLD me that every pregnant person I know* had gotten together and planned on having emergency c-sections en masse on Friday and so Saturday found me still whimpering.

(all two of them: my aunt and my sister-in-law.)

So now I’m wondering what to get All Of Those Babies for presents. And the answer, actually, is “board books”, since I’m a big fan of literate infants, but I still managed to waste a lot of time looking at vulgar baby onesies, of which there are endless numbers. I’ve never seen a baby out and about wearing a crude t-shirt, though, which makes me despair a bit less about humanity.

 My kids are just DESPERATE to get both of the babies stuffed animals, which I’ve had to be fairly stern about. New babies get a LOT of stuffed animals, though, and they can become a weariness of the spirit for new moms who suddenly have a new baby AND 75 stuffed animals. A certain clear-eyed friend of mine – a new mother at the same time that I was a new mother – just calmly bagged up all of the stuffed animals in her house that had no sentimental signifigance and donated half a garbage bag of them to a women’s shelter.

That is so wrong,” I thought at the time. And then last summer I donated SIX garbage bags of stuffed animals. Six! Time makes one much less sentimental about many, many things, and this hardening-over of the heart does not surprise me.

What does surprise me though is the unexpected ways in which we become more vulnerable as we get older. Other people’s babies used to be greeted by me with a sullen inner Whoop-Dee-Doo, but time has peeled back the layers of cynical indifference and each new baby is so fresh and welcome. And each morning finds my email inbox full of new pictures of new babies, and finds me overwhelmed again with the blessing of their arrivals, each safe, each loved.

Beck blogs at Frog And Toad Are Still Friends.

31 Responses to Teddy Bear
  1. Nowheymama
    July 30, 2009 | 12:28 pm

    Our neighbors are expecting baby number four any day now and I CANNOT WAIT.

    I always give books, too. Not Goodnight Moon, though, because everyone gives that one.

  2. Omaha Mama
    July 30, 2009 | 12:47 pm

    I’m so happy that the two babies came healthy and happy and that the mothers are also well. What a blessing! I love board books as a baby gift and can still remember who gave my children theirs. Board books are a still a comfort to my six-year old, she can listen to them and now read them, again and again.

  3. Emily E.
    July 30, 2009 | 12:57 pm

    And blankets. Don’t forget all the blankets new moms get. I still don’t know what I was supposed to do with three dozen itty bitty baby blankets!

    But I like your board book idea. You can never have too many books.

  4. Minnesotamom
    July 30, 2009 | 1:17 pm

    Probably one of my favorite onesies I’ve ever seen: a little boy, probably no more than 10 mos. old, was wearing a skull cap and a black onesie that said “Lock up your daughters.” Even though that’s probably inappropriate, I thought it was hilarious!

    How are the babies doing? Still well, I hope!

  5. Kat
    July 30, 2009 | 2:16 pm

    Ha! Me too!
    I never was a big baby person. And then I had my own babies and realized what little miracles they are and now I’m obsessed. Go figure. 😉

  6. Alison
    July 30, 2009 | 3:51 pm

    I like to give board books, too. Or clothes, particularly onesies and sleepers–the things you can’t have too many of. I didn’t get that many stuffed animals, but we soon started to acquire so many that we had to get rid of some, so yeah, no stuffed animals as gifts.

  7. Sandy
    July 30, 2009 | 4:51 pm

    I’m not just amazed at how many stuffed animals we get, but at how many UGLY stuffed animals we get. I’m getting rid of as many as possible before Oscar knows any better. Speaking of giving books as gifts, I do like the stuffed animals that come with a book (and appear as a character in the book).

  8. SubSBeacon
    July 30, 2009 | 5:10 pm

    Yippee! BABIES!

    What is with those onesies? Because nothing says “congrats on the new baby” like a vulgar, pop-culture-based pun? NO! WRONG!

    I like to give new parents $30 worth of batteries and a set of small screwdrivers. I is pragmatic.

  9. PastormacsAnn
    July 30, 2009 | 6:26 pm

    So glad that both babies made safe albeit exciting arrivals. Brand new babies are so great.

    Btw – board books are the best.

