Why cardboard boxes are all you need for the modern baby - Not-a-Mommy-Blogger Advice #3

So, you're pregnant, and having a baby shower, eh?  And what are you going to be left with when everyone's brought their presents and drunk your wine and eaten your chocolate cake and gone home?  Eh?  Eh?  Here's what - and then I'll tell you what you SHOULD be asking people to bring.

1. You'll get romper suits for babies aged 1-3 months, despite the fact that your bump is so big that it gets to destinations fifteen minutes before you do and contains a gargantuan infant whom you'll have to put straight into your old school uniform until you can get to the shops.

Oh!  I've given birth to a giant rubber ball!  Well, that explains a LOT!

(Another word of caution on romper suits:  They will also mostly be that shade of could-be-a-girl-could-be-a-boy yellow that suits no one, causes your baby's complexion to look jaundiced, and makes everyone who looks through your photo album say, 'You know, I think I prefer all the black and white ones.')

2. You'll get plastic dishes with mega-sticky feet which are all very useful while the child is eating, but when levered off the highchair tray, project spaghetti bolognese towards the ceiling so that you have to repaint the whole room in stippled orange to match and pretend it's called style.

3. At least three people will give you a white padded book with gold lettering and a picture of some baby shoes on the front, and spaces in which to write the dates of a) baby's first step, b) baby's first word and c) baby's first spoonful of pureed carrot, which is all very well, but by the time baby's doing any of these things, you won't have time to write it in, because you'll be dealing with a) baby's first diarrhoea incident on the bus, b) baby's first projectile vomit straight into the face of your boss and c) baby's first experiment with a new game called 'Take My Nappy Off Myself and Spread the Contents Over the Kitchen Rug'.

So, my advice is to ask everyone to bring, not the usual presents, but as many cardboard boxes as possible.  Because cardboard boxes are really all you need to care for the modern baby.  Here's why.

1. They're cheaper than cots for sleeping in, and they're warm. The homeless found this out years ago but no one's been taking any notice.  There are no bars to look through, so you get rid of that horrid 'my baby is in jail' effect.  And if you're a new mum, and in danger of forgetting that you HAVE a baby, you can write 'This Contains My Baby' on the side with a marker pen without worrying about spoiling a nice piece of furniture.

2. You can sit a baby in a box with high sides with a few rattles and a teddy and it doesn't know it's being mistreated. It may even fall asleep if you're lucky.  (See Point 1.)  If you're worried it will be lonely, you can always put eye holes in the side which is facing you, and then when you stop being worried it will be lonely (or you've reached a really interesting chapter in your book), just turn the eye hole side to face the wall.

3. Babies playing with cardboard boxes don't make as much irritating noise as babies playing with saucepans, toy drums and toys that play the same pig-awful piece of Chopin again and again and again.  Cardboard even muffles their cries if the sides of the box are high enough and this is made even more effective by putting the boxes and the baby in a room a long way away from you.  Baby will really enjoy the ride in the box as you carry him upstairs and along the three corridors and up the spiral staircase to the attic, too.

4. If the baby is really stressing you out, you can play a great pretend game called, 'I'm sending you away' in which you put the baby in the box, wrap it up loosely with string and a luggage label, and the baby will still be able to breathe until you decide to unpack him.  You will feel much better after doing this.  Warning: If you find yourself at the Post Office, with the box, and standing waiting for it to be weighed, you are probably a little more than just stressed.

5. When the baby has grown up a bit, you can sneer at all those fluorescent orange and green plastic kitchens for sale in the toy shops.  Just line up five large cardboard boxes in a row in the baby's room.  On one, draw four hobs.  Cooker.  On the next, draw a circle at the front.  Washing machine.  On the third, draw a handle.  Fridge.  On the fourth, draw a slightly different handle (for variety).  Freezer.  On the fifth, draw a picture of yourself, so that Baby can pretend there is someone else in the kitchen with him while you are just finishing off watching a rerun of Friends.  This is only fair.


  1. Ha Ha, that's great, so much money is wasted on new babies, you're right most time a cardboard box would do :-)

  2. Shrieking with laughter and I am with you 100% here! At my youngest's first Christmas, he was having such fun with the boxes from everyone else's presents that I packed away all his presents and gave them to him (again) for his first birthday. He never noticed a thing!

  3. Brilliant with a twist of evil, as regards the 'eye holes', it is nearly making me want another baby just to make them.

  4. Madam, your ideas are certainly interesting but personally I prefer my babies to think outside the box. ;-)

  5. Too funny . . . but you you make a lot of great points!

  6. Eliza - save the money and buy more chocolate, that's my life goal.

    Linds - same with wrapping paper! (Hah! Another bring-up-baby-cheapo blog idea ...)

    Brigid - do go ahead, don't mind us.

    Steve - Sir, preferring your babies to think outside the box is certainly an interesting idea, but you'll be the one who doesn't get to finish your novel, that's all ...

  7. You've been reading Dr. Spock again , haven't you .

  8. That bouncy ball is a blue pile if my pregnancy experiences are anything to go by.......

    Anna May x

  9. SmitandSon - you know what's on my bedside table right now? How do you DO that?

    Anna May - Please do post some pictures on your blog if you'd like to share more.

