Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Toddler product reviews: 12+ months

Now that Cameron is a year old, I thought it was time for another of my period reviews of "must have" items in our household. I have also reviewed products for 0-6 months and 6-9 months

Board books
We have a good supply of board books in Cameron's play area and up in her room. As anyone with a toddler knows, they like to destroy things. Board books are perfect because they are practically indestructible. Not so the pop up book that barely survived a single "reading" with Cameron. My favorites are the Sandra Boynton ones because they rhyme and don't have too many words. The touch and feel books are still good for this age too.

We put Cameron in this exactly one time and she immediately started pointing (well, gesturing with her entire hand because she hasn't figured out pointing with an index finger yet) at the swing every time she saw it from her bedroom window or if we were out in the yard. She insists on swinging for at least 15 minutes. If we try to take her out before those 15 minutes are up then she kicks and cries. We've been fortunate that physical development melded nicely with the passage of seasons. It has been perfect swinging weather since we got it. The one we use is Little Tykes and I got it for $15 from a consignment sale. It doesn't swing completely straight but I blame the installation (trees can be tricky). If we had a real swing set I would have gotten a bucket seat swing. We use those at the park and I think that they are much sturdier.

I still have some 12-18 month Robeez and that Cameron needs to grow into. Now that she is cruising all over the place, however, those shoes will probably be relegated to "indoor" shoes. Otherwise Cameron is now enjoying "real" shoes. We did go to Stride Rite and spent more than necessary but hey, it was her first pair of real shoes. My recommendation is to go velcro. I have no idea why parents would select ones with laces. Cameron already likes to unlace things. Putting temptation on her feet would be too risky. I was going to get two pairs of shoes for her but I didn't want two girlie pairs and the one boy pair I liked was out of stock. In retrospect I'm glad we only got one pair. We'll definitely add in sandals into the mix for the late spring/summer.

Hair holders
I have bought more hair accessories for Cameron's hair than I have ever had for my own. I finally found the right kind of elastic bands. I swear by the Scunci brand which is carried by most retailers. Don't go plastic. They will fall out in 1 minute. Aside from the tiny elastic bands I also like the clippies and miniature octopus clips Scunci offers. My trick to styling Cameron's hair is to put her in the high chair, give her a handful of Cheerios and go to town.

Suction bowl
Cameron likes to throw her food. A lot. One strategy we have employed to combat her willfulness is to present her food in a bowl. I ordered two of these suction bowls from Amazon and love them! One is not should definitely get two. The ones I purchased do a great job of "sticking" to the tray.

High chair mat
Continuing with the food theme I also purchased a splat mat. Even though we have a dog he is the biggest wimp on the planet and won't come far enough into the kitchen to eat the dropped (ahem, thrown) food. Weirdo. I'll pull the mat up before the cleaning people come through.

Food storage
Toddlers don't just love playing with Tupperware, parents love how useful it is for storing leftovers. I found the perfect size for us to use for extra canned vegetables or fresh fruit. They also work for the diaper bag with snacks. My local Harris Teeter carried them.

Snack trap
We have two, one is the original Snack Trap and the other is a knock off. Both work fine but I find that the original Snack Trap has a more flexible plastic on its opening. It's easier for Cameron to get her hand in but it is also easier for her to spill the snack all over the floor. Or the car seat. Or the stroller. Do you sense a theme?

Sippy cup leash
I don't have one of these yet but my friend Amanda showed hers off while we were at lunch with our munchkins. I had to keep getting up from my chair and picking up Cameron's sippy cup. So I'm ordering one ASAP. Amanda recommends two: one for traveling and one for the high chair.

Cameron still isn't walking on her own and even when she is, it will take her a few months to become a really good walker. And even then she's going to want to be carried quite a bit. With the summer heat right around the corner I shuddered to think about using the heavy Moby wrap. Instead I purchased a very inexpensive ring sling from Sleeping Baby Productions. I'm just a few inches over 5 feet and a small works great for us. It can be a bit awkward to get Cameron in and out by myself but if DH is around it's perfect. I can take most of her weight onto my shoulder rather than my arm. It's more comfortable for both of us and I can carry her for 30+ minutes at a time. I've even taken her on errands with it because it is so much faster than hauling out the stroller.

Parents of kids over the age of 1...what else am I missing? Any other must haves that I need to add to this list?


Miss Madison's Mommy said...

I too thought "who would buy shoes with laces?" Me, that's who! Madison learned long ago how to undo the velcro so she take her shoes off every chance she gets. It gets old quick so I had to buy the ones with laces so she can't get them off! They are a pain to tie thoough!

Mommy, Esq. said...

For plenty of moms velcro doesn't work. Soon she'll want books that have hidden doors - we got some board books with flaps they can open up, doors they can open, etc. They still rip regular books but are pretty good with those. Have you thought about a baby carriage? She's the perfect age for a small one - and it will help her walk.

Working Mom said...

The Baby is living through all of the handmedowns, so I haven't bought a lot of new stuff for him.

Last year's summertime purchases did include two sunshades last year at a nearby Children's Orchard. One is a Happy Cabana that pops into a little tent for the beach, and the other is a pop-up family cabana, which is big (and high) enough to hold a few of us sitting in chairs and all our stuff.

Sandals are great, but you might want to grab a pair of beach/water shoes too, especially for the beach, lake, or pool. I also recommend a few pairs of sunglasses and sun hats, as well as a small bottle of sunscreen. I keep a hat and sunglasses in each car, and pack the diaper bag with the sunscreen and bug spray so I'm never without.

A small plastic pool is great for splashing on a hot day. KMart, Walmart, and most of the hardware stores still carry the hard plastic ones, which will last longer than the inflatable ones.

Last thing - if your swing is one of the plastic ones with the plastic hollow T that "buckles" Cameron in, be careful - we had to throw ours out with the Middle Child as paper wasps were able to get inside it and start a nest. We're probably going to get a new one, but Hubby thinks he's going to use the foaming insulation that comes in a can to fill it.

Enjoy the toddler!

Hair Flair Boutique said...

I agree that Scunci makes the best toddler and girls hair accessories. We carry the entire Scunci Girl line on our website and the variety of teenie tiny items they have available is astounding. They seem to really understand what fine, thin hair is all about.

mrs.notouching said...

I CANNOT wait for the day we need hair accessories - still waiting for the hair over here :-) But we do enjoy hats... a lot.