Tory started eating meals at the dining room table (my expensive dining room table which I've prided myself in having decorated and pristine over the years). After a handful of meal periods, there was yogurt smeared all over my table runner and food smashed into the grooves of the table. I sighed with defeat at the end of every meal time, thinking there had to be a way to contain the food mess previously controlled by her high chair tray. Then, a mama light bulb moment hit: a placemat.
Of course, I turned to trusty Amazon to see what options were available to two-day ship to my doorstep. I thought they were fairly expensive for simple placements, so I picked up a Minnie Mouse one at Target for $1.99 (can't find the link online). The good news: the placemat discovery is working ... mostly. The $1.99 Target version slips around on the table, so it doesn't always contain Tory's food mess, but it helps. I might have been better off spending $10 for a non-slip placemat on Amazon (and I may still buy one.) Now I just need to work on getting Tory to actually *sit* at the table to eat her meal vs. getting up a million times to play.
- USEFUL -
Tory's been off the bottle for a while now, but she still demands a cup of water at naps and bedtime. The only no-spill sippy cup I've found is this Nuby Super Spout Gripper Cup and believe me, I've tried a lot of different cups. They all say they're no-spill but this one really, truly is. If you have a Wal-Mart near you, buy them there because they're about half the cost of anywhere else.
Another helpful purchase as of late has been this umbrella stroller. I have a feeling we're turning into one of those families who has 17 baby strollers in their garage (we have three currently), but this one is great for toddlers. A few months back, Andi and I took our expensive City Mini stroller on a flight to Nebraska and found it returned to us planeside with a bum wheel. Technically, the stroller wasn't broken completely but the front wheel's brace was loose from poor handling. We immediately purchased an umbrella stroller to use for travel that a) we didn't care as deeply about, and b) was smaller to maneuver through airports. I like this particular umbrella stroller because it's still high quality (comfortable for Tory, turns nicely) compared to some of the very-cheap umbrella stroller versions out there. My only gripes about this stroller are that it's difficult to turn using only one hand and the sun shade is virtually useless as designed. For the purchase of airport / compact travel though, it's perfect.
iPad Mini Car Mount
I've mentioned this find before, but one of my favorite purchases lately has been this iPad Mini Car Mount. It's no secret Tory isn't a fan of car rides and a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse goes a long way to make our cabin trips on the weekends more pleasant. This car mount fits easily over a car headrest and the iPad attaches with Velcro so it's easy to install / un-install.
One recent 'a ha parenting moment' has been the addition of a fresh fruit bowl in Tory's view. I usually have a fruit and veggie bowl on the counter, but I ran out of room the other day and set it in the center of the dining room table. Suddenly my never-eat-fruits toddler turned into a bananas / peaches / plum hound. I know most parents don't have a hard time getting their toddlers to eat fruit, but I realized that putting anything in her eyesight made it more visible and appealing.
- FAVORITE TOYS / PRESENTS -
Kitchen and Accessories
My parents gave Tory a play kitchen for her 2nd birthday and it's been a big hit every since she opened the package. But even before that, Tory loved pretending with toy food, plates, spoons and cups. Her favorite thing to do is "make soup" by stirring a pot and serve "tea" with little cups. Even measuring spoons, silicone muffin cups and muffin tins make it into her pretend play.
The kitchen set my parents gifted is this one with electronic stove burns and a play phone. Tory really loves all the action and shouts "oh no!" every time her pot boils over for too long. There were some "fancier" kitchen sets out there, but I specifically asked for this one because it's plastic, easy to move around (it's currently stationed in my living room but will eventually make it downstairs to the playroom) and perfect for Tory's size at age 2.
There's a reason just about every kid on the planet has a certain toy and the Cozy Coupe is one of them. Tory loves this toy. Actually, every single kid I've ever seen play with this car loves it ... even my six year old niece. Andi's parents gave Tory a Cozy Coupe car with trailer for her 2nd birthday and she's obsessed with it. I've never seen the trailer before, but it's a great addition. Tory puts all her babies and toys inside for a ride and I can picture her little brother riding in there someday, too. Too cute and so much fun.
Tory's always loved books and they were still a big hit between the age of 18-24 months. We read the same few books over and over and over before she initiates a new one into the rotation. Some of Tory's favorites the last few months have been Amazing Airplanes (which is a great way to introduce / explain airport travel), Press Here, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? (responsible for Tory learning to recognize colors), Noisy Barn and the Animals book.