For a guy, one of the many great things about having a baby is the chance to buy many new toys and gadgets. You’re likely overwhelmed with all the un-fun stuff you’re forking over your hard-earned greenbacks for, but you’re also likely already eying a camcorder or digital camera.
If it’s your first baby, especially, both of these will get plenty of use. Since dad is often stuck behind the camera, make sure you get something simple enough and small enough for mom to use. It’s no fun to look back years later and wonder why daddy is in none of the pictures.
You may also get a baby monitor, which allows you to listen in on the baby sleeping, and more specifically, the baby waking up and crying. Just make sure you are mindful when it’s turned on since it transmits private conversations equally well from the baby’s room to wherever the receiver is set up (read our friend Robert Wilder’s Daddy Needs a Drink for great stories on this).
A big generalization on how moms and dads look at all this stuff is that moms often go after what actually feathers the nest and is “best” for the baby. Dads, and you will notice this in other areas also, look for the toys, gadgets, and accoutrements that will be fun for us. We buy books we’ll want to read to little Jack or Jill. We buy the train set or the slot car set we want to play with. Don’t be ashamed by what some might consider as a selfish orientation to parenting. Instead, embrace this difference. Realize that anything that helps you share and communicate your passions will be good for your kids. And anything that gets you down on the floor playing with them, no matter what anyone says about you reliving your childhood, is good for kids and great for the dad who plays with them.
– Paul Banas