1.) See Kai Run Smaller shoes. I will preface my "lovedness" by saying I am a little bit miffed that SKR didn't want Ruby to model their shoes when they had an open casting call here about a month ago, but what can I say? I think I have the cutest kid ever, they should be begging her to model! ;) But anyway, I love these shoes. They fit well, stay on, are well made (of leather, so they're breathable), flexible, and Ruby is nuts about them. She always wants to hold them, try to put them on herself, and loves wearing them. She even knows the words "shoes", "feet", and "toes" now because of her interest in the shoes. Plus, they really seem to help her balance when she's standing (and she tends to let go of whatever she's holding onto when wearing her shoes). I hear they're great for beginning walkers as well, so if Ruby ever decides to get a move-on, maybe we will see! We also have them in silver (love!), and while they are expensive shoes, I managed to buy both pairs at 50% off, so there are definitely deals to be had!
2.) Goodnight Moon. Such a classic, no? Ruby loves this book, and I'm pretty sure it's because of the "three little bears sitting on chairs", though she is also fond of the kittens and the bunny himself. We even think it sounded like she was trying to say "goodnight" the other day. Love it. For some reason I love the "mush" too. And actually, we've yet to find a Margaret Wise Brown book that we don't like!
3.) Bubbles! What's not to love about bubbles? Ruby often points to outside, and to the jar of bubbles. She likes it when they "get" her (pop on her), and once they've all popped, she says, "all gone!". I got this big jar at Michael's for 99 cents. We still have 2/3 of it. I plan to get another one to keep in the car too, for park trips and such.
4.) Green Sprouts Cups. We've actually had these since before Ruby was born, but she is super into them lately. She's not quite to tower-building yet, but she nests them all nicely, likes to throw them, and also (this boggles my mind) likes to match the color pairs together OR nest them all omitting all of one or two colors. They're also great in the bath, since they have holes in the bottom to make showers.
5.) Munchkin Snack Catchers. If you have seen our Week in iPhone posts lately, you have seen a lot of these things. It seems to be the quintessential piece of toddler paraphernalia. The snacks go in it, the lid is like a trap, it won't let the snacks out unless baby reaches in and pulls them out with his/her hand. Anytime a baby sees one of these things, they all come
6.) Green Sprouts Toddler Cup Set. This was something I got as a crazy good deal on one of those daily deal websites. I liked it for the multi-stagedness of the cups, and they have not disappointed in that department. Ruby used to only be able to drink out of the rubbery mouthpiece. More recently she's been able to use the standard sippy part, and now she is also able to drink out of the straw! I also like that the lids are interchangeable on all the bottles (well, except the straw, because of the length).
7.) Skip Hop Zoo Bib. I might even like this bib more than our Tommee Tippee ones! It is super soft, has a pocket to catch stuff, is machine washable (huge plus), and tucks neatly inside itself, but you don't have to know origami to get it to do so. It just stuffs into it's own little pocket. Because of that, I usually have this bib in my diaper bag, but I want to get more for home.
8.) Baby Buddy Secure a Toy. Many a comment do I get about this thing. Because we have it wrapped around Sophie's neck like a noose. But you know what? We don't lose Sophie (and who wants to lose a stupid $30 giraffe, right?). They're cheap. They keep your toys on a tether. Get some.
9.) Boogie Wipes and Nosefrida. Both of these would have been good from the get-go, but Ruby didn't really get sick until recently. I'd always seen the Boogie Wipes in the store and thought they were just another gimmick to get parents to spend money. But they actually work really well at getting crusty boogies, and Ruby likes it a lot better if I wipe her nose with one of these, than a rough paper towel. The skin on my nose is so sensitive that I have to use lotion tissues, so I wanted something soft/non-irritating for her. And the Nosefrida. Every parent seems to know about this. Yes, it sounds gross. No, it actually isn't gross, and yes, it does work that well. I have a love of all things Swedish (Ikea, Volvo, meatballs) and this did not disappoint either.
10.) Whole Foods 365 Baby Wipes. We use cloth wipes and water for diaper changes at home, but we do keep a pack of disposable on hand for those times that all the wipes seem to be in the dryer, or we've forgotten to refill the wipe-water bottle and have a diaperless baby on the table. Also, I use them on the go because I never figured out a cloth wipe system that I liked for the diaper bag. We'd been using Seventh Generation, but they always seemed to make Ruby's buns a little red. The Babyganics wipes were better, but I have a hard time finding them in stores. On a whim, we picked up these Whole Foods wipes, and they seem to be the best yet!
11.) Baby Buddy First Toothbrush. Now that Ruby has teeth, we want to take care of those babies. Another mama recommended this "toothbrush" to me, and it has been a hit. Ruby and I take turns brushing her teeth, and I also just let her chew on it if she wants to. Bonus: it's dishwasher safe.
12.) Yes to Baby Carrots Lotion. Before Ruby was born, we were gifted some Burt's Bees baby lotion. She's never really had dry skin, but we incorporated lotion into our bedtime routine to help differentiate from every other diaper/clothing change. Ruby handled the Burt's lotion fine, but I got tired of the fragrance. I found this Yes to Baby Carrots, and having liked the Yes to Carrots products for myself, decided to try it. It is a thin lotion, that goes on so much better than the Burt's. It's fragrance free, but kind of smells like aloe to me, which I like. Ruby likes the picture of a carrot on the front, which distracts her from getting her diaper put on, so it's a win all around. Once we run out of our Burt's Bees shampoo, I plan on giving the Yes to Baby Carrots shampoo a try as well.
13.) Munchkin Shampoo Rinser and Duck Tub. This shampoo rinser was another thing that I thought was gimmicky, but I'd read some love for it on another mom blog (and let's be honest, I was really drawn to the hot pink color). It is awesome! As a shampoo rinser, I like it because it is flexible, so you can kind of mold it on top of the baby's head to keep water out of her eyes when rinsing (which became a problem when she was no longer laying down in the infant tub). But also, it makes a great toy! Ruby loves putting things into it, and at the end of bathtime, she cleans up by shoving all of her little toys into it before she gets out. $5 well spent. The Duck Tub has been another lifesaver for us. Ruby was really scared to be out of her infant tub, but too big to be in it. The duck made the bath not so big, which is calming to her, but I also like because I don't have to fill the whole darn tub! Now she really loves it, and points to it affectionately whenever we're near her bathroom. A tip for newly sitting, unsteady babies? Don't inflate the bottom part. We still have it uninflated, because it made her wobbly and scared, even though she is a strong sitter.
Now that I've written these out, I realize I should have added another. The one downside of our duck tub, is that it doesn't fit under the faucet to fill! To solve this problem, we bought the Boon Flo. It deflects the water into the tub. It also makes the faucet less scary to Ruby, and I like that when she is older, we can put her under it to rinse her hair. Also, it does double-duty to protect from head-on-faucet bonking, and even has a bubble bath dispenser (that we haven't used yet)!
So there you have it! Our favorite things, months 9-12. Isn't it funny how stuff you thought was so gimmicky/unnecessary can end up being a fave?