Monday, March 24, 2014

If It's Brightly Colored and Plastic...

Then we probably own it!

I've spent the last couple years browsing design blogs and magazines to try and transform our living room into my ideal look only to find out that my house would soon be decorated with all of Target and Walmart's finest Fisher Price. Forget the grey/blues and ikat, if it's red, green, or yellow, we'll take it!

Believe it or not, "Baby" Graham turns ONE on Thursday! So, I'm "throwing it back" all week, taking a walk down memory lane today with some of G's favorite toys from the year.

0 Months: Play Mat
Graham's first "favorite" toy was the Fisher Price play mat. Brian would come home from work everyday and spend some quality time with Graham while he laid on the mat. Sometimes Caesar would even join too. During the day, Graham and I would practice tummy time on the mat, but more often than not, I would just leave him on his backside (while I probably laid on the couch). A month or two after Graham was born, our neighbor gave us their old baby einstein play mat and I loved it. The overhead bars were more portable than the Fisher Price one. They easily folded up for traveling which meant this mat would soon go EVERYWHERE with us. We took it on our trip to LA, I packed it for Austin, and usually took it out to Katy when I would visit my parents occasionally in the afternoon.

Barnsdall Park Wine Tasting in Los Angeles

Holmby Park in Los Angeles

The toys dangling from the play mat are detachable and as soon as Graham was old enough to notice the toys swinging in the air (between 2 and 3 months) I put some of them on the car seat to stimulate him while we walked or ran errands. Trying to reach for these toys gave him a goal and something to work on while we were out and about. 

3-4 Months: Exersaucer

Once Graham mastered holding his head up steady (between 3 and 4 months), we started putting him in his exersaucer. Even though Graham was in the upper 90th percentile for height, his feet wouldn't reach during the early days. We used to have to put a pillow on the bottom tray so his feet wouldn't dangle. This toy was amazing because it kept him entertained and allowed me to take a shower in the morning and prepare dinner in the evening all while knowing he's exactly where I left him. I could also lay additional toys around the edge that would help extend his interest. I would often play the Praise Baby or Baby Einstein video while he played in this. 

4 Months: Sophie the Giraffe

We all wish we were smart enough to invent Sophie. Yes, she's the equivalent of a dog toy, but she's not cheap and sadly we've had to own more than one. Graham loved Sophie and at times, this was the only toy that would soothe those aching teeth. We used to take her everywhere…library story time, music class, the mall, etc. Here's a couple lessons we learned: When you take her to a public place with babies, everyone has a Sophie, so every child thinks YOUR Sophie is THEIR Sophie. It's probably best to bring a different toy to chew on. When you're running errands and your child drops Sophie, she doesn't make a sound. Bring something for your baby to play with in the stroller that you can hear if he or she drops it. Avoid the $25 replacement fee. 

5 Months: ABC Foam Play Mat

I clearly didn't have babies on my mind when I was filling my house with Seagrass rugs. My poor baby would have red scuffed knees by the end of every day. Brian was pretty adamant about finding a solution so Graham could practice crawling without experiencing pure touture from the rug. I had seen this ABC foam mat in friends' pictures and in schools so I always pictured eventually getting one since I chose a not so comfortable rug. It was a quick solution. Graham loved all the bright colors, and it was an added bonus when he learned both the border and the letters could pop off. Graham would have most of the edges pulled off in a matter of minutes. I also found that when Sophie wasn't around, one of the border pieces makes for a great replacement. I started carrying one around in my purse in case we needed a quick fix at a restaurant or on a walk. We still keep one in the jogging stroller today. 

6 Months: Gymboree Bubbles

Bubbles are only fun when they come in large quantities and that's exactly what this bubble blower accomplishes. It's a million times better than any wand that's ever come with bubbles before. I've been told it's pretty easy for the little ones to operate once they get older. I love that it comes with a stand that also turns into a place to pour the bubbles when you're blowing them. In the fall, I used to set Graham on a blanket in the backyard and let him stare at the bubbles. We've taken a little break from this routine while the weather's been so unpredictable. Hopefully we can start this back up pretty soon. 

5 Months: Cups
Who knew cups could be so entertaining? Graham LOVES to knock over all the cups when they're stacked up high. A couple months ago when he used to scream bloody murder because he finished all his food, I used to set him on the ground next to the tower of cups, and he was magically cured. All things food were forgotten and he couldn't have been happier that there was a tower to knock over. We would do this over and over until I could lure him away with another toy. 

8 Months: Learning Table

I don't know when Graham would have started pulling up if it wasn't for this toy. As soon as I brought this home and Brian showed him how to use it, he started pulling up like he had been doing it forever. I also love this toy because I use it like a table for afternoon snack time. Instead of putting him in the high chair for a snack, I pour some puffs or yogurt melts on the top of this and he stands and eats them. We've gotten lots of great use out of this toy. I can hear the songs playing in my head as I type. 

9 Months: VTech Walker
I'm a huge Googler, if that's a word? I take everything I read with a grain of salt, but I randomly decided to type in, "My child will only walk with a walker," and to my surprise walkers were not recommended by the American Pediatric Association. It said that children who rely on a walker are usually delayed in their walking. Graham is definitely proof in this study. He LOVES this walker. He has gotten super fast and literally picks it up and turns it any direction he wants to go. I'm not in any hurry for him to a hands free walker. We'll just take it one day at a time.  

Walkers also aren't recommended because so many accidents happen with them, but as with anything else, you just have to monitor your baby.  Uncovered plugs in the wall and sharp objects on a reachable table are just as unsafe. 

10 Months: Basket of Shapes

These blocks remind me of the cups. The same OCD Graham has about knocking over the cups, he has  about having this bucket filled. He always wants all the shapes emptied out on the floor. Just recently he has really started understanding how to use the bucket. He will put all the shapes on top of the lid, but he's not sure which one goes where. He is so fascinated when I drop a shape in the right hole and it disappears. He also loves trying to hold more than one shape in his hand at once. He puts them all on the coffee table and tries to pick them up. It's cute. I think he's mastered holding three at one time. Wow!

I challenge you to find a blog post more colorful than this one. Good Luck! Thank You Fisher Price for adding so much color to my life. 

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