Baby Intelligence Needed

rococogurlFebruary 23, 2008

OK all you first time and experienced Grandmas out there. I'm new to this game so I'm hoping you will share your wisdom.

We have upcoming visit of Dh's 1 y.o. grandson & parents. First visit since pregnancy so I'm looking to must-haves.

I'm thinking a Pack n Play (crib sub) and one of their folding high chairs -- one of my friends has that for hers. Do I need sheets and quilt for the PnP? Their chairs look ok. Our tables don't accomodate a clip on, which would be nicest.

I have my eye on a musical toy I think he'll like (he loves the Mozart Cube we gave him), some balls and some cars.

I've seen him go for things on the low shelves and thought I'd move out my things in the library and kitchen and stock the low shelves with little surprises. Seems like perfect parking places for cars and blocks.

He crawls and stands but just getting ready to walk.

Any suggestions of good non-toxic toys would be helpful. Ditto if there's a better system than Pack N Play for sleeping, or on the high chair.

Does anyone know if the TMX red Elmo is better than the Big Blue Cookie Monster? Are those OK materials wise? The CM sounds like it would be great since it rolls over laughing. Far as I can tell from reviews on Amazon (some don't make much sense) the red Elmo just yells.

Other/all suggestions/intelligence would be most welcome. TIA

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I got an inexpensive crib and high chair (I also got the tray) from Ikea. My daughter has the pack and play and she didn't think it was really sturdy enough. When they lived close, I didn't need the crib, but when they stayed with me before they moved to Texas and visited when he was two the crib did just fine. If they aren't going to visit too often, you might try and rent a crib and high chair from the local rental center.

Get lots of locks for the cabinet doors, not just in the kitchen, but bathrooms, etc. I got these so I didn't have to install anything permanent.

I kept one cabinet open and put all my pots and pans, metal bowls, utensils, etc, in that one, along with lots of canned goods. He spent a lot of time in that cabinet. I also kept a cabinet open in the entertainment center in the family room with toys. He liked opening it and discovering them, time after time. Do you need gates? I had to put up a few.

The TMX Elmo and CM are both fine. My grandson has Elmo, and he thought it was pretty funny. It drove us nuts.

Ikea has a lot of nice, inexpensive stuff, including toys.

I downloaded a lot of kids songs to my iPod and hooked it up to speakers, so we'd have something to listen to that I could sing along to. Get a few books, the kind you don't mind seeing torn up!

Get down on your stomach and look under the sofa and chairs - because that's where he'll be and he'll find every tiny thing and put it in his mouth.

I'm sure you all will have a wonderful visit.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 2:11PM
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I'm not a grandma, but I have been traveling with a baby since he was a month old so maybe I can help?

We still us the pack and play, but our son is very small. We have one at three different regular locations and they work very very well. One thing we do is to pad the "pad" with either a folded up blanket (adult size, folded to mattress size) or we use a sheepskin we got at Ikea for it. Those pads are pretty hard really and we find this helps him sleep.

You'll get one sheet with the pack and play. I'd advise buying another package (just a few bucks) so if there is an emergency at night you can quickly change it. Put the sheet over the folded up softener.

You should get a fluffy blanket or sheet if they aren't going to be bringing one. A twin blanket will be too big. We do travel with his favorite down comforter so for us we wouldn't use what you purchased so you might ask if they travel with favorite blankets befor you buy.

A night light in the room where baby is, is a must for me. I travel with several, one for the room, one for the closest bathroom (where we keep meds and bottles etc at night) and one for our room. Just a cheap pack from a drug store, but they're heaven if you have to stumble around a house at night you're not used to.

Sorry, while cookie might have been "The guy" a few years ago...Elmo is KING now. THe annoyng little red fur ball is taking over the toddler world. Give in, it will be a hit I promise. (This from a parent with probably 30 different Elmo's that all do stupid things in annoying voices).

If there is a bed in the room that the baby is in, it's nice to have a towel handy on it (or a small spread) to change diapers on. I would highly suggest a diaper pail (they're quite cheap now a days) since poopy diapers are ummm well poopy and smelly and ummmm well you now remember don't you? The new pails keep the smell in and are easier for the parents if they're in the room when changing diapers (we have one at each location as well).

I don't know what baby eats, but you might ask so you have a quick supply on hand if that's not a big deal for you? Traveling with formula is akward because it's heavy. I personally ship a case in advance of my arrival, but since you're grandma :) You're probably like my mom and you'd want to have stuff baby uses on hand if possible when they arrive.

The folding highchair would be nice, or they make great seats out of hidious plastic that you just strap to a chair (all the big stores have them) and these have trays as well. We use these at the homes we travel to.

