When you have a baby of your own, buying gifts for parents is much easier: you’ve already discovered that what you don’t actually need are cuddly toys, changing pad covers, or cute little newborn outfits, and what you do need are lots and lots of burp cloths, bibs, and perhaps, please, some bottles of Bailey’s, to get you through each day relatively clean and sane. But nobody would ever dare to present you with anything so utilitatian, or irresponsible.
If you are looking for gifts for children, or parents – particularly new parents – then we’re afraid we can’t hold your hand and guide you round Prenatal or Intertoys. But if you want books, you know we’re here to help: Our next few gift lists are just for you.
A great set for new dads, this kit contains the wonderful Baby Owner’s manual, which explains basic childcare in a no-nonsense way, with lots of diagrams. The concept seems inane – write a baby book in the form of a car manual – but it actually contains lots of useful information and tips, with a good dose of humor. This book is a great gift on it’s own, but the Start Kit also comes with a growth chart, diaper-changing instructional poster, Babysitter’s memo pad and more!
This is from the same stable as the Baby Owner’s Manual, and again, the title is a bit misleading. This is one of the most useful books I have used in my career as the mother of a slightly weird, and way too smart, three year old.
The Supernanny books are great, but I have found this to be much more helpful in dealing with all the little things that can drive parents batty: getting your kid dressed; getting him to brush his teeth; surviving an airplane trip; getting your kid moving; stopping tantrums and many more things that, when dealt with day in, day out, threaten to push you over the edge. All of the advice is good-humored, and the best thing about it is that it gives you options: each chapter details short cons (never worked with my kid) long-cons, (slightly more work, but then they tend to do the trick more often), games to play that make copliance seem like fun (these have not yet failed me!) and a bit of advice on laying the groundwork, for those of you who have time for that sort of thing. I love this book. Not only does it make me smile each time I pick it up, it’s been truly helpful.
Every new parent should give this a try. I’m fairly sceptical of anything that promises to make your kid smarter or easier to manage, though I’ll admit that we have every single one of the Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby DVD’s in our house because they are fun to watch. I was similiarly dubious about baby signing, and it was a fairly new concept even in the U.S. when I stumbled upon it. But I tried anyway. By the time he was one, my son knew enough signs for us to have some sort of conversation, and we no longer found ourselves desperately grinching ” What do you want?” ten times a day. He has yet to have his first tantrum: maybe when you can make yourself understood, there is less need for a boneless, bawling meltdown! It was a revelation to discover that the baby was much more aware and connected with the world than we had expected. Above all, though, signing was fun!
If you know someone whose baby seems to cry ceaselessly, they will adore you forever if you give them this book. It really works, and gives you an an arsenal of techniques for soothing an infant’s screaming jag, at least long enough for you to regroup and mix a martini. (And if it doesn’t work, then a trip to the doctor is probably needed.)