Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas presents for a 2-year-old: Harder Than I Thought

I was just going to pilfer (with credit, of course) a photo from Flickr tagged with "Christmas presents" but since LauraC was kind enough to give me a tip on how to get the 'bokeh' effect in photos, I figured I should make an honest effort to try and get one of my own.

And I'm so glad I did, not because the photo is anything special, but because it was the first fun "me" thing I've done in what seemed like a day full of errands.   I played around with the aperture and shutter speed settings on my Canon S90, something I never do because I don't know where to start, used the new tripod for the first time ever, and learned a little tiny bit in the process.

Aaanyway, back to Christmas.  We are not Christian, but we celebrate Christmas enthusiastically.  Or more accurately, *I* love Christmas, and I drag TJ along.  Trillian is pretty enthusiastic about everything, so we're a good match. 

This morning T and I rode the bus downtown, mostly just so we could ride the bus, but we were on a bit of a Christmas scavenger hunt.  I told T she needed to look out for: snowflakes, a snowman, a Santa Claus, and a Christmas tree.   She found everything, and giggle with pure joy when she saw a (pretty sketchy-looking) guy on the street dressed as Santa looking to make money in exchange for photos.  I declined the opportunity, of course, but T was SO HAPPY to see him.

Christmas, like most things, is WAY better with a 2 year old.

I struggled with what to buy her this year.  She has SO MUCH STUFF.  We get a lot of hand me downs from friends, I have pretty specific ideas of good toys for her developmentally that I buy through the year, and she does better with less stuff.   She already has a play kitchen (big hit!) and a dollhouse (comes and goes) and all the little bits and pieces for those.

I finally settled on a tricycle, and found someone at work selling a used Kettler in great shape.  (Which is good because I really couldn't rationalize paying full price for it.)   But I realized she'd also need some smaller gifts, especially to fill her stocking. 

I've previously blogged about my toy pickiness.  It's only getting worse, as she gets to the age where the deluge of princess crap is about to start.  For the most part I seek out toys that are non-electronic, non-licensed character, not overly gendered, interactive and open-ended.  The talking Barbie laptop?  Not an option.

I started squirrelling things away in October, on the occasional kid-free trip to Target (heaven!), or just ordering online and unpacking boxes while T was asleep.  When I pulled everything out today to wrap it, I realized there was way too much when I also looked at the presents sent by our family.  So I kept some of the "3+" age group toys and art supplies for later.

Since she doesn't read my blog, I can tell you what I bought for her.

Alex Toys Learn to Dress Monkey - T has pretty good fine motor skills, but is just now learning how to take off her shoes and jacket herself. (good for me from an efficiency point of view, but it would be nice for her to do some things for herself...)  This monkey is *awesome* - he's got 11 different "activities" like a button, snap, buckle, shoes and socks, velcro, etc.  He's also super-cute, and she digs monkeys, so I think he'll be a hit.  Also, she was with me when I bought him...  (I know, Bad Mama, but the party store near us was having a HUGE sale on really nice toys.  I was lucky to get out with just one item.)

Moon Dough - It supposedly doesn't dry out when you leave it out, so I'd love to have something like her beloved Play-Doh that I don't have to vigilantly make sure is shut tight when she's done. It has bad reviews on Amazon, so I'm glad I got it super-cheap at Target. We'll see how it goes.

Crayola Washable Window Markers - a BRILLIANT suggestion from my friend Adrianne, who also has a 2 year old.  T can use these to draw on the sliding glass doors and they are totally washable from other surfaces.  I think she'll love it, and I do think she's got the control/understanding to use them only on the glass.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?-  T pretty much has this memorized since she hears it at "baby school", and I've never read it.  I think she'll like having a copy at home.

Crayola Washable Watercolors -  I wasn't sure she was old enough/ready for watercolor paint, but she tried some at her friend A's house and looooved it. Yes, my girl is totally into the artsy stuff.  These will probably end up will all the colors mixed up together, but both T and I are ok with that.

IKEA Duktig Soft Fake Food Breakfast Set - this was on sale for $4 the last time we were at IKEA so I grabbed it on impulse.  I took it out of the packaging today, and was pleased to find it's really well made, and super cute.  There are 4 pancakes with jam, a cutting board and knife (soft), bacon, fried eggs, sausages, and a sandwich that completely comes apart, with all the fixin's stuck together with velcro.  Maybe she'll feed us more than oatmeal for pretend breakfasts now!

IKEA Lillabo Train Set -  I had been meaning to buy her some train tracks and little trains since she was so taken with the train tables we saw at a couple of toy stores.  I'm not sure if I got her the 20 piece or 12 piece set, so we may not have enough track to do anything useful.  I guess we'll find out soon enough!

Trader Joe's Assorted Jellybeans - We don't give her much junk food, but as a result of her dairy allergy, she pretty much can't eat any candy at all.  So when I saw these jellybeans at Trader Joe's, I thought they'd make a nice stocking stuffer, and we can ration them out over time.  The box is super-cheerful, makes a nice sound when you shake it, and has pictures of all the flavors on the back, so at least she can learn something while she's rotting her teeth...

It's still a lot of stuff, and I know she'll be overwhelmed by it.  She's still young enough that she wants to play with each thing as she unwraps it, rather than amassing the "pile o' loot".  So we'll probably let her open a couple of things tomorrow on Christmas Eve, and then maybe spread out the present opening through the day on Christmas Day.
So, Interwebs, what are you all doing for Christmas?  Buy anything exciting for yourself or the kiddos?


  1. I still remember B's first Christmas, when she was almost a year old. We put her small pile of gifts on the coffee table so she could open them, and she proceeds tompick up each one and put it on the floor—she had no idea there was anything inside the paper, and just thought it was a neat game. =) And I totally remember the days of them being so excited to play with the first thing opened that they had no interest in opening the rest.

    No big wants here this year. I am excited that I got baking cookbooks for the girls, along with some cooking tools of their own. The play kitchens still get some use (also a really big hit when they were T's age), but these days they'd rather play in my kitchen. =)

  2. I like to put "restaurant toys" in the stockings - little wind up things (they never last that long, so I can put some in there every year...), tiny slinkys, small books etc. Sometimes I'll get this stuff in the "party favors" section of Target. Also - when you're sick of wrapping, you can just roll things up in tissue paper. They don't know the difference, and the paper helps provide some bulk in the stocking.

  3. @Di, that's pretty funny. Reminds me of when I took T shopping a few weeks ago to buy a present for TJ, and I asked her what she wanted to get him, and she said "a present". I asked her what should be inside the present and she said "a Christmas present". She was totally not getting the idea :)

    I love that you can cook with your girls - that sounds like a lot of fun!

    @Stephanie - thanks for the tissue paper tip. IIRC my stocking presents as a kid weren't even wrapped. I didn't wrap the ones for the dogs this year :) I love the Target $1 section - I got T a little notebook from there, and they always have stickers, etc. I'm so glad she is past the stage of putting stuff in her mouth.

    And OMG, she totally needs a Slinky. I can't believe we don't have one.


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