5 worst baby gifts

At the risk of seeming ungrateful, I've come to the conclusion after twice giving birth that some baby gifts just shouldn't be given. I'm not talking about the vaguely creepy Anne Geddes book you stash in the back of the closet or the puke-yellow blanket featuring a duck holding a baseball bat. I'm talking about the Hall of Famers, most of which come from the child-free, the elderly, and the frenemy you haven't seen since high school graduation.

I realize none on my short-list are as bad as presenting the lesbian couple's baby with a "Daddy's Little Princess" bib. (True story.) And now that I think about it, I might prefer any of these to the gift-wrapped nursing shawl, whose tent-like drape and flower print ironically scream to the world, "Hey everybody, my tits are out!" And yeah, I know all of these freakish offerings come from the heart. (Though, honestly, what could be less endearing than a stuffed animal made out of Aunt Jo's old tennis socks?)

But to the point. The Hall of Famers:

1. The diaper cake.
It's a five-tiered cake, festooned with cutesy-tootsy ribbons and bows. Made out of disposable diapers. Beautiful! Yet practical! And all the rage at baby showers these days, so I'm told. People magazine says Debra Messing had one out in Hell-A. Bless her heart. But really. I am pregnant. I am already nauseous, people.

2. The baby bathrobe.
I don't know if other babies are working the cocktail party circuit after bathtime, but mine moves from tub to changing table in a towel - Quick! Before he pees on me. And then I clothe him. There's no time for loafing about in that monogrammed blue velvet getup from Pottery Barn Kids. Send it to Hugh Heffner's kid.

3. The baby cologne.
After my baby has donned his miniature smoking jacket in preparation for an evening of smooth jazz on the veranda, he'll need some cologne. Right? As the packaging informs me, it's "very popular in Spain!"

4. The lambskin.
While we're on the subject of exotic delights: If your in-laws have a friend who recently traveled abroad, that friend might decide to gift you with a local treasure. But if you happen to live south of the Arctic Circle, you might not get much mileage out of the traditional Swedish lambskin, upon which - apparently - all Swedish babies sleep. You might have read a little something about the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Or you might be a vegetarian repelled by the notion of putting your baby to bed on a sheep carcass. You might have to send the lambskin to live at your in-laws' house.

5. The Moose Tunes.
Just because some guy named Marty records a homegrown CD of 13 tone-deaf "children's songs" by and about the noble moose doesn't mean anyone should buy it. And send it to a baby. Whose dreams it will haunt for years to come.


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