anyone wanna join my toy-free tribe? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-18-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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When we were little, we made spider webs with yarn all the time! Once that was the main activity at my birthday party. All the kids loved it.

Our neightbor biys (elem. school) have a really nice play structure, and 90% of the time they play with sticks. Waste of 1000$ there.

I am still having a really hard time getting rid of toys that were gifts from people I care about. I know how much money they spent and I just can't do it! Ahhh.... I may just box them up. That way I don't have the guilt of throwing them out.

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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Old 06-18-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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Now that we are out in the country, I see how absolutely IN LOVE with nature my little girl is. Every walk we go on, by the time we get home, we have a bag full of pine cones, flowers, rocks, sticks.... at 27 months olds, my daughters talks about dandelions, daisies, lupins, buttercups, lilacs, forget me nots, and "the pretty orange flower" that we dont have a name for yet. Oh, and the "peach flower" because it smells like a peach.

We still have most of her toys packed away from the move. She has started an obsession with Care Bears and Ponies that we have found second hand. I dont mind them as much, because its not that she has seen them on TV, or any advertisements. She just loves animals, and for some reason, has taken a special liking to these.

But the nature thing is really cool. I cant wait to get into our place so we can have a "nature table" set up some place. I bet that will absolutely thrill dd.
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:49 AM
 
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I am interested in limiting or no toys. My problem really comes down to me. I got rid of more then half our toys and then just replaced them with more expensive natural toys. I think I have a materialistic problem. I don't want to pass it on though. I really would love to have dolls and building materials and a little kitchen and call it good. But then I go out and buy cars and airplanes and picnic baskets. Anyways maybe a tribe like this will help me break the toy habit.
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, Terran's five months old now.

Since we never even started buying toys and pushing him to "play" with them , it feels very natural to me to just keep on living and I am quite jarred by seeing pictures of other kids his age surrounded by brightly coloured plastic. I'm even more annoyed by mainstream web pages about child development where every other word seems to be "toy" and found a very resonant article at the natural child project (scroll down to where he talks about consumerism) that describes my own experiences, as a downwardly mobile adult with an upper-middle class whitebread suburban background.

I mentioned upthread how gentle my son's hands are compared to other kids his age. I have seen this intensifying over the past month as he gains fine motor control. His favourite game now is to gaze lovingly into my eyes, put one hand gently on either side of my face, and bring it towards him for a "big wet sloppy baby kiss". He will do this spontaneously and also (usually) when I ask him, "Can I please have a big wet sloppy baby kiss?"

I still find myself ridiculed or misunderstood whenever I bring toy-freeness up or brag about him irl and I still find myself having difficulty keeping my mouth shut about how successful my "little experiment" is going so far. Since I do work outside the home, it is SO NICE not to have to spend time away from my baby while I pick up his toys, shop for toys, etc.

I'm still wondering how I'm going to react the first time somebody shoves a piece of plastic or cheap polyester fur in his face and starts squealing "Look at the BUNNY! The BUNNY wants you to play with it! LOVE the bunny! HUG the bunny! HUG the bunny!"

Will I reframe and rename the situation? Will I use words like "pillow", "Polyester", and "foam rubber" to describe stuffed animals? Will I change the focus to the positive intent of the person, i.e. "Susan seems really excited about that pillow. She must really like you to want to share her pillow with you. Do you think she would like a big wet sloppy baby kiss?"

Will I say something offensive and "weird" or will I cave and find myself buying a power rangers action figure every week again to keep another seven year old from throwing another tantrum in another store?

Will I tell the dentist ahead of time that we don't do toys so Terran won't be needing his "goodie bag" after his cleaning? If I'm open about this (or if we get caught) will CPS be called? If so, how will they react?

How can something so simple as not buying a consumer product be so revolutionary?
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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Hi NOS. Subbing. Will have to come back later to read up on this. Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:12 PM
 
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Thanks for the update noordinaryspider.

Your reasoning and journey is so thoughtful I am following attentively.

Have you looked at Committee for a Commercial Free Childhood? (CCFC) I know you are doing no toys but the way the marketing pervades and invades a child's life is incredible.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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Old 07-02-2008, 02:11 AM
 
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noordinaryspider, you are an inspiration, thanks for keeping us updated.

It is fascinating how one can change one's views, just a case of trying to make sure one doesn't get stuck with an opinion for no valid reason. As I've read more about toys in the last 3 months, I've found my feelings shifting and really don't like the idea of 'toys', but sometimes wonder if it makes me some kind of weird authoritarian parent ... the answer, of course, is 'no', it is a case of following what I/we believe to be the best for our little one (due in a few weeks!), despite the fact that it is contrary to general practice.

