Ada's B-Day Wish List

>> 10.19.2012

My brother Ryan called me the other day to let us know he's making it all the way up from D.C. for Ada's birthday party! We're more than thrilled, as our party is now less than a month away. I haven't seen him since, uh, early summer? I think.

In the course of the conversation, I told him how one of Ada's favorite toys is a Smartwater bottle. (He works for the company.) Then he asked me: "So. Presents: What the heck does a 1-year-old play with anyway?"


At first, I laughed. Ryan is 4 years younger than I am, and his exposure to babies is minimal. Kid brothers don't know these things! Then I quickly remembered that before we had Ada, including when I was pregnant, I -- too -- was relatively extremely clueless when it came to young children's birthday gifts.

I tried my best, but I'm sure some of our friends have raised their eyebrows at our presents. I think we pushed the suggested age in the wrong way either direction at one time or another. Always with the best of intentions. And then there were the noisy, flashy gifts. Yeah. We totally didn't get why to stay away from those back in the day.

Now we know! We've also caught up so much with all the learning stages and milestones of infants -- but before we had our own child, I knew very little about when sitting, crawling, walking, talking etc., really began.

So, for parents or not, I thought I'd compile a list of things Ada would love (or things she's loving currently) for her birthday and/or Christmas. I sort of wish I had this kind of list handy back when I needed help.



BLOCKS & STACKING THINGS 



PUZZLES:



OTHER



And if you'd like even more frugal and age-appropriate gift ideas, you can see our post on Beautiful Board Books, including adaptations of Romeo + Juliet for babies, among many others, as well as some incredible Classic Toy Remakes from Fisher Price.

Do you have any go-to gifts for birthdays? For example, one reader mentioned she always buys wooden blocks as first birthday gifts. Or with your own children's birthday parties -- how do you handle presents?

We considered having a gift-free or books-and-puzzles-only party, but the idea got more complex and negative reactions than we had anticipated. We're just so focused on Ada's special day, we don''t want conflict hampering it. Our gift to Ada? That membership to the Discovery Center and Zoo. It'll keep on giving the whole year!

Also: I think handmade gifts are awesome. I plan to write another post devoted entirely to stuff I want to make.

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