Do you hear that?
It’s the sound of angels singing.
It’s the sound of me being able to cook something without Owen wrapping his arms around my leg and trying to climb up my side, shouting “Up! Up! Mommy! Up!”.
It’s the sound of dinner simmering and homemade bread baking and music playing and having a little dance party in the kitchen, all the while knowing that Owen is contained, safe, happy, and still able to see what’s going on at counter height.
This just may be one of my favorite things we’ve ever bought for Owen. And no, no one is paying me to say this. We didn’t even get it for free. Far from it, in fact. This Learning Tower is not cheap. But do you know what it is? WORTH. EVERY. PENNY. And we’ve only had it a week.
Almost every morning, we make Owen an egg for breakfast. Since he got his play kitchen for Christmas he has shown a keen interest in helping (Hep! Help. Cock! Cook. Eh! Eggs.). In the beginning, “helping” meant me holding him while I cooked eggs. Which was a little tricky, what with the hot pan and squirmy toddler. Since we got the learning tower, it’s climbing into his learning tower on his own, choosing which egg from the carton he wants to eat, helping me put the coconut oil (“oyyo”) or butter (“buddah”) in the pan and telling me when it’s sizzling, watching the egg turn white and holding the spatula after I flip it, and finally climbing down from the learning tower on his own and walking over to his high chair to eat it.
Not only is it an awesome bonding time for the two of us, it’s also a great learning experience for Owen and a perfect way to keep him entertained and get something done.
Have I mentioned that I love my learning tower?
I know it may seem like a step stool or chair would do the same job. Well, it didn’t for us. Owen would stand still on our kitchen bar stool for about one millisecond. After that he was twisting and turning and climbing up the back and trying to climb down on his own (which he couldn’t do safely) and even trying to jump off. My little daredevil. A chair wasn’t going to cut it for us, as it still required one parent to stand behind Owen and make sure he wasn’t going to crack his head open.
The tower has kind of transformed the way we spend time in the kitchen. And we spend A LOT of time in the kitchen. The other night we had a dance party — Owen in the tower, Benjamin and I dancing around him, while we cooked. Owen climbs and hangs on the tower and I don’t worry about him falling off. I can put the tower strategically just far enough away from the counter or the stove so he can’t reach the dangerous stuff, but close enough that he feels like he is involved in the cooking process. I’ve heard of other people using it to let their kids play in the sink with soapy water, do craft/art projects on a table or counter, and even turning it into a puppet theater when they get a bit older. Now that’s versatile.
Now my little spider monkey can climb all he wants. And get “Up! Up! Up!” and “Dow! Dow! Dow!” all he wants. And I don’t have to do a thing except make sure nothing breakable is within his reach.
What have you bought or made for your child that had a huge impact on your life? Do you let your toddler stand on chairs or stools, or do you have a learning tower or other contraption?