Now that I've said all of this...there is a service called "Baby's Away" with locations all over the country. I have used them at hotels several times. You can rent a highchair, crib, toys, stroller, car seat, all of the goober, easily if there is one near you (they deliver and set up). Check google for "Baby's Away" and see what you find if this is an option you prefer. You get a real crib this way which is kind of nice, but not essential.

You can easily stop by a local target and go down the cheap toy isle an pick up some noisy stuff :) And just a few, as well as pots and pans, spoons and plastic bowls, with work well for little one :)

One other thing...I like to have baby shampoo/soap on hand when we arrive and have purchased large bottles for each of our regular locations. It's a nice thought if they would forget theirs.

If you want to go overboard, and they dont' travel enough to think of this stuff...having an infant tylenol, and infant benedryl on hand for the visiting parents is a very nice thing if they arrive with a sick little one. Teething tablets as well just in case...

Just a few ideas for you :) Have so much fun!!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 9:32PM
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Also read the thread I'm linking.

If you want simple, buy some bubbles. Believe it or not, Gymboree has the best ones. They're more expensive but really stick around. Wooden blocks are still good. Small, local toy stores and teacher/learning stores have great non-electric toys that your family might appreciate.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Babyproofing tips

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 10:48PM
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Helpful tips on the PnP Igloo, thanks. I need to get that organized. I might just get a piece of 2" foam cut to fit the PnP and then run up cover for that out of an existing sheet since the crib sheets are longer and the sheet that comes with the PnP is less than stellar, if I'm understanding correctly. He is more or less accustomed to sleeping in one of those.

Cate your other suggestions are just great on this thread and the other. Our house is surprisingly child friendly -- just a few things to move. He's standing, not yet fully walking, but I do have some low drawers that need to be kept closed (painter's tape will likely work for that) so I'll be spending time of Safety 1st. (Gymboree is near me -- he'll love the bubbles in the tub).

Everyone seems to have wonderful suggestions, which are most welcome. Food is the thing I'm not worried about at all. The latest report is that he likes things like pickles and chicken tikka kabobs and things in tomato sauce so she's obviously not giving him the usual and I have Cuisinarts so I'd be inclined just to make whatever is needed from whatever we're eating.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 10:05AM
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My Mom set up a kids room in her house for the grand kids. She bought a used crib (checked out for current safety standards). And a used high chair- in excellent condition-.
In the room she had the crib in the corner and under the windows she had a day bed with comforter and plump pillows with a wicker chest in front of it. wicker shelving on either side, with reading material both for her and the little ones. Beatiful window treatments and wall paper made it attractive for everyone. It worked for kids of all ages. She also had an adults guest room for the parents.
The rocking chair had a hand woven cotton throw that was so cozy to wrap up in with baby.
She bought tons of wonderful toys at yard sales and cleaned them up with bleach. These were stored under the crib and the little ones could bring them out and play with them. That was the first place they would go.
There was an antique childs school desk my Dad refinished and it was always stocked with crayons washable markers safety scissors and paper. This room evolved with the age of the babies and was great for kids of all ages.
She had the baby tylenol etc on hand, favorite foods. And when a little one was sad at leaving Meema- which always happened! she fixed a "snack pack" which was simply a ziploc sandwich bag with cheerios or a few cookies or saltines with peanut butter. But it was magic for the road home!A tradition I look forward to someday.
We all miss our Meema and Grandfather. Taken too soon. Sue

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 11:21AM
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Oh, Rococogurl, how much fun!

You've received great information here. My 'baby' is driving now and no grandbabes yet, so I'm a little out of the loop, but I'll add a couple of suggestions.

You mentioned a seat to clip onto the table. I assume you mean the one that uses the baby's weight to anchor the seat. We used those 'Sassy Seats' on the eating bar, in restaurants, etc. We loved them, but if I remember correctly they were removed from the market because if the child got a good foothold under the table somewhere and could p-u-s-h, s/he could push that seat off the table.
Our DD2 did exactly that and it was the last time we used it. Rats. They WERE handy.

The Pack N' Play will be perfect.

Also, rather than have to clean that Cuisinart, you might invest $15 in a 'Baby Grinder'--terrible name, I know, but it is quick, easy, portable and goes in the dishwasher.

Poor DD2 would've starved to death if not for that food mill. I was too busy with the others to keep a reliable supply of baby food on hand- she just ate what we ate and was fat and happy!

Have a lovely visit!

Here is a link that might be useful: Baby Grinder

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 3:15PM
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pecan -- there are 3 or 4 new chairs that clamp onto the table rather solidly. I'm just not sure whether that's best or an adjustable high chair works better in the long run since it can go up and down as they get older.

