I love discovering new “gadgets” and tools that help us Moms care for our kids and keep a little bit more of our sanity.
As it stands, it’s a lot to take in, day in and day out. In my case, my kids test me, defy me, throw tantrums… or sometimes them just being kids is so tiring. It’s a good thing for them to assert their independence and stick to what they want, but these little developmental milestones really don’t make it any easier! There are messes, spills, meltdowns, and all sorts of make-it-work moments in all sorts of shape or form. I’ve also found that with two toddlers, all of the above is double the work!
I’ve mentioned the Kidswitch several times before, as well as the Firefly toothbrushes. My sling, the Baby K’Tan has also made it up the top of my “super useful” list. And you all know how much a fan I am of potty seat covers. I thought I’d add a few more to the list here:
The Time Timer. I made this discovery a few months back through Rebecca at the start off Sam’s Imagine That! Kindermusik class last January. Rebecca uses it in her class to give the kids a visual representation of when it is time to call their parents back into the room. She says it alleviates the stress they may feel in being separated from their parents and that the kids can watch it but will still be able to enjoy the rest of the activities, knowing that at a concrete time, their parents will be allowed back in.
Essentially the Time Timer is a visual 60-minute countdown timer that shows kids (and whomever else is using it) how much time they have left for any activity. If you check their website, you’ll find it has a lot of areas of use. Over the last few months as Sam’s nap-time has dwindled into oblivion and her need to assert herself against all odds has heightened (all normal I’m told), I have found the Time Timer to be incredibly helpful. There is less resistance on her part and more willingness to follow; over-all it’s much easier emotionally on both of us.
It’s because Sam can see that “when the red is all gone”, her time is up. It’s irrefutable. She has to say goodbye to her friends, or close the TV and get ready for bed, or as it is the case with nap time, she has to lie quietly in bed and can only get up when there is “no more red”.
The other good bit about it is that Sam has somewhat learned a general concept of time because of it. “Mom I have 15 minutes left, see?” And she points to the clock which shows that she indeed does have 15 minutes left. Conversely she can also look at a regular clock and understands how it works a little better.
I super duper LOVE this gadget!
The Dripstick. This was another recent discovery I made from my friend Helene. As it is summer, popsicles and ice creams are abound. Naturally with toddlers, as much as it means fun, it correlates to stickiness and mess and a whole lot of cleaning up after. The Dripstick is really just a colorful plastic holder with a slot for a popsicle stick on one end, and a slot for an ice cream cone on the other. And then it has little basins that a) serve as a stand to hold the said frozen dessert upright, and b) to catch whatever residue that falls!
So there is less risk of a mess (the girls know that they need to sit down and eat it) and when they are done (or if they forget about it), they just set it down upright and can be on their way to do something else. All you have to do is rinse and stick it in the dishwasher! Hurray! 🙂 It was a fairly neat discovery I must say. We used it on Sam and Jamie’s fun pops over the weekend and the girls came out much cleaner (versus when Sam was eating out of a bowl) at the end of it.
The Splat Mat. Similar to the concept of the Dripstick, but this time it’s for tables and high chairs. It makes the carpet easier to clean too, since most of Sam’s and Jamie’s food residue or spills fall onto the splat mat. We even use a splat mat for messy kinds of play, such as Play-Doh and paint. Sometimes the splat mat is also the best place to put a puzzle (over a carpet and instead of on top of a table where the pieces fall down to the floor). So yes, I don’t know what I’d do without one (or two) in my home. Mind you — they are the dirtiest things at the end of the day; but one Lysol wipe is all it takes to get it back to its original clean state. That’s better than picking at the carpet for food bits, or scaring the girls with the noise of the dustbuster every night.
The Brica Bath Toy Scoop Organizer. Of all the Bath organizers we’ve gone through over the last few years, this latest discovery has — so far! — been the best one of all. First of all, the suction grip works really well. The other suction holders would slide down the minute steam hit the tiles! The next bit is that the organizer is also in the form of a scooper, so it makes it easier for the girls to clean up their bath toys when they’re done. All they have to do is scoop up the toys! It makes for a fun game too since they’re chasing a bunch of the toys in the water instead of picking at them one at a time. Then the mesh bag can be hooked onto the suction holder to hang and dry, and I have not had it fall on me since I first hung it up. Needless to say, I am a fan. 🙂
Mosquito Patches. This little discovery I made while we were in Manila through OCMom and her kids. You see back home, dengue is a huge problem (Which makes me wonder — How much does SC Johnson make now on their OFF! Insect Repellant business? Hmmm…! But I digress). As it so happens, Sam seems to be loved by mosquitoes and bugs of all nationalities. She gets the worst worst bites, the poor thing. And yet, I can’t seem to stop her from going outside, particularly when she plays in school with the other kids under the shady trees or in the bushes. So apart from the mosquito repellant that I apply on her daily, I add in a mosquito patch, to keep her smelling like Eucalyptus all day long. So far it’s helped, and Sam does love the idea of having one on her since they are quite colorful. Back in Manila they sell a pack of 24 animal-printed patches for $2. Needless to say, I brought about 5 packs back with me (If you split that between the two girls, then that won’t last very long). More than anything, I have a little bit more peace of mind that Sam has more “protection” from those nasty bugs.
I remember when we started out purchasing all these novelty baby and toddler things here and there my husband would look at me incredulously and say, “You fell for the marketing ploy. AGAIN!” And maybe admittedly, with Sam, I often did(but they were just too cute to pass up!). What did we know, we were new parents, and they didn’t have these things manufactured back when we were children.
With Jamie, I had very little excuse and a whole lot more of justifying to do. I still shopped, but was a little bit pickier about things, it I’d like to think. My basic criteria is this: If it makes my life easier and it doesn’t hamper my girls’ independence, creativity or learning abilities, then it’s a purchase worth making in my book! 🙂