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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

First time Parenting: The Bare Essentials For Dads (And Moms) Paying For It

A few friends of mine are going to be first time parents in a few months. Usually, I’m not the type to give advice when it isn’t asked for, not because I don’t like to give, but parenting is sometimes more meaningful when you learn it on your own terms, rather than lectured at by others who mean well.

But being a first time dad is also a bittersweet experience – sweet for the obvious reasons, but also less-than-saccharine when it comes to paying money for lots of stuff. While the usual stuff you need to get anyway, like bottle, napkins, breast pump, drapoline, towel, etc, these are big ticket items – and some stuff learnt from experience...

Rule no 1. Get stuff second hand from your neighbours / relatives / friends. I know, nothing beats getting NEW stuff for your precious firstborn, but this rule applies for people like ME who can’t afford to buy retail. Old stuff is free, works just as good as from Babyland.

Pram – Did you know ‘pram’ is short for perambulator? Anyways, get one that is light. Poor husband is the one to carry it in and out of your car boot, up staircases, hold it up escalators, across the field to the famous laksa stall that wife wants to go to… Also get one that is easily collapsible. Struggling to close the pram in front of other people in 1 Utama during sale IS NOT COOL. Getting your finger stuck (and screaming in pain) in the pram when collapsing it wrongly is also NOT COOL. And as you know, dads have to COOL 24/7. Like me.

Car Seat – Also important if you’re the jetsetting young parent (like me). Get one that is big enough to last your kid until at least 3 years old, get a small one and you need to buy another one later. Put a cloth or plastic cover below the carseat on the cushion, sh!t (and pee and vomit) happens. And if your car has airbags, don’t put it in the front passenger seat. Your car manual will tell you that. If you’re driving alone with baby, put it in the back seat left hand side, so that you can see baby, and baby can see you too. Also, don’t put baby on the car seat when your car is hot. Unless you want screaming baby.

Playpen – A good one will last many, many years. Get one with strong netting for ventilation and for your kid to watch TV, easily cleaned (yes, your kid WILL throw up in it).


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