Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Registry Tips (for parents who plan on having multiple children)

When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted children.  Plural.  

So when I was pregnant with our son, Hadden, we thought careful about what we put on our baby registry, knowing that we wanted things to last for at least one more child.  Today I wanted to share our suggestions of how to plan for multiple children.

**Side note before anyone reads too much into this post.  It is not an announcement.  We are NOT expecting a baby.  :)

1.  Cloth Diapers
I promise you: it's not as hard as it seems!  I've written a little about cloth diapering here and here.  I think the real key is finding a system that works for you - the right diapers, the right pail, the right detergent, etc.  If you're considering cloth diapering, I could recommend a few links to check out.

Overall, it's a great way to save money and help the environment.  It was definitely an investment in the beginning, but now that we have the diapers ready for the next child!  Since we live in base housing, we don't pay for water so the only cost will be more diaper liners and detergent.  

2.  Avoid Pink and Blue
When you're buying big items like a carseat, pack n play or bedding, buy it in a neutral color/pattern.  I have a not-so-secret annoyance with PINK! and BLUE! everything, so I'm aware that this is a soapbox area.  But from a practicality standpoint, it makes sense to purchase neutral too.  This also doubles your chances of reselling the items when you're done with them.

3.  Buy High Quality, Gender Neutral Clothing
If you're like us, there's no way you're forking out $40 for a sweater that your baby will puke all over.  But on the other hand, if you purchase a lot of low-cost clothing items, you might notice that they don't last as long.  We buy almost all of our son's clothing at consignment stores.  My favorite finds so far have been a name brand red pea coat and a Gap baby pullover!  We paid less than $5 for items that originally cost over $30 and you can't even tell that they're used.

We also prefer to buy clothing items that are not highly gendered.  Again, part of this is my philosophy and part of it is practicality.  If we have a daughter next, I am not expecting that she will wear ALL of her brother's clothes, but it will be nice to reuse some of his things.

4.  Invest In Nice Toy Sets
I might write a whole post about this sometime, but (so far) we have had a strict "no characters" rule for Hadden.  No toys or clothes or cups or shoes or anything that is "branded".  No Elmo, no Dora, no "Georgie" (Curious George) unless it is in a book.  My (wonderful and wise) sister explained it to her daughter like this on a shoe-shopping exhibition a few years back, "You don't want those shoes because they are comfortable or because they will serve you well.  The only reason you want those shoes is because they have Dora on them."

Additionally, I came across this interesting blog the other day called "Free Our Kids".  The blogger set out on a yearlong experiment to not spend any money on her son.  Here's what she said as they've neared the end of the experiment:

"In the course of this year, J’s had a few shiny and new gifts from people who weren’t bound by my crazy no-spend ethos. And watching those things get battered and bashed over the course of the year, I’ve noticed a pattern. The toys that are branded with popular cartoon characters – the Fireman Sam fire station he got for his birthday, for instance, from a relative – have fallen apart and needed fiddly resticking over and over again. Plus, he can only play the set stories with them: there’s a fire, someone gets stuck on Pontypandy Mountain yadda yadda yadda.
But the brio train set is built to survive generations of train crashes and hurlings off the top bunk (I know, because we still have some of the bits that Tom and his siblings tried determinedly to destroy in the seventies). The Sylvanian Family camper van we borrowed from J’s older cousin earlier in the year could be sent on any number of different adventures. They’re better quality and better for the imagination. Better for the environment, better for my head space – frankly – because they’re better looking and less cluttering for our house-space. So next year, there may be a little spending, but there won’t be any more plastic trash. Fewer, well chosen, unbranded, good quality toys. Toys that can be shared by a boy and his little sister because they’re neither ‘sugar and spice and all things pinkified’ or ‘bright blue snips, snails and puppy dog tails’"

I feel the same way.  I spent hours playing with a Brio train set as a child and can't wait for Hadden to start collecting his own.  My husband, on the other hand, loved Legos.  My siblings (and now my niece) have spent hours playing with Playmobile.  These are the types of toys I want to invest in.

This is not to say that we will never have cheap toys in the house.  But if you DO want to have some of those plastic, characterized toys, I suggest getting them second-hand. We got my son this tiny piano from a local consignment store and paid $3.50.  If he tires of it, we can sell it back to the same shop!  Check Craig's List and garage sales for used toys too!

5.  Double Stroller
Or more specifically, buy a stroller that converts into to a double.  We knew that the one baby item we wanted to splurge on was our stroller.  We LOVE our stroller and especially love that when we purchased it, Amazon was running a special promotion so we got the second seat for free!  If you're planning on spacing out your children, this might not be important to you.  But if you'd like to have a couple children close together, you'll definitely want a double stroller, so why not have one from the beginning?  We've been able to use our second seat a few times with friends, but it will be fun when we actually NEED both seats.  

Also, the graphic designer for this post was Kaylee Mitchell, who is a fellow military spouse!  If you're looking for a graphic designer, check out her FB page! :)  

**The items pictured above can all be found on Amazon.  Here are affiliate links to the cloth diaper, pack 'n play, sweater, train set, and stroller.

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