Before we left for our summer adventure, I posted here about the things we packed specifically for our toddler, D. So here is our review of what we brought, what we couldn’t have lived without, what hardly (or never) left our bag, what we picked up along the way, and what we wish we would have had. I know I have you hanging on the edge of your seat/couch/beanbag, so here we go!
I wrote before about how we have been using the Kidco Peapod since D was pretty little for sleeping, and we used it throughout the trip. It help up great, and this definitely falls into the category of, “couldn’t live without.” I will say that it can get warm inside the Peapod, though as I wrote several times, there were times where or whole apartment was very warm. We are only sad because D is outgrowing the Peapod in length, so its days are numbered.
Lovie, bring a lovie. D’s blanket saved our sanity so often, I should erect a shrine to it in our home. Buses, trains, planes. We kept it close at hand when we were traveling between cities, and of course, at night.
We bought the cloth Totseat Travel High Chair right before we left, and at first, we thought it wasn’t gong to get any use. It turns out that many places in Italy and in Athens had high chairs. But, as time wore on, high chairs became less common, and the Totseat had its time to shine. It worked well on a variety of chairs, and was great to keep D in one place while we were eating out. Also, it was easy to wash! It packed up small, and was easy to put on a chair. It was worth the money, we recommend it.We used our fisher price travel plate/place mat quite a bit as well, and still think it has been a really useful kid travel purchase. We also love the kid snack cups that keep snacks in, but accessible for toddlers. And a rubber bib is key since it is easy to pack, indestructible, and easy to wash.
I forgot to mention in our first post that we brought a camelback kids sports bottle for D to use to drink water. Right next to the blankie shrine in our house would be a plaque or trophy for this water bottle. It survived so much abuse, and being able to quickly and easily replace the valve and straw made it priceless. It has been dropped countless times (and alright, thrown), and it DOES. NOT. LEAK. Crazy, right? When we were in Izmir, we thought it was lost forever in the apartment, and we were super bummed. After hunting for more than 45 minutes in what we had previously felt was a small apartment (how many places can there be for small things to disappear to? Parents know the answer to this question, it’s infinite.), Z figured out where it was. D loves washing machines, and since washers are often in the bathroom or kitchen in the countries we visited, he had figured out how to pull the doors open and had enjoyed putting toys in empty washers in other apartments. Sure enough, Z checked the washer and found the missing water bottle. That is how amazing this bottle has been.
The bag of plastic dinosaurs I bought in the Target aisle enjoyed a wonderful summer as well, and a few dinosaurs returned home to tell the tale. D shared dinosaurs with other tots in Istanbul at the airport, they saw ruins in Greece, and one enjoyed flying off a balcony in Athens. Endless fun, these small dinosaurs. D played with them more than any other toy or activity, by far. The waterwow book was nice, but D had more fun sucking the water out of the felt pen end. He was not too interested in coloring. The fancy headphones we argued about buying before we left? Hardly left the bag. We tried them on the flight over, but D was not having it. He preferred the cheap headphones that came in the kids welcome bag from Turkish airlines. He still barely wore those. We are setting them aside and hoping we will get more use out of them on future trips.
Along the way, we picked up toys, but mostly as gifts from other people. D got a teddy bear on the Turkish airlines flight, a small ball and some motorcycles in Turkey and a book and coloring book in Greece. He really enjoyed household “toys” the most though. Clothespins were exciting since he hadn’t seen those before. Plastic cups for swimming or the bath. So for us, the fewer toys, the better. D is at an age that anything else is exciting and he wants to figure out how things work. Oh yeah, a babybel cheese bag came with a top in a small plastic container. Endless fun, and it came with cheese.
I wish we had brought a rubber stopper to use with the sinks/baths/showers so it would have been easier to get some water for a bath for D. We ended up using a jam jar lid and put it over the drain, which wasn’t perfect, but it slowed down the water from draining. It worked.
Ergo. The Ergo was great for carrying D in the afternoons so he could nap on the go. For us it was way better than having a stroller. Between stairs at our apartments and hiking/climbing at archaeological sites, a stroller would not have survived.
Melatonin. Yup, we did it. I bought liquid melatonin before we left at our local apothecary (and that’s how you can tell we live in a hippie/liberal town, I have a local apothecary), and we gave it to D on occasion to help him fall asleep. We didn’t need to use much (just 1mg), and we did not use it every night (probably about 1/3 the time, maybe). But when we used it, it was great.
A child leash/backpack. We brought it, but didn’t use it hardly at all. We tried it twice, and then packed it away, never to see the light of our bags again. Why? Well, although D is walking, he does not really walk in a straight line. Like, ever. So having him on a child leash really was just a fun new way to feel like we were going insane as he ran in many directions and got stuck on everything within sight. Oh, and tried to take people down by running in front of them at the last second, and almost tripping them. Leash/backpack, we will save you for potential future use, and we will practice walking in straight lines.
Hard candy and gummies. We got gummies different places (they were everywhere), and they worked really well to distract D if we were mid-travel somewhere and he was getting cranky. Here’s a gummy starfish, and life is better. Who doesn’t love gummy animals?
That’s it for our review- we head to Yellowstone in a few weeks, and we will be bringing similar things, but are still debating about the stroller. The headphones will stay home, and we may have a small green plastic dinosaur who stows along.