With a four-year-old and two-year-old at home, I'm still in the trenches of daily cleaning and carting children all over the city. While I'm grateful for the wonderful people in my life--not to mention my perfect children--let me tell you about the items that have helped me survive the first four years of parenthood.
Baby's First Year:
Wipe warmers: I know it's pretentious to have a wipe warmer, but my kids were both born in cold-weather months and those wipe warmers kept their newborn bums from freezing. Once the kids were a few months old, they had enough padding to protect themselves and I went to regular non-heated wipes.
Diaper trashcans: These trashcans kept diapers and their odor locked within their little walls so my house didn't stink. Considering the huge number of diapers my newborns went through and how little energy I had for emptying the trash six times a day, my nose is eternally grateful.
The Potette: I potty-trained Munchkin six weeks ago and the Potette has been a life-saver. I didn't need it for Monkey because I trained him in the summer and he didn't get dragged around to toilet-free-places like Munchkin does as a second child. I've used the Potette indoors and out and I hate to imagine the amount of laundry I'd be doing without it.
Foaming hand soap: Nothing makes a kid want to wash their hands like foaming hand soap. Considering Munchkin's newfound potty-training skills and her propensity for covering her hands in marker, foaming hand soap is very much appreciated in this house.
Scooter: Thanks goodness for the Mini-Kick Scooter because as Monkey outgrew the stroller phase, but not yet reached the walking-long-distance phase, his scooter got us where we need to go at a fast pace. Now that Munchkin has mastered the scooter--well, she can't exactly brake yet--I see a stroller-less stroll in my future!
Stain Remover: When Monkey turned three, Munchkin was in the throes of, um, filling diapers. Between her blow-outs and affection for jumping in puddles, I had a lot of laundry to do. I'm pretty sure they would have ended up walking around naked if I hadn't used stain remover on their clothes. Monkey likes to apply the remover to his clothes, which is good because I dream of the day I can delegate all the laundry to him.
Surviving Two Kids:
Double strollers: I can't imagine the days when strollers were heavy, unwieldy and only designed to hold one child. I used a Phil & Teds double stroller (not to be confused with Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) for about a year and I'm thankful someone had the smarts to design an in-line, lightweight stroller I could use for a jog or for running the kids to school. It worked from Munchkin's newborn days until Monkey mastered the scooter and I loved it. Also ideal for hauling lots of groceries.
Fitted stroller storm covers: In the early days of motherhood, I had stroller rain covers that were loosey-goosey and slid all over the stroller. Then I got spoiled when I received a fitted storm cover for my double stroller. Living by the water means that in addition to rain, there is a lot of wind that can turn a stroller with an over-sized rain cover into a soggy ship headed straight into traffic. I was able to snap and tie each end of the covers down and keep the kids dry and toasty warm. Now if only someone could invent a rain cover that would keep me dry and toasty warm, I'd be psyched.
Dishwasher: If there was one appliance that saved my sanity on a daily basis, it'd have to be the dishwasher. Since my SAHM income of zero does not afford me a maid, I am grateful that my husband and I are able to throw dishes into a contraption, add soap, hit a button and have the dishes come out clean. If not, we'd be fighting about whose turn it was to do the dishes. (His. It's always his turn.) Some dishwasher company should use the tag line of "Dishwashers: Saving marriages daily."
Lightweight vacuums: I remember tugging vacuums around the house by the hose trying to clean the floor. Who can forget those vacuum bag replacements we had to buy on a regular basis? Now I can haul out a vacuum every day--nay, three times a day--to pick up the cheerios scattered beneath the table. (I'm starting to think my floor grows cheerios.)
In addition to all this gear and these appliances, I am grateful for the fact that grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are open much more frequently than they were when I was a kid. I still recall queuing up at bank with my parents to get money out on Fridays and making desperate grocery runs before the store closed. Such conveniences certainly make parenting less stressful and for that, I'm grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!