Sammy received some absolutely fantastic gifts for his first birthday, but this mower - by far - is his most utilized new toy. He pushes it everywhere - both in and outside of the house. He is fascinated by the gas can, the hole in which you "pour" the gas (I'm guessing that's not the technical term for it), the lever and "key". But if you pull the throttle (hoping that's the right term...), watch out - he becomes terrified. I think it has something to do with the noise and / or the fact that someone (eh hem ... Kate) terrified him by pulling it over and over on the day Sammy received it. Luckily it only frightens Sammy for a second, and a moment later, he's back to running it up and down the driveway.
Melissa and Doug Magnetic Fishing Game
This was another toy that Sammy received for his first birthday, and it was actually quite awhile before we pulled it out of its packaging. I only take the suggested age use of toys with a grain of salt, but as this particular packaging said best for children ages 3 and up, and it contained small parts that would likely go right to his mouth, I figured Sammy and his motor skills were no way near ready for this game. Then one day, after Sammy spotted it and whined for awhile, James opened it and showed him how to connect the rod with the magnets on each sea animal. It took a couple days, but eventually, Sammy got the hang of the whole "fishing" concept and was able to grab each and every single piece! He "fishes" multiple times a day, every day, and I am still amazed that he's able to do this. I, myself, enjoy yelling out each animal's name every time he catches one. At this rate, he'll be familiar with squids and skates before he calls me "mommy".
Another great toy to work on developing motor skills, James' mom gave Sammy a set of wooden stacking rings months and months ago. And until very recently, they served more as a chew / throw toy. (Thank goodness our wooden floors are sturdy.) But then one day, he was able to place a ring on the wooden dowel so long as I held it still. A few days later, he was throwing each ring on (in no particular order) easily, and all by himself. To say I was proud the first time I witnessed him stacking each ring all by himself would be an understatement.
This toy was given to Sammy for Christmas this past year, back when he was only five months old. He showed no interest in it for months, but recently has taken a liking to all things that can be rolled or pushed. For some reason I still think this toy is more appropriate for infants, but I'm happy for anything that keeps Sammy's interest for more than 30 seconds. Plus, it's super cute to see him crouching down and cheering loudly as he pushes it across the room.
Is it weird that our child's wagon is nicer than our family vehicles? This was a big birthday present from Sammy's Auntie Em, and we have logged many a mile with it. What we affectionally call the Maserati of wagons, or Sammy's chariot, this thing boasts six cup holders, a cooler pack attached to the back, a plug (in case one wants to use the entire wagon as a cooler), a drop-down side, and a huge umbrella. It's quite a site when we parade Sammy around the neighborhood in this wagon. He can't get enough of it, and also loves to push it around the driveway.
Like his mom, this kid has a penchant for footwear. Of course, he could wear paper bags on his feet and not care, so long as it meant he got to go outside and play. All summer long, beginning the second he finished breakfast, Sammy routinely grabbed whatever pair of shoes struck his eye, brought them to me, whined, and motioned for me to put them on his little feet. This meant it was time to play outside. I have to admit - I love buying little boy shoes and eagerly await his transition into the next size up so I can buy another pair!
Mr. Bear and Blankie
As an infant, Sammy never grew very attached to a "lovey," particular stuffed animal, or anything for that matter. (Other than his thumb.) How things have changed. Mr. Bear was gifted to Sammy from his Auntie Kate when he was first born. She said he seemed the perfect stuffed animal to be dragged around by a little boy, and boy was she right.
But Mr. Bear isn't alone - he must be accompanied by this blanket, which was given to us by one of James' college friends when Sammy born. I love this blanket and have now given it to a few new parent friends. It's lightweight, can easily be watched, and is cute. And though I know it's frowned upon for babies to sleep with blankets, Sammy has slept with this ever since he no longer wanted to be swaddled. (Which was, um, probably his second week of life?) Anyway, he loves it, but thankfully, seems okay with a substitute for the one nap a week when this one is in the wash.
Simply put, how did toddlers eat snacks on the go before these things were invented?? Though Sammy still manages to dump out about half the container each time he puts it to use, I still consider it a miracle tool. And the second he sees me pull it out of the cabinet, what I like to call "happy convulsions" erupt from his body.
Though I've promised James that I will hold off on any other toy purchases until ... gulp ... Christmas, any suggestions on cool toddler playthings are always welcome!