In nine short days, Charlie will be THREE. I really can’t believe it, but at the same time, it feels like so long ago since he was a baby. I recently went through some of the baby things at the top of his closet so I could start thinking through what we’ll need come February, and it was such a stark reminder of how much has changed over the last two years. Thankfully, an almost-three-year-old needs a lot less “gear” than a baby does, but there are still plenty of products that we rely on to make our lives easier, less stressful, and more fun. I narrowed it down to our top ten, both practical items and toys, that I’d love to share today!
1. Hatch Baby Rest: I’ve said it once and will say it again–this thing is worth every penny. We bought it when we switched Charlie to a toddler bed to help him understand when to stay in bed and when it was okay to get out, and it literally took one night for him to get the hang of it. We’ll definitely be buying a second one for the new baby’s room–since you can set the light to be pretty bright if you want, it’ll also work perfectly as a nightlight for overnight feedings.
2. Beatrix Potter books: I find it both amusing and delightful that the classic stories by Beatrix Potter are Charlie’s absolute FAVORITES. As a result, words like amongst, exert, and affronted are part of his vocabulary :) I love that the illustrations are so beautiful and detailed.
3. PackIt Bento Lunch Container: When we had to pack Charlie lunches for camp, I really wanted to find a bento box-style container. This one fits inside his lunchbox perfectly and I love being able to adjust the compartments inside to fit whatever he is eating that day. We opted to pack his own snacks for preschool due to his allergies, and have been using this container for that as well, usually with just one divider in it.
4. Convertible scooter: “Scooty,” as our scooter is affectionately nicknamed, is Charlie’s transportation of choice for going from room to room in our (one-story) house. It has also functioned as a fire truck, a race car, and a boat with a little bit of imagination :)
5. Toddler air mattress: Figuring out what to do for Charlie’s bed while traveling was one of my biggest worries when he outgrew his pack and play (side note: we have this one and absolutely loved it. Highly, highly recommend!). Emily clued me in to the world of toddler air mattresses, which come in two pieces: a mattress plus a “frame” with inflatable bumpers. Our exact one isn’t available right now, but this and this are the exact same concept.
6. Oxo Booster Seat: We picked up the gray version of this booster seat a few months ago and boy, I do not miss having a high chair around :) Charlie can get in and out of this and buckle himself in, which makes mealtimes that much easier. I also appreciate the minimalist look.
7. Water Wow books: Major hats off to the inventor of these–they have kept Charlie quiet and content countless times at church, in restaurants, on airplanes, and so on and so forth. I always have one in my bag.
8. Folding step stool: From the potty to the sink, Charlie has been using this step stool constantly over the last few months. He can easily fold it, carry it, and set it up himself, and does so at every opportunity.
9. Train set: We’re pretty minimal when it comes to toys, so the ones we do buy/ask for need to be a big hit in order to make the cut. Charlie plays with his train set literally every day, and I’m hopeful that it will only grow more entertaining to him as he grows older.
10. Slip-on sneakers: We are always hunting for bargains when it comes to Charlie’s clothes. I’d rather spend money on my own clothes that I won’t spill food on or outgrow in a few months…not counting during pregnancy, of course ;) We’ve bought these cute, but inexpensive, canvas slip-ons for him for his past three shoe sizes. While they may not the best quality in the world, they’ve held up well enough and I think they look great with the vast majority of his outfits.
If you’re in the baby stage, I shared a giant list of the products we used and loved during Charlie’s baby years here. I’m so curious to see if that list stays the same next year!