Useful baby stuff

I've been asked a lot recently by friends for product recommendations for useful baby things (our son is now 18 months old). I remember how daunting it was to have a new baby on the way. A few friends dropped off literally truckloads of hand-me-down baby stuff, much of which were confounding collections of plastic tubes, cylinders, and funnels that were apparently supposed to connect in ways that might be useful. Every kid is going to be very different, but here's what Mako ended up using...

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Retract-A-Gate baby barrier


Mako has been crawling for a week, now, and I’m starting the long journey into baby-proofing the house. We are unlikely to go overboard in the process, but do need a way to confine him in the living room, and also to move some of the lighter storage furniture to other areas and get all of our display pieces (mostly, small sculptural things purchased during my travels) up and out of reach.

The main area needs two spaces to be blocked. One is only 30″ across and doesn’t need through access, and I installed a pressure-fit gate a friend donated to us. The other is a 73″ space, which is a pretty wide space for a gate. We are unwilling to put a permanent fence with a small gate there because of the effect it would have on the larger space, so we decided to give Retract-A-Gate a try. My cousin Charlotte has this product at her place, and requires two chained together with S hooks to cover the width. The 72″ maximum gate spread poses a bit of a problem, but 1″ worth of spacers should cover the 1″ gap.


Me: “Ok, relax. Are you completely relaxed?”
Pam: “I haven’t completely relaxed since he was born.”