Parenting

Ride it Out

Brandon and I tend to gravitate toward very different toys for Eleanor. Take this for example…

I thought this little wooden walker (A) was so cute. I imagined Eleanor toddling around with it, blocks and stuffed animals in the compartment. I even bought one and painted it pink! Adorable.

A few days ago, Brandon brought this Lil’ Princess Ride On (B) home. All plastic, with flashing lights and various sounds at the push of a button.

Guess which one the baby prefers.

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69 Comments

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    April 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Ugh, (B) right? Ghastly, but kids love lots of colors and sounds. If she chose (A) I’d know for sure she’s her mother’s daughter!

  • Reply
    meta
    April 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Don’t worry, she’ll like the wooden one as well. My 19-m.o. likes anything, especially if they belong to other tots :) It’s the one from IKEA, isn’t it? I never thought to paint it. You always have brilliant ideas :)

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      April 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

      I hope so! Yes, that’s the IKEA walker – it only comes in blue.

      • Reply
        meta
        April 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm

        I’ve been thinking to buy the wooden horse as my tot is just the right age for that. Thanks to this post, now I start to think to paint it in other color, although the red is not bad.

      • Reply
        meta
        April 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm

        Oops, it’s actually a rocking moose, not horse :) I love reading all these comments. Exactly what I need at the moment.

  • Reply
    Rachael
    April 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Seriously, my kids never prefer the wooden toys like I do.

  • Reply
    Lea
    April 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I really would have thought A since kids always seem to like the simpler stuff like boxes and sticks.

  • Reply
    Ludmila {CreamyLife.com}
    April 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I guess she adores the Lil’ princess although a pink wooden walker sounds fun as well!

  • Reply
    Making it Lovely
    April 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Of course she prefers the Lil’ Princess. Even the name is unappealing!

  • Reply
    Lillian
    April 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    LOL – Story of my life!!! Except it’s me vs. my mom and mother-in-law, Queens of the Yard Sales (and ALL things plastic, noise making or blinking lights!).This post so gave me the chuckle I needed today;)

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    April 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    She’ll get into your walker once she starts to load and unload her stuff. My kids who are 3 love the wagon now and when they were E’s age they went for the bells and whistles!

  • Reply
    Amanda B.
    April 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I agree with previous comments, that I think when she’s a little older she’ll prefer A. Baby dolls need to ride somewhere!

  • Reply
    ClistyB
    April 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I think those wooden-back-in-the-day styles are marketed/made for the parents. The kind Brandon chose are the kind the kids will gravitate to and use. I know, it looks horrendous in a decorated home.
    My biggest problem was with (cheap) character shoes. I just couldn’t do it. Every once in awhile the hub would take the kids to PayLess and buy them some. It made me cringe. But they fall apart quickly.

  • Reply
    Daria
    April 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Funny post, yet very serious. I’ve been thinking so many times at what us, grown-ups, prefer, versus what our babies prefer. Whenever I see a very stylish nursery, like yours, and other baby things so carefully planned and coordinated by their tasteful parents I wonder if the kids really like them, or they would prefer the regular, loud, obnoxious colors that cheap stores are throwing at us.

    Our daughter’s nursery is filled with regular, mainstream stuff: strong colors, lots of Dora the Explorer, you name it. We made it this way because it was much easier and cheaper than to plan and coordinate everything. I would gladly trade it with a beautiful room like Eleanor’s (not that I knew where to start to decorate it like that), but my daughter seems so happy with her regular stuff. So, I wonder, should we try to mold our kids tastes into something more “tasteful”, or should we just offer them what they want? I am not talking about food here, that’s a totally different story, I am talking about toys and stuff.

    And of course, like other kids, my daughter couldn’t care less about simple wooden toys, except building blocks. Well, I hope she will know better when she grows up.

    • Reply
      Renee
      April 24, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      Children absorb what is around them, so if they are exposed to the mainstream stuff, they will gravitate toward it; whereas if they are exposed to simple toys and lovely prints they will gravitate toward those.

