Have your friends just had a baby? Are you struggling for gift ideas? Well, as a new(ish) parent, I implore you not waste good money on the ubiquitous Sophie the Giraffe (chances are they’ll have at least three of these already) or an overpriced fluffy bunny from Jellycat. The fact is this; babies don’t give a shit yet. They’re just too young to anthropomorphise. The law of nature dictates that, for very young children, it’s not the gift itself, but the paper it comes wrapped in that really matters. Chances are, they’ll grab your little fuzzy animal-shaped gift by the throat, toss it carelessly it one side, and return to the pack of Huggies wet wipes that they were obsessing about before you got there.
Martha’s forlorn furry friends – dont worry, your time will come…
Martha owned a soft toy menagerie by the age of three months but still these poor animals sit stacked along her bedroom shelves, waiting patiently for their time to shine. However, wave the Sky remote briefly in her line of sight and it’ll become the most fascinating object she’s ever seen. Martha can’t really crawl just yet but she’ll gladly drag herself laboriously across the floor like a soldier hit in the legs by a sniper if it means she can get to that chunky remote control.
Just what it is about a remote control that’s so appealing? It could be a teething thing; their rounded sides and rubber keys might be great to gnaw down on when you have a tooth pushing its way mercilessly into your gums. Surprisingly, newspapers are a favourite too. Try reading the Sport section of the Observer on a Sunday (look, I live in Muswell Hill, go into the Waitrose here and the security guard hands out free copies at the entrance) and you’ll see what I mean. Big, colourful, crunchy sheets of newspaper must be hard to resist for eager little hands. I had to unfurl and piece together scraps of paper just to read how Spurs capitulated once again this season; double whammy.
So, forget the soft toys; the ideal gift for a baby under eight months is either a remote control (disinfected, with the batteries removed) or a pack of wet wipes, wrapped in a broadsheet newspaper.