I need to ask. He's a mover so I'm thinking probably a high chair but then my friend's guy stood up in his and crashed it (the Gracos actually have straps). But I could put the rubber pads down under whatever.

If I'm not too exhausted from shopping and organizing to actually enjoy the visit. LOL!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:37PM
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Rococogurl - We've had good luck with the booster seat I linked in below. This version isn't that attractive, but it's easy to take to restaurants, buckles under the seat and behind the chair back (and around the baby), and has a clip-on tray insert. I liked that it folded, too. The large tray is a bit difficult to fit in a small sink or in the dishwasher.

Can't remember if anyone suggested you find an umbrella stroller. Very handy and space efficient.

Here is a link that might be useful: Booster Seat

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:01AM
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Cate -- that seat looks terrific. It would easily go on one of our chairs and doesn't present issues the others do. Looks like the best solution yet, actually. Thank you so much for the link.

I'm not in for a stroller (they travel with one) but I'm halfway to going for one of the recycled plastic radio flyer wagons so Grandpa could take him out and around outside in that (it apparently comes with a harness) on the patio. Any experience with those?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:32AM
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The radio flyer is great :) Grandpa will like it but do get one with seat backs and straps. 1 year olds don't hold still otherwise. A 3 pt harness is the best.

I have a seat like Cate told you about (different brand). Be sure to look at the size in persn. The one we have is pretty large and many babies fit in it. The one we purchased at mom's house is very small and might not fit a healthy child.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:22PM
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It's so nice to be able to help and to feel somewhat knowledgeable about something, in this world of too much information! I.e., keep 'em coming. :)

Your grandson will love the wagon! We have two (hope my mother's not reading this): one from DM and one from DF - separately, as they're divorced - and we all have had a good time. There is a difference, supposedly, in durability (rubber vs plastic wheels, types of shocks, etc.). The plastic wheels are too loud on a sidewalk to carry on a conversation over. There are also a lot of add-ons that I don't remember from my childhood, such as clip-on umbrellas. Still haven't tried any of that stuff.

Another great toy for this age is anything ride-on. I found this at a local used childrens' store. I was afraid it was one of those things that just met my unfulfilled childhood fantasies; but my kids love it, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Retro Rocket

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 4:32PM
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cate, your post of the red car almost made me weep. My late Mom would have loved that and gone out and purchased it on the spot. I'm putting all the bookmarks on a page so I don't lose any of the links. I think in 6 or 8 months he might be ready for that.

I may go with the open wagon. We have stone outside so thanks for the heads up on the wheels. Glad to hear it's good. You've helped me a lot and I appreciate your advice. Iglooo as well, thanks.

I could see a big toddler not fitting in the booster but for a 1 y.o. it looks ok. And it's so much cuter than the Graco chairs. I know they work well but they just don't look like fun.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 9:02AM
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Rococogurl - The problem with the 2" foam is that inevitably, it will get wet and you can't throw it in the washer. You'll need a waterproof cover or at least a waterproof pad under the sheet.

The Pack 'n' Play worked very well for us. We have it stored in a closet, waiting (hoping) for another grandbaby someday.

Isn't the Mozart cube just the BEST toy. My little grandson, who is now 4, still enjoys the one we gave him when he was an infant.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 2:10PM
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So sorry to bring up tears! I hope they were good memories. I feel so blessed that all four of our parents - and 4 of the generation before - have been able to meet our children. Even so, I wish one grandmother, in particular, was around. I once saw her expression on my DS's face, and it was wonderful.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 2:27PM
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wooderlander -- thanks for the tip. would not have remembered about what we used to call the 'rubber sheet'. I saw a 2-pak of those -- will go on the list.

Dh actually suggested getting another Mozart cube so he has it at our house. I might do that but I am currently mesmerized by the ad for the little red Playschool truck that has the balls going through it. LOL

Oh cate, no apologies please. Both my Mom and Grandmother are gone but occasionally there are things that would have delighted one of them. It was just one of those moments when I clicked on the link. I'm smiling now and thanks again for all your help.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 9:10AM
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A clothes basket with colorful tupperware bowls and lids, plastic measuring cups. Put covers on electrical outlets, move lamps that are easy to topple over, keep your purses high (coins and meds), you might pick up a package of baby wipes (always nice to have extras). Make sure your toys are age appropriate, especially those cars/trucks with little parts. Everything goes in the mouth. One year olds are so fun, take lots of pictures. Enjoy.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 9:34PM
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We also bought a Pack N Play for our little grand daughter to sleep in when she visits. It works out well. I was shopping around for her and found a few new places to look. Maybe you will find something for your grandbaby that's special.

Here is a link that might be useful: Things for grandbabys

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 9:05AM
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