It seems like everyone I know is having a baby, and everyone Owen knows is turning 3. The number of baby shower gifts and toddler birthday presents we have had to buy in the last few months (and the next few) is mind-boggling. Every time I get an invitation, I think, “Oh yay! A fun party! But WHAT do I get for a present…”.
In general, baby gifts are easy because I usually go for a medium-sized gift from the parents-to-be’s registry (because, really, it’s annoying when everyone gets you a receiving blanket and you still don’t have things like sheets that you really NEED), and then supplement with something little that I loved when Owen was tiny. Or, if I can carve out the time, a homemade item (I’m teaching myself to sew… very much a beginner) like burp cloths made from cute fabric or a baby quilt. Ok, I’ll be honest… I only gave a baby quilt once, and it took me the entire 9 months that I knew one of my dear friends was pregnant to make it. So that was kind of an exception. But still, homemade things are a favorite when I can swing it. But lately? Not so much.
My top 3 little “somethings” to add to my registry gift:
This “Baby Banana” teether/toothbrush makes me giggle. And Owen ADORED his.
These black and white flashcards are mesmerizing for babies.
This CD is my favorite. Owen and I listened to it every single night for his bedtime routine since he was 12 weeks old. I never switched it up because it was too perfect. I know it’s getting a little passe to give a CD, but whatevs.
And, if the friend is someone who I know well and I think would appreciate a book to read, I will often lend/give one of my two all-time favorite new baby books: Happiest Baby on the Block and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I found them both to be immensely helpful. But in general I think parenting books are something the parents-to-be should choose for themselves.
KID BIRTHDAY PRESENTS
For some reason, I find toddler birthday gifts to be much harder to pick out. It’s hard to know what the kid already has at home (easier if you can spy on their toys at a playdate), or what kinds of activities they enjoy. I should be good at this… I see my kid playing every day. But this one always kind of stumps me.
Recent favorites have been:
Automoblox. These little cars that you take apart like a puzzle. Owen loves making “mixed up cars” and “limousines” by putting them back together in funny ways.
I Spy books. Owen could play I Spy forever… either with the book or just looking out the window. He’s remarkably good at remembering where things are. Way better than I am. And it’s been a good tool to practice taking turns at home for us.
Any Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles, really. But this one is a particular favorite at our house. Owen can do all four of the puzzles all by himself (though he prefers to have someone sitting with him so he can talk about it the whole time).
So here’s where I ask for help. What are your favorite go-to new baby and kid birthday gifts? I need some fresh ideas.