Congratulations you’re a grandparent! Let the fun begin!
Both my parents and my husband’s parents made our lives a lot easier by providing us with a set up at their houses so traveling was less cumbersome, and I could not have been more grateful. We live an hour to an hour and a half flight from each of our parents so it is a bit of a haul and requires planning and preparation for each visit. Much less so now that my kids are both toddlers. But having each of our parents help us out like that made a world of difference. Here are some practical items that are helpful to have around your house.
– Pack and Play (Pack n’ Play). You would probably recognize it as a play pen but these can be used as portable cribs. They range in price from $35 to over $200. The less expensive ones serve the purpose just fine; you can pick up a crib sheet at any Target or Wal-mart.
– A high chair or booster seat. A high chair is great because it will suit all ages, but can be expensive. Depending on the age of the child (over 6 months) a booster seat with a tray table can be a good substitute.
– A car seat, my parents purchased one because they often pick us up from the airport so it is handy to not have to travel with one. There is no need to purchase an infant seat because those are usually easy to travel with. However, once the infant is over 1 then a toddler seat may be useful to have. Car seats shouldn’t be purchased second hand because you won’t be able to tell if it has ever been in an accident, rendering it unsafe.
– And finally groceries : whole milk was a big one for me, diapers and wipes and infant laundry detergent. From age 1 to 2 years most (if not all) pediatricians advise children to be given whole milk which if you’re traveling can be a pain to organize. And diapers and wipes take up a lot of space and weight in a bag, so having those on hand are really helpful. Infant laundry detergent (Dreft, Ivory Snow) is usually used for at least the child’s first year so if they are staying for a while and will do laundry then that will be a big help.
– Now if you want to go crazy, there are lots of other gizmos and gadgets that you can pick up. But in my mind, they are just a nice to have and not a necessity. Things like bouncy seats (good for newborn to 5 months), an exersaucer (4 months to a year), a playmat (newborn to I don’t know, my kids still like to play with the stuff on their cousin’s playmat), a bath seat (2 months to 7 months) are nice additions that help out the parents.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. My husband’s parents live in a golf community and have found that they can share some of the main pieces (pack n’ play, highchair) with the other grandparents in their community and it has worked really well. My mom purchased all of her pieces at a second hand store and even found a play kitchen on someone’s front lawn and washed it up. When she told me about the kitchen I thought it was so gross but then I saw it and its awesome and the kids love it.
Its an exciting time, have fun and know that things have changed since you were a parent and it doesn’t mean that it is a better or worse way to parent, but we have a lot of information that we’re trying to cope with and just doing the best we can. And we love you, even though we might be a little crazy right now. But don’t tell us that because that will make me cry….I mean, us cry.