OK, you’ve all heard the cliché about the big fancy toy in the cardboard box. This is not about that, but it is about the other random, mundane, unexpected and even weird things that I’ve discovered have the ability to captivate little ones for far longer than anything Mattel makes.
Silicone pastry/basting brush: If I were planning on roasting my baby, she’d come out so juicy and golden brown that Martha Stewart would be envious. That’s how much Lady Fair likes to be ‘basted’. She vibrates with happiness when we tickle her feet with it. The best part is that it’s totally dishwasher safe, so when Little Man decides to grab it out of his sister’s hands and tickle his scrotum with it (boys and their dangly bits, I tell ya) we can clean it right up.
Spoon: Little Man was NOT a toy-lover. In fact, the first ‘toy’ he ever paid attention to was a spoon and that was when he was sitting up in a chair. I suppose it’s a nice teether, especially if run under chilly water first. The main benefit from a parent’s perspective though is that you really never have to pack it. Every relative you visit and restaurant you patronize has a spoon on hand. It’s a lazy mother’s dream.
Pill organizer: It should go without saying that I’m talking about an EMPTY pill organizer. Not sure why, but something about opening and closing (and opening and closing) each one of those compartments is positively addictive. It also serves as a perfect storage spot for little rocks (read more on rocks below).
Keys: Keys, keys, wonderful keys. How would I ever get through a grocery shopping trip without you? I bet you didn’t know the coin slot on your grocery cart was actually a lock waiting to be opened by a toddler with keys, did you? Well, I did because Little Man’s been working on that lock weekly for the last 18 months or so.
Rocks: Luckily he doesn’t actually look like the Rock Biter, but Little Man’s taste for putting rocks in his mouth is straight out of the Never Ending Story. Which also brings me to thanking goodness we did Baby-led solids, so his skills with foreign objects in his mouth were very advanced. When he’s not eating them, he’s banging things with them, stacking them, filling his pockets with them.
Clothes pins: Not only are they good for pinching your frenemies, they double as jewelery and hair clips and you can make sculptures out of them.
Peri bottles: Yes, you read that right. The thing your midwife or OB gave you to wash your bruised and battered bottom after you pushed your kiddo into the world, don’t throw it out. In just a few short months that will become the most sought-after bath toy of all time. Consider disinfecting it in the meantime though.
And then of course, there’s that cardboard box too…