Mini Orchestra Shaker
Quite a few months ago a good friend of mine brought these out to play during one of our play dates. Almost immediately Kaitlin went ga-ga for them. She already loves rattles of any kind and to make as much noise as possible, so these were a perfect fit. There are four different sounds, one for each shaker, and are all (reasonably) easy to listen to. Some of the toys she has that make noise make my ears want to bleed, but these are totally fine to listen to as she furiously shakes them as fast as she can. Over and over and over again. I keep one in my diaper bag, one in the car and two around the house for her shaking pleasure.
A couple months ago we were at a friends house and they had a super fun water table that Kaitlin fell in love with. She had so much fun playing with it and splashing around (and chewing on all the toys that came with it) I knew she would have to have her own. I'm not one to rush out and buy Kaitlin a million toys (well, I try not to be) but I knew she would love having one and that it would last her for a couple of years as she grows into it. The next day I went to Toys R US and picked this guy up for $45. And that $45 was well spent. She is obsessed. I'm not even kidding. From her high chair she can see out the back door onto the porch right where the water table is kept. During breakfast she starts pointing and yelling at the door, motioning that she wants to play with the water table. I usually have to turn her chair around so that she can't see it, but immediately after I take her out she goes over to the door and starts banging on it trying to get out so she can play. Luckily it's getting warmer out in the mornings so I can let her play with it pretty early if she wants. And pretty much all she does now is chew/throw all the little toys that came with it and splashes her hands in the water. She has just learned to reach towards the funnel and will drop in the little toys if we lift her up (she's not quite tall enough to reach on her own). There are a bunch of other ways to play with the water table and it is sure to keep her entertained for many summers to come.
When I started working and began leaving Kaitlin with a babysitter for the first time (I know, I know) she was so upset that I wanted to see if she would take to a special lovey or stuffed animal to make her feel comfortable and secure while I was away. She always had an odd connection to this little monkey lovey that my best friend bought for her, so I thought I would give that a try first. I was always afraid to give Kaitlin a lovey or security blanket in her crib because I thought it would make her stay even more awake since she had something to distract her and to play with. Turns out, if she doesn't want to sleep then she won't, no matter if there is a distraction there or not. I have actually found that since introducing the lovey she has been taking slightly better naps (though that could be a random coincidence, I've come to believe that nothing about naps makes sense or is necessarily for a reason). It didn't take her long to become attached to the little guy and now she takes it EVERYWHERE with her. I'm sure I've just created a bit of a monster (and need to immediately buy at least one more should something, ahem, happen to the monkey) I think it is great that she has become attached to it. She walks around with it everywhere, tries to crawl with it - which is quite a site to see when she is tripping all over it - and definitely has to have it with her at nap and bed time. Monkey has even been in the wash a few times and is still super soft just like he was when brand new.
Monkey scream from tracy lynn on Vimeo.
Playtex Lil' Gripper Straw Cup
Now that we are approaching Kaitlin's first birthday it was time for me to introduce other ways of drinking liquids other than a bottle. At first I gave her a sippy cup which she took to pretty quick, even though it took her two months to figure out how to drink from it. Then I remembered that our pediatrician said she didn't want her to use bottles or sippy cups after age one. The bottle is going to be a tough one to break but I figured we could easily swap out the sippy cup for a straw cup. Poor thing was a bit confused after months of being told to "lift the cup UP to get water!" to then be told "leave the cup DOWN or you won't get any water!" She still tips it upward quite a bit but she is getting more and more used to it. The reason I love these cups is because they are easy to drink out of but are a bit spill proof (ie the water doesn't come pouring out of the straw when it's knocked over), they are cheap (I definitely get these for much less at my local Kroger) and you can slide the cap piece over the straw to keep it water tight when you're on the go (making it a perfect cup to put in your diaper bag or stroller).
A reader recently asked me about Kaitlin's favorite books. I thought it might be fun to share a few of her favorites, and a few of mine. She doesn't really sit still long enough to read a long (or normal size) book, but there are a few that she will make an exception for.
1. As mentioned before, she is obsessed with the Indestructibles books. Baby Faces and Baby Babble are by far her favorites.
2. Peekaboo Farm by Emily Bolam is Kaitlin's current favorite book, hand picked by her. She loves to find the farm animals behind the flaps and she especially loves finding the "baby" (a reflective mirror) on the last page.
3. But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boyton - Kaitlin will sit through about half of this book so far, but I think its quite cute and it rhymes which makes it easy to read to her even if she isn't sitting with me. We have a couple of books by this author and I personally love them, time will tell if Kaitlin likes them as much as I do!
4. Each Peach Pear Plum - Kaitlin doesn't sit still for this one but I think it's brilliant. It incorporates tons of children's stories characters, so I think it will be great in another year or two when we can then read more stories about the characters in the book.
5. On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman - I love the story in this book. Kaitlin doesn't sit still for it but I still always try and read it to her. I think it's such a sweet book and has a cute message. It makes me a little teary :)
6. My First London Bus by Marion Billet - Kaitlin loves to turn the wheels on this book and she helps point out the birds and other objects in the story. It's not too long so she generally stays put for the whole story.
7. Bright Baby First Words Books - we actually have two of these books (this one and this one) and she loves them both. They are big and colorful and she likes to turn the board pages, over and over again. She is starting to point to certain objects that she recognizes and some that she just likes. I keep one in her bedroom and one downstairs and we play with both of them several times a day.