Tacky Baby Gear You Swore You'd Never Own

baby in exersaucerBabies are tacky. There, I've said it. Not the babies themselves, mind you, but the many accessories that invade your home, car, life (your very soul!) after those babies come along. This is because babies really, really like colors, sounds, and textures that you really, really don't like.

It's okay -- this phase of "baby bad taste" will pass. But for now, might as well resign yourself to the fact that however hip and minimalist your home was before, it now looks like a dumping ground for primary-colored plastic gear that will more than likely make obnoxious noises or light up when you trip over it in the middle of the night. Among the worst offenders:

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The Exersaucer

Exersaucers are fabulous inventions, don't get me wrong. If I didn't have one when my kids were babies, I don't know how I would have managed to wash a dish or make a sandwich or fold laundry or do anything requiring both hands. Plop a baby in an exersaucer and you're guaranteed at least 4 or 5 minutes' use of two arms.

That said, exersaucers are hideous. All of the blindingly bright, singing, crinkling, shaking objects of distraction that make your baby temporarily forget you're not holding him become as much a part of your living room's visual landscape as the couch.

But even when your little one isn't blissfully distracted in that circle o' fun, those chew toy sunflowers with smiley faces and monkey-shaped rattles are still there, mocking you with their perma-grins as you walk around the room bouncing Mr. Fussy.

Stuffed Animals (Many, Many Stuffed Animals)

Unlike the oh-so-useful exersaucer, the stuffed-animal-as-entertainment is largely lost on babies, apart from the occasionally hilarious game of "Where did the bunny go? There he is!" Yet you will have many plush toys, possibly numbering in the thousands, because family members and friends love nothing more than to give them as gifts.

It starts at the baby shower and doesn't end until your child is roughly 4 or 5. You will, at many points, consider bagging up 20 or 30 of them and donating them to a local daycare center, but then you'll look into the plastic eyes of that weird beanbag frog from Aunt Sue and realize how hurt she would be if she knew you tossed her gift away.

Toy Pianos

Remember that cute little toy piano Schroeder from Peanuts had? Yeah, they don't look like that anymore. They're big and bright and the keys, which flash like headlights when pressed, emit a horrible noise that sounds more like a fire alarm than a piano -- and just wait until the batteries start to die! It's very disturbing when "Mary Had a Little Lamb" sounds as if it's being played on a pipe organ in the depths of hell.

Oh, by the way -- if you want to spend three times the amount of money, there are aesthetically pleasing toys and things for babies made from natural wood and organic wool. But babies hate those, so don't bother.

Does all of the tacky baby gear in your house make you feel like you're living in a theme park?


Image via Nelson Kwok/Flickr

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