What to Splurge On When Your Kids are Little

Having kids is expensive, especially if you decide to go the all-organic and exclusive preschool route.  I registered at Target when I had my first baby, and love me a hand me down bin of clothes- but there are areas that are worth the splurge and this is what I tell my new mom friends to splurge on:

Professional baby photos.  Hire a photographer to come to your house.  By the luck of a Google search almost 9 years ago, I found Jess McDaniel of Boston Baby Photos, who embodied the style of photography I wanted: natural light, lots of candids and the ability to capture the dimpled skin and sweet markings of a baby.   I made certain to have Jess come to the house when each of my 3 babies were around 10 months old, in my opinion, if you do it once during the first year, this is the time.  (Newborn shots are nice and all, but not all newborns are a) cute b) happy c) awake for the camera)

Hanna Andersson pajamas.  Thick, soft, organic cotton perfect for snuggling up to and the way the sizing works, you buy them a little big and they can wear them for a long time.  They stand up to years of washings and multiple hand me downs.  I love my toddlers in the striped pajamas of all colors.  Red and green Christmas striped pajamas are unisex, so what my girl wore as a baby and toddler and Kindergartener, her little brothers can wear.

A decadent dress or outfit that’s all your taste  My kids have worn beautiful clothes that were gifted or handed down to us.  I troll second hand shops and snag all sorts of great labels that are great quality, but once in awhile you need to walk into a boutique and buy a special occasion dress (like an Easter dress with smocking) or a Tea or Zutano outfit or a kicking pair of Puma suedes.

Imaginative Play Toys  I longed for a wooden play kitchen for my daughter from the Land of Nod, but didn’t pull the trigger.  I wished I’d bought one before she grew out of it. The train table never was played with by my middle son.  So major imaginative play purchases can be a gamble.  What I haven’t regretted: Magna Tiles.  Little Tykes cars and water tables can often be found on trash day.  I’ve scored some good ones!

A piano teacher that will come to your house.  Once your kids hit school age or the age of piano lessons, it is worth it to have the teacher come to your house.  People are always getting rid of pianos on Craigs List (as long as you move it).  It’s nice to not have to get into the car and drive to another activity, sports, religious education, whatever.  Hearing the piano practice while I fix dinner is a bonus.

What do you think is worth the splurge when your kids are little?  What do you wish you splurged on? What do you wish you didn’t splurge on?

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