a’s favorites: not really a gift guide

December 12, 2013
alternate title:  I HATE NOISY TOYS!
this post is not meant to be a gift guide — there are lots of cute ones out there right now, but to be completely honest i’m kind of minimal when it comes to gifts.  don’t get me wrong — i love giving presents and i like to think that i give good ones!  but i prefer to give a few nice items rather than a big ol’ pile.  i also like to give [and receive!] useful/consumable gifts — just perhaps a step up or a more fun version of what someone might buy for themselves or their own child.
we don’t really celebrate hanukkah OR christmas in this house — but i do concede that we’ll have to when annabel gets older and realizes that this would make her home the least fun one on the block.  we’ll probably do hanukkah, and i do really like the:
“1 thing you want
1 thing you need
1 thing to wear
1 thing to read.”
concept, except we’ll have to do it x2 if we attempt to do the whole “8 nights of hanukkah” thing.  [or x 4 when you consider 2 kids.  did i say i was minimal?  i still think i am, since most of these gifts will be books + necessary items].
ANYWAY.  we got annabel nothing this year — not because we’re mean, but because she got gifts from her relatives, and because i buy her things all the time when it seems like she’s ready for them.  i do, however, try to keep her toy collection on the minimal side.  i cringe a little bit when i go into houses where there are just SHELVES and ROWS of things lined up everywhere, or scattered all over the place [shudder].  most kids who have that many toys will only play with a small fraction of them, and i much prefer open-ended toys that can be used in different ways [blocks, legos, art supplies] to a bunch of noisy plastic shiny things.
and while we’re on the subject of noise — this also may make me a totally unfun parent or person, but i hate — and have always hated — noisy toys.  toys that talk, sing, repeat phrases, say the alphabet — all. drive. me. crazy.  i honestly don’t think they are necessary or any more fun than . . . quiet toys, and since they annoy me so much i am basically banning them from our home.  
or disabling them as noisemakers.  annabel got a very cute doll the other day from her great aunt [which was so sweet!] but even she freaked out when the thing let out a cackling laugh any time pressure was applied to her stomach.  i took the battery out, and . . . presto!  a sweet and cute doll that she now loves, looking relieved as she proclaims “no more sound” each time she sees it. 
with all of that said, here are a few things she DOES love right now.   and that i do, too.
play food [and utensils and cookware].  ours is all from IKEA!  i love how the vegetable set includes a leek and lettuce leaves that come off!
pro ball set.  she loves attempting to kick and throw, even if she mixes up the soccer ball with the basketball.
art supplies: melissa and doug triangular crayonssticker pad [yes, i bought the unapologetically girly pink one], colored and white paper, sesame street coloring book.
play stroller [mini-graco, or others].  we actually got this as a hand-me-down from a’s cousins.  looking it up, the price tag has me reeling a little bit [$36!?] but she loves this.
plan toys blocks.  these feel so smooth and satisfying that i want to play with them, too.  we also have a melissa & doug set that is great.
BOOKS.  so many books.  a few fave titles: max’s words [random but she is obsessed], madelinehippoposites, puppy love [super old sesame street book that josh got at a used bookstore], the “that’s not my . . .” series [recently her fave is “snowman“. because she has so much real world experience with those . . .]
she also has an assortment of dolls and stuffed animals [way too many] that she loves.  honestly, between the items above and the menagerie in her bedroom, i think she’s set until at least age 5 or so.
[kidding. but only sort of.]
PS: for reference, a. is currently 20 months old
PPS: these are not affiliate links. 

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