February 27, 2014

Stocking The Toy Closet

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My baby is not a baby anymore. This point was made abundantly clear when we were in the 12 to 24 aisle in Target’s toy department a few weeks ago. The toys just didn’t seem capable of holding her interest, or any toddler’s for that matter. They were just small permutations over concepts she had already mastered: ball poppers, pull toys, toys with buttons and knobs that play different songs. I can see Nicki pushing every button a couple of times, before tossing the toy to the side.

I’ve been striving to make sure we always have toys for the next stage at the ready, but I don’t want to pay a lot. Nor do I want to turn my home into a giant playroom. Enter the toy closet concept.

The toy closet (also sometimes referred to as the gift closet) is not a novel concept. The idea is to stock up the closet with toys (or gifts) so you won’t be caught off guard should the sudden need for them arise. I have price watches and toys, and other gear, designated all the way up to 3 year olds so I can be ready and thrifty at the same time. We now have a potty (even though we have no plans to start potty training soon) and two “big sister/new baby” books (even though there’s no second baby in the making yet.) Hello huge price drop! At least percentage wise.

With a closet full of older toys, is I’m consequently cycling out new toys for her to try. I’m amazed at how quickly she can pick up things meant for much older children. She’s a sticker pro (both the permanent and reusable kind), and a mean crayon scribbler. She can handle toddler knives, and even an etch-a-sketch. We keep a huge 7000 sticker sticker book with individual tear out leaflets in the toy closet. It’s my go to toy when I need to distract her or keep her occupied.

Sure, sometimes she’s not ready for them and they go back to the toy closet for later. Sometimes even the toys for her age range come with accessories that need to be removed. Her baby doll came with a small pacifier toy that Domingo and I both deemed a chocking hazard. Into the closet it went.

My big mistake was not stocking up on Halloween customs from the inevitable early November sales. Nicki is so in to pretend play these days. Yesterday I picked her up from day care and she was wearing a monkey custom. A few days ago it was tinker bell. If she sees her party dress, or her super girl outfit, she insists on wearing them. She’s commandeered my fuzzy boa scarf, and I have to be sure to keep all fuzzy socks safely hidden. The most adorable thing ever? A toddler wearing crew length adult-size fuzzy socks that go thigh high! Oh well. I’m sure she’ll still be into pretend play and dress up in 9 months, so I can fix my mistake then.

The more pressing thing on my list is a booster seat. Nicki is starting to outgrow the high chair. She’s using cups and utensils, so it makes sense to move her to the table with us. She asks to sit in the chairs, she’s just not tall enough to eat at the table without assistance. Alas, I don’t think I’m going to get a deal on this one.

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