Although my son is almost 2 years old, I felt the need to share this all with you since this is what my experience was becoming a new mother…
Haven’t we all heard the grumbling that babies don’t cost anything the first year? I truly believed that statement when we had our little munchkin. But let’s back up a bit; around the second trimester we really began shopping around for the nursery; we had nothing considering this is our first time around. I started gathering ideas for the nursery and ended up loving Noah’s Ark theme. I registered for baby showers at Babies R Us and thoroughly enjoyed the look of Noah’s Ark. I wanted to branch out a bit and go for a different theme and color since so many baby boy rooms are blue. I landed on orange and brown with a bunch of cute little zoo animals.
Now, I greatly appreciated the many gifts given at our baby showers, but it is never enough to cover a first time baby. We had to get a crib, rocker, dresser, clothes, swing, diapers, bassinette, and diaper changing table, highchair and many more gadgets. You get the picture. Being as I love to find deals on quality items I began my hunt early. I decided I would look on craigslist to see what they had. Trial and error I presume. I found a crib and decided to have my husband stain it to match the color of the furniture I had envisioned. In the process of him staining this I also found a rocking chair I absolutely loved. It was painted black so it had to be stripped to the wood and stained as well. This began a huge project neither of us realized we had a mountain ahead of us. All the rings on the crib and side of the rocker were very time consuming. Being as my husband was such a sport with all these projects, he kept at it and made it our little project together. I would sit with him while he sanded and I helped stain as well. We even took this to my parent’s house up in central Washington about 5 hours away to get as much help as possible while we visited one weekend. We really took advantage of making this a family project. :) Once we realized how much work it was, I decided to go to Ikea and get a dresser that was unfinished so it wouldn’t involve sanding; we could jump straight to the stain. At this point I got the crib for $40 which included a Sealy Mattress. The rocker I got for $20 and bought the dresser from Ikea for $60, totaling $120 for furniture, this was a steal and I was super happy with my findings as well as my husband being a great support and giving a helping hand to our sons nursery.
As we began to assemble the crib once the stain had dried, we realized something wasn’t quite right… the side of the crib was supposed to slide up and down, but it wouldn’t lock. It ended up being a “daybed” not a crib. After all the commotion we realized the safety of our little one was really important and we needed to invest in another crib. It was unfortunate after all the time we had invested thus far but knew it had to be done. Through talking with my sister, her neighbor happened to be selling their crib they bought two years ago from Babies R Us. She was willing to sell it for $40 as well. So now we were out $40 but at the same time a crib costing $80 you can’t find at the store, so we were still pleased. Honestly this crib was way more sheik and just the right color we didn’t have to color touch it at all. We put the crib together and the room began to look just as I had pictured.
I happened to run across a picture that I kept prior to the problem with the “daybed.” I knew at some point I would love to make this happen. Well now that we have our extra crib we will be doing this project in our next house. :)
Now that we had most the furniture we began looking for clothes, a bassinette, and swing. My sister was pretty good friends with her neighbor that she started pulling things together from her two little boys that are about 18 months older than Cooper. Just enough age difference that we began collecting bags of clothes, shoes, toys, and even a swing. This swing was barely used and is still at Babies R Us to purchase for $170. I got this for $40 along with two large bags of clothes.
Now the bags of clothes her neighbor friend was giving us was name brand clothes such as Gymboree, Baby Gap, Nike, and Carters, Nike and Hurley to name a few. They were all in great condition and were 0-3 months. We were basically stocked on newborn clothes. Since then we have continued to gather clothes for each age group and I am set until age 2. Garage sale season also began while I was about 7 months pregnant and my sister snagged the cutest little vibrating bassinette for $10 along with my sister giving us their car seat (she has a little girl that’s why a car seat has been the only thing given by them; gender neutral). I started feeling as though we had the big things accomplished and was feeling really good about everything. The nursery was finally finished! YAY!
