Now that we’re approaching 2, I figured I’d write an updated post with some MVP items during our second year as parents. These are items we use every single day, and I can’t recommend them enough!
Sesame Street Bus
We got this bus for his first Christmas. He wakes up in the morning and says “Pway bus!!” He fills it with animals from our Old Macdonald tractor (another fav) and loves to open and close the door. Of all of his toys, I’d say it’s his very favorite! When Grammie and Pea babysat during our Sonoma trip they reported that they played a total of 20 hours of bus.
Our Train Table
I bought our train table on Craigslist for $40. When we first brought it in the house I regretted it right away. The table is HUGE and takes up a large section of our basement. But within a few days I realized how great of an asset it was. It’s so much easier for a toddler to play standing at a table compared to the floor, and the table contains toys so that they don’t need to be cleaned up after every use but still look relatively neat. He got his train set (this basic one) for his first birthday and plays with it daily. Every time we go downstairs – even if it’s just to get in the stroller and leave through the basement – he pays a visit to his trains. When we spend longer periods of time playing in the basement he will focus on the trains for up to 45 minutes at a time. A secret: he’s getting more train and track for his birthday! I got him this set of 12 trains and my mom is adding another track set.
OXO Tot Sippy Cups
These have been our favorite overall cup for an older toddler for a couple of reasons:
1) The straw is open so it’s great for thin water or thick smoothies
2) It’s very easy to disassemble and assemble to clean and put in the dishwasher
3) The cup is petite so it fits well in things
4) When closed it’s very leak proof
I mentioned older toddler above because Mazen is very good about not spilling his cups these days, but this cup when tipped over WILL allow liquid to escape. The open straw means water can flow out if it sideways, so that’s a con if your child tips over his or her cup a lot. But a pro for ease of drinking!
Aden + Anias Blankets
I’m putting these blankets on this list for year 2 because Mazen always sleeps with his blankies so they remain a daily use items for us. He rolls them into a ball and actually sleeps on them. He’s not attached to any particular one, but he sure loves them as a set. While these blankets are not cheap, the fact that we’ve used them every single day for 2 years means we’ve gotten our money’s worth (or our gift’s worth!). A perfect shower gift for any mom.
Clek Foonf Car Seat
We got the Foonf when Mazen was about 6 months old and after well over a year of use I continue to sing its praises. I’ve experienced a number of other car seat brands when traveling or riding with friends, and can say with confidence that this is the best car seat I’ve encountered. Not for safety (because they are all safe), but for lots of other reasons: its look and feel, the ability to clean the fabric (vegetable pouch stains just wipe off with a little water), the ease of installation and instruction book, Mazen’s apparent comfort, etc. I really have zero complaints about it. I will say that a big part of why I love it is because of a really nice aesthetic, but that was important to me, and I’m so glad we spent extra to get something really nice.
I was on the fence about needing a wipe warmer and I felt a little silly when I bought one at the beginning of our first winter. But we’ve continued to use this one all four seasons of the year. I actually prefer our OXO wipe holder for its look and smaller footprint, but when I tried switching back to it when the weather warmed up both Mazen and I thought the wipes were just too chilly – even for summer. He got instant goosebumps! Maybe that’s just because he’s used to the warmer wipes, but I thought they felt cold too. The first wipe in the stack does dry out a bit, but otherwise I am very happy with this warmer. If you’re debating between wipe holders, go ahead and get a warming one.
We are a croc family! I bought Mazen’s first pair at a consignment sale and quickly realized why they are such great shoes for toddlers. First, unlike cloth shoes, there’s no need for socks (although sometimes they smell stinky before I give them a wash). But it’s nice to know socks are optional. Second, they are super easy to clean – dunk in soapy water, scrub and rinse. Third they are great for splashing in puddles or with socks in the winter – versatility at its best. They come in many colors and designs – these are our favorites!
Curious George and Richard Scarry
Two of our most-read books. These are not only great picks because they are good books (see this post for a bunch of great books) but because they are long so you get a lot of entertainment out of them. The Complete Adventures of Curious George (a chapter book) was a gift from Papa and Mimi, and Mazen loves it. George is his favorite TV show as well. Richard Scarry: Cars, Trucks and Things That Go is probably his very favorite bedtime book, and what’s great is that when Matt and I are tired we don’t even have to read the text – the pictures say it all. We spend hours just looking at the pages and pointing things out. M learned the words “big mess” from a page with a pile of things that collided, and he knows a lot more about life from these pages (and non-life – like pickle cars!)
No surprises with these last three…
Our Motorola Video Monitor
I can’t sing its praises enough. Our monitor has become even more valuable as Mazen has gotten very mobile. I watch him playing in the crib or assess his climbing skills to see if he’s figuring it out (so far, he hasn’t but he’s getting closer). This is the one we have, FYI! The ability to pan around is worth the extra cost over the less expensive model.
Like the monitor, the BOB gets a spot in this list simply because we use it every single day. It’s another in the category of “expensive but worth it” due to the frequency of use for many years. We bought the CE model because it has smaller wheels for easier transport and it’s been great for both walking and running.
OXO High Chair
Still loving it! I’ve used a variety of different kinds during travel and friends’ houses and think the OXO Tot is one of the best. Looks great, easy to clean tray, easy to clean seat, lovely to look at.
A Few Duds…
This place mat. Bought it at a friend’s recommendation and never used it.
This bike. While we did get a lot of use out of it, it fell apart many times and eventually bit the dust. An outdoor bike made out of plastic intended for pushing over rough landscape is just not the brightest combination. Go for metal!
Fubbles bubble machine. We had this one and it was a battery hog. And since it’s a kids item that needs a screwdriver to change the batteries, it was a pain to maintain. It was supposed to be no spill, but it spilled on me several times. And finally it just stopped working. We loved the concept while it lasted, but I can’t recommend this model. Anyone love their bubble machine?
Anything you swear by with daily use?