  10. Carrie
    July 30, 2009 | 8:11 pm

    Love the gift ideas – the battery gift & screwdriver is a GREAT idea, and books are ALWAYS welcome!!! Even if you have 2 copies of a cute board book, you can keep the 2nd one in the car!

    I will second the thing about stuffed animals & blankets- I gave away almost EVERY blanket that wasn’t handmade for my son b/c I just had SO many!

    And my favorite inappropriate onesie that I would NEVER put on my baby: “All Mommy wanted was a backrub”. HA! 🙂

  11. Painted Maypole
    July 30, 2009 | 10:27 pm

    stuffed animals. the bane of any mothers existence. especially when the lice come to visit

    (a few animals got “lost” in the sequestering of soft toys, I must admit. and a really gross unwashable princess pillow)

  12. Mary
    July 31, 2009 | 7:13 am

    Books! After we received enough clothes to possibly keep Elizabeth warm and dry until she turns two-ish (no kidding), we asked people to get her books instead. There’s something about babies and stuff for babies that compells people to buy it I think.

    Surprisingly, we still haven’t received a copy of Goodnight Moon. Which is probably a good thing because when we took it out from the library my husband read it through once and said “Boy, that’s a weird book”. In other words, not a fan. Since I’d never read it before having Elizabeth I wasn’t too upset that it didn’t make it onto the approved list of books.

    About half of them are “Goodnight” books of some sort though.

  13. Mary Joan Koch
    July 31, 2009 | 11:20 am

    I always get babies the Rosemary Wells/Opie Mother Goose; it has never failed to be loved and read for a long time. My brilliant children never had a board book, and all their hundreds of picture books are still intact 30 years later.

  14. edj
    July 31, 2009 | 12:15 pm

    I know! I love babies now! I always (well if I’m in the US) buy board books as presents too! They were my fav gifts to receive, except for adorable new outfits from Old Navy that I couldn’t afford as we were so broke right after the twins came.

  15. Hannah
    July 31, 2009 | 3:45 pm

    SO with you on the stuffed animal thing. They have been banned, and if only I could throw some of the existing ones away …
    Hooray for board books instead!

  16. patois
    July 31, 2009 | 7:41 pm

    THAT is what I am: “overwhelmed again with the blessing of their arrivals.” Thank you for putting words to it.

    Congrats on the latest additions to your blessed family.

  17. Sherri K. Edman
    July 31, 2009 | 10:14 pm

    Yay for books! My default baby gift is a bundle of Sandra Boynton board books.

  18. tracey
    August 1, 2009 | 1:01 am

    Oh, I adore babies. If I find out that someone is pregnant, I want to become their new best friend. Simply so I can go along for the ride…

  19. Jennifer
    August 1, 2009 | 7:33 pm

    Oooh, being an aunt is just delicious. We get all the delight of new, fuzzy, pink, fat babies… along with uninterrupted sleep. 🙂 I had my new niece 2 days last week, and oh, she feels so good. My poor sister is wrung out and exhausted with 2 under 2. I feel for her, and then… I go home and take a nap. I have to admit, it feels pretty good. 🙂

  20. Aliki
    August 2, 2009 | 8:17 pm

    I’ve been plotting the removal of some of T.’s stuffies for awhile now…

    One of the best baby gifts I got was a sweet little set of booties and matching hat for L., and then a wonderful, sweet gift basket of goodies for ME with lotion and packets of herbal tea, and a candle. I loved it…

  21. Heather of the EO
    August 3, 2009 | 3:42 pm

    I love giving books too. And getting them for the boys. So much better than dust mite collectors 🙂

  22. Zina
    August 5, 2009 | 2:02 am

    I guess I was cheated because I never had a plethora of receiving blankets–I actually had to buy a couple (I got really really cute soft ones that I loved, so it’s all good.)

    My baby adoration is always on the increase. A neighbor just had a baby girl with heaps of dark hair and I couldn’t stop staring at her–even though I still have a 5-month old of my own to lavish affection on. (And I do lavish it.)

  23. Susan
    August 16, 2009 | 11:38 pm

    We have twins and then two littler boys just 16 months apart — and 8 zillion stuffed animals, because when the twins were born we got two of everything, including every stuffed animal in the world.

    The twins NEVER played with them, but the little boys love them, know every one by heart and won’t let me get rid of even one (even the ugly ones). Sigh.

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