I realized the other day that Asher turns TWO in just a couple short months. In honor of that, I wanted to do a post on the baby products and toddler products that worked the best for us over the past two years.
But let me start by saying that louder for those in the back – TWO YEARS OLD. So it appears that I not only gave birth to a child, but also a time machine. But the funny thing is that while it seems like just yesterday that we were just bringing him home, it also feels like life has always been this way – and life before Asher is just a giant blur.
There are so many things that I have to think about when it comes to everyday life with Asher that may never cross the mind of a parent of a “typical” child (just like there are so many things that parents of typical 2 year olds have to think about that we haven’t had to think about yet). Every single toy we buy, a large number of products we use, all have to be evaluated through the lens of having a child that is not built the same way the majority of children are built.
Here are a few helpful baby product and everyday life hacks that I have encountered over the past couple of years that come in handy with life with Asher (all pictures are linked with the specific products):
- Baby Products:
Diaper Bags. Oddly enough, even the diaper bag I use is impacted in some degree by Asher’s dwarfism. Originally, I started out with tote style diaper bags (because I love totes, let’s be honest). But when you are still having to carry a 2 year old everywhere – you have to cave and find a good backpack style diaper bag – because toting a tote bag and a toddler at the same time is NOT EASY. And I have to have one that carries a significant amount of stuff, since I have to have things that can entertain him in one spot, since he isn’t able to go run around (or even walk around) and entertain himself that way. Here is my current favorite – the Lily Jade Shaylee bag, which is solid leather, can be used as either a tote OR a backpack, and has a removable diaper caddy – which I simply take out when I don’t have Asher and just want to use it as an every day tote bag. I also love that they come in camel and black leather, so they work well for the diaper carrying dad!
Baby carriers. So baby wearing is something that you see plastered all over the internet – all your friends swear by it – all the baby books talk about it. We had three different baby carriers given to us as baby shower gifts to try with Asher for walks, wearing around the house to get stuff done, baby bonding time, and the works. Low and behold, imagine my surprise when we were told that for babies with dwarfism, baby wearing is, for the most part, a no-no. This is because babies with dwarfism generally have lower muscle tone in their core than average height kiddos, so they aren’t able to support their spine as well. Any position you put them in that lets their spine form what is referred to as the “c-curve” can increase their risk for kyphosis or scoliosis (a curve in the spine) that may require bracing, casting, or surgery down the road. Now of course, some parents baby wear their babies with dwarfism and they don’t have any issue with spine curvature, and some parents follow all the guidelines and their baby still develops kyphosis and/or scoliosis. We waited until Asher was a year old to baby wear – and even then have only done it a couple times (largely now because he is so short – he can’t see over the top of the baby carrier!)
High chairs. This was another tricky one for us. There are quite a few factors that go into finding a high chair that work for our kiddos. First and foremost, as noted above, the lower tone in the core makes it harder for babies with dwarfism to sit up – and you don’t want to prop them up so that they are slumped over or in the c-curve position, so you need a highchair that reclines back. It is also very difficult to find a high chair that works for babies with arms that are much shorter than average, since they very often aren’t able to reach the tray. We finally found one that worked well for us when Asher was younger (the Fisher Price Space Saver) – since it reclined back a significant amount, and had a tray that was relatively close to chest, so Asher was able to reach his food. This is one of the high chairs that is most commonly used for LP parents because of the recline, and it was extremely handy that we could strap it to any chair or put it directly on the floor in the living room.
Once Asher got to the point that he could sit very well on his own – we got him what I like to think is the cutest invention since the creation of kittens, his very own infant lawn chair (the Summer Infant Pop ‘n Sit). This chair has been our absolute saving grace, and I cannot praise it highly enough. It folds up into its own little lawn chair bag – so we take it absolutely everywhere with us. Asher still does not fit well into restaurant high chairs, so we have taken this chair and propped him right in the middle of the table at a restaurant countless times. I may or may not have bought four more of these chairs after our getting our first one, so we have one for each car, one upstairs, one downstairs, and one that he uses to eat in at home (since he gets that one very messy). The ONLY downside to this chair is that it doesn’t have a removable cover that can be taken off and washed. So we also found a very comparable one from Hiccapop that is almost identical in every way, except that it has a wider base, and the entire fabric portion can be removed and put in the washing machine.
If you guys know anything about me – you should know that I am OBSESSED with baby/toddler clothes. My life is like a giant scavenger hunt trying to find any article of cute baby clothing that works for Asher, and scavenger hunts are only fun if they are challenging, right?
So Asher – who I will preface this by saying is the most perfect creation known to man – does not have the body type that toddler clothes are designed for. At almost 2 years old, Asher is right around 24″ tall (the height of the average 2-3 month old). His arms and legs are the length of the typical newborn’s, his waist is around the size of the average 12 month old’s, his torso is the length of the average 6 month old, and his head is the size of the typical 2 year old (meaning it has to fit through the neck of the shirt). And for some unfathomable reason, they don’t seem to make clothes designed for a toddler built like that. Baffling, right???
Here are some of our clothing hacks so that Asher’s clothes fit him relatively well, without me having to alter them (I know I will need to start altering them soon, but thankfully we have been able to avoid it so far!):
Shoes. There is only one brand of shoes that we have found that works for Asher right now, and that is See Kai Run. Asher’s foot is very short (the typical 2 year old wears a size 6 or 7 toddler shoe. Asher wears a size 3 (which, I might add, the majority of kids shoe companies do not even make…). And his foot is extremely wide and adorably chunky. So shoes that are wide enough to get onto his foot are generally far too long – and long shoes are NOT a good thing when you have a child who already struggles with walking. Enter See Kai Run. They make a walking shoe (with an outdoor sole) in a Size 3, and they are wide all the way through the toe box – so they fit a chunky toddler foot PERFECTLY. Not to mention they are unbelievably adorable.
Pants. This is a constant struggle for us – since when pants fit in length, they are way too tight around the waist, or if they fit in the waist they are way too long. First and foremost, best life hack for this in summer is that we forgo pants completely, and Asher wears a onesie with legwarmers (because when you can put a baby in legwarmers, PUT THE BABY IN LEGWARMERS).PatPat.com.
For tips and tricks on keeping all of these clothes and products organized, see my post on keeping A Tidy House with a Toddler
At the end of the day – I understand why clothing companies don’t design and make clothes that fit my child or toddler products. The market for clothes for children and people of short stature is not large enough to make it profitable for them. Understanding the logic behind it though certainly doesn’t make my every day life easier – so if you have found any other helpful products that work for your kiddos – or that you think we should try with Asher, please let me know in the comments!