30 April, 2009

In Case You Didn't Know

You learn so much when you have a baby.  For example, you learn about true love, breastpumps, children's TV, and the real meaning of tired.  You also learn just how much crap comes with a kid.  And I'm not referring to the swings, baskets, tubs, soaps, carriers, diapers, and assorted paraphernalia.  No, I am referring to the blankets, stuffed animals, photo albums, and infinite teeny tiny shoes that people buy you.  Essentially, all the cute but useless stuff.

I've had no less than three friends or family members have their first babies in the last few months.  Every single one of them has phoned me and said the same thing: "I never realized how crappy the presents I gave to new parents were until now."  They fell victim to the pastel coloured treats in the department stores and gift shops.  Now, as parents, they were suffocating under the gifts people brought over. And now, as new parents, they were realizing that the best presents were the edible kind. Screw the teddy bears, give me muffins!

We too went through this realization.  After The Monster was born I started to get especially bitter at people who would come to meet the baby and maybe drop off "a little something" when that little something didn't come as food.  New parents are exhausted and overwhelmed by their new state and that little creature who has joined the family.  The last thing they need is a visitor who only wants to hold the baby while you get them tea.  

I'm not telling you to not buy the cute little somethings, but don't you dare show up to visit without a frozen meal, some fresh muffins, or even some crackers and cheese from the grocery store.  Don't you dare do it.  If you want to be truly appreciated by your friends/family then make a few meals to freeze, cut up a fruit salad, and bake some muffins.  If you can't cook, then hit a make and take meal place or somewhere with a nice ready-made meal counter.

Here are some more ideas to take to new parents:
- Fruit and Veggies  - don't give them a whole pineapple, cut it up.
- Muffins, cookies, scones, quick breads - homemade or bakery purchased these are always appreciated by the constantly hungry new mom 
- Trail mix or nuts
- Fresh bread or cinnamon buns
- Cheese
- Ready-made meals - fresh or frozen - purchased from a place like Fresh Kitchen or Mise En Place
- Dips like hummus or a white bean with pita
- Frozen meals that you make - try mac & cheese, chili, meatballs, lasagne, enchiladas, meat pies

New parents have no time to cook, a breastfeeding mom is always hungry, and quite often no one has ten minutes or two hands to eat, let alone prepare food.  Keep all this in mind when choosing your gifts.  All this applies in the first three months.  Yes, I said three months, not three weeks.

The Monster has some lucky aunties.  They've been the thankful recipients of her constant baking in the past few months.  With two new nephews we've been baking a lot in order to keep my sister and sister-in-law in muffins and cookies.  So now, when we go over to cuddle those babies and drink tea I can at least feed the mom. Oh, and pass on the drawing The Monster made, the photo album I found, and maybe the onesie I couldn't resist getting for that cute little guy.


Vincci said...

Haha, you are too cute, Cheryl! (I think I've already called you that before - sorry.) No one close enough for me to visit has had babies yet, but I'll definitely keep these tips in mind!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

So true! What's worse are the people who turn up and expect you to feed them and fix them drinks...

Aimée said...

Great post! A friend had a baby on Sunday. Here's what we brought over this week:
Chicken-Leek Pot Pie
Creole Shrimp with Orzo
Apple Struesel Pie

I think they will make out OK!

Court said...

Your post made me smile. As an expectant mother, and also food blogger, I think people will still expect me to have lots of food for them. I have a feeling that as the due date looms closer my freezer will get pretty empty instead. Here's hoping lots of people take your suggestions to heart!

Kevin Kossowan said...

Amanda's comment made me cringe, because she's right. I'd like to add to the list: being expected to show up to normal social gatherings as you normally would, as if you didn't have a new born in tow with a schedule that your life inevitably revolves around. Which comes back to: our loved ones should just screw social expectations for a few months, and as you suggest: they bring the food. And booze too. Booze is good.