Ask Maggie: Nine Toddler Things I Can’t Live Without
Hi team. I’m having trouble keeping up with email, but I’ve been getting a lot questions from you guys that I feel bad ignoring. I figured I’d start answering some of them on Fridays, so this is the first one.
Awesome, right? I know! Now, on to the toddler question.
I built my baby registry around your product recommendations on Mighty Girl. I have never regretted purchasing a single thing you recommended, and consider my registry, and the fact that none of my baby products went unused, to be one of my major parenting achievements. Is this weird?
…Please, please post your recommendations for toddler buys, esp. strollers.
Here you go.
We have two strollers. A little umbrella one that I kind of hate, and the Bob, which is so good that I’d like to hold it close and whisper naughty things to it in the night.
It’s a little heavy when it’s folded, but the wheels are so big that I just drive it up and down our stairs while Hank walks, so I rarely have occasion to carry it any distance. You can also order an infant car seat adapter bar and make it your primary stroller from the beginning, but it’s kind of big for restaurants. Our Bob is excellent because it:
Moves like hot butter in a frying pan. (I could drive it with one finger.)
Is easy to fold and unfold.
Fits though airport security scanners.
Is crazy durable.
Can be driven easily on dirt and grass.
Is big enough that your kid won’t outgrow it instantly.
Serves as an outdoor bed.
Let me reiterate that last point. The Bob is so comfortable, that we can recline the seat fully and Hank will sleep in it. This means we can put him down for a nap or bedtime while we’re out on a walk and go for lunch dinner at an outdoor cafe (the stroller is kind of big for indoor dining). It doesn’t always work, but it works enough of the time that the stroller has paid for itself in saved babysitter fees. It also comes in a double stroller version if you have two kiddos.
One thing I wish I’d done from the beginning was buy a bunch of the same sippy cups, so the parts could be interchangeable. I love these BPA-free toddler cups, because they’re like travel coffee mugs, but with a restricted flow valve inside. They’re great for teaching kids how to use a cup. I just ordered a bunch of them in the same color, so I can just use whatever lid I come across. Also, you can order new lids and valves without replacing the whole cup.
3. Water Shoes instead of Sneakers
If you get a cute pair of water shoes, they often look a lot cooler than designer kids sneakers, and they’re way, way cheaper. Easier to pull on, they don’t get all gross when they get wet, and they last a little longer because they’re stretchy. Bonus, they’re comfortable without socks if laundry day comes a little late that week.
We’ve never owned a high chair. The Phil and Ted’s was small enough to throw in the stroller basket and take out with us to dinner where we could easily attach it to a table ledge. When he outgrew that, we bought a Handysitt, which sits on a dining room chair most of the time. We throw in the car for dinner at a friend’s house, and it also stows easily if you’re having company and it’s not mealtime. Bonus, no tantrums about not getting to sit in a grownup chair.
Bless you, iPhone video. So ludicrously useful for preempting tantrums, we call it the neglect-a-tron. Download a few of the kid’s favorite videos, and the most exhausted toddler can be dissuaded from throwing himself on the floor at the DMV. These stands are pretty great too.
6. Apple Slicer
It’s gonna come up.
If you have a little boy, this set is likely to be a hit.
I don’t own one of these yet, so this is risky, but I’ve been searching high and low for a decent sunhat with a chin strap, and I just placed an order for one of these on the recommendation of mom-of-three Margaret Stewart. She says, “My kids wore these for years. I handed the same hats down through three kids and they were still in good enough shape to give away to another family after 8+ years of use!” Good enough for me.
Margaret also recommends this for the beach. It’s the cutest mullet hat I’ve seen, and yet it remains a mullet hat. I can’t do it.
If you’d like to finish a novel start to finish? Hand the kid a flashlight for the first time. Enjoy.
That’s it. What can’t you live without? Tell us. Do!
And if you want to ask me a question about whatever, send it to maggie at mighty girl dot com.