About 100 years ago (Er, OK, maybe it just feels that way to me…) I published a post on all of our newborn baby essentials, and sometimes when I’m feeling a bit low, I like to look back at that post and cheer myself up by laughing my ass off at the fact that I thought that was going to be ALL we’d need to buy for the first year or so of Max’s life. I look back and I laugh because LOLOLLOL, this is what my living room looks like right now:
It’s a Jumperoo, just in case you’re wondering. But we’ll get to that in a second. First of all, I actually wanted to talk about the smaller green thing you can see in front of it – well, that and all of our OTHER current baby essentials, that is. Because, the fact is, babies grow FAST… and they’re very, very fickle: which means that this week’s “must-have” item is next week’s Gumtree listing, as we frantically try to clear the house of some of the freakishly large so-called “essentials” we’ve convinced ourselves we absolutely MUST buy for Max, because THIS will be the thing that will totally change our lives, seriously.
So, here are some of the things that actually DID change our lives (well, sort of…) in month four of Max’s young life: starting off with…
Matchstick Monkey and Sophie la Giraffe teething toys
So, before we go any further here, I should make it clear that the green giraffe pictured here is NOT Sophie la Giraffe*. No, that’s Little Bam Bam the Giraffe, who’s just standing in for Sophie – she couldn’t make this photoshoot because she’s currently with Max at his grandparents’ house, probably having her head chewed off as I write this.
(I’ll also just make it clear that OUR Sophie is not the same Sophie that there were safety concerns about recently. That’s THIS Sophie. Yeah, there are way too many giraffes in this post, aren’t there? Moving on… )
Confused? Yeah, me too: and not just because of all of the plastic giraffes that have entered my life, but because the giraffes are just the tip of the teething toy iceberg, really. With the arrival of Max’s very first tooth, a few weeks ago, came a veritable mountain of teething toys. At the last count, I figured we had at least 12 of the things, and you know what? He STILL prefers to chew our fingers. Or his own fingers. Or his feet. Or … ANYTHING, basically.
In terms of actual teething toys, though, his favourite so far is Matchstick Monkey, closely followed by Sophie. I think he likes these because they’re quite small, and easy for him to grasp in his hands. Max started teething relatively early, and I found that a lot of the teethers we bought for him just seemed a little bit too large for him at first. These two are perfect, though, so they go everywhere with him, and they’ve also recently been joined by this creepy blue hand, which my parents bought, mostly to give my dad’s pinky finger a rest, I think:
This a little bigger, and the idea is that you put it in the fridge to cool it down before giving it to the baby, so the cold helps soothe their gums. To be perfectly honest, Max doesn’t seem to care whether it’s been pre-chilled or not – he does, however, enjoy having a good chew at it, although not as much as he enjoys THIS little pink *&(^%$:
“Let’s get him this!” said Terry, when we came across it in the supermarket one day. “I think he might like it!” said Terry. And then, “Maybe you should use it?” said Terry. “My fingers are dirty from working in the garden!” said Terry. So, like the mug I am, I was the one to slip two of my fingers inside the MAM oral care rabbit teething cloth, and let Max chow down on them. And I was the one to discover that, yup, that one tooth of his can STILL hurt, even when your finger’s covered in pink cloth, imagine! Shortly afterwards, I became the one to discover just how gross this thing can get when it’s covered in drool, and it is PLENTY GROSS, let me tell you. So, basically, I straight-up hate this guy, and I don’t even care that it has a face. Or that it’s smiling at me beseechingly, like, “Please love me, Amber! Please don’t hate me!” GOD.
The thing is, though, Max LOVES it, so I continue to be the one to let him bite my fingers at regular intervals – and also to wonder why Terry couldn’t just, I don’t know, WASH HIS HANDS, MEBBE? Yes.