  10. Anna May - please don't.

    Fran - I imagine this is a book proposal? Trouble-Free Baby Rearing: Your Problems Wrapped Up.

  11. I have some excellent pictures of babies enjoying themselves in laundry baskets, not the chic basketwork John Lewis ones, the functional plastic Wilkinsons ones. Can be anything : boat, car, train, means of corralling baby while you go outside.

  12. That was cleverly funny and it also explains the stain on my kitchen ceiling :D

    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  13. Ooops. It's a pink ball not a blue one.
    My piles were not blue because I am not a martian.

    Anna May x

  14. And don't forget the big appliance boxes, when someone buys a new washer, dryer and all that. Those are the best toys ever! And big enough to hold several babies.

  15. Haha. Oh yes, my kids LOVE boxes, even now.

  16. Superb advice from start to finish - now all I need is a baby - I've got the cardboard box! LOL

  17. Anonymous22/9/10 03:41

    This is great - made me chuckle!

  18. Isabelle - That is such a good title. I will include you in my Acknowledgments.

    Karen G - great news for mums of sextuplets.

    Whispering Writer - that's okay, but if they're still sitting in boxes when they're 21 or over, have a little word.

    hausfrau - thanks for visiting and for your comment. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Jinksy - there's always ebabe if you're wanting to buy a child.

    Lucie - good - love making people chuckle.

  19. Why weren't you around when this sort of information would have been of use to me?
    The only quibble I have is feeding a new baby spagbol. I tried it, once I'd shoved the strands down baby's throat, they came back up in one long knitted together strand, which landed straight in my face and wound itself all round my head. Not nice. Naturally, I slammed it straight back at baby's head and we had a lovely game.

  20. Fran don't forget a cardboard box is also perfect for cats to play in and they would love the eye hole to put their little paws through.
    A word of caution here, never put baby and cat in the same box at the same time...

  21. Oooo, brilliant post! If I may I'd like to add some minor details to your wonderful ideas. The box with the holes in it so baby can see mother? I'd make the holes at eye distance and then draw a face around it. With glasses and a mustache for instance. Or pouty lips and big boobs. Just for added fun ;-) I'd also write 'this side up' on the box with 'this contains my baby' in it. For added safety.
    And I'd draw exactly the same handles on the fridge ánd the freezer. Just to snigger every time baby thinks he/she opens the freezer and it turns out the be the fridge again, or vice versa.

    Yep, you could definitely develop this idea into a very succesful company.
    I have three friends who are very pregnant. One of them is even carrying two babies.
    I will have the perfect gifts now ;-) (Just imagine their faces when I give them a cardboard box and a marker pen.)

  22. Jules - just throw more spaghetti up there and make it a statement.

    Friko - I felt a little queasy visualising all that, I have to say.

    Linens and Royals - I will bear that in mind when grandchildren arrive. In fact, I will recite it now to learn it. 'Never forget to put a cat in the box with the baby.' Or ... have I got that ... was that it?

    Carolina - You are definitely crueller than I am. The fridge/freezer handle confusion thing is mean, mean, mean. But please take pictures of your friends as you give them the boxes and pens. I want to see their faces too.

  23. Haha. Perfect! I'd say that the box can also grow with the baby. I had a box of my own once *she says, reminiscing*. I pretended it was my house, and made little windows and a lop-sided shelf. I think estate agents would probably charge a small fortune for such a prime London property these days.

  24. This is inspired - and will save me a fortune.


  25. Dear Mom-Me, I snorted out loud at the spaghetti bolognese. Either you've got a fabulous memory, fertile imagination, or somebody's camped out in your kitchen ina high chair.

    The fridge box was the very best toy my kids had. I thought it was so great that I paid the guy down the street to build them a playhouse for the basement. They used it for a week and went back to the box.

    Have you ever seen this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNkp4QF3we8

  26. Jayne - ha ha, yes, they would probably try and market it as 'compact' and 'air-conditioned'.

    Suzanne - if you find yourself with spare money after using my tips, I could do with a few hundred.

    Deborah - what you say about my fabulous memory .... are you insinuating that had my children in the 19th century? Thanks for the video. Just about to look.

  27. Deborah - just watched it. That child deserves a large helping of dark green vegetables.

  28. Oh Blimey, you obviously bought the yellow romper suits as well. I thought it was only me that was that practical. Now, I know the truth:) AND,if that isn't enough- when my eldest was born (5 weeks early) I put on the romper suit on to match his beautiful (slightly tanned) complexion......until of course the nurse told me the reality. Best he's ever looked though....

    Ahhh.. the box issue. So true!In fact, I went down to my friends house the other day and her 8yr old was colouring (I don't mean going blue from asphyxiation- I mean crayons) inside a large box. However, there was a lot of carpet tape and sellotape around. My friend's telephone rang and she went off - whereupon I quickly cut some windows in the box. She's got depression and I thought maybe it was wise....

  29. Jane - your comment made me laugh, especially when you carefully explained what you meant by 'colouring'. Very funny. By the way, just a thought. Do you have many friends with depression, or do they tend to be rather short-lived relationships?.....

  30. Well it is true a lot of my friends are dead now. Maybe I shouldn't have given them my cupcakes:))


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