It’s no secret: toddlers are like tiny hurricanes. They destroy almost everything in their path, and by the time they’ve fallen asleep, you’re left to pick up the pieces. It’s like my living room is littered with a 2,000 piece puzzle that’s been left in front of an industrial sized fan for a few hours. Naturally, there are some casualties (R.I.P. coloring book and race car track. You will be missed), but most of the chaos is fixable – if you have the right supplies. Here are 11 things you should always have on hand if you have a TIH (Toddler In House):
These small cleaning wizards are quite possibly the most accurately named cleaning product on the market. Yes, Magic Erasers are really magic. Recently, our 19-month old has been banging his toys together during an activity known as “playtime”. His toys had scuffs and discoloration, and while he couldn’t care less about the physical appearance of Buzz Lightyear and Captain American, I was really concerned about the battered faces and extremities of these miniature superheroes. Magic Eraser magically removed their afflictions, and the toys look brand new. Fabulous. The only way the Magic Eraser could be improved is if it magically erased toddler tantrums. Why can’t we get on that, Mr. Clean? Hmmm?
Having a stockpile of batteries in all kinds is essential to toddlerhood. Please don’t ask me why all of these toys need different kind of batteries and always go dead at the most inopportune times. But, be prepared and avoid meltdown city by always having batteries on hand. And, don’t be stupid: some toys don’t take those common, regular batteries you can buy at the store. No, some toys need special battery packs. So read the instructions and always have a backup, and a backup of the backup. Your sanity is worth it.
Inevitably, someone will give your toddler an age-inappropriate toy, which will have tiny pieces that are choking hazards or otherwise obnoxious. Ziplocs are a great, simple way to keep toy parts organized. Ziplocs are also a must-have for taking snacks or sandwiches to-go, since toddlers are always hungry when you’re nowhere near a kitchen. You can purchase reusable bags for an environmentally friendly option, or you can just be honest with yourself about the fact that you will never, ever wash those things and Ziplocs are just 1,000x more convenient. Just get the Ziplocs.
4. Insulated, locking, to-go coffee mugs
It doesn’t matter that you’re not leaving the house this week (or any time in the near future). Having a great to-go mug is the solution for the lukewarm, day-old coffee problem toddler parents have. Keep your coffee or tea hot, protect your toddler from burns and your beloved drink from spills with a locking lid, and you, too, can finally finish a hot cup of joe again.
Let’s face it: toddlers are gross. Leave the diaper off for a second too long, and you have a disgusting mess on your floor (if you’re lucky) or $2,500 couch (if your toddler effing hates your guts). Also, the toys need a cleaning once in a while (uh, yeah, you should clean your toddler’s toys. Have you seen what your toddler does with toys? Yuckkkk).
Again, toddlers are gross. Sometimes, toddlers are gross and also demons who will not let you leave the room for a second to wash your hands. Hand sanitizer. You need it. Gallons of it.
For those diapers that permeate the almighty Diaper Genie, you need what my husband calls “disaster bags”. Or on the go diaper genie bags that contain baking soda. Wrap said shitsplosion in disaster bag, tie tightly, then dispose in diaper genie.
The expensive kind. Because truthfully no matter what you do or how often you take the trash out your home will smell like vomit and feces. Eww.
Who wants to do dishes after your whirling dervish has finally went down for a nap? Not me, and not you. Paper plates and paper cups: get both, and get both now.
Yes, I said stain removers, with an “s” – plural – for multiple stain removers. Toddlers will make multiple kinds of stains on a multitude of surfaces. Cover your bases now.
Because sometimes you just need to let your toddler color to the heart’s content. And guess what? If your toddler colors on the wall, it’s no big deal. That’s what Magic Erasers are for!
So cuddle up on the couch with your hot to go mug of coffee (it doesn’t matter that you made it four hours ago, it’s still hot!) and revel in the fact that thanks to this handy list, you’ve officially “got this”.