      It is a great idea to expose children (especially in the earliest stages of life) to REAL artwork (even if it is just a postcard from the local museum tacked on the wall at their height). They should be exposed to REAL music (old macdonald, too, but some classical works at an early age will stay with them for the rest of their lives, even if only subconsciously). They absorb their environments, and what is on the outside begins to structure their internal frameworks and worldview. Children are born without tastes and preferences beyond their attachment to mom. Their earliest environment plays a HUGE role in their later tastes and preferences. Not to say that the savings account should be drained to buy designer paints and bedding and expensive designer furniture, but that simplicity and beauty in the environment will spark an interest in simplicity and beauty in the child, even with repurposed furniture, solid colored sheets (if it is all you can afford), some inexpensively framed art postcards, and a few toys that create that ambiance.

      • Reply
        Rita
        April 29, 2010 at 6:36 am

        I totally agree. We as parents will have a huge impact in our child’s life, and I don’t think there should be any concern from a parent who wants to expose their child to what they think will best benefit their development. It may be a problem if we limit the exposure of our child to one or the other. Watching the same cartoons or playing with some toys that other kids are exposed to will help them bond with their peers (even today I can still recall some catchy tunes and when my friends recognize them it’s like a huge trip back to very happy nursery/pre-school days with people who know what I am talking about). But I agree they should also be exposed to their “natural world” and normal home environment. We shouldn’t forget the ultimate purpose of play: it is not to keep our children entertained so we can do something else; it’s to give them the physical and cognitive tools to be able to live in the real world. I honestly don’t think there is anything wrong with exposing the child to music, art or crafts we appreciate as adults. We should however, bare in mind the child’s cognitive needs at specific ages. The fact that Eleanor was not so into the lovely walker only reflects, in my opinion, that she is not in that place yet and not that she doesn’t like it :)

  • Reply
    Tera
    April 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    That is one thing I am worried about with having kids! All the character branded stuff that you receive as gifts. What to do to keep it out of sight! And how to gently let people know you just do NOT want it? Have you had many instances of receiving a slightly tacky gift?

    • Reply
      Tellie
      April 24, 2010 at 6:44 pm

      Those ended up in the “donate to the next cousin that has a child” box pretty quickly, and I am hoping no one will notice that he “outgrew” them before he even used them. Unless he LOVES it you don’t HAVE to use it. The same happened with all the endless gifts of clothes with cutesy little bears on them. Seriously. Bears would eat babies in real life, why do we keep plastering our children with them?

  • Reply
    Amy
    April 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I hear ya, sister.

  • Reply
    bridget
    April 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    i guess men aren’t entirely concerned with aesthetics now are they.

  • Reply
    Emily
    April 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I would have thrown a ROYAL fit and it would have ended up in the garage PRONTO, LOL… oh wait… we have tons of similar toys in the garage (NOT purchased by the husband, thank goodness.) Just b/c kids like candy doesn’t mean we give it to them ALL. THE. TIME. Kids have enough sensory overload these days, my theory is that their toys shouldn’t be another thing screaming at them!

    • Reply
      Tellie
      April 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm

      You are forming their taste and sense of style at this age – you are in charge of teaching them about nutrition, style, why not decorating too? There is nothing that says you have to give your kid that crap – it’s cheap and commercial. I agree with you.

  • Reply
    Sarah R.
    April 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I’m with you on the basic kinds of toys. And I agree with Emily above 100% on the sensory overload point.
    My daughter is 7 mo. old and I have already said no to several whizzing and singing toys she has been given. I took them back for something wooden or fabric.
    I’m actually glad to hear there are other Moms out there that feel the same way.

  • Reply
    Martina
    April 23, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    LOL! I guess it’s hard to instill good design taste with all the plastic noise making toys with flashing lights out there.

  • Reply
    Jen
    April 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Ah yes, somehow we let it be known prior to our son’s birth that we were anti plastic/flashing toys. He’s 3.5 now, and we’ve managed to keep the junk to a minimum. And I don’t feel bad about ushering it out of the house after a few weeks of play when he does get some. But you better believe that when we have playdates at other kids’ houses, the plastic flashing stuff draws him in like a moth to a flame.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Yep, anything with lights that make noise- never the nice quiet toys. I sometimes sneak the batteries out of super annoying toys and tell me 2 year old “it’s broken.”

