Babies are expensive – don’t make it worse
"I'm pretty certain that no child ever thanked their parents for buying them a really nice pillow."
Baby with money (Shutterstock)

I met my first niece for the first time a few months ago, and it was an odd thing, suddenly being able to identify as an uncle. I never thought it would happen, you see. Neither my sisters nor I are what anyone would really call the broody types (we were always more the party ‘til you puke types, to be honest).  

But all that’s changed. My whole family dotes on this extremely small person that popped out of my sister and now barely acknowledges our presence (I don’t need to tell you that babies have limited social skills) and I have to admit, so do I. And that pisses me off a bit.

I confess, I was never much of a baby person. In occasions where everyone was crowding around some newborn infant or other, practically worshipping the mewling little sprog, I’d usually be the one in the furthest corner petting the dog. Or the cat. Or the goldfish.

And if anyone said, “Aaaw, Chris, don’t you want to hold the baby?”, I’d think “No. No, I really don’t. If you’ve seen one baby, you’ve seen them all, and one is too much, because they’re all pretty damn ugly. And they smell funny and they’re likely to vomit on you as soon as your mouth is open.”

Note that I said I think that. I don’t actually say it. I’m not a savage.

It annoys me that a friend knew this would happen. "Just you wait until you see your niece," she told me with all the confidence of a caravan psychic. "You’ll change your tune."

And she was right. Dammit.

So now, for the first time, I understand why parents and families are willing to sacrifice so much for babies: their time, their social life, an unstained set of clothes and most importantly (for my purposes), money.

Yes, I understand babies are expensive no matter what you do, but why do some parents go, to coin a phrase, completely batshit insane when buying baby products? 

Check out this stroller, for example, which will set you back a mere R6500. Or how about these R2500 shoes for your baby that can’t even walk?

Or, if you need more extreme examples, check out this page which lists a baby’s pillow for R33,600 and a baby’s bathtub for R24,500.

Remember, we’re talking about products for a baby here. It’s barely retaining any memories. It’s barely even sentient. And I don’t know a lot about this sort of thing, but I’m pretty certain that no child on their 21st birthday ever thanked their parents for buying them a really nice pillow. 

It’s obscene and immoral. Remember folks, just because you can afford to have a golden toilet and wipe your butt with banknotes doesn’t mean it’s something you should actually do. 

Fortunately my sister isn’t a lunatic who should be forced into a straitjacket and locked away in a mental hospital. Her baby’s bath is a plastic tub she bought for R30. Most of the other equipment is hand-me-downs and freebies from friends.

She sounds sensible, so I’ll give her the last word: "People will throw stuff at you when you have a baby, because they’re left with all this crap in their homes and need to get rid of it. The only thing you need to buy is formula if you’re not breastfeeding and nappies if you not going the hipster route of washable ones. Ugh."

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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