It’s about to be “The Holidays” and gift season is upon us. And what to get for the baby who has everything? It's shameful, really. The entire world of baby gear is too disposable for its own good. We survived Halloween with a minimum of purchases. My husband wanted to buy the adorable Tom Arma costumes, at $59.99, and yes, they are heavenly. He was especially keen on the rhino, then the skunk, then the frog. Besides the fact that I think it’s so weird that we anthropomorphize our animals into humans, and humans into animals, I vetoed buying a costume because the picture would be cute no matter what.
The baby (screen name: Ace) was hand-me-down Superman, courtesy of friends. And he was gorgeous, and stained the outfit beyond repair anyway. When you have a baby, expensive opportunities to be extra-cute and preserve precious memories jump out at every corner. But what I have learned after a year of parenthood, is that even more fleeting than childhood is the amount of time your child can fit into anything you buy him. So this year, it's about durability.
I have taken a vow of not buying myself any new clothes for one whole year. Rachelle Mee Chapman inspired me back in September, and it’s fantastic. The baby obviously needs clothes and such. But I’m really trying to focus on quality of what we get him, not quantity. He won’t care any way. Buy him a fancy new toy, he still wants to play with the Kleenex box. So, in the spirit of durability, here is my “first Chrismukkah Wish List” for my little angel. This is not a review column and no one incentivized me to suggest anything. Grandparents and relatives, read on:
For a couple hundred bucks, I can “start a young investor off right.” The Market’s on the upswing, and don’t I owe it to my offspring to shelter them from the financial slashing and burning of previous generations? According to Money Magazine, Schwab has dropped its minimum for entry into an index fund to $100, so “your child can deposit holiday or birthday money into a mix of funds that mimics the allocation a high roller might have.” I could put $300 into the Schwab S&P 500 index fund. I could choose a bond fund. I could put $200 into an international index or a small cap index, for some fun. And I can finally deposit the $25 check made out to Ace that Great Aunt Edna sent when the baby was born. This is very cool, because I recall going to the bank on Saturdays with my Dad with great fondness, and in the mornings, he would read the paper and explain the stock market to me. I’d love to pass along that tradition. What greater gift can you give to your children than financial literacy? I love this idea.
But everyone needs to have some fun. I have two yens on behalf of the baby. One is the Melissa and Doug wooden toy fruit set, or actually anything by Melissa and Doug. Their stuff is durable, made in the USA by hand, and really fun. I would kill for the kitchen, which I personally would play in, but we’ll save that for when the baby is older. Toy wish number two: a Rody. Rody is a phthalate free inflatable bouncy horse that I think looks like the most fun ever.
Finally, I’d love another semester of Music Together classes. We did the fall series, and it was a ton of fun for mom and baby. Music Together is offered all over the USA. It’s a wonderful sing and dance along class you can take with your kid, starting very young. Ask most parents to finish off the refrain, “Hello everybody, I’m so glad to see you,” and I bet they can. Classes are a little pricey- but so worth it. And did you know that the founder of Music Together started the program because of the song “Happy Birthday,” adapted by two kindergarten teachers over 100 years ago? Click here to read the whole story.
So, that’s the baby holiday wish list. What’s yours?
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