  • Reply
    Laurie
    April 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I would have to guess she preferred the boxes that they came in!!!!!

  • Reply
    GINA
    April 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    OMg soo cute! How did i know that she likes the big disney one! ahahah so cute~

  • Reply
    Faith
    April 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    In reply to ClistyB and the cheap character shoes – When I was little I was dying for a pair of those character shoes. Probably Little Mermaid or Disney Princesses. My mom would absolutely not allow them! She hated the look of them. Now at 27, looking back, so do I! Little did I know that I was actually the really cute, preppy looking kid in good quality shoes. But I felt so uncool. I now love the look of the Oxford saddle shoes for little girls. I also hated the fact that later in my pre-teen years she would not buy me the light up shoes. Oh! Kids will be kids.

    • Reply
      Tellie
      April 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm

      One of the worst and best parts about becoming a mother was realizing my mom was right. About ALL of it.

  • Reply
    kristina
    April 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Kids only like what they are exposed to. (get rid of B in the middle of the night) hee hee!

  • Reply
    Olivia
    April 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Oh man! My husband is the same way and my kids like his toys way better than my picks. We do have that Ikea stroller & I never thought to paint it but I LOVE IT in pink! Brilliant, as always!

  • Reply
    Molly
    April 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I donate anything with lights, noise, and/or plastic. Most of my friends and family know the aesthetic over here by now.

    Once they are in school, it’s a lot more difficult.

  • Reply
    Aubrey
    April 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    So true. When we were registering for our daughter I was looking for wooden or organic items. Meanwhile, my husband had the scanner and anything pink was fair game.

  • Reply
    Little Paper Dog
    April 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I purchased an Ikea wooden train set for my little boy on his 2nd birthday. No bells and whistles included and He loves loves LOVES it! Don’t get me wrong he goes nuts over tacky toys with flashing lights too but my husband and I agree that his train is his favorite.

    I bet she will get tired of one and swap back and forth between the two :)

  • Reply
    wanderluster
    April 23, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    If Eleanor is anything like my daughter, she’ll only like the plastic toy until the batteries runs out! Once it stops making noise and flashing its lights, then maybe she’ll like her simpler toys.

  • Reply
    Pencils
    April 23, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I have a DK “Peekaboo” book–if you haven’t seen them, look them up, my daughter LOVED them as an infant, and still loves them as an 18 month old–anyway, one of the books has that walker in it. I thought it was great, but assumed it was from Haba or some other expensive company. Silly me, it’s IKEA. But we don’t need another walker at this point.

    Anyway, yeah, kids love toys that make sounds. But when Eleanor’s a little older and finds that she can put things into the IKEA walker and toddle them around the house, she’ll love it.

    here’s one of my daughter’s fave Peekaboo books. They come with sound, too. I have all of them as, ahem, I work at the publisher.
    http://www.amazon.com/Peekaboo-Farm-Touch-Feel-Action/dp/0756631041/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272073032&sr=8-2

  • Reply
    kristine
    April 23, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    i wish i had some advice, seeing as how my mom and sister are constantly battling this same thing. my sister is the earthy-crunchy homeschooling mom, and my mom is the impulse shopper grandma spoiling the kids. her husband is thankfully on the same page with her about disliking plastic crap and goes for sustainable, classic toys, but it’s been six years since their first baby. i think it took him a while to get used to it. i don’t think most men put that much thought into it right away. he even made them bookshelves that double as a puppet theater!

  • Reply
    melanirae
    April 24, 2010 at 12:59 am

    I wish I was a baby so I could have the little wooden cart!

  • Reply
    Anja
    April 24, 2010 at 1:09 am

    I´m afraid, she prefers the plasticfantastic. you cannot beat lights and sound and neon-pink. ´But I´m proud of you (if that helps…)- your choice has much more style and is more ecofriendly.

    You cannot compare these two, anyway. I´m sure, E. will carry all her babies in her IKEA walker and love to drive on her ride-on, as well.

  • Reply
    Lara
    April 24, 2010 at 4:13 am

    This sparked a conversation with my hubby to avoid such nonsense. Thank you! (My husband loves the wooden walker, hates the plastic, and promised when we have kids he’ll consult me before buying anything that won’t be used up within a day.)

