A few weekends ago, I sat down to make a baby registry. Wait, let me just rephrase that sentence: a few weekends ago, I sat down to make a baby registry and did not get up. For the entire 48 hours. Call it anxious first-timer nerves, call it "generally unable to purchase anything, eat anywhere, or make any other kind of decision for myself without first reading seven hundred reviews from other people," but I found the idea of making a baby registry more than a little daunting. (I also found it a little uncomfortable—hey, here's a list of things I'd like you to buy me!—but a couple of kind relatives on Sean's side had been asking, so I figured, if nothing else, it was a way to get my thoughts in order and make a list of things for us that we'll eventually need to acquire.)
We live in a pretty small house and I don't want a ton of extra stuff—plus, if there's one piece of advice I've read over and over again, it's to buy only the basics and wait until the baby arrives to get the rest (weird as it seems to me now, I do realize that Amazon will still be operating after my due date)—but it was still helpful to me to research (and research and research and research) some of the bigger purchases, and to jot down some of the smaller things I hadn't even realized I'd need (baby snotsucker, whaaat?)
Since you have all given me such wonderful advice over the past few months—thanks to your comments, I am now a) buying a carseat and stroller frame instead of an actual stroller, b) investing in the Fisher Price Rock n' Play sleeper, which is apparently made of straight-up miracles, c) putting the baby in our room at first for easier middle-of-the-night access, and d) slightly addicted to the Baby Bargains book for my aforementioned research—I thought I'd ask you for one final favor as I slowly go about accumulating the flotsam and jetsam of the infant years.
Despite my friend Court's sage advice that "all you need is a bed and boobs"—I feel like I should get this tattooed or embroidered somewhere—the first-timer, pre-planner, can't-leave-the-house-until-I've-checked-three-times-that-the-stove-is-off arrangment-maker in me needs to know that I've struck the perfect balance between having the essentials and not having so many essentials that I'm in danger of turning into a one-woman episode of Hoarders: Baby Junk Edition. While I want to feel capable and prepared for doing something I've never done before—oh, you know, just keeping another human being alive, NBD—I don't want to buy anything I don't need. I especially don't want to buy anything I don't need and then have to to go through the complicated rigmarole of returning it while covered in baby spit-up and operating on two hours of sleep.
And so I'm wondering, if you don't mind weighing in: what's the one thing you couldn't have lived without in the first year of having a baby? More importantly, perhaps, what's the one thing you absolutely didn't need?