I was given a lovely Totseat a few months ago and, while I haven’t used it very often, when I need it, it absolutely saved the day. Now I know it’s the Scottish Baby Show at the SECC shortly and Totseat are exhibiting there. But I find baby shows slightly scary places because they made me feel like I’m making a poor fist of parenting because I don’t want and can’t afford all the amazing, organic, hand-made objects of loveliness therein. Therefore I have compiled a pennypincher’s portfolio of essential – but inexpensive – things to help you survive the baby years.
Clothes pegs. Amazingly useful things. Can be used to suspend toys to make an instant mobile. Vital on sunny days to clip a cloth to the pram – voila a bespoke sunshade. (I tried one of those cute parasol things, flipping rubbish) For bigger tots, fasten them together to create an instant toy. Choose colourful plastic ones not the mouse-trap-like wood and metal ones.
Muslin cloths. Brilliant and versatile. Variously they are bibs, towels, mopping cloths, light blankets, sunshades, emergency nappies, finger protectors and swaddling cloth. Jam in cupboard doors and around handles to protect squishy little fingers from the slam. Boy One was small and it was hot in the Canary Island so muslins made ideal swaddling.
Rubber bands. The ones the postie drops. Use them to keep small outfits together in the drawer. Far less mind bending than trying to shove them back onto a mini coathanger or rooting around to find stuff that matches while Boy Three is performing morning squirmrobics.
Totseat. Most places have high chairs and that’s fab, but sometimes they don’t. Our Mother’s Day venue of choice had an entirely expected rush of small diners. For once I felt smug and organised as I whipped the Totseat out of the bag and lashed Boy One to the chair.
Sense of smell. I lost mine for a bit as a result of a cold and the baby’s bottom suffered the most. Nappies need changed sharpish to avoid A squish spread and B rash bum.
Large bunch of keys. Bigger the better. I’ve only got a car key, house key and work door fob on it but numerous key rings make it bigger than a fat fist. You can amuse your baby with this and – when you’ve got a nappy bag slipping off your shoulder, a child slithering out of your arms and it’s raining, you’ll be able to find the keys in a hurry.
Tissues. Kind of obvious but worth saying non-the-less. Fill pockets and bags and the car with those little packets of tissues. They’re stronger and more likely to stand up to the job. There will be snot, sick, milk, poo and wee to be wiped (yes, even in the car).
Pelican bibs. They used to be hard and scratchy and risk injury if broken. Now they’re soft and lovely, but just as good at collecting the goo. Practice though, taking them off without spilling the contents of the Pouch of Doom can be tricky.
Lightening reflexes. There is no shame in learning what regurgitation sounds like. There’s sometimes a warning gurgle and, if you’re quick, you can tilt the puker away from you, thus saving yourself another change of clothes. An the smell of sick in your hair or bra is never good.
Infacol. Three children and when the third one had colic it was something of a shock. I really understood how people get driven over the edge by the constant screaming. It really feels personal. Not much cures it but Infacol and crossing your fingers helps.
Little leather slippers. As soon as Boy Three started pulling himself up, these became essential… either that or cleaning the kitchen floor more regularly.