When it comes to kid gear, when I happen to stumble upon products that I love — products that genuinely make life easier/better/more comfortable — I tend to get pretty evangelical about them: I just really need to share the love. (Maybe you’ve noticed, like here, or here?!) So right now there’s another batch of parenting-type stuff I’m obsessed with — a whole bunch of tools that are currently making life a little smoother. Not counting Cheddar Bunnies. Or wine.
1. The silicone placemat. It’s an absolute must for going out to eat. We can plop it town on the table, limit our mess, and not have to deal with (breakable) plates at all. The “stickiness” factor means it doesn’t shift easily — and it’s BPA-free, foldable, packable, rinseable and dishwasher-safe.
2. Forgive the name here, guys — but another favorite is the barf box. (I know! Classy!) I can’t say that this is an item we’ve purchased, really — more of a coping mechanism of our own creation. Poor Luke gets carsick sometimes, so we’ve filled an old shoe box with a change of clothes, a rag, a packet of wet wipes, a bottle of water, a few dry paper towels and a couple small garbage bags. Believe me when I say that to keep this little collection in the car has been clutch.
3. The Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap is a waterproof cover made for cloth diapers. We don’t actually use cloth diapers, but when Luke’s overnight disposables started leaking almost every night, I tried everything: one-piece pajamas, going up one diaper sizes, Pull-Ups … to no avail. (The Internet tells me that this is a common problem with little boys who are tummy-sleepers.) So I ordered the diaper cover, and it rocks. It’s not scratchy or rough, it breathes, it’s easy to rinse and wash, and it’s kept both child and crib dry overnight. Win!
4. The basically spill-proof Thinkbaby Thinkster Straw Bottle. It’s the only cup we have that doesn’t ever leak, even when thrown.
5. Related: This is literally the best coffee thermos you will ever come across. You can flip this thing in circles in your purse, drop it, toss it in the stroller, whatever: It DOES NOT LEAK. I’m giving them for Christmas presents this year.
6. We don’t have trains really yet, but our train table has been an awesome place for Legos, Matchbox Cars, Little People and all the other things you don’t want to step on. (The drawers are good for extra storage, too.) It looks so much tidier than having all those things sitting around the room — and it seems like people are forever selling theirs on the list serves and Craigslist.
7. Still and forever, I’m afraid: The Nose Frida.
8. 1,2,3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan: One of the most helpful, simple, reassuring tools in the arsenal, with about 100 specific examples of how to deal with toddler discipline in various situations. (It’s written in a great conversational tone, which helps. No patronizing psychobabble.) Is this our generation’s Dr. Spock? Maybe.
9. We own a small army of the LunchBots bento and sandwich boxes, and I love them deeply. They’re totally green and made of safe stainless steel, and they’re dishwasher-friendly. (And I honestly believe that the bento box set-up helps me pack more balanced lunches for my kid than I otherwise might.)