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.
If you don’t care about toddler gear, here’s a video of a guy doing an entirely a cappella version of Thriller, using only his voice in place of all the instruments. It is rad. (Thanks, Kottke):
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lots of parents aren’t particularly concerned about stuff on their kids’ faces. This is because you can wipe a child’s face, leave the room to throw out the tissue, and return to find them covered with snot and dog hair. You’re standing there thinking, “We don’t even own a dog.” Well, that’s beside the point. The point is that keeping your kid’s face clean is like pushing a boulder uphill. Except the boulder has teeth, and can scream.
When I was child free, I’d laugh nervously when people passed me their baby food-covered kids. Then I’d lunge for the nearest napkin before the baby could slime my sweater. I always figured I’d grow out of that when I had my own kids, but instead I just chase Hank around with baby wipes all day. The result is a remarkably fastidious kid who would prefer not to touch anything that might leave a residue. He has a very conflicted relationship with bananas.
For some reason, I didn’t ponder this much when we took him out for his first ice cream cone. It was the first warm day we’ve had since he’s been old enough to hold his own cone, and I could barely wait. I’d somehow failed to remember that the kid who loves to play in mud and sand, and splash in puddles had to be taught that all those things were cool. We weren’t going to rush at him screaming, “Noooooooooo!” and then whisk off all his clothing to go soak it in the bathtub. Mud all over your shirt? Yes. Smoothie and dog hair all over your shirt? No. These are complex distinctions.
So we convinced Hank to hold his cone the way we convince him to do anything scary. Outright bribery. As you may recall, Hank will only be bribed with chocolate. Perhaps you think this is a no-brainer, because ice cream conveniently comes in chocolate form. Perhaps you have forgotten that ice cream remains on one’s face, long after one has requested that it be removed?
And apparently ice cream drips?
And this chocolate is cold? Which is unexpected when we’re talking about chocolate. And why aren’t you holding it, as any idiot can see that your manual dexterity far exceeds that of a toddler?
Why are you making him do this? It is disgusting. Are you not aware that he has teeth and can scream?
Eventually, through our laughter, we convinced him that ice cream on a cone would not grab his ankles when he walked by the bed, or secret away his security blanket while he was distracted by ice tongs. So Hank warmed to the idea of holding it himself.
He took about two bites and then thrust it at me, “You hold it?” Fair enough. He pointed at my napkin and held his hands out questioningly. So I obliged.
Then he ran back and forth on the sidewalk screeching happily while we finished our cones.
For those of you who haven’t given birth, birth plans are these instructional sheets you give your hospital team to let them know what kind of delivery you want. I didn’t have one written out, because I tried to remain in denial about labor while I was pregnant, which totally worked for me.
Nancy O’Dell guest stars on this one, because Momversation has guest stars now. Weird, right? I know! Today Momversation, tomorrow America’s Next Top Model. You guys should come over, we’ll practice our walks.