Fave 5: 16-18 Months

How is our little toddler already a year and a half old?  Just a few months ago, he was crawling, babbling, and eating purées.  Now he is suddenly a mini man on the run with a full fledged personality, a growing vocabulary, and a huge appetite for all kinds of foods.  Some days, Landon already seems like a typical two year old with the occasional tantrum and and a very clear desire to do things for himself.  While it is tempting to give him a helping hand and treat him like the baby that he still is in my eyes, it is also so rewarding to see just how proud he is of himself when he accomplishes new things each day.  

Lately, the biggest milestone is eating with utensils.  The biggest challenge at this age isn't a huge surprise...air travel has become a whole new world.  See below for the products that have been amazingly helpful for this age and stage.  I hope they work out for you too!

Clockwise from top:

1. Re-Play Utensils  While we experimented with them for months, eating utensils are just now becoming useful tools. As long as we time the meal right, Landon will proudly use his fork to spear everything from chicken breast and avocado to scrambled eggs and blueberries.  If he's too hungry, he will dive right in for the nearest bite with his free hand while holding his utensil of choice firmly in the air for the remainder of the meal.  We are still working on the spoon but so far it works well for greek yogurt and refried beans.  These lightweight and eco-friendly toddler utensils are made entirely from recycled HDPE plastic (milk jugs!).  Re-Play is focused on creating high quality products from recycled plastic, just like Green Toys (see previous post here).

2. ezpz Happy Mat  This gift from grandma came at the perfect time.  Landon had recently been in the habit of signifying the end of each meal with a triumphant toss of his plate to the floor.  This genius silicone mat is basically one big suction cup that sticks right to the table.  For picky eaters, the individual sections are perfectly portioned and keep different foods from meddling on the plate.  The key is to peel it off the table when your little one isn't looking so that they don't get any ideas...

3. Evenflo Tribute LX (travel) Carseat   When Landon outgrew his infant carseat, we got this Clek convertible carseat.  While we love it, the thing is a beast that just can't be used when traveling.  After reading rave reviews, we went for the Tribute which is super lightweight and can easily be thrown in this travel bag to be checked (for free!) with luggage.  While I probably wouldn't use a more pared down carseat like this one for everyday use, it has been fantastic for family trips.

4. Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag   This has been a great starter set of building blocks.  Not only does playing with them help to develop fine motor skills, we have used them for learning colors as well.  A platform on wheels is included so we have made several big "cars" using these fun blocks.  Unlike other sets, this one comes with a large storage bag that has been incredibly helpful for clean up.

5. Good Night, Gorilla   This book was a gift from Landon's grandparents and his love for it has bordered on obsession.  We even bought a travel size that was sadly left in Seattle!  There isn't much text in this picture book but that is part of the appeal.  It is a lot of fun for our little guy to point out all of the animals, people and objects that he recognizes.  Many things appear on multiple pages so toward the end it becomes a game of "what's missing?"  I truly think that books like this one have helped to develop his growing vocabulary!

Keeping up on his reading during a lunch date with mom