Fast forward a few months, more like 12 months; here we are 9 months into the birth of our first son. I will go back to my comment that babies don’t cost anything the first year. Apart from doing an entire nursery, clothing our child, making sure he has diapers which already cost quite a bit he is in a highchair, needs a new car seat, needs new toys and more. Again, babies do cost and they cost a lot. This is a huge fairytale others must be living in to honestly believe the first year doesn’t cost much. It actually may be the biggest cost having to purchase everything all at once. The second baby actually may be cheaper because we will have all the furniture and it happens to be gender neutral. The clothes will be the cost if we have a little girl because I will not dress my little princess in the clothes of my little prince.
We have hit that age where his car seat is so uncomfortable for little Cooper. He loves to sit up right, which he can’t quite do in the newborn car seats, they lean back too much for Coopers liking. His feet also hit the back of the seat, poor little man. So finally I began the research to embark on this new purchase that won’t be cheap. How expensive was this really going to be? I had to research safety in convertible car seats so we wouldn’t have to purchase another one in the next year. If safety was a concern for me, I had to swallow the reality that it would cost quite a bit more unfortunately. Well, my husband kept getting on me to make the plunge considering we didn’t want to drive around with our son outgrown in his current car seat and I had to agree with him. The very next night we had a “neighborhood clean up,” this allows each house to put as much garbage, furniture, or whatever lying around the house that needed to go out for garbage day. There were washing machines, dryers, couches, bed frames, mattresses, lawn mowers and much more out on curbside. It was such a beautiful day out I decided to enjoy my lunch on the porch and saw our neighbor down the way bring a highchair and car seat to the curb. I didn’t think too much about it at first; as I sat there I really began contemplating the products sitting in my view as I gazed at them with thoughts pouring through my head. I wondered many things and finally after the distractions of the day, I walked down to get the mail and happened to be standing next to the car seat. I was baffled by the condition and the reality that this was a convertible car seat, one that I was in desperate need of. I decided to sneak it up to our house and look it over a little more. Now, we know our neighbors, but it is always a weird conversation asking for their “garbage.” I’ve never really asked our neighbors before for their garbage previously and didn’t really want to have this conversation….ever. So I walked it on up to our driveway and headed back down to get the mail again. My husband got home and I was in the bushes calling out to him in a loud whisper, “babe? babe?” Being my husband, he is very carefree and not so sly with these things. I quietly asked him to grab the highchair and he thought it was funny and walked on up the hill with the highchair in hand. As we reached the driveway he spotted the car seat and starts hysterically laughing. “Nice job babe” he tells me as he realizes this big accomplishment I just embarked on.
The following morning I was so excited to look into the car seat and see how used it really was. This thing was basically brand new. It looks the same as the current one in Babies R Us just a WHOLE lot cheaper. Now you must know this about me, I am not the type of person to take things from the curb, let alone other peoples trash. I live in a great neighborhood; safety is fighting for number one in all of Oregon. They may have a couple people like me who take things from the street while most of the city is wealthy, high maintenance families who can afford anything and everything and don’t give things on the street a second glance. Now had we lived in another area I wouldn’t jump all over this find because you do need to be careful about car seats and things that have to do with safety for your kids but I must say I was very excited. The more research I did, the more I realized what a steal I found, literally. ;) Britax is one of the top names and I was so excited to have found this one.
The highchair also looks brand new. The current highchair we had is cute but also 11 years old. I got it from my sister who has an eleven year old and we have passed this through the family. It actually is in great condition but this new one is super cute and has Cooper’s little animals on it. There are also little wheels that allows it to move a lot easier, and it has a cute little clip that you can attach toys to and outsmart your child. Now when Cooper attempts to throw toys off the side of his highchair they will only dangle down and mommy does not have to give in to this little game he plays. :)
All of this to say, you must be creative in escaping the high cost of having a first born. But…. I must say, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love my little Cooper Man.
If you need tips on street finds let me know. ;)