Monday, March 23, 2009

Smiley's Top Ten Toys of 2008

Here is a blog post that has been sitting in "draft" since January: Smiley's Top Ten Toys of 2008.

The list is in the order of what he spent the most time playing with. Unless otherwise specified, links are to his videos.

1. Pacifier

Since he only gets his binky (Amazon link) on three occasions, he never complains when we take it away. But he does love it.

Mostly it is used when going to bed to help set apart bedtime from awake time. We also swaddle him, have his mobile make music, dim the lights, pat his back, etc. But the binky is an important sensory symbol of "bedtime now".

He also gets it in the car since the car seat is not very exciting. He would often fall asleep in the car when he was younger.

Finally, once the weather got cold we realized he needs it when on walks. We attach it to the Ergo with a shoelace, so it does not fall if he drops it. Without a binky he will now and then suck on his fingers when in the Ergo; we wanted to avoid chilly little fingers.

Smiley was slow to learn how to suck on a binky properly. For months it was simply the nicest thing to chew on, which was fine with us.

2. Washcloth

Washcloths are the best. They are fun dry, and even more fun when one corner is wet. In the bath or shower they are good to suck on.

Also great in the bathroom, long before the infant has any teeth, is a baby's toothbrush. Those are really fun to suck on because the two sides feel so different in the mouth.

3. His Feet

Toes! What more needs to be said?

One of my cousins, as an infant, worked very hard to get her toes in her mouth for the first time. Then, having conquered the problem, she never did it again. Not Smiley: even at 11 months he still enjoys his toes.

4. Boxes

Boxes are for climbing! We started small and then gave him bigger ones. By the time he was allowed on stairs for the first time he was already proficient.

5. Uncle Nathan's Music Box with Bobbles

I'm not sure what this is named or where to get one. It was his Uncle Nathan's, and until he could crawl it was a favorite.

6. Hello, Bee Book

Smiley liked books he could chew on, and he liked mirrors. This book (Amazon link) was the most chewable and had the most mirrors. He spent more time with it than all his other plastic or cloth books combined.

7. Mozart Cube

The Mozart Cube (Amazon link) was a new toy at the very end of 2008. But he played with it almost constantly for a week. Then he would routinely use it as a chair while he did other things. Then he invented "background music" and switched to patting it as he goes by on the way to do something else.

8. My 1st Otter

This is a great idea. Infants love stuffed animals with appendages that can be sucked on, and infants love washcloths. So here is a stuffed animal with lots of appendages that is holding its own washcloth! These are sold at the gift shop of the Monterey Bay Aquarium (contact link) and are not available online but can be ordered by phone.

9. Sassy Car

This is a great toy (Amazon link) to push around the floor. If you push it one way the little ball pop around. If you push it the other way it winds up. Smiley never caught on to letting it go after it wound up, but he loved tipping it over after hearing the "fully wound up" clicks and watching the wheels spin.

10. Mylar Wrapping Paper

Mylar is crinkly and fun. It's easy to carry in a diaper bag. But one of Smiley's younger friends could bite through it on his first attempt, so it is not safe for every infant.

UPDATE: I realize I neglected some "toys" that my mind instead classifies as "places". His Exersaucer, Swing, and Boppy were certainly favorite things during 2008.

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