“What should I get for my friend who just had a second baby?” My friend texted me this question because she values my opinion so highly and because (more likely) I recently had my second baby.
“A Caviar gift card,” I replied, without hesitation.
Baby gifts are hard. The nursing pillow I adored for my firstborn (so much so that I wrote a glowing review for it) sat unloved in my closet as I fed my second while snuggled up on our new couch. Was it the different dimensions of that couch, or was it because my son was substantially larger than our baby girl was? Who knows.
Babies are individual and mysterious. My babies loved bobbing up and down in a bouncer; my close friend’s little one sobbed whenever she placed his chubby legs inside the same contraption. Not to mention all the cozy baby blankets we never used because my daughter was born in April. All of that to say, baby gifts are hard!
But a Caviar gift card is universal. For a sleep-deprived new mom or dad, there’s nothing like treating yourself to a delicious meal on your own timeline, in your own house. I felt that magic for myself when I received the card as a present, and now it’s my go-to gift for new parents.
When my first baby was brand new, it was the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the whole world felt uncertain. A new baby, too, is a cataclysmic life event. Our little world was upended just as the greater world was.
My family and I were shuffling back and forth between my parents’ house in rural New Jersey and our apartment in Brooklyn. I was up at all sorts of weird hours, feeding my baby and feeling the soft, fluffy down of her head against my face while doom-scrolling and reading new-mom message boards about poop and loneliness. Mostly, I was feeling amazed and terrified that I had made this small person and that I was now responsible for keeping her alive.
Some friends had pooled together to give my husband and me a Caviar gift card. At the end of an endlessly long day, we ordered ourselves some wonderful comfort food from Pies-n-Thighs.
For the uninitiated, Pies-n-Thighs makes the juiciest, crispiest-skinned fried chicken. On this particular day, we had no idea what day of the week it was; we knew it as just another tough one that bled into night, where my exhaustion was so thick, I could barely see through it.
As soon as our fried chicken box arrived at our apartment door, I felt just a tiny bit better. The rich smell was a balm to my frayed nerves. It came with a buttermilk biscuit, which I pulled apart into its flaky, buttery layers. I love to make my own mac and cheese with blue cheese and breadcrumbs, but this was different and perfect for that moment — creamy comfort in pasta form.
The restaurant is known for their pies (it’s right in the name!), and we opted for two banana puddings with fresh chunks of bananas, a sweet and salty Nilla wafer crust, and a whole mountain of whipped cream. Our plan was to eat one that night and save one for the next, but I fell asleep before getting the chance to dig in. The next day, it tasted even better.
I felt cared for and satisfied. What gift is better than that?
It didn’t shorten the long day, with its shushing, changing, burping, feeding, cuddling, more feeding, and wiping, but it reminded me that I still had access to simple, delicious joy.
A friend of mine is about to enter her third trimester of pregnancy. It’s a brutally hot summer and she’s busy and stressed. After sending her enough heart emojis that it probably bordered on annoying, I sent her something a little more tangible: a Caviar gift card.
After her son was in bed, she and her husband ordered a small feast from Maya: guacamole and chips, asada steak tacos, fish tacos, and a big salad with black beans, fire-roasted corn, and pico de gallo.
She told me it had been a truly awful day. She had some bad news at work as well as a health scare; everything turned out okay, but at that point, she didn’t know that it would. Sitting down with her partner to enjoy tacos and her favorite TV show didn’t fix her problems, of course, but it did make the evening a little more manageable. The next day, she felt a bit better.
For new and expecting parents, when everything is upside down, small tasks can feel insurmountable while little joys can mean a lot.
If you want to make a new parent’s day a little brighter and give them one less thing to worry about, well, you know what I suggest.