It is fascinating to hear developments you have noticed so far, so please keep posting about Terran's toy free world

Just my thoughts, feelings and beliefs today, not set in stone forever ...
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by noordinaryspider View Post
I'm still wondering how I'm going to react the first time somebody shoves a piece of plastic or cheap polyester fur in his face and starts squealing "Look at the BUNNY! The BUNNY wants you to play with it! LOVE the bunny! HUG the bunny! HUG the bunny!"
This happened to us at 6 weeks..I was sorting through some gifts and making a return pile, and my mom thought the placement of a stuffed bear must be a mistake. I said that it wasn't, that he didn't need it.. she feigned shock, asking him if he wanted it and waved it in his face. I wasn't sure how I'd react myself - wondering if I'd feel angry at some innocence lost - but in the moment it just felt so sad. It was really tragic to watch a tiny newborn trying to make eye contact with his grandmother, while she did everything she could to distract him from her.

In the future, I plan to stop those situations by explaining that it is better for W to learn about the person. I would tell them that he'd rather get to know them as a person, their face, their movement, their voice - and suggest they make some faces, sing a song, etc. I do recall that it can be hard for people who haven't been around children in a while to remember what can draw a smile, and I want to be sensitive to the fact that they may not know how to interact without props.

Very interesting article btw, thanks for posting. I really liked this:
Quote:
Perhaps there will come a time when the early years of motherhood will be regarded as an enlightened and proper endeavor for a woman to engage in full time for a period in her life. Perhaps there will come a time when a woman will be viewed as a better person for having experienced the total nurturing of her infant and toddler. We have already experienced a similar shift in perception toward the college student. An individual going to college for a number of years is no longer thought to be opting out of the system or buckling under it; such an individual is now perceived as moving toward the betterment of his or her capacity to earn money, to become a more widely educated person, to become a better contributor to society.

XM,: mama to ds (5/08), dd (9/10) and ds (6/12) ! whale.gif :C.H.S & M.

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Old 07-02-2008, 11:16 AM
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we were given only 4 toys for the baby's shower a couple of weeks ago. well, we were given two more, but those are right out into the donation pile. i can return the others--though i was given two lovely wooden toys that we'll keep (grabbing toys/rattle).

so far, we're doing well. my husband and i have our own toys, which we are going to 'give' to the baby. it's not many, but we do have a few stuffed animals and of course my husband has his action figure collection, which are not really 'toys' to him.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:31 AM
 
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Neat idea . . .

My DD went to Camp Invention and loved it . . .she does that kind of thing on her own at home, but there she had a far wider range of tools. Anyway, it just so happened that my sister gave me an article showing how to set up an idea lab at home. I suggested we turn our playroom into this (as I said, the girls rarely play w/toys), but DH doesn't like that. So, I'm going to do it in our basement. It's just what you'd think-- pegboards on the walls, work table, tools, recycled items, etc.

Thought the members on this thread would appreciate the idea!

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

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Old 07-03-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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Subbing here!

I love the idea. I don't think I will go totally toy-free, there are some toys around here that get lots of use, but not many!

But I have a couple questions for you toy-free people:

1) Are your kids on board with being toy-free? Clearly, they must notice that other kids have toys and that toys exist. Do they not bug you to the point of death?


and

2) When you are invited to a b-day party and gifts are expected, what do you bring? Before I was enlightened, I gave people junky plastic toys sometimes, but now never. What are your thoughts?
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Old 07-03-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TeresaZofia View Post

1) Are your kids on board with being toy-free? Clearly, they must notice that other kids have toys and that toys exist. Do they not bug you to the point of death?


and

2) When you are invited to a b-day party and gifts are expected, what do you bring? Before I was enlightened, I gave people junky plastic toys sometimes, but now never. What are your thoughts?

Well, we were in the same DDC (with my first) so neither of these have really come up yet..

1) We intend to home school and keep ds TV free. I want to try and keep his childhood as commercial free as possible, and educate him on advertising very early as my parents did for me. We made a game of analyzing commercials that we did see and talking about how they tried to make you want the item, and that kinda killed the "i want that" bug. I don't really remember begging for much that I wouldn't let Wyatt have. I do remember begging for sporting equipment, paints and later, books - as well as to do stuff like go to the park and ride bikes or play basketball.

2)Probably the same things I give to nieces & nephews now. Art supplies, soccer balls.. I'm blanking but I know I find acceptable things to give them at Christmas that are not exactly "toys"

I've been thinking a lot about the value of a "toy" lately, and I'm having a lot of trouble spitting out what I'm trying to say...