  • Reply
    NancyV908
    April 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Sorry, Nicole.

    We had a fair amount of that stuff–virtually all received as gifts–& I just had to make my peace with it. If the kids liked it, I let them use it. (I did, however, remove or fail to put batteries in most of the time).

    My big problem is the quantity of stuff–generous grandmothers, & now that the kids are older, birthday parties with friends. So many kids have nothing, & my kids (& their friends) have too, too much! I do try to recycle by donating them, at least.

    Off topic: I have to thank you for pointing me to the Ideal Bookshelf paintings….I just ordered a print & I am already planning the custom original I’m going to ask for as a birthday gift.

  • Reply
    kirstie
    April 24, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I Agree with others – the wooden walker has versatility and will be around for years.

  • Reply
    Skye
    April 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I agree that children like things they are exposed to. Children have no sense of style, for them it is all about play, and like all humans they will take the easy way if it’s offered to them. I think toys are just like food, no need to give sugarary treats when you can give fruit.

    We are a wooden toy, natural fabric household. There are too many reasons why to list them all. Overstimulation as a previous commenter mentioned being a big one. My son has an amazing attention span for his age (2), and I largely credit the fact that we don’t own any toys that do things for or to him. Our toys are there for him to use his imagination and skills.

    My husband is in perfect agreement with me, he has an older daughter (10) and he can see differences between the two children. I ask for no gifts at Christmas and birthday parties. And, I have made it clear that any flashy, loud, plastic toys will be donated. We have recieved only two plastic toys to date. One from my step daughter and we keep it only because to do otherwise would hurt her feelings.

    The walker toy will last longer and get more imaginitave play. My son still uses his (it also has a little seat up front) almost every day. And, it will last through to our next child due this fall and the ones after that if we have them.

    • Reply
      Renee
      April 24, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      ABSOLUTELY! I’ve dedicated the last 3 years of my life to studying the Montessori Philosophy (particularly relating to 3-6 yr. olds), and what you are saying is SO intuitive and true. We use this philosophy at home, with only 5-8 toy items available to choose from at a time with a few books at his level to choose from (for a 16 month-old; less for younger infants, a little more as they get a little older in the 2-3 yr. range). As he loses interest or “masters” an activity, we swap it out for something that has been stored out of his sight. Books rotate more often, and we often bring back older toys and he takes to them with renewed interest each time they reappear on his shelf. He has even started to put things where they belong when he finishes using them… I couldn’t believe it… this is so different from the way I grew up, and I still struggle with putting things away and keeping clutter at bay! His room is the most orderly space in our house at any given time.

      From the earliest months our son would study and focus on things, for periods as long as 45 minutes at a time. He wouldn’t get fussy that he wasn’t “entertained” and he wasn’t antsy for the next thing. Even now he can focus on a task for a shockingly long period of time for his age (today he meticulously removed every card from a deck and placed them in an empty box that was waiting for a ride out to the recycling bin; this took him 30+ minutes of focusing on fitting the cards through a narrow opening in the lid of the box; obviously without me offering this activity… he created this “work” on his own).

      On the other hand I have a friend whose living room looks like a daycare storage closet with toys filling a playpen in the corner and lining the open wall space, and when we visited she insisted that her child needed something new every 10 seconds. I am pretty sure that is related to the visual “noise” created by the “organization” of the room, ie stuff en masse in piles!

      We have a really hard time passing this philosophy off to our extended family and my in-laws. Despite asking many times for simple toys, we got two carloads of lights and whistles noisemakers that went from the car to the garage until the next heavy trash day… they were gone before we got into the house from putting them at the curb. Have you faced difficulty in others accepting a no gifts policy? I was shocked that my own grandmother could figure something out within our interest, while my in-laws totally threw our request to the wind.

      • Reply
        Skye
        April 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

        People have still brought gifts now and then. Because I am clear in what I want for my son and gentle in how I tell people about it they are very accomodating. They sometimes buy mass produced wooden toys that I don’t like, but I don’t toss every gift that isn’t “good enough”. I only donate gifts that I think would be detrimental in the long run, or annoying.

