For starters, I would say "Don't get the $200.00 Italian infant carrier/carseats that our kids will outgrow in less than 9-months and we will use no more than ten times." Yes, infant carriers are convenient ... but $600.00 invested wisely could grow to $5,500.00 in 18-years. Especially if that money is invested in Proctor & Gamble (Pampers, of course).
I'd give myself the same advice about skipping the $190.00 Italian highchair. "You'll need three of those, and $570.00 would go a lot further in a college fund, then for a highchair the kids will outgrow in less than a year."
Let me just think about that for a moment.
Rather than purchase highchairs and infant carriers - invest that money in the stock market. In 18-years ... we could, theoretically - have $10,000.00. That's a lot more than the $120.00 I was able to "negotiate" from selling our three carseats. And, the amount I'll recover from selling our highchairs ... which are still in the garage. I'm not an economist, but I'd have to say $240.00 as opposed to $10,000.00 is not a very good return on the dollar.
Even if I didn't invest that money and stuck it in a box under my bed ... in 18-years, I'd still have $1,170.00. Right?
Anyway. It's best not to dwell on these things.
When the kids graduated from their bouncy chairs to their high chairs at 8-months, mealtime took on a whole new dynamic. We sold our table that we'd bought the first year of marriage, and lined up all three babies in highchairs across our kitchen. There was no way our kitchen was big enough to fit a 2-person table AND three highchairs, so Charlie and I would
One of the items we did receive from our baby registry - that has been a fantastic gift - were the Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seats. These are small, compact, and easy to clean. All of these characteristics are a plus, plus, plus in my book. Up until a few months ago, the only time we used our booster seats was when we were traveling. When we weren't jet setting across the country - these $22.00 space saving/time saving/money saving gems - were tucked in our garage.
In May, we went out to dinner with the babies. As we were all sitting around the table together, Charlie and I noted that at some point - hopefully in the near future - it would be great if we could start eating together as a family.
Of course the first thing we'd need is a table. Unless we wanted to roll the kid's highchairs in to the family room so they could sit with us
Because we are really good at buying things (and would much prefer to purchase things we don't need than have Proctor & Gamble stock) ... Charlie and I loaded the kids up and went out on a sunny Saturday afternoon looking at new tables.
After four stores and only a moderate amount of screaming, we found a beauty. The table that we ultimately purchased, is 38-inches high and ~6-inches taller than a *standard* table. It has six chairs, and a butterfly leaf - which means the leaf stays inside the table when you fold it.
The table was delivered, the highchairs were traded for the booster chairs in the garage (because I wasn't fully prepared to just give up our highchairs, that's a big step, you know?) and we began eating as a family.
With a small caveat.
It's hard to eat as a family when you have three little dictators in diapers that are ready to start eating as SOON as they get placed in their chair. Usually, it requires a lot of planning by Charlie and I to get meal times coordinated such that we can all sit down to eat at about the same time and we're not jumping up to get this. And that. And this. And that. And this. (And that).
Eating together as a family is a good thing. Not counting the car - our mealtimes are the only time we are all gathered together for at least 15 minutes ... we're sitting still ... we're not distracted by outside influences (i.e. The Wiggles) ... and we're conscious. Aside from those benefits, it allows us an excellent opportunity to work with the kids on their self-feeding skills and social etiquette around the dinner table.
As you can see, we still have a ways to go.
We could most definitely have done with out the highchairs and the infant carriers. But as our children grow up ... meal time around our family table is one thing we will never regret.