She Says… The Happiest Place on Earth

Nope, not Disneyland. Well, at least not for me. Err, not that I would know. I’ve never been there. No… better. Land of simple and smart design. CHEAP simple and smart design. Land of wandering through interior spaces and wanting to live there. My own personal Disneyland.

IKEA.

You may think I’m joking. But I’m not. I LOVE Ikea.

We needed a few key pieces for our new house so we set off on an excursion to go pick them up. But anyone who has been to Ikea (especially with me) knows that there is no such thing as “running in and picking up one thing” at Ikea. It’s pretty much a day-long trip, what with wandering through the rooms and discussing design choices and examining products and drooling over all of the cheap things (that tend to really add up) in the Marketplace. Oh, and the meatballs. You HAVE to try the meatballs with lingonberry sauce. Divine.

So we did something we rarely do (but this was an emergency!). It was our last weekend in our current house before we move, and it was our last chance to get any furniture we want to have at the house on move-in day. So we threw naptimes out the window and set off on our trip. Well, not exactly. We discussed doing that, and then I vetoed that plan and decided we should let Owen have his morning nap (his longest and most reliable) and then go after that. Lucky for us, Owen seemed to know that an Ikea trip was in his future, because he napped terribly and woke up early in a grumptastic mood, so it was the perfect time to plop him right in his car seat and let him finish his nap on the way there. Decent morning nap (x2)? Check.

We brought the stroller so he would be comfy for our day of Ikea strolling, since I knew I could only keep him happy in a cart for so long. That was a great decision, as he was happy as a little clam for the entire day! Seriously, we couldn’t have asked for a better shopping companion.

We even got our meatballs. (Well, Owen had baby food that we brought with us… Benjamin and I had meatballs). Even the high chairs at Ikea are cute! The whole store is so family-friendly. I told you I love Ikea.

Owen even had his first taste of their delicious vanilla soft serve.

The only challenging part was at checkout when Benjamin had to go get something we forgot and I was left with an antsy baby, a stroller and 2 carts to push (one full of furniture and REALLY hard to steer, and one full of little housewares like curtains and towels and a few adorable wooden toys for Owen). Instead of getting us all into a serious traffic jam, Owen and I played at the checkout until Daddy returned. We entertained everyone waiting in line :)

Then we loaded everything up into the car. The little darling had been cooped up in the stroller for most of the day (except for a few times when I let him cruise along furniture in beautiful Ikea rooms), so I wanted him to have a little “playtime” before we got back in the car. It was hard to contain him in the loading area so I popped him in our empty shopping cart. He was talking up a storm! See?

(P.S. I know you are not supposed to leave a child “unattended” in the back of a shopping cart, but please know that Benjamin and I were only an arm’s length away and had our eyes on him at ALL TIMES).


I think Owen loves Ikea just like Mama. He was an absolute angel this time around, but I fear the days of him being happy in a stroller for several hours are numbered. Any tips for entertaining little climbers when they need to be in a chair or stroller but want to be running around?

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18 responses to “She Says… The Happiest Place on Earth

  1. I just can’t get over how cute he is!!!

  2. Gotta love IKEA! We don’t have one nearby–the closest is actually in Canada, like 2.5 hours away. Blah.

    Have you seen the “What if you lived at IKEA?” photos? Hilarious.

  3. Oops, didn’t use the right log in to comment, and it looks like my link is broken (sorry!), so here it is again.

  4. ARGHH. So sorry. I don’t think WordPress likes my attempts at HTML.

    Check out: WHAT IF YOU LIVED AT IKEA? photos
    http://www.christiangideonphotography.com/2011/04/what-if-you-lived-at-ikea/

  5. I also love IKEA. Do they have “Smaland” in the us IKEA-stores where they take care of little children while their parents can dream about their future homes? Owen might have fun playing there (in a couple of years, though).

  6. I loooooove IKEA, too. :) It’s hard to get out of there without a bazillion things you never knew you needed. We esp love their chic and cheap-o lamps!!!

    Oh my gosh, precious little Owen. What a CUTIE PIE!!!! xoxo

  7. This post reminds me of how much I miss when the baby actually slept in the car seat. Faith gave that up about 2 weeks ago and it makes life harder!

    If you figure out how to contain the chaos of a mobile baby for a few hours, be sure to let me know. We have an airplane trip in our future and I fear we won’t all survive after the fellow passengers massacre us for having the loudest baby ever on a plane…

  8. I have no tips to help out with this, besides “leave him with a sitter!” I’ll be checking back in the comments to see if other moms have bright ideas. The best we can do is bring snacks and take (LOTS) of run-around breaks.