I think kids need an abundance of raw materials for imaginative play. It doesn't matter if its all the sticks, leaves and rocks they can find outside, the pots & pans in your kitchen, your clothes. I've been wondering if the whole abundance of toys developed with people being afraid to let kids play with "their" things.

Its so much more useful for kids to experience real life objects - what intrinsic value does a buzz lightyear have? But you can learn so much about your environment by interacting with real life objects, and that experience can help gradually transition to real life skills. It lets you take ownership in your world and adjust better as person.

In some sense, if you're practicing cooking in a fake kitchen, your imitation is essentially wasted when you try and use the real kitchen, but if you're sitting on the floor with a real mixing bowl and spoons, when it comes time to bake a cake there is very little you haven't practiced....

Its so much more than that but I just can't find words. I wish I could find a way to get it out so I'd have an easier time explaining it to people. Anyone see where I'm going & have any thoughts? I guess the two big concepts I want to identify are "yours vs. ours" and the additional developmental value of using "real" objects rather than being confined to "toys"...

XM,: mama to ds (5/08), dd (9/10) and ds (6/12) ! whale.gif :C.H.S & M.

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Old 07-06-2008, 04:52 AM
 
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It has taken me entirely too long to read this entire thread, but I love it! My husband and I definitely feel like less is more more than we ever did. Last week we actually got rid of over half of our kids' toys (I already purge toys at least 3x a year) and the kids are noticeably playing more. I think they were overwhelmed with what they had everywhere. We organized what we do have now, and only one is electronic (my oldest loves it & uses it a LOT - to learn spelling). I'm still hoping to get rid of a few sets over the next few months.

Within the next few days I'm going to email family and close friends who will be invited to the kids' birthday parties. My oldest 2 share a party & it's in 3 months. So I want to give them a fair warning that we don't want traditional toys. We're going to give alternate ideas: zoo or children's museum membership, book store gift cards, books, & my personal favorite - shop on etsy! We would LOVE any handmade gift from etsy. We order things from there all the time... love that it's homemade, love that you can get great natural/organic/vegan items and that we're supporting small businesses.

I love this thread. It feels so great to "meet" other Moms who have similar views to mine.
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:04 AM
 
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subbing to read when babies are asleep Thanks for starting this!

photoblogging crafty Mama to 3 boys (8/04 and twins 08/07)
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:40 AM
 
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I have subbed to this thread and even posted a few times but it has been awhile since I have read anything. I need to go back and read all the wonderful ideas for birthday parties and such. Jacob has a birthday in sept and would love to use some of these ideas he is three and a half will be four so my ? for you moms is how do you make it fun for a four year old whose mom wants to go toy free. How do we do that. He loves dinosaurs so for christmas we got him dino books and movies and clothes would that be a good idea for birthday too. (oh and some still got him toys but that was before I could get to them and talk to them that we didnt want toys at all this year) I do love the membership idea and there is a science museum but I think that might be a little advanced for him right know. The zoo here is free but I think you can still be a member by donating money to the zoo hmmm these are great ideas. I will have to go back and readall the post again. Wish me luck it might take awhile. :

vegan, *( . ) ( . )* wife to D and momma to peanut and monkey boy
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:49 AM
 
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I'm with you all on this one. I limit what we have not so much b/c it's a toy, but too many are overwhelming to my dd. If it gets to be too much it seems nothing gets played with.

As far as birthdays for her have gone toys haven't been a problem mainly b/c we haven't thrown her parties. She thinks of birthdays/anniversaries to be time to spend with family. This last birthday (3 yo) we took her on a sea animal tour, it was her first time on a boat. We went pretty far out and saw a pod of about 50 dolphins. Mamas, papas, and babies. We took lots of pictures and put them in her album. We also went to the aquarium afterwards. My dh was working across the country and flew in just for the occasion so it was all super special. We tend to make our wed anniv a family event day too. I figure as she gets older she'll want parties and to spend the times with friends, so why not get in all the family time I can in now?

Holidays we buy one big "toy". The 1st year after turning 1 was a red wagon. The next year was a nice wooden children's table and chairs set that has cubbies and will last for a long, long time. This past year, b/c of financial reasons we just gave her alot of books. I got a killer deal so there were actually quite a few. She instisted each book be read upon opening so we opened presents in shifts b/c it took all day. She actually spent more time reading that day than checking out any of the toys her grandparents gave her.

