By Laura LaVoie
When I was only 20, my first nephew was born. He’s nearly 18 now and when he was just about 2 years old, his brother joined our family. They are my only nephews.
When my older nephew was born, I was still in college, living in the same town as my sister. I was frequently asked to babysit. This was a horrifically bad idea, but I did it because I was a poor college kid and needed the money. Plus, they were family. (Well, they still are!)
Luckily, the kid was never in a life or death situation, though I frequently made unfortunate clothing mistakes.
I can’t say I liked babysitting. I never did it again after that.
When I saw this gem of an article on Buzzfeed: 9 Gifts Your Childless Friends Don’t Realize You Don’t Need. I couldn’t help but read it with maniacal laughter. I spent years cultivating the “I’m the cool aunt” persona, and many of these childhood presents were already at the top of my strategy.
Let’s look at a few.
Loud Toys! Yep, I am guilty. I bought my older nephew a drum when he was one year old. Because, obviously, that is what a one-year-old needs. As it turns out, my younger nephew is a talented pianist and drummer now that he’s a teenager. I was on the right track, just with the wrong kid.
Sports Apparel. I didn’t buy this for my nephews, but when one of my closest friends had her first child, I bought him a tiny Detroit Lions uniform – because infants should be playing defensive tackle. My friends were also Detroit Lions fans, so it was well received. (It is hard to believe anyone is a Detroit Lions fan, but there you have it.)
Baby Shoes. Yep, I did this for yet another friend and his first child. Matt and I were shopping for a present after the baby was born and found adorable tiny mandals we couldn’t pass up. Never mind that the kid’s feet were still the size of…very small things. At that point, and it would be quite a while before he could wear them. (I’m afraid I can’t make size analogies for baby feet; I have no idea what size they are or what they should be.)
Inappropriate Slogans. Check! The same kid who got the mandals got a onesie that said something about being a tax write-off. Yes, we are those people.
I believe the Buzzfeed list missed one very important category: The Seasonally Inappropriate Outdoor Sporting Toy! Both my nephews were born in the winter, so between their birthdays and Christmas, it was difficult to buy them stuff they could use indoors. “Here’s a bike, kid! But there’s 9 feet of snow outside, so you need to wait until spring to ride it! Muhahahaha!”
I bought my oldest nephew at, say, around age 3, a tiny T-ball kit. Great idea! Sports AND things to throw and/or hit around the house!
I thought of another one: The Completely Age-Inappropriate Toy! When my youngest nephew was still pretty little (maybe four?), we decided to buy him an animatronic gorilla. The thing terrified him! In his defense, it was pretty terrifying.
Now that my nephews are teenagers, I am much more comfortable around them. Can’t wait until they’re 21. (But don’t tell my sister.)
(Image Credit: Getty Images)