  9. So cute! He is just adorable!
    I am so curious to hear what tips you get. We can’t do anything like this. Our baby loses patience after literally 10 minutes!

  10. your blog makes my ovaries hurt.

    the end.

  11. I am also waiting for some magical tips on keeping a baby happy in a stroller when they are mobile. I like the one “leave him with a sitter”. We take a lot of walk breaks…

  12. Jenna (Hello, I Love You)

    Owen is so cute! Gahhh!
    I also LOVE Ikea and thought I was the only one. I haven’t tried the meatballs though..need to get on that soon!

  13. Now, this is not a trick to do all the time, more for the extended shopping trips (like IKEA!), but I used to pull out the “new toy” trick. I would either bring something with me (if we were going to a place that didn’t have anything that would interest him), or I’d grab something right when we would walk into the store – something I planned on purchasing, obviously, like the wooden toys you got for Owen! Ethan would play for at least the first half hour, happily and quietly (for the most part). Now, when I say “new toy,” I do not mean something big, expensive or even that cool! Often it was a sheet of stickers (which he still thinks is the coolest thing ever)! But I found that the novelty of that new thing, whatever it was, kept him busy and distracted and allowed me to get the major things done before we had to take our first walking break. I also found that “special” snacks would work – long shopping trips were the only times he would get animal crackers and that kept him busy for another 20 minutes! It’s all about increments of time! Of course, he’s two-and-a-half now, and there is no such thing as keeping him happy in a cart or stroller – he needs to walk! It’s a whole new adventure!

    Kara – the “new toy” trick is GREAT for plane rides, too. A couple new books (the lift the flap books are perfect for fun and distraction!), and especially the stickers! Great art project on an air sickness bag!

  14. i wish i had advice but i’m the one needing advice!! my son wont sit in a stroller OR a shopping cart without screaming and crying so much strangers think i’m abusing my child! heck, he wont even go in a swing at the playground. makes life challenging!! i had to google ikea; had never really heard of it. only one in my state and it is 4 hours away; oh yeah my son hates the carseat too so guess we wont be going to ikea anytime soon. LOL.

  15. I tried the “nap out the window” idea yesterday taking Cameron to do our first 5k race together where he’d have to take his first (best) nap of the day in the car on the way there and he only slept for 40 mins and well, let’s just say I ended up having to take him OUT of the stroller with 2 kms left to go in the race and then strap him on me in the Ergo and huff it carrying a 25 lb baby to the finish line! lol Fun times! Good thing I was walking and not running!

    I have never been to IKEA because there’s isn’t one anywhere close but would LOVE to – my kinda store!

  16. Sooooo jealous! IKEA sounds like my idea of a good day trip, but there are only three IKEAs in Australia, with the nearest being a six hour drive away from me – and no online shopping. Whenever I sigh longingly about it to my partner, he regales me with tales of the trips he took there when he lived in Brisbane with his first son. His favourite part was always the meatballs. :P
    As for keeping occupied, my only suggestion is food, because that’s all that ever worked for us! And even then, it didn’t last long – Devin is so squirmy and impatient, it was hard to keep him happy even when he couldn’t walk, and on short shopping trips. Most of the time he’d end up being carried, and sometimes (as long as it’s safe) you’ve just got to let them run around. Actually even now, at almost 2, he gets carried far more than he should. On the up side, I’ve developed some pretty strong guns. ;)

  17. Well, we’re probably terrible parents, we actually usually solved the mobile baby problem by letting her be mobile in cases like shopping trip kinds of things. You have to be able to have at least two parents/caretakers present for this solution, but basically, we just: took her; passed her back and forth when New Parent was interesting (we preferred backpack/mobi/sling type things to strollers); let her walk around holding our hands some; let her crawl around some. Sure, she put her hands on the floor and certainly sometimes straight from there into her mouth. I mean, we didn’t *encourage* that, but we can’t pretend it didn’t happen. And the point of having at least two parents present was that someone was Right There to try and keep damage to her at a minimum and damage to the store non-existent.

  18. Oh god how I LOVE Ikea. Problem is, my husband hates it. Truly hates it. Sigh.
    It’s almost impossible to get him to come with me. Doesn’t stop him from using all the furniture etc that I’ve bought there!

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