Her favorite toys are babies (I am so thrilled when she nurses and comforts them!) and kitchen stuff (my mom bought her a set of pans/accessories that are made of the same material the real stuff would be just smaller). Although she has been cooking from a very early age (dh is a chef) and loves doing the real thing she also likes to make pretend food in her "kitchen" (usually the coffee table) with her tools that are just her size. "This is my size!" comes out of her alot. Oh and how could I forget the tea set. Uses that more than anything. Throws tea parties daily.

She has been given more toys than I'd like, so I am always decluttering (some days I feel like chucking the whole lot knowing it will all accumulate again), but I'm proud to say that when I look around her room that I can count on one hand the toys we've purchased. Which the money we've saved has enabled us to do the event days and "big toy" purchases. My family knows I'm picky and for the most part has chosen wisely in their gifts to her. My MIL has a doctorate in child dev which sometimes is super irritating, but as far as toys goes is a good thing.

This year I've become a SAHM : so we'll be asking for gymnastic/dance class money and museum memberships since we no longer can afford them and they mean so much to her.

Sorry, I just read what I wrote and it's sooooo long. Oh well.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by xekomaya View Post
I think kids need an abundance of raw materials for imaginative play. It doesn't matter if its all the sticks, leaves and rocks they can find outside, the pots & pans in your kitchen, your clothes. I've been wondering if the whole abundance of toys developed with people being afraid to let kids play with "their" things.
This is a really interesting point. DD has (all gifts btw) toy cell phones, plastic Barbie high-heeled shoes (and earrings and tiara, ugh), even a toy "purse" that comes with a toy stuff (wallet, hankie, etc...) you can rummage through. None of those things are fun at all, because the whole point when you're a kid is to learn about your parents' stuff, not cheap knock-offs.

I get that it can be frustrating to find your LO making calls on your cell phone or tearing through your wallet, but I don't think handing them a talking Dora phone is really going to squelch that desire to get their hands on your stuff anyway.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:55 AM
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Miz:

Thanks for the link. i love the idea of having space to simply create and invent.

----

1) Are your kids on board with being toy-free? Clearly, they must notice that other kids have toys and that toys exist. Do they not bug you to the point of death?

my child is still in utero, and therefore doesn't know that toys exist.

growing up, i had a lot of toys, but not as many toys as many of my friends. in discussing this with my mother for a bit, she pointed out tht we were more likely to simply play outside or just do creative activities (art, reading, etc), instead of play with toys.

there were toys that we wanted, but not many. so, i think it is possible to have a kid who doesn't consume.


2) When you are invited to a b-day party and gifts are expected, what do you bring? Before I was enlightened, I gave people junky plastic toys sometimes, but now never. What are your thoughts?


personally, i bring home made creative gifts. for example, i'll put together ingredients in a jar for cookies or soup or something like this that can be a project. i also like to give art supplies.

i prefer things that are consumable, and i tend to think that children like projects. i could be wrong, but it's gone over big with parents at a least.

of course, i'm not often invited to children's parties at this time--just a few family friends and most of those children are under 10.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:24 AM
 
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Dd1 LOVES old wallets, cell phones, purses, and keys. Dh and I give her any old cards we don't need any more, like the discount cards from grocery stores. She gets tons of play out of them. Pair the wallet and purse with a pencil and a very small notebook for writing "notes" and she's in heaven.

Mama to Abby (Sept 2004), Vera (Jan 2008), and Penny (Apr 2011)

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Old 07-15-2008, 08:26 AM
 
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What do you guys think about costumes/dress up stuff?

DD is obsessed with dress-up--mainly tutus and princess dresses. She does not love the lovely dresses we buy her, she loves the plasticky cinderella dresses from Target and the Halloween Superstore They are awfully unattractive, but she looooooves them. They seem to be toy-ish in nature, but they also serve a utilitarian function in that they are actual clothes that she wears. She also loves fairy wings

Since she is such a girlie-girl, people do buy her a lot of actual toy dress up stuff that drives me insane--plastic Tiaras and fake clip-on earings, etc... It is hideous. These are actually not beloved at all, thank god!

Lately, however, she's become interested in "making" her own dresses out of blankets and playsilks that she ties around her body. She also loves trying to wear my clothes and jewelry. For her birthday I'm going to get her a trunk-full of shiny, sparkly, fabulous fabrics to tie on herself. I can also help her sew the fabric into home-made skirts and dresses (nothing too fancy, I can't really sew ).
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:40 AM
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i think the idea of getting various fabrics is really fun. kids love to make costumes, and that's a good way to do it. it's live action role playing, similar to using dolls.
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Old 07-15-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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dd1 LOVES playsilks and any kind of dress up dresses. I think it's a great form of imaginary play.

