Tip of the day: don't admit to the office what you pay for baby gear. Yes, I dropped almost $500 on a stroller (mostly with gift cash and cards from the baby shower, if that's any excuse); and, yes, it shot through the office faster than news of the latest celebrity sex tape scandal. Here's the thing: baby stuff is expensive! I figured I could use hand-me downs for the kid, but anyone with half a clue tells me that's a bad idea. Apparently, safety standards change faster than a newborn wets his diaper; and, besides, you never know if that stroller, crib, or car seat was maintained properly (It's amazing we survived childhood at all!). So, instead of raiding my cousins/parents/aunts/uncles/in-laws' basements and eBay for leftover gear, I'm heading to Buy Buy Baby and Babies-R-Us. And have you been there lately? It's like they shook all the price labels and got the decimal point to move one place to the right. You can pay over $1000 for a stroller in some stores (I said YOU can, even I have my limits). The price of a crib is now the size of a new car down payment, strollers cost more than some flat panel TVs, and of course you're supposed to buy a glider (a chair, not a small, engine-less plane), changing table, and a small country's GDP worth of diapers (or unscented Tide if you go with cloth diapers). And that's before the kid is even born!
Yes, I do have a point with this rant... We're talking with the author of a new book on the show today: Pamela Paul wrote, Parenting Inc.: How We Are Sold on $800 Strollers, Fetal Education, Baby Sign Language, Sleeping Coaches, Toddler Couture, and Diaper Wipe Warmers — and What It Means for Our Children. Whether you're a parent or not, has the baby biz gone a little overboard? What's the most expensive thing you ever bought for a newborn? Was it worth it?