I started reading blogs when I was a new parent. I often felt like I didn't know what I was doing, was unsure of what my child needed (mostly in terms of material things) and, having never really been around small children, I was always wondering what would come next and the developmentally appropriate timing of her growth and movement as well as her emotional reactions and thought processes.
The blogs I found were helpful and encouraging in so many ways. In great part because I found that others were just as baffled and confused by these tiny beings they cared for so deeply (but, like me, just kept them thriving with basic intuition and all the love they had to give). What the blogs also offered were some fundamentally simple approaches to trusting my own instincts and simplifying our entire lives.
Over time, I felt released from the need to purchase all the paraphernalia the warehouse baby stores wanted to sell us and embraced the natural world as the wonderful play thing, teaching tool and provider that it is. Our toys were stones and pine cones, leaves and sticks. Our daughter also loves jar lids, pots and pans and all manner of wonderful objects that already existed in our home. She used dishes we already had, clothes that were handed down and, for the most part, we made due with the plethora of appliances and whatnot that we already owned. Children don't need much specialized equipment or toys to thrive I discovered.
Occasionally though, some item - a product we buy or something we make (like the work stand my dad built) will strike me as a valuable "thing" to have for a child at home. Of course, for thousands of years people have done without these Things and certainly we'd survive just fine without them as well. But they make our lives a little easier and, in this particular case, this object made a developmental leap rather enjoyable for both child and parents.
We've had this for over three years and I don't know why I've not mentioned it before. We're actually at the point where we hardly use it anymore and are thinking of getting rid of it. Perhaps that's what prompted me to share. Yes friends... after that long rambling intro, the fabulous Thing I so want to make my personal contribution to the blogosphere with is... a Toilet Seat!
Once Naiya was able to use a step stool to climb onto our own toilet, we found this very convenient and rather attractive (compared to the character- laden plastic padded alternatives) built-in child's toilet seat.
It has that smaller opening that keeps her from falling in but is permanently attached so it never wandered out of the room to act as a rather unsanitary queen's crown or other imagined play thing. It's easy to clean, doesn't take up any space and just looks like it belongs.
This particular model is made by Bemis and we got ours at Home Depot for around twenty bucks. (I'm sure there are other brands and models based on the same concept.)
It's one of those innovative things I would never have thought we needed, but, man, I totally dig it and it has been an inspiration to many of our friends with children at home as well.