Mama to Abby (Sept 2004), Vera (Jan 2008), and Penny (Apr 2011)

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Old 07-15-2008, 11:52 AM
 
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My most beloved dress up clothes growing up were my mom's old bridesmaid dresses.

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:33 PM
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NOS:

as a new, first-time mom (20 weeks pg tomorrow!), i'm curious to know what you have and use for your baby during these first months. i really only want to purchase (or have purchased for me) that which i will use.

most of my friends and such assert that they have a lot of stuff, most of it not used, and some of it even turned over to consignment unused! that's such a waste of time, money, and space to me!

so, if you could let me know, that would be awesome.
Zoebird, this is what we have used so far for our 20 week old:

Toys:

- Nothing before 3 mths
- Small stuffed sheep
- 2 teddybears (not much use yet)
- plain wood rattle
- "Horton hears a who" boardbook (favourite toy!)
- Books

Clothes:

Much less than we thought and what anyone suggested! Used more tops once she started slobbering, but that's all. Lots of dribble bibs. And disposables. For a lot of reasons we have ended up using them, despite not thinking we would. (we do EC anyway). Lots of nappy squares for everything except nappies!!! And BabyLegs legwarmers are great in a sling! We use Storchenwiege wrap, which is fantastic. Also using the Mountain Buggy much more than expected(it was given to us second hand, but my daughter sleeps in it every day). Carseat (it is illegal not to use appropriate carseats for under-5's here). And an old-fashioned bouncer, as LO hated being on the ground for the first 3 months! The best advice (if it was us) would be get some disposables (Tushies, Moltex etc are eco-friendly, and good for baby), and maybe a few clothnappies, maybe different types, to try. We have loads of nappies that we'll never use, because they just didn't work for us, an enourmous waste of money! Also get some kimono tops, some socks, a matinee coat and hat, and a night gown. That got us through the first month!

I have just ordered a few teething pegs and a couple of playsilks, but I think she needs more, as she is into everything.

Any ideas anyone? We want to keep plastic out as much as possible, and I really don't like the musical toys that do all sort of things for you (the worst ever: a plastic tractor with trailer. with farmer and three farm animals, which would play Old Macdonald had a Farm when the characters where pushed down in it, or yell something about the animals, but worse, would suddenly, if left for an hour or so, call out "Where is everybody?"). We have concerns about phtalates and BPA in plastic anyway. Also careful with paints on wooden toys etc. What about bath toys?
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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Hi everyone, I want to join in! We have toys, but 99% given to us, and what we have bought is wooden, and buildable. We dont buy toys for birthdays or xmas, we buy real life things, such as brooms, household items etc
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:15 AM
 
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welcome clothmumma it is great you found this thread. I know I have enjoyed it.


Ladies last week we went to the zoo and had lots of fun but we also picked up membership info for Jacobs birthday and adopt an animal for the kids too for either birthdays or christmas. I am getting Evan a library card for his sixth birthday. Jacob will have to wait till he is six. I just thought that wold make great gifts for them.

vegan, *( . ) ( . )* wife to D and momma to peanut and monkey boy
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:03 AM
 
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welcome clothmumma it is great you found this thread. I know I have enjoyed it.


Ladies last week we went to the zoo and had lots of fun but we also picked up membership info for Jacobs birthday and adopt an animal for the kids too for either birthdays or christmas. I am getting Evan a library card for his sixth birthday. Jacob will have to wait till he is six. I just thought that wold make great gifts for them.
I was thinking about getting a year pass to one of the animal sanctuarys near me too....might actually do this
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:54 AM
 
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Great stuff. DD is 6 months old and I need the support NOW to keep the commercial stuff at bay. We don't have TV and already my MIL is saying I'll have to get TV for DD "of course". It is so easy to get sucked into thinking LO's "need" stuff.

But what about backyard swings, climbing stuff, slides etc? I figure if we have these things DD's friends will come here rather than she going else where?
Will our kids want to play at so and so's because so and so has TV, lots of toys, etc?

And we are all obviously on our computers part of the day. What about computer games?

There's so much to consider.

Btw what is a "Bilibo" and what does "MIC" stand for?

wife to DH mama to DD14 Jan '08 and DS 6 Sept '10
and 2 rescued greyhounds
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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forgot to sub

wife to DH mama to DD14 Jan '08 and DS 6 Sept '10
and 2 rescued greyhounds
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:20 PM
 
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Btw what is a "Bilibo" and what does "MIC" stand for?
Welcome!

Billibo and MIC = Made In China

XM,: mama to ds (5/08), dd (9/10) and ds (6/12) ! whale.gif :C.H.S & M.

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