Thursday, January 26, 2012

Giving Gifts . . . Newborn to Age 1

I was recently asked by a long time friend what to give a birthday boy was was turning 3.  My friend has a beautiful little boy who is almost 1, so she is out of her league with what to buy.  She made a wise decision and consulted a most intelligent, well informed, mother of 2 boys, free source!  Me.

I love this!  I love being asked not because people are seeking my advice but because I generally like being helpful.  I like sharing what I know and the groundwork I did to come to this decision.  Since, I have 2 boys, I am well versed on boys toys.  With our first I always, and I mean always, had toys that pushed his intelligence.  They were always, and I mean always, just outside his learning curve and age group.  I learned so much from this!

Here is my gift giving suggestions for ages newborn to age 1

NEWBORN - there is NOTHING you can give a newborn that it needs.  Any gift you give is essentially a gift for the mother/parent/grandparent.  Knowing the newborn really needs nothing, consider your friend and what you would like her to have on behalf of the baby!  The newborn gifts I am so very fond of are:

Picture Frames - Children this age grow so fast and there are so many 1st - 1st smile, 1st laugh, 1st hand hold, 1st steps - Moms love all those 1st, and want to document them.  Don't go all cheap and get some small silver frame.  Spend in the $40 range on a picture frame and it will stay in that baby's room, long after they want it to.  Also every time that mother sees it - she will feel full of love for her beautiful baby and for you.  My personal favorite type of frames are these by Ribbit Ribbit.  It is a company here in Texas and I so love supporting 1 - anything US made 2 - especially from Texas, yes I do love some Jessica Simpson, Angels.  They have lots of cute frames and in all different colors and designs.  They have a personalized gallery where you can create a frame. 

Blankets - get one the child will love well past when they should!  My personal favorite newborn gift is a Swankie Blankie.  I LOVE them.  I bought my oldest his first right about 9 months - he took to it instantly. His swankies have traveled the globe!  I love this gift for 5 reasons - 1 it is beautiful, nice satin on one side and some plush fabric on the other, 2 - The patterns and colors are adorable and every adult I know rubs their face with the blanket once they see it, 3 - It is an instant soother!  4 - It is a perfect price point of $25 and can be found at Neiman Marcus as well as private boutiques.  5 - She is a Texas girl!  When Scoots was about 2.  He was so tired and starting to break down.  I brought him his Swankie and he didn't know if he wanted to rub it on his face or suck his thumb more to calm himself!  I have countless stories just like this of this blanket being an instant soother!

Clothes - This is where you push your style on the child and his mother.  I am telling you unless you know this mother well . . . don't do it.  I received some clothes when I had our first baby boy.  A baby blue wool 2 piece suit with white rose buds on the shoulders from Spain, a Nike short and tank top and a pair of overalls with characters on them.  I want to state right now I was grateful for them caring to send gift, but not a single item I just mentioned was worn by EITHER of my children.  No, I didn't mellow over the 6 years between boy 1 and boy 2.  They were not my style.  My style was classic, prep.  Very Ralph Lauren, very Tommy Hilfiger and some other brands carried exclusively at small boutique shops.  So, if you know your audience REALLY WELL, go for it - otherwise get a blanket!


 This is where the toys begin.

Balls - and not just any balls.  You should get what I call waffle balls or Gymboree balls.  They are plastic balls with holes in them.  They graduate in size.  There is a reason for this - the balls have many functions 1 - the size - start big - you would think opposite of this, but stop!  Start big - a child's motor skills starts with large items and as the items get smaller the fine motor skills start to build.   These balls come in great colors - they can be thrown - light weight, won't break much . . . unless you have a pitcher on your hands.  The child's fingers fit in the holds so it makes it easier to grab.  The balls can be rolled, played with in the tub, tossed, left in the yard and so on.  This is a gift that will last past this age.

Picture Books - I cannot not stress enough the importance of reading to a child.  The child will love to hear his mom's sing song voice as you read.  It is also such an important part of a night routine to wind down and spend some quality time.  Jake is 4 and we still read two books and sing 3 songs of his choosing every night.  His most favorite books is Goodnight Moon.  Long ago he was able to identify the items I was reading about, learn what to expect and the rhyming nature of it helps him remember the book.  Another favorite and still in heavy rotation is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Awesome books that covers so much more than you would think - counting, colors, identifying item.  Both of my boys can recite these books on demand.  There is still something about sitting down and me reading it that makes it all the better.  Help foster those moments with a great book.

Push & Pull Toys - Independence starts now.  Get that sweet baby something it can be the boss and best friend of.  Scoots has a Duck from The Peabody Hotel.  It was a little yellow duck, attached to a string he could pull behind him.   The duck has rubber feet that flapped as it walked - Scoots would go slow and hear the patter of the flapping and then he would race off with the duck flapping or dragging behind him.  For the pusher child consider a heavily weighted push toy like a walker.  Both of our boys used one a friend was done with and it has been passed on to a sweet little girl.  This weighted walked helps those new to walking to gain balance, center core strength and foster even more of that sense of independence.

Giving Gift . . . Age 2 to Age 3 is tomorrow.

Hope you check back then!

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