        I also use a rotating system with books and toys to keep him more focused and also allow him to use his imagination around the house. So, the toys I don’t like as much get left out of the rotation more often. If he devlops a favorite I let it play out though, I don’t remove toys he is enjoying too much.

        I find that if I give options people like that. For his 2nd birthday party I told people they could bring a finger food tray in leiu of a gift, or if they truly felt they needed to bring something then cash towards the pool rental or the expensive wooden balance bike we bought him. He got a couple small cash donations, the plastic toy my stepdaughter bought him and one friend bought him a summer outfit. Otherwise it was cheese and crackers, meat trays, and a fruit tray.

        It seems tacky but I accept cash easily. Because of how rurally we live, most of our toys are bought online or on trips into the city which I would never ask someone else to do for us. My son has a few gifts that are “from” someone even though we are the ones who purchased it. Most often I know ahead of time where the money will go and can even provide a picture of it. No one seems bothered by this.

        I also don’t give my son any refined or processed food, and no sugar. I think if it like an allergy. If my son were allergic to nuts or wheat then everyone would be more than willing to accomodate. I feel the same way about toys. If they love my son, they will accomodate.

      • Reply
        Renee
        April 26, 2010 at 11:42 pm

        Thanks for that feedback. It is so challenging to deal with this issue while remaining respectful of everyone who is buying the toys we’ve expressed a disinterest in. You are right; if he were allergic to peanuts, they wouldn’t be bringing peanuts to the family Christmas party! Why are gifts such a free-for-all when it comes to toys?

        Today I found out my son watches TV shows at my MIL’s house when she babysits him (up to 4 times a week!), despite our no-TV policy, which my husband and I both communicated. We make a very concerted effort to leave the TV off when he is awake (should probably do the same with the laptop)! My husband and I both grew up in families that seem to have TV addictions that get in the way of family time (so we take that pretty seriously, too). Oye vey… it never ends!

        I feel like I just keep running into a wall trying to “choose my battles” and communicate our wishes for our child (my husband agrees on this stuff, but doesn’t do much of the talking). These are issues that are really important to us. Wow, I need a mom support group! This has been on my mind so much lately and then this post – it is just the therapy I needed, to know it happens to everyone.

  • Reply
    Tellie
    April 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    What kind of paint did you use to paint the walker, and dd you use a sealer/varnish on top? Was it just wall paint?

    I am glad I saw this post – I was agonizing over how expensive wood toys can be and your post got me over to IKEA to look – little did I know they have similar versions of almost all the good HABA toys for 8$ instead of 40$!

    I know Elenor is too old for teethers, but for your readers I found some really nice maple teethers on Etsy and they have some nice wooden stacking toys and cars too if you search for them.

  • Reply
    Kat
    April 24, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I agree 100% with Skye. Our toys were simple and not toxic to our kiddo or contributing to tox-ing up the earth. My house is simple- I have what I need. Our son had to play his own games with his toys, rather than his toys playing for him. That’s where I absolutely drew the line- there is more and more research that disorders like ADHD are due to our babies and toddlers not developing problem-solving skills due to the overabundance of toys that can only be used one way.

    Sure, he wanted the flashing-light toys, but I think a lot of us are drawn to bells and whistles- think teevees and other technological gadgets- but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy to only interact with those things and never take time to just sit and daydream, or draw, or solve a puzzle. I also have a major ethical issue with corporations telling my kid what he should like, especially “boy” vs “girl”, so no logos or characters in my house.

    Now as a middle-schooler our son gets comments on how well he can focus on tasks, and his creativity. I *do* think that is a direct result of his environment at home. Eleanor is lucky to live in a house that is peaceful and interesting without being overstimulating and cluttered with images that are so pervasive in the rest of the world.

    • Reply
      Renee
      April 24, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      YES YES YES! This is a topic that is so close to my heart! You are right about how lucky Eleanor is! We are able to guide our children toward peace and character development through what we offer them. A close friend tells me often that she was “blessed by poverty” when she had her children (who are my age); she couldn’t afford any of the flashy toys, so they played in the yard, colored, cooked, and used household items in their play. She had a similar experience with her children in their school years, and doesn’t regret at all that she couldn’t buy the fancy toys she wanted so much for her children when they were younger.

