Skip to main content

The baby stack at 20 months

Silhouette of a toddler at the beach (stock photo).

When our son reached nine months old, I published this UsesThis-style list of products and services we were using; I had previously published one before he was born.

He’s twenty months old now: walking around and using words. He straddles the worlds between being a baby and a little boy, but becomes more like the latter every day.

I thought this was a good time to update the list.


Stroller: Our Uppababy Cruz V2 is still holding strong, although we use it less and less. We’re in the lucky position of being able to walk to daycare, and he quite often just wants to walk alongside us. (The stroller comes in most handy when we’re late.)

Travel Stroller: New to our mix is the Joolz Aer (now superseded in their lineup by the Aer+). It’s light as hell and folds up to easily fit in an airplane’s overhead bin, which has been useful for both short and long-haul trips. When we’re not on the move, it permanently lives in the trunk of my car.

Car Seat: We still use the Clek Foonf, which is like the tank of car seats. It’s solid and he seems to find it comfortable, although it’s beginning to be an effort to get him in and out of it. That’s more of a function of my tiny car than the seat itself; it’s more likely that I’ll upgrade the latter than the former.

Travel Car Seat: We’ve added a Cosco Scenera car seat to our mix. It’s light and cheap, and is really straightforward to install into a new car (for example a rental) or into an airplane seat. The thing we haven’t cracked yet is traveling on a plane without this kind of car seat: it’s bulky enough that it would make one-parent flights with him next to impossible. (If you’ve made this transition, please tell me how. I’m considering a CARES airplane safety harness, but how safe is, it, really?)

Bed: We’re in the final months or weeks of the Ikea Sundvik crib and Naturepedic Classic Organic Cotton Crib Mattress, which have served us incredibly well. If he wasn’t using a sleep sack, he would have easily scaled its walls and climbed out bed already. It’s time for a Real Bed (and therefore time for a Real Bedroom). Model TBC.

White Noise: We’re still using the Hatch Rest, although I’m not fully sure why. Habit at this point? He does love boffing the top of it to get it to change color and sound.

Baby Monitor: We’re still on the Nanit Pro. It’s been fairly good for us, but it definitely has shortcomings. The humidity sensor almost never works, and the device itself will fairly often disconnect from the wifi. He’s also been known to shake it like a wizard’s staff. We’re not measuring how long he’s been awake, etc, anymore, so we don’t use the recordings as much as we used to. But it’s nice to be able to get a notification when he’s stirring.

Changing Mat: Any surface will do at this point. Towels, standing up in a chair with a rubber mat to protect it — whatever. About one out of twenty times he’ll end up on the Peanut, but it was much more useful when he was a little potato.

Kitchen Stool: The Cosco Kitchen Stepper has become a mainstay: he can stand on a protected tower while watching us cook, or helping out himself.

High Chair: The Stokke Tripp Trapp has grown with us. We’ve stopped using the built-in tray, which has made it a little easier to clean: instead, we push him in to the table, and he eats alongside us. Having everyone be first-class participants around the dinner table has been lovely.

Travel Booster: We’ve been known to bring the Fisher-Price booster seat with us (it’s in the back of my car right now), although it’s happened less and less lately. Most restaurants we go to — when we eat out, which is rarely — have high chairs, and I suspect future friends and family visits will be marked by him eating on one of our laps.

Food: He’s eating what we eat more often than not. We keep Annie’s Mac and Cheese stocked just in case, and Trader Joe cottage cheese and apple sauce have become staples. But we’re mostly off the food pouches, powders, and specialized food products.


This gets its own section at this point. There are a few real standouts:

Uppstå toddler walker: I can’t overstate how much he loves this thing. It took him a little while to get used to it, but it’s grown with him. He’ll put his favorite things in it and walk them around the house, sometimes at speed. Just incredible value for money based on how often he plays with it.

Fisher-Price Little People Airplane and School Bus: I’m almost certain these didn’t play songs and noises when I was a kid. They certainly do now, but it’s easy to switch off the sounds if you don’t want them. He plays with both continuously. It’s sort of weird to see how Fisher-Price toys have evolved — I kind of miss the peg-like figures they used to come with — but he’ll have the same nostalgic feelings for these that I have for mine. Just, um, look out underfoot.

Plantoys Wonky Fruits & Vegetables and Assorted Vegetables: These are simple enough — wooden fruits and vegetables joined with little velcro pads — but he loves taking them apart and putting them back together again. They come with a little wooden “knife” that makes it easier to split them.

Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles: He thought they were cool when he was much younger (they were a much-appreciated first birthday present), but these days he knows how to pull them back and make them go. We find them all over the house.

Busy Bee: Apparently the best-selling toddler toy in Aotearoa New Zealand. He loves pulling it along behind him, to the extent that it can usually be used as a distraction from just about anything else.


Many, many times a day, he’ll demand to be read to. Seems like a good thing to me. Our collection of books is always rotating, but I thought it would be fun to list our stalwarts.

Hooray for Birds!, by Lucy Cousins: I could recite this verbatim. At this point, so can he, so I’ll often stop to let him fill in the blanks with the various bird noises. It’s lyrical, offers lots of opportunities to the reader to make silly voices, and is lots of fun.

Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry: Rhythmic and perfectly wordsmithed; almost a song. You’ll find that you quickly get your engine noises, animal sounds, and “beep beep beep!”s to a professional level. Like Hooray for Birds!, he’ll often now come in with the right noises at the right time.

Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg: I loved this book as a kid, and now he does, too. He calls it “Each Peach” and asks for it by name. (“Each Peach! Each Peach!”)

Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram: I like, half-jokingly, to call this the classic tale of toxic one-upmanship. But it’s sweet, and easy to give heart and voice to. I love him to the moon and back, too.

Jamberry, by Bruce Degen: This book makes no sense! It’s like a commercial for berries! But that doesn’t matter - he loves it.

I’m looking forward to introducing him to books for slightly older children that we have waiting in the wings; in particular, The Story of Ferdinand, Make Way for Ducklings, and Dogger, which are my top-three favorite picture books of all time.

Screen Time

Yes, we’re a Ms Rachel household. Lately, he’s been asking for my old pal Grover by name. And there’s a channel on YouTube called Helper Cars — origin unknown — that seems to be designed to appeal to his psyche.

We’re not completely comfortable with screen time, but it’s definitely become a thing. I figure it’s fine in moderation, and all of the above have some educational content to them.


I’m retiring this portion of the baby list: we don’t use any software to track or help parent him anymore, save for the ubiquitous MyChart from the pediatrician and the Procare daycare-management app that lets us know when he’s eaten and sends us photos of his day from time to time. We just, you know, listen to him, and try to figure out what he needs. We’ll look up recipes and activities from time to time, but there’s nothing special about that; we do it for ourselves, too, and you all know how Google works.


Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

· Posts · Share this post