holiday gift guide: for the developing toddler


gift guide number 2: the developing toddler. I put brady in this category at 23 months, however, most of these gifts are great starting at just 6 months of age. they can easily grow with your child well into years 3 and 4. believe me, landon plays with more of “brady’s toys” than his own…

  1. the nugget comfort: I recommended this for the active toddler, but also for your developing toddler. this transformer of couches can make a variety of obstacle courses specifically directed toward gross motor development. heck, add a mirror and you even have a great spot for tummy time in those early, early days.
  2. YBike: this is another great toy to encourage gross motor development. you can encourage standing, pushing/walking like other push toys, riding and striding, etc.
  3. melissa & doug poke-a-dot books: have a child who actually does not like reading? I do. one that loves to read and another that hates books… so here is your solution to getting some interest in books. these books (in a variety of themes) have little finger poppers (think: the packaging bubble wrap) that your child can point and push to create a POP sound. both of my boys love this book! it’s also great for fine motor development – specifically index finger isolation to encourage pointing!
  4. fat brain spinagain stack: another multipurpose toy, this spin again stacking toy. first off, it’s entertaining for your child. win. second, it’s a great fine motor tool, but also think about it for speech development with offering choices between two of the stackers or describing the colors. third, use it for gross motor development by putting it higher up and encourage reaching or standing!
  5. stringing beads: we like these with our OT specifically because of the size (don’t have to worry about choking hazards) of the beads and also the skill level. this is obviously more geared toward fine motor skills, but use the cars (aka beads) to encourage speech development with “beep beep” and “vroom” noises.
  6. fine motor hedgehog: it’s exactly as described – a fine motor toy. much like your typical shape sorter, this fun little guy lets your child place the spikes into the slots. brady loves this guy with his OT and I know the grandparents already bought this one for christmas! win!
  7. fat brain duo dimpl: I can recommend every fat brain toy for every child, they are so great! but this one was a surprise favorite from last year’s christmas (thanks babci and papa!). another great finger isolation tool, but also speech tool. not to mention, very entertaining for your child. brady can play with this independently for 20 minutes! I am adding the simple dimpl to my cart as we speak for a great stroller and car toy for him!
  8. lovevery playkits: this is a subscription service that provides playkits based on your child’s age. the toy I am most excited about for brady comes in the babbler kit for 13 month olds. it’s a ball popper that is taller, but also has a peek-a-boo box at the bottom to catch the balls and encourage other skills. I am currently trying to adjust the age range kit I can order for brady to match his developmental stage (I’ll keep y’all posted), but this is a great gift and ongoing gift for your child or a friend who is expecting!
  9. stacking wood blocks: good old fashioned stacking wood blocks. we have a slightly different set, but this would be fun for kids of all ages. think about the stacking skills, counting, color matching, and shape sorting you can encourage! not to mention cause and effect with stacking and knocking down! brady’s favorite thing to do with these is to knock down all the towers landon builds and help put the blocks away (he really loves putting things in bags or buckets)!

that’s it for toy recommendations this year! I shared a few bonus toys in my instagram stories, so make sure you are following me there too. next up, grandparent and co-worker gifts.

holiday gift guide: 5 gifts for the developing baby

i’m back with another gift guide, this time with ideas of what to buy for the young babies and toddlers that are both fun, but also strategic. i say strategic because they are fun enough that they won’t know they are actually working on their fine motor or gross motor development. most of these are based off of recommendations from our PT and OT…

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  1. fisher price laugh & learn piggy bank: i will start by saying, we do not have this (yet), but brady AND landon love to play with it when our OT comes to the house. there are two versions and this is the one she recommends most. the reason being is that this one is less complicated for the littlest of hands and minds, yet open ended enough that it will grow with your baby into toddlerhood. initially you are developing fine motor skills and an understanding of cause and effect. then as they master entering the coins into the piggy bank, you can work on counting, color matching, sorting, etc. see how it can work for years with your kids?
  2. fisher price sit-me-up: we have this one in the owl theme for brady and it has been my new favorite seat. this seat isn’t as long lasting BUT it works early when you are working on head and neck control. ever have the baby that is sick of tummy time or lying on their back, yet can sit totally unsupported? we did! and i wish we had it with landon too. it’s more supportive, comfortable and entertaining for the babes!
  3. kinetic sand: i love the idea of a sensory bin, yet hate the idea of the clean up and managing that comes with it until they learn the “rules.” if you want to start easy, this one is a good option. kinetic sand is a breeze to clean up, fun to play with, and provides tons of sensory input. landon can sit and roll balls or make shapes without much need for intervention. most of the time i plop a gathre mat under the bin just in case, but 99% of the time i can easily clean up the spilt chunks off the carpet.
  4. peg board: this one is another OT favorite for fine motor development and open ended toy. this is a great tool for brady at the current moment in his development, but it’s a fun toy for landon too. he loves building the towers with the pegs and doesn’t know he is actually mastering some fine motor skills without knowing it.
  5. the nugget: before i get started on this one, let me preface this with saying you will NOT have it in time for christmas. the demand is so high right now and they are completely out-of-stock. we are still waiting to snag one (i should have ordered it a month ago, but hesitated because i didn’t want to store it for that long and now i am kicking myself. as soon as it is back in stock, you better believe this is coming to our house. this is the big gift for both boys. why? for brady, he needs different surfaces to encourage crawling and to help with that gross motor development. for landon, he LOVES to crash and burn. now he can have a safe place to do it. this will grow with them for YEARS. forts, imaginative play, jungle gym, flips, etc. and when not in play time use, it’s a couch for reading, movies, homework and more. catch my drift here? we cannot wait to have this!