  • Reply
    jbhat
    April 24, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Yuck! Why IS that? And why do people make such crap? Blech. But what can you do?

    jbhat

  • Reply
    Amy
    April 25, 2010 at 1:04 am

    I agree that the colorful, noisy one is not the prettiest, but how sweet of Brandon to bring home a little car for his “lil princess”!!

  • Reply
    Marmalade House
    April 25, 2010 at 1:12 am

    it’s super ridiculously adorable that he brought home a girly pink plaything for his baby. it might not be to your taste (and it is pretty awful, truth be told lol) but i think here is an instance where it’s really for real the thought that counts. how many other men do you know who do this without being prodded or told what to do?? btw, i love your pick! <3

  • Reply
    Belinda - Nest Design Studio
    April 25, 2010 at 7:19 am

    ughhh, I have a rule….no licensed characters in our house!

  • Reply
    Dani
    April 25, 2010 at 8:46 am

    If only children were pre-programmed to appreciate a good aesthetic! Unfortunately, they love the plastic, flashy, obtrusive toys. I have two kids and I kept buying them adorable wooden toys until they had their first birthday and it became plastic kingdom in my living room and realized that there was nothing I could do about it. The only thing to do, is be clever in concealing their toys. I was not going to deprive my kids of sheer joy. Parenting is supposed to be a self-less act. So yes, every time my son begs me for Pokemon paraphernalia I cringe, but every time I see how happy he gets, I am elated. I am even more happy when I see him put it away in his bin ;)

  • Reply
    Pencils
    April 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

    It’s a conundrum, isn’t it? Give the kids the plastic toys they want, or limit them to the ones our design sensibilities approve. I’m trying to take a middle path. Here’s another option: Eleanor isn’t old enough for these, they’re for 3 & 4 year olds, but there’s a line of toys called Sprig that’s made of all recycled materials, and they don’t require batteries, they’re “kid powered.” My husband just bought this truck for our daughter, she’s not really old enough for it, but the handle means she can push it around the house. http://www.amazon.com/Sprig-Toys-A8001-Discover-Rig/dp/B001BERBL0/ref=pd_sim_t_2 It’s very cool how the guy’s hat lights up as she pushes it, and it makes truck noises or tells a story if you keep going. There’s a line of adventure vehicles and people, and a “girly” line of winged guys who have a farm. We’re definitely going to buy more of these as Aurora gets older. Right now she’s been crying because she can’t get the “guy” in his slot (it has a little USB type connector.) I like the way the recycled material feels, it’s warm to the touch, unlike plastic. And they’re not terribly expensive. They have other toys made of recycled material also, like a bucket and spade set. (No, I don’t work for this company! Nor Amazon.)

  • Reply
    Frankie
    April 25, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I have a mother-in-law who works at TOYS R US! Yeah, I know—- plastic everywhere. We can’t stand it. We have to limit the amount of stuff that comes in. I have a mother who loves it too. We are so doomed!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    April 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Wow!… a lot of comments on this! I bought a sturdy, wooden cart for my first born as a learning-to-walk aid. It even had wooden handles and hand bar. So sturdy on both grass and the sidewalk.

    All three of my kids (23, 21, 14) and several neighbors’ and friend’s toddlers, learned to walk by using our plain wooden cart around their yards. I remember how nervous I was to spend that kind of money on a “toy” that I wasn’t sure would get used. We were poor graduate students at the time and it was a real splurge. I remember like it was yesterday, how I would go back to the toy catalog and I would stare longingly at the picture of a little toddler happily using the cart to pull herself up from the floor to a standing position! That page in the catalog was so dogeared… I must have looked at that picture so so many times until I finally decided to take the plunge.

    It was a good decision. It was definitely worth the money…times 100. That cart has held so many delightful treasures over these 23 years; and it revealed the differences in personalities of each child who used it. It has carried around pine cone collections, dandy lions, teddy bears and picnic lunches; rocks; seashell collections; groceries and more. It has traveled on vacations with us and has been used to transport special treasures while aiding its present owner in learning to walk. When we lived in places where the winters were harsh, I would bring the cart inside the house.

