Hindsight truly is 20/20. You might think that I figured things out the first time around, but having twins 23 months after a singleton is sort of like learning two new languages in rapid succession. We brought our son home to a city condo while our girls were welcomed to a suburban single family home, but in both cases we were grateful for a few reliable, functional, go-to items. We also had a few missteps. These are our greatest hits and flops from the early days.
1. Fisher-Price SpaceSaver High Chair: They aren't beautiful, but these $50 high chairs are mightily functional. They strap onto your kitchen or dining chair, so zero additional footprint. The tray is dishwasher safe, the fabric cover is machine washable, and the seats have three recline positions for baby's changing needs. We would throw these in the car for family get-togethers. Our girls could sit comfortably with everyone and the SpaceSavers saved us from juggling two infants while trying to tend to our toddler, visit, and eat.
2. An awesome blender: Our Vitamix is an absolute workhorse. In the early days, we churned out plenty of purees, and smoothies for the kids and quick soups were great sustenance for zonked parents. Now that the kids are older, we all enjoy soups and smoothies from the blender.
3. Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack: It's adorable and so well designed, perfect for drying pump flanges, bottles, pacis, sippies, and other assorted infant miscellany. We retired all of that stuff a long time ago, but our Lawn still gets heavy traffic because it is the world's best drying rack for wine glasses. Check out the smaller Grass or Patch (get it?) racks if counter space is in rare supply.
4. Jogging stroller(s): At various stages I have owned a single, a double, and a triple. A great jogging stroller (for my money, BOB, Mountain Buggy, and Baby Jogger are the big three) was my freedom. After my first child was born I found my way to a Stroller Strides (now Fit4Mom) class. It was a great social opportunity for both of us and instead of coordinating childcare I was able to exercise with my baby. I was never a runner pre-kids, but by my son's first birthday I was running races.
5. Sophie the Giraffe: What can I say that hasn't already been said? She's cute, she's French, all three of my kids loved their Sophies. They chewed on her legs, flung her around, and cheerfully squeaked her body so much that they actually loved the spots right off of her.
6. NoseFrida: The concept is kind of gross, but not nearly as gross as those pictures of moldy bulb syringe innards. The NoseFrida helped me clear a bunch of snorky kid noses through the years.
1. Crib Bedding Set: This was actually a misstep that I made the second time around. With our first, I just bought some cute crib sheets and called it a day. I bought beautiful crib sets for the twins, but looking back we would have been fine with just sheets. Shortly after shelling out for these beautiful sets, bumpers were outlawed. The dust ruffles were a hassle with every sheet change and hung too low once we lowered the crib mattresses, and we never used the quilts.
2. Umbrella Stroller: We only ever used ours for travel and probably would have been better served by gate checking a standard stroller, renting one at our destination, or just wearing the kids. The sunshades were always inadequate, the seats didn't recline, the baskets underneath were too shallow, and I always felt like I'd catapult my kids into the air if I hung my heavy bag on the handles.
3. Baby Music: I absolutely love children's music, but those cloying recordings in "music box" synth preset are useless. There is an entire label devoted to lullaby renditions of popular music, and an old series of classical music that's been babified. Well-meaning friends and family will give you these CDs as an ironic wink/nudge (oh, lullaby renditions of your favorite band from college!) or as a way to "introduce" your baby to classical music. Just give them the real stuff, it won't hurt them.
4. Receiving Blankets: I used a few of those big muslin blankets for swaddling summer newborns or we used swaddling blankets. We had a ton of blankets that went unused.
5. Mesh Feeders: I know some people who love them, but for us they were messy, impossible to clean, and kind of useless.
These were my favorites and flubs. What's on your list?
(Image credits: Roni Shapira Ben-Yoseph)