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Ideas & Thoughts
*Shopping, a popular pastime, is a way to have a purpose, a hunt, an accomplishable goal, and thus achieve a tangible victory.
So, does that mean that those who constantly shop are just starved for real intellectual challenge? or a real life purpose?  Shopping provides direction of focus; the variety of merchandise feeds the need for a stimulating input, and buyability provides a tangible proof of conquest.

*there are two kinds of things in our lives: those that serve a utilitarian purpose and those whose possession gives us a sense of satisfaction.
the idea of possession is I think a subconscious desire to belong to something bigger than oneself.  By making one's possessions "bigger", both physically and intellectually, the sense of belonging is satisfied.  At least that's my take on it......


That is perhaps one of those occurrences that inevitably lead to the accumulation of miscellaneous stuff.  Often lots and lots of expensive stuff.

I thought so too, until I actually started to question those notions,

Common sense is the most uncommon occurrence, to paraphrase Mark Twain.

I really asked myself the question of what do babies really need?  Then I asked myself of how would I provide those things, then I realized that most of the things we buy or acquire are things that we want, but had lived perfectly well without them up until this point.  So, I had to separate the notion of what my baby needed and what it is I wanted to get for her.  And sometimes not even for her but for me!  Here's what I discovered:

?•  The baby needed food.  how was i going to feed the baby?  Boobs!!!!!!  since i did not grow up seeing a lot of women breastfeed, i did not know how it would go for me.  however, i had two points which gave me confidence. one, the humanity survived by breastfeeding the young for, um, well, since we were alive as a species!!!!! i was not the first one to do it, nor the last.  it is possible and doable.  second, i hired a post par tum doula to teach me how to do it, if i ran into trouble.  and besides, what if formula did not exist? or unavailable?  would i starve my child because i did not want to try?  would i offer my baby an imperfect product, while the best one was available but i did not want to learn how to use it or my baby was not worth my bestest try?
in the other chapter i will talk about my breastfeeding adventure, but for now, it all worked out.  the food issue is solved.  so, a whole slew of products are irrelevant.  no formula, no bottles, no warmers, no diaper bags, no sterilization machinery etc.  food?  FREE.

?•  a place to sleep.  my thinking went like this: if we like having our dogs and the cat sleep with us on the family bed, why would i put my child separately, alone, into another room and far from mommy and daddy?  besides, why would i want to isolate the newborn, who has just come out of a warm sauna with constant body contact and communication, and deprive her of the comforts of contact and reassurance?  it don't make sense.  so, she sleeps with us.  safely tucked in between daddy and mommy...... and a few critters who made sure the world was safe for the mother and child.  furniture?  nursery?  none to speak of.

G•   Clothes.  expensive clothes.  that's what grandmas, friends and aunts are for.  also, the friends you have who have already had kids and are willing to part with some of the stuff.  relatives, friends grandparents all gave us clothes.  my friend from Canada even sent her leftovers.  and then whatever special i needed i made. 
besides, if yours is born in the summer, and it's hot, why wear clothes at all?  the kid don't need them much.  when it's 80°, why bother with clothing.  a couple of shirts for going out and that's pretty much covers it.  in winter, you may need more, but still, infants need more skin to skin contact than being wrapped up in clothes.

Δ•   Toys.  gotta have them, right?  Sure.....  if you really look at the toys, you will see that they are not very interesting, they are very simple, and don't tell you anything about the surrounding world or give you insight into it.  they also require a great deal of understanding the context in order to play with them.  and since it is not enough to look cute to acquire them, they appeal more to parents, who are adults, and who somehow assume that a stuffed toy caterpillar is going to be seen as such by a 1 month old.  what the infants need is to play with the items surrounding them, to give them an idea of where they are and what kind of world it is.  socks, hats, buckets, i even let mine play with the remote control and the phone.  they are infinitely more interesting and have far greater variety of surfaces, textures and possibilities than a perpetually fuzzy rattle.  the favorite has been the "bulb", the one you use to clean the nose or give an enema, preferably not with the same one though.  it was easy to grab, without teeth safe to bite on and a very interesting shape.  silicone pads still remain a good teething toy and all around fun to chew.  the phone cord has been a hit as well. if such items make you cringe, i am sure that while you are not looking, many a kid has put things into the mouth that better left unsaid.  and at the crawling stage there are always pots and pans, lids and all kinds of household and cooking utensils that are not mechanical, not sharp and can be smacked and abused.  an occasional toy will not be a very expensive thing, especially if someone gives it to you......

?•   Strollers, strollers, carriages, horse drawn phaetons, SUVs, tractors...... you need one of each!!!!!!!  and all for transporting that infant weighing all of 6 to 8 lb.  my grocery bags often weigh more than that!  so, i used a sling for the first 7 months.  and mine was 15lb. at 3 months.  of course, if you want to go for a stroll in the park, you need something to push for a pleasant experience.  but i bought mine on craig's list used.  the best rule is:  don't buy what is ALMOST what you need.  there are strollers for literally every type of lifestyle, but the trouble is how to decide what your lifestyle is?  although i have a stroller i can take on a bus or subway, i only use it if i would need it at my final destination.  if not, i just use the sling for the well over 20 pounder.  there are slings and wraps and backpack style carriers for every body type, fitness or girth.  or, you can make your own.......

?•   the last, the most talked about and the toughest expense.  DIAPERS!!!!!!!!  you will use tons of them, i was told.....  and just like all other things i was told by the masses, they were wrong. 
first, let me make this statement.  pretty much every healthy adult on the planet is in control of their bodily functions as they reached adulthood, right?  we wouldn't think of looking at an African and saying, he is from the bush, he is not potty trained!!!!!  or saying the same when talking of Indonesians, Chinese country folk, South Americans or pretty much most of foreigners.  but, how in the world did they achieve such mastery without the ubiquitous disposable diapers?!!!!!!!!! what a conundrum......   the answer is very simple, they never had them.  in most countries those diapers are very expensive, and the idea of using something only once does not occur to folks who often are pressed to reuse needles in the hospital.   aside from the expense, think about this:  what did humanity do BEFORE these diapers?  are we saying that our glorious presidents were incontinent because the disposable diaper had not been invented?  or that all our ancestors somehow never learned such skills?  of course not,  the diaper industry is much happier promoting eternal dependence on their product, and the masses just follow unquestioning. 
the truth about bodily functions is this.  infants feel when they have to go from birth......  it is just our job to either suppress it with diapers or keep the awareness and work with them.  most of the world does perfectly well without the routine use of diapers.  we use them for car rides, strollers, when in a sling on a long journey etc.  some moms i know never use them.  i can tell you how many diapers we have used exactly. it comes out to about 1 a day, usually for the walk with the dogs.
if you buy them in bulk at wholesale clubs then they are pretty cheap $20 for about 178 to 228 to a box.  not $10 for 40.  in another chapter, i will tell you how to make cloth diapers yourselves.

?•   Car seats, boosters and stuff.  this is probably the expense that is best spent on new equipment, not used.  the truth is that more expensive is not always better, so, since i will not endorse any product, i can tell you that i wanted the infant seat that tested the best in a high speed crash, and then, the next size up to be rear facing for as long as possible.  the same seat, called convertible, and be switched to face forward when the time comes, depending on weight or age.  anyway, those have been the biggest expenses for us.

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