    Normally, I give all the kids’ outgrown toys away, but not this time…not their little wooden cart. It is safely stored away waiting for my children’s children to enjoy.

    • Reply
      M
      August 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

      Inspiring!!!! Yay, quality does prevail!

  • Reply
    Jus
    April 26, 2010 at 5:29 am

    I agree with most of the comments, I much prefer the simpler Ikea version. We had both versions, a plastic Playskool walk and ride toy and the wooden ikea toddle truck. The boy hated the plastic one after he got sick of all the bells and whistles… & it got chucked to one side. The wooden one allows you to load things, so he’s now my laundry delivery man when I fold clothes, and pushes his toys around in it. Wooden and simple’s the way to go I think!

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    Emma Woo
    April 26, 2010 at 7:25 am

    I really wish my kids only liked tasteful stuff but the truth is that they don’t care what things look like or if the house is a mess. I take the view that they are only small for a very short time and if I can relax about what my home looks like during that time we will all have more fun. Right now my lounge is overtaken by many toy cars and my 2 year old’s ‘shop’, basically a load of old packaging and a shopping basket. It is not tasteful but we have had a splendid morning learning about money and road safety! I look forward to the day that my house is once more neat and tidy and tasteful, but for now I am just enjoying my kids.

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    Barbara
    April 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I’m a former preschool teacher/administrator and now a mom. When I was purchasing items for school, I stuck to a strict policy of no plastic, no characters and minimal electronics. At home, I try to be more flexible and balanced. I’m not going to instruct friends or family members as to what they can or cannot buy as a gift for my son. However, I don’t keep all the toys out at the same time. I rotate them and try to keep a good mix of items available for him to play with. As long as the item is safe for his age & development, I’m ok with it, even if it isn’t something I would choose myself.

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    Clair
    April 26, 2010 at 11:08 am

    has to be A

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    Meghan
    April 26, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Hang in there. My daughter (whose name is also Eleanor!) is 18 months and received that Ikea cart from my parents for her birthday. She was slow to warm up to it, but now it’s a staple in her play. She especially loves to sit in it and have her big brother push her around ;) Your Eleanor will probably tire of the bells and whistles on the other car (especially if you don’t replace the batteries when they die!) but the simple cart will be so much more versitile for so much longer.

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    Nicole
    April 27, 2010 at 10:48 am

    That is too funny!

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    Erin
    April 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    What a lively discussion! While I totally agree with almost everything here, I think balance and perspective are key. I, too, fed my kids organic homemade baby foods, bought wooden toys, played classical music, kept the tv off, etc. You can only keep your kids away from the commercial stuff for so long, but it’s so prevalent in our society that there is no way to shield them 100 percent! At some point, after a playdate at someone’s house where they watch cartoons, eat candy and hang out in a spiderman themed bedroom, it will be all over! I used to get all bent out of shape about my son’s new preferences, but I’ve realized that such is life and it will always be like that. Even when they grow up they will have to sift through all of the low-grade things our world has to offer and hopefully choose quality friends, activities, and food for themselves and their loved ones. We did!

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    Sixty- Fifth Avenue
    May 7, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    We bought our daughter a Wheely Bug
    http://www.wheelybug.com/ for her first birthday. I did a lot of research on it and I have to say it is one of the best toys she has. Now she is 4 and it looks brand new and it has been very well loved. First she used it as a walker until she was able to ride it. Ladybug will always be special to us! I can’t say enough about it.

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    M
    August 27, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I feel your pain. We bought our daughter the little ikea wagon also, which she loves & which also helped her start walking. Shortly after my mom decided to get her a plastic mower. I did’nt even let her see it. Plastic toys are almost always made in China & often contain lead. Aside from being incredibly hideous they can be dangerous.

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    Nina
    November 29, 2010 at 8:17 am

    As walkers and ride-on toys go, I agree with the previous comment about WheelyBugs. We bought our first born son the Bumble Bee one from http://www.designerark.co.uk/category/19/Wheelybugs and it is still going strong after a whole year of bumps and crashes in our home and into ourselves!

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