So I did a post on some useful stuff for a brand new (or expectant) mum here, but here is some stuff I found useful as the parent of a bub entering toddlerhood (so you get my frame of reference), but some of it can be useful from day 1. To me, it’s just stuff that can make life a little easier – I try to make my lists a little out of the box because I hope it’s not just a carbon copy of every other baby/toddler product/parenting tool post that you see (but probably is because hello – it’s the internet). 😉
Be wary, though. Even though it’s December, this isn’t a Christmas gift idea list (except the PVR – that would be a gift to anyone)! Don’t get mad at me when your loved one is upset with their laundry filing system haha.
I think I’ll just dive right on in!
Yep. It’s like technology took the old concept of the VCR and made it like 50 times awesomer. If awesomer is actually a word. Who cares. Moving on…
I love my PVR so much that it’s ridiculous. My love for it is unnatural. When you’re a parent (from day 1), this kind of device is SO GOOD. You can record every show you love to watch at your convenience. I found it so useful when I was breastfeeding the Little Mister. Having a PVR also meant that no matter what time of day or night it was, I could choose what I wanted to watch – no relying on Home Shopping Networks to see me through or flicking through eff knows how many channels trying to find SOMETHING on a Saturday night/day.
I might catch up on my favourite television shows sometimes
weeks months later, but I love that I can get there eventually!
Now that the Little Mister is older, the television is on much less because he either gets a few minutes of some appropriate kids’ shows or we watch the news in the evening (although jury is out on whether that’s a good idea either – so much bad stuff). I record a lot of the grown up stuff that has violence, adult themes etc and I can watch when he’s asleep at my own convenience. You know, without corrupting his innocent soul or scarring him for life haha.
Also? I go to bed a bit embarrassingly early some nights because I’m so exhausted. Instead of forcing myself to stay awake to view my favourite shows, I can slumber away knowing that everything’s being recorded. How’s that for peace of mind? 😛
We recently updated to a version that allows you to pause and rewind live TV. SO GOOD. I can pause the TV if the Little Mister needs something at night and not miss a beat when I get back! There’s a cool setting where if I have to stop watching something, it will save at that spot and I can come back halfway through an episode of something even days later. AWESOME.
It’s a bit of a luxury, but I highly recommend it.
I find it hard to contain the Little Mister somewhere safe (even his big playroom with a safety gate on the entrance) so I can do things, but this is such a useful and simple invention that I imagine has been around since the dawn of time. Probably even in cavepeople days. Actually, maybe not. I imagine there were a few dinosaur related deaths no-one wants to talk about…
This worked really well when he first started to crawl, but I will admit that after that he just wanted to be free! Still. Worth it for as long as your little tot is willing to sit and play so you can go to the loo or do something non-child safe quickly.
Anyhow, another handy use for a playpen is to use it to keep the Little Mister OUT of things. Example? Christmas tree. Our Christmas tree is encased in a very colourful playpen. Gotta keep those mischievous hands and that teething mouth off of the fragile baubles, tinsel and beads! Once I actually get around to
finishing starting the Christmas gift shopping, it’s handy if the recipients are given unopened (read: not pre-opened by a toddler) presents!!
My friend uses her playpen to cordon off their big flatscreen TV so that her daughter is safe from trying to pull it over. I once considered getting a playpen to put around my exercise bike so I can pedal away without a little hand sneaking into my pedal space, stopping me in my tracks! Just think of all the things we could enclose in a playpen! haha.
Some playpens can also be great for bringing outside so little ones can play on their own clean little patch of lawn where the dogs can’t jump up on them and gardening might even be achieved, if you are so inclined.
Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
OK, so I don’t actually own this (but I have friends who do and rave about it). However, it is HIGH up on my wishlist once I find a bit of money (so never haha). If you get the right type (apparently you want one that has a sensor and doesn’t just blindly stick to a grid – I need to do more research), you’re laughing. I find that sometimes the only available time to vacuum without a bub under foot is when he’s napping. And when he’s napping, a vacuum cleaner would wake him. You see my dilemma. Also, once your child has mastered the pincer grip, it means they can grab just about any tiny tiny tiny object and shove it in his or her mouth. For me, this meant bits of fluff, dried bits of baby food that didn’t quite make it into the rubbish bin/dog during the original clean up. I remember the crawling stage where I was constantly staring at the floor or on worse days, pulling dead flies or little pieces of plastic (from goodness knows what) out of the Little Mister’s mouth.
I just love the idea of turning on a robot vacuum cleaner as you leave the house for numerous errands and coming back to a floor that is cleaner (and safer) than it was when you left. Magic! I could do it daily without even lifting a finger!
Also? I just really hate vacuuming. I hate the whole process. Like the whole plugging it in thing.
Which also brings me to another wish list item: a cordless vacuum. Spot cleaning under the high chair anyone? Would be so easy!!
A filing system for your clean washing
I know that this is a boring sounding thing, but it really has been a lifesaver since parenthood arrived (and would have been even before then). For us it’s just cube shelves with a bunch of plastic tubs with labels shoved in each cube. My stuff, husband’s stuff, undies, socks, etc you name it. It has a place. So you know, when we haven’t had time to iron in bulk (which is always), we can duck into the spare room and grab what we need from our designated tubs. It keeps everything looking tidy (or at least tidier) and there’s less digging through head high piles of clothing to find that one thing you wanted to wear that day.
Domestic goddess, I am not. Ideas woman, I am. I’m sure it’s all over Pinterest or something. I didn’t invent this system, I am sure, but I did have a brainwave and it is a lifechanger, y’all. The little things, y’ know? We put this ‘system’ into place when I was pregnant and haven’t looked back. We needed to save space (we were losing a spare room) and I just knew it was going to be important to be a little more organised around the house!
Pic: This lady tragically passed away from exhaustion while trying to find her comfy trackpants after a night out
By now your precious bundle of joy is probably starting to stumble around and may even be walking well. At this stage with the Little Mister, I started to get sick of using a bulky pram everywhere we went. It took up a lot of car space and the Little Mister was big enough to sit up really well and didn’t need as much of the comfort factor (all those extra little cushions and bits and bobs that tend to come with prams for babies these days). I wanted to zip in and out of shops without spending ages assembling something heavy, but he wasn’t old enough to walk holding my hand (he was still a little shaky at times – or ridiculously fast depending on the day). Yet, he was getting too heavy to hold in one arm while trying to pay for something or pick something off a shelf! Sometimes I needed to have something really compact to store somewhere without annoying people in cafes or once there was this wedding on a boat…
They usually look something like this – find this one here (not sponsored in any way) for $25.
You can get these little strollers for around $20-$30 from places like Big W, K-Mart or Target and they are so great. We have travelled with one too! It’s awesome because you know that if baggage handlers trash it, you can just buy another one without breaking the bank.
We still have the big pram for longer walks etc but it’s great having something quick and easy. Good to get one for the grandparents to keep also 🙂
I could probably think of a million more things to add to the list, but that might be for some other blog posts!
What things have you found useful with a just-turning-into-a-toddler in your midst?