 

monthly update: eight months

brady is officially eight months old (plus eleven days, because life) and i am starting to freak out. we are closer to him turning one than him being born and it’s really starting to hit me. this month was a big one in some ways (heart surgery), but also a slow one because we were waiting for surgery, had surgery and were recovering from surgery.

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brady started sitting up unsupported (he still splats occasionally) and more importantly, he had his heart repaired!!!! he has a WHOLE heart and my heart couldn’t be happier for him.

heart surgery was a big hurdle and one we are happy to have behind us. i can’t wait to share that story with you soon. brady rocked it and rebounded even stronger than he was before.

during this month, brady found his feet and cannot stop playing with them all the time. it might be the cutest thing ever. he also expanded his solids palate and likes mostly everything. we should have feeding therapy set up within the next month and see how he continues to progress in the solids world.

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landon and brady continue to be best buds. seeing landon love on brady and miss him when he’s napping is the sweetest. to think i was so worried about their bond before brady was born…. silly me.

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the biggest milestone for me during brady’s eighth month…i stopped pumping so much. heck yes!! stay tuned for more of this in his nine month update.

 

summer break: 5, 6, and 7 month update

hey y’all. i’m back. after a 2ish month hiatus from the blog (aka summer break), i thought it was time to give it some love. this post is all about months 5, 6 and 7 – the months i am calling the waiting months. the months we spent waiting for brady’s heart surgery to come, attempting to keep him healthy, failing at that, getting surgery postponed 9 more weeks, struggling with bottles, feeding and weight gain, and finally ending with surgery (and summer).

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month 5: brady celebrated landon’s second birthday and my first mother’s day with my two nuggets. he started giggling more, smiling with his entire body and getting stronger and stronger in PT. we took his first trip to the beach (and really first trip anywhere). weย attempted to keep him healthy and ready for surgery that lingered just on the horizon. month 5 was a big one, but we knew (or thought) month 6 would be even bigger.

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month 6: heart surgery month. not exactly. i know i mentioned it on instagram, but we were prepped and ready for brady’s surgery. we planned a last minute baptism, attempting to fit it into the schedule with most of our family. we had family lined up to come in town and help with landon while we would be in the hopsital with brady. then boom, no surgery. iย knewย brady had caught a cold the week before. i was emailing with his cardiologist wondering if i needed to speak up to the surgical team or not. we decided to wait it out and see if his body could clear it before surgery. no dice. one nose swab test later and positive for rhino/entrovirus. no surgery. what we thought would be a 6 week bump, turned into 9 weeks thanks to school aged kids planning elective surgeries during the summer months. after this, we decided we wanted to live a little bit. we continued to struggle with bottles, so one day we tried to nurse and he took to it! we went from exclusively bottle-feeding/pumping to nursing after a 5.5 month struggle. things were looking up a bit, until we learned he was not gaining weight. between brady’s heart condition and the calories he burned nursing, he just couldn’t keep the weight on. back to bottles….

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month 7: living a little bit meant we were finally going to take the trip this summer that we missed out on before surgery. so we went to connecticut to visit mike’s family, have brady meet one of his great-grandmas and his great-aunts. he took his first plunge in the pool and officially became a rolypoly. he would literally roll straight across a room if you put him down! we also started brady on solids! month 7 was a big month for him. solids started off okay, he pushed out more than he was taking in, but he didn’tย hate it which was huge! brady also finally got fitted for his helmet to correct his plagiocephaly (this will be a separate post) and took to it just fine. it’s a little hot and sweaty in the georgia heat, but like everything else he encounters, just smiled his whole way through it. he looks cute as ever in his helmet too. as we continued to live life and move through more weeks of waiting, brady continued to get stronger. he started to prop sit and impressed his pediatrician with where he was at developmentally.

month 8 update is just around the corner! this little bug of ours is truly amazing and continues to surprise us with his strength, love and smiles everyday!

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