Plastic wrapping, cardboard boxes, paper — this is what really gets our babies going. Forget the expensive bubble blowing baby lawn mower, or the little plastic house that has a million singing buttons and flashing lights. It keeps her attention for maaaaybe two minutes. And then she eyes the box that it came in, and you’ve got a babysitter made of cardboard for at least 10 minutes (that’s light years in baby watching time).

I was excited to have Annabelle’s 1st birthday party this past weekend so she could get a few new presents to play with, since my supply is getting boring for her. But dang if after mommy gave her these cool new toys all she cared about was the cardboard boxes and the assembly manuals inside! I’m amazed at the rate of which Annabelle is growing and becoming curious about the world around her –especially lately. She suddenly wants to climb into baskets, crawl onto the couch, or like tonight; climb on top of the empty bubble blowing lawn mower box and balance on top! She’s a little dare devil! I just sat there and watched her try to balance on top of this box, captivated by her sheer focus as she would fall off and try again, trying to find the right angle to steady herself. This is toddler activity, so not baby activity. Like my blog last week said; “Bye bye, baby. Hello, todder” — it’s so true. *Hold it together, mama*

Today in Annabelle’s 12 month check up the doctor asked me what Annabelle likes to do these days. The first thing that sprung into my mind was that she loves to play with my empty Bath & Body Works body splash and lotion bottles. I leave them on the bathtub ledge for her and every day she can’t wait to crawl (and now walk!) up to the ledge and get those bottles down and smack them together, tap them on every surface she can find…and pretend to hand them to me, only to pull away saying “psyyyyyych” as she giggles in glee. (Ok, she doesn’t say “psych”, she’s only thinking it!) My doctor laughed and said her daughter was the same way. She loved playing with empty shampoo bottles! The funny thing is; I did the same thing when I was a kid! Although for me, I liked to play with my mom’s perfume bottles like they were Barbies. I made them talk and I had the feminine shaped bottles be the women, and the masculine bottles were the men! My mom even filmed me one day playing and providing the dialogue for the bottles. Ha! Like mother, like daughter!

So I’m thinking that instead of recycling plastic bottles going forward, I’ll just clean them and toss them into Annabelle’s toy box! Hey, whatever keeps her occupied and happily playing away, right? We have another first b-day party for AB approaching this coming weekend and I’m sort of groaning at the idea of more toys that she’ll play with for 2 seconds before casting them aside for packaging. Not that I don’t want more toys for her — bring on the plastic babysitters! I just think it’s odd that these toy manufactures spend all this time making these gadgety toys for babies, when all they really want is to hear crinkly sounds and take the lid off something and put it back on 900 times. Ahh…to be a baby again with such simple pleasures in life………..

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