Posts tagged ‘Toys’

December 13, 2011

Mama Elf: Slacking Off? Or Being Realistic?

Some of my mommy friends have recently asked what we’re giving Jacob for Christmas, and I think they’ve been pleasantly confused by my answer.


Jacob’s Christmas morning will look like this:


– Two books (Blueberries for Sal and a children’s book of saints)

– A big boy toothbrush

– A pack of those capsules you drop in water and when they open, little foam animals come out


That’s it.


Although there are about seven billion things we could get him, and would love to give him, there are two very good reasons holding us back (and one isn’t even our budget):


a) If past holidays (Christmas, Easter, and so on) are any gauge, the kid’s going to make out like a bandit, courtesy of our fun, loving, and generous family.


b) Jacob spent a good deal of time yesterday afternoon like this, in his bathtub with a spatula and a kitchen timer.

What do you say to that, Fisher Price?

October 25, 2011

Thirty Dollars

John and I are all about making sure Jacob has what he needs to get the most out of each stage of development.  However, we are not all about spending lots of money on toys that he—and even future siblings—will only use for a few months.


Thanks to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, we have more toys than we can keep in a single room.  Stuffed animals, some books, and the oodles of jingly-jangly, rattly toys are divided into two boxes—one in the living room and one in the dining room/office.  For the record, these rooms are not at all far apart.  Not even by Jacob’s standards.


Anyway, we do have all these little toys, but I’ve found that, especially when I need some time to do something without having the little man climbing on me (cook, write, edit) having one bigger focal point of toydom is beyond helpful.  First it was the activity gym:


The elephant seemed to have some words for Jacob when they first met, but we swiveled the little man over to the lion and everyone’s been friends since.


When the gym started to lose its appeal, we went for an exersaucer.  A friend passed on a link to a used one shortly after Jacob had a field day in her daughter’s, and before we could blink an eye, I was carrying this thing home.



When he turned one, he graduated to a toy that encourages him to stand up—which was pretty much his favorite thing in the world at the time anyway.  Again we went online to find something used, and very quickly found this.


It didn’t come with kitchen tools and gadgets, but a trip to the toy store allowed us a quick and easy supplement.


None of this is earth-shattering, I know.  Of course we got toys for older kids as our child got older.  The weird thing is how much each of these things cost.


Activity gym: $30.

Exersacuer: $30.

Kitchen: $10. . . but then we bought extra pots, pans, etc. for $17 + tax. So at the end of the day: $30.


The parenting moral of the day is that whatever budget you set for your kids’ toys, with the help of the internet, parent friends, and a well-timed trip to Toys ‘R’ Us, it’s possible to stick to it.


Now I wonder how long we can keep this up. If only we could expect college to cost just $30.

August 31, 2011

A Few of His Favorite Things

As more and more of Jacob’s personality comes to the fore, he’s starting to show preferences for certain toys and activities.  I’m very reluctant to say he likes something; his picking something up once or twice isn’t enough to convince me it’s his favorite.  But now even I have to admit that there are some things he keeps coming back to, even when other options are offered to him.


First of all, the little man loves interactive board books.  Every day he spends about ten minutes in front of his bookshelf, reading.  (Could I be prouder?  Absolutely not.)  I keep the big picture books where he can’t really get (translation: destroy) them, and he is mostly content with the chunkier editions.  His favorites are the touch-and-feel books and Gallop, which uses a really cool kind of illustration that’s almost animation.  About eighty-five percent of the time, he holds the book upside down—I’ve even see him spin a book so that it’s oriented that way—but maybe he’s just interested in learning Hebrew or some other language that reads from right to left.  All in good time.


At this stage of his development, he really is all about interaction. He also loves when I sing songs and use hand motions to illustrate the lyrics.  In the signing class we took a few months back, I learned modified American Sing Language for “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”  The shopping cart—Jacob’s version of a discotheque—plays that song, too, so we sing and dance to it very often. When we do, his smile and giggles go on and on.


As much as I loved our Maya Wrap sling, it was getting a little tricky to carry Jacob around in it as he got bigger.  A few weeks ago, I bought an ErgoBaby carrier on craigslist.  It was brand new, but half price!  I like it because it balances Jacob’s weight better and I feel he’s more secure as a bigger guy.  The better news is how much he likes it!  When he sees me buckle the waistband around myself, he crawls across the room, smiling.  I’m so grateful he enjoys being in it, because it makes life outside our home a whole lot easier.


And finally, what I fear is a premonition of Jacob’s college career.  Whenever you move, there are those last couple days in the old place when you’ve packed up all your dishes and glasses, and you use disposable plates and cups at mealtime.  When we hit that juncture this year, Jacob adopted one piece as a new toy.  A solo cup.  A red, eighteen-ounce solo cup.  He’s right that it makes a great sound when you bang it on stuff, and it’s just the right size for his little hand to hold.  So into the toy box it went.  Still.  It’s weird to see my kid get such joy out of something that just screams “college” to me.


As much as Jacob enjoys the solo cup and these other things, he still plays with a variety of toys, usually whatever’s on top in the box.  Often he’ll take one thing and drag it all over with him, but the next day it’s the same thing with a different toy.


I think it’s pretty cool that he hasn’t latched on to a single thing.  It means we’re not in trouble if we leave the house without something, but more importantly, I think it speaks to how easygoing he is.  All he needs is a good book, a toy with a nose he can bite, and a snuggle with his mommy. With the exception of the toy, I could say the same of myself!

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