Anyway, this post is in danger of becoming just about teething toys, and I do have some other baby essentials I want to show you, so I’ll just give a quick shout-out here to the Nuby Wacky Teething Ring Teether and our old friend, Gertie the Good Goose*, both of whom have risen to prominence in recent days, as Max continues in his bid to chew everything he sees. Speaking of which, here’s another four month baby essential:
A blanket soother
I’d always wondered why so many small children seemed to favour a blanket over a teddy bear, say… then I noticed that Max always seems to want to cling onto his bib, or burp cloth, or any other random piece of fabric within his grasp. He already had a couple of blanket soothers, but I couldn’t resist buying him this Jellycat one, too. Honestly, I don’t think Max really cares whether he’s holding this, one of his other blankets, or, I dunno, an old dishcloth or something, but holding a soft piece of fabric seems to comfort him, and it was a good excuse for me to buy YET ANOTHER JELLYCAT, so, yeah: I’m calling it a baby essential, but it’s really an Amber essential. You knew that, though, didn’t you?
Seeing as I’ve shown you an Amber essential, I guess I should probably show you a Terry essential too, huh?
So, as I said, this is one of Terry’s baby essentials, rather than one of mine. As you can see, I do use it from time, but I’m not a huge fan – not because it’s not a good carrier, I hasten to add, but simply because I don’t really find it all that convenient having Max strapped to me at all times: sure, it lets me use both my hands simultaneously, which is something I’ve come to see as a complete luxury these days, but it’s still a bit awkward to do things like typing, or bending down to load/unload the washing machine with a 15 pound baby strapped to my front, so I don’t use it all that often.
Terry, on the other hand, absolutely swears by this, and when he’s looking after Max on his own, he’ll use it fairly often – which just goes to show how useless lists of baby essentials can be, given that different people/babies like different things, doesn’t it?
Um, why am I writing this again? Existential blogger crisis coming right up, folks! Let’s quickly move on to…
Max has approximately 8,765 bibs at this point (THANKS, REFLUX!), but I’d say around 8,000 of them are now these yellow Tomme Tippee numbers. Because he spits up so much, he’s almost constantly in a bib of some description, but we were finding that regular bibs tend to be a bit loose around the neck (Which means the neckline of his clothes still end up wet), while the neckerchief-style ones solve that problem, but are a little too short to protect his clothes. These, however are the best of both worlds: the necks are padded, and close-fitting, so he can’t dribble down them, while the rest of the bib is long enough to keep him (relatively) dry. And, I mean, don’t get me wrong – there’s no magic solution here, and we still generally end up changing him a couple of times per day, but these are the best bibs we’ve found so far, which is why we now own so many of them.
Oh, and my mum also got him this:
She tried to find one big enough to fit me, too, but no luck, apparently. Or not so far, anyway…
Finally, back to the Jumperoo…
I know: ugly sucker, isn’t it?
So, this month we finally retired the swing that appeared in my previous list of baby essentials, on the grounds that Max wasn’t really using it any more: it was brilliant when he was younger, but these days he prefers to be a bit more upright, so we sold the swing on Gumtree (Which is where we’d bought it, incidentally: we’ve found there’s a really healthy second-hand market for baby equipment, presumably because they outgrow things so quickly at this stage that you could easily end up spending a fortune on expensive pieces of equipment that only get used for a couple of months – if that. Because of that, we’ve been able to pick up a few things barely-used on Gumtree that we probably wouldn’t have been able to justify buying new, so it’s been a bit of a goldmine, really…), and bought this from the same place.
Now, to be totally honest, I probably wouldn’t class this as one of Max’s baby essentials so far. I mean, he does enjoy it (For the uninitiated, it’s basically a bouncing seat, with various different toys around the edges: the seat rotates, so the baby can bounce around to his heart’s content, or swivel the seat to do the various different activities…), and it keeps him occupied for long enough for Terry and I to have a cup of coffee or whatever, but so far it’s not really a “couldn’t live without it” kind of thing, so I’m glad we didn’t pay the full price for it. What I WOULD put in the “baby essentials” category, however is this:
This is the Baby Bjorn bouncer, which we use every day (Or Max does, anyway – it’s a bit too small for me and Terry…), and even take with us when we’re visiting my parents. I like this because it’s light enough for me to be able to pick it up one-handed (Er, when the baby’s NOT in it, obviously) and carry it to another room: Max likes it because it allows him to sit fairly upright and look around him – which is one of his favourite things to do right now.