Baby Purchases, Reevaluated

by Meaghan O and Dustin Kurtz

There is something about reproducing that makes you an expert in buying shit you never cared or thought about before. Our child is eight weeks old and we are no exception.

Ikea activity gym

Actual price: $29.99

Dustin:Is this the thing that dangles the toys above his head? This thing is great. Good price. There are so many of these out there for like 100 dollars or more. But it turns out 30 bucks (and probably the welfare of Siberian forests where this wood was poached) is what I’m willing to pay for baby brain development. Not a cent more, ganglia, so stop asking!

Meaghan: He thinks these things are typically $100 because I almost bought a $100 foldable stick off of Etsy — you think I’m kidding?

I would pay maybe even double $30 to have this aesthetically pleasing thing that our child will scream at all by himself for at least two minutes while we wolf down cereal.

NoseFrida nasal aspirator

Actual price: $15.19

Dustin: This is like asking what I’d pay Prometheus for the gift of fire. “Hey Dustin, what would you give me for the written word over here?” How do you quantify something at the very core of what you are as a species? Is any price too great?

And don’t forget, it comes with extra sponges to catch some (not all, I repeat, NOT ALL) of the snot before it hits your mouth, so okay, 15 bucks.

Meaghan: No price too high for discovering my new-found passion for extracting boogers from our son’s nose. AND THEY SAY MOTHERHOOD CRUSHES YOUR DREAMS??! Seriously, this is literally a cylinder with a tube attached and the force of your own inhalations sucks snot and booger from another person’s nose (or your own!). Everyone should experience it once.

I would pay upwards of $60 for this on the black market.

Babyletto “Skip” Dresser / changing table

Actual price: $389.99

Dustin: That price seems expensive, considering I had to put it together myself in our living room. But the real value of this thing is that it lofts our kid up to about chest height, so that he can more readily pee on our faces. I imagine getting someone to pee on your face while you rub coconut oil on their sphincter might be pretty expensive on the open market, so maybe this is a steal?

Meaghan: After sobbing in Ikea because our child wouldn’t have a proper nursery with his name spelled out with pillow letters or whatever, I went home and spent way too much money on this dresser. Half the price would have been palatable, but this is admittedly ridiculous.

Our own dresser was $20 from a stoop sale. Maybe it all balances out?

Beco Gemini baby carrier
Actual price: $129

Dustin: I’m satisfied with the price of this, and not just because it was a gift to us (thanks Piper!) I’ve paid more than this for a bag before, and those bags weren’t meant to carry the fruit of my loins. We’ve talked about how the parenting world is just a mirror image of an REI store, full of overpriced absurdly specialized and aesthetically baffling gear. Parents, like people about to climb a fucking mountain for 20 years, know they need Functional Things. They’re an easy market. So, although we have 300 tote bags, we bought a diaper bag, because we planned to carry diapers. It’s like buying different sleeping bags for different seasons. By the standards of that world this thing is not too expensive, it makes a lot of sense, and it hasn’t killed the kid yet, so again, okay, good price.

Meaghan: I fucking hate that it takes two hands to unbuckle it, but I also hate that most things in life require two hands and when you’re holding a baby you basically can’t participate in the world. $129 for being able to put a napkin over your kid’s head and eat your dinner? All on board. Though I think we both know that the true price of this thing is having to check if he’s breathing every 30 seconds.

Oxo wipes dispenser
Actual price: $19.99

Dustin: I mocked this when you wanted to get it, Meaghan. I play at being the dissident from mall culture. I hate seeing the Target boxes show up at our door. They embarrass me in front of, who, our neighbors, the neighbors I hate? It’s shitty of me. And so let me apologize. This twenty dollar plastic box in which to keep the wipes for our kid’s smeary butthole is, in fact great. A+ purchase. Worth the price. I’m sorry and I love you and I love this stupid thing.

Meaghan: Ester told me her wipe warmer was her best indulgent baby purchase she ever made, but I knew there was no way in hell you would stand for bringing a wipe warmer into our home. I asked if you would object to having a plain old DISPENSER, and yes, you bristled. “THE WIPES COME IN DISPENSERS!” says the man who spends minutes cursing and shaking the bag of wipes in the air trying to pull one out with one hand. We have to change approximately 15 diapers a day. I bought it despite your protests and I knew you would eat your words. VICTORY IS MINE.

Soothie Pacifiers (2-pack)
Actual price: $3.39

Dustin: I would fight wolves to keep these. Just me and Liam Neeson in an arctic gloaming, punching wolf after wolf to make sure my son can suck on a silicon nipple shape during his worst moments. If I had one of these in my hand and a wolf bit down on that hand, I know, as clearly as I’ve ever known anything, that I would not let go of that pacifier. I’d just start punching the other wolves with that first wolf, a sort of live wolf boxing glove. Liam Neeson would give me a late career leading man grizzled sort of nod and we’d brace our backs against each other and keep on wolf punching.

Meaghan: The La Leche League and its concomitant do not advocate the use of pacifiers under six weeks or whatever because of NIPPLE CONFUSION but I’ll tell you what, this baby could use some nipple confusion in his life. I think before we brought him home I had some notion of not giving him a pacifier but HA HA HA. Nope. He can barely keep these damn Soothies in his mouth and for the first month or so our life consisted of picking a pacifier back up and putting it in his mouth again, every two minutes forever, but also my nipples stopped bleeding so…YOU WIN SOME YOU LOSE SOME.

Chicco Keyfit Carseat

Actual price: $189.99

Dustin: This is one of those ‘what would you pay to ransom your child’s very life?’ products. Maybe they could manufacture them for like seven bucks, but would you want to pay that? No, this thing is important life saving equipment, hidden under an inch of warning labels on all sides. As it turns out, I haven’t spent a lot of time testing the crash physics of car seats, so the only guide I have for what’s safest is price. When I buy bike helmets for myself I just get the cheapest styrofoam nerd crown I can find, basically a cooler turned upside down on my head, but for for my son’s safety equipment I’d like to get the Very Best. Or, more practically, Not the Worst. So, sure, I guess this seems right.

Meaghan: I am still bitter about this because the day after this was delivered and we threw away the box, two different people asked me if we wanted their infant car seat. I’d bought it around 25 weeks because I figured if the baby came early the one thing we’d absolutely need is a car seat to get home. Then at the hospital the nurse was like, “What? This is New York City, of course we don’t require you to have a car seat to leave the hospital! You don’t even have to have a car seat in taxi cabs!” UGGGGGH. Though cut to me taking the subway home after giving birth, cradling a newborn just to save a buck? No.

Pacifier clip, handmade from ridiculously overpriced neighborhood baby store

Actual price: $15

Dustin: I can’t believe this was 15 dollars. That seems like a lot if you consider that it’s exactly one sixteenth of a suspender. But consider that pacifiers are Wolf Punch Precious. Consider, too, that this thing keeps me from having to convince myself that somehow the powerful alchemy of Wiping Things Off on My T Shirt is enough to make a Brooklyn-street-dropped pacifier safe to suck on. How much am I willing to pay to avoid that uncomfortable act of self-delusion? 15 bucks sounds about right.

Meaghan: I was very embarrassed to pay what is probably my hourly wage for this, but it’s black and white striped and has no pastel ducks or cars or monkeys on it. Also another purchase you thought was insane and now could not live without, so every time I look at it I feel smug and superior and well-prepared to handle the challenges of life, which begin and end with a baby spitting out his pacifier while he’s crying. So yes, $15.

Meaghan is your trusty associate editor. Dustin changes 90% of the diapers.

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