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I’ve extolled the virtues of several baby products twice now. Simon is now over seven months old, and his list of favorites continues to expand and change along with him. Our current favorites are:

Dirty Dog: You may recall that months ago, Simon had a favorite blanket toy we called Dirty Duck. Well, some time ago, I was in the children’s department at Dillard’s and saw several blanket toys. I was looking for a duplicate dirty duck so I could have one in the wash while Simon slimed up the second. And they had dirty duck, but they also had a cute brown puppy. Since Matt and I have created an elaborate fantasy life for Simon that includes his love of puppies, I brought this home. Turns out the muzzle fits perfectly into his mouth and the ears provide nice handles. Welcome home, dirty dog. Sorry about your face.

Rainforest Jumperoo: We tried out Simon in a friend’s doorway jumper a few weeks ago, and he seemed to like it. So I went out and got one, only to discover that it didn’t fit over our doorframes. Sigh. Undeterred, I ran back out and got the freestanding Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo. What a hit! This jumper is attached to a steel frame and sports an activity tray with several-but not too many-toys, has palm leaf accents overhead, and features a sountrack heavy on monkey noises. Hilarious! We both love it. Simon jumps in it like mad every morning, and I jump right along with him, clap for him, and generally cheer him on. It makes us both laugh, and it gives us both our morning workout.

Footnote: Simon may love the Jumperoo a bit too much. When we try to stand him in our laps, he often puts his feet together to jump instead. Plus, he’s jumped to the point of rubbing the skin off his toes a few times, bringing about the new rule: no Jumperoo without socks or shoes.

Casio Soothing Sounds White Noise Generator: For over six months, our white noise generator was an old air filter that droned on and on. We finally got off our tushes a while ago and ordered one that does more than drone. Ahhhhh. For $13, the new model is a clock, a radio, and a white noise machine. Plus, it doesn’t hog up all the floor space in the nursery. Matt loves the running water. I’m partial to ocean waves. Neither of us misses the previous monstrosity.

I Love You Little One: This is a sweet little book about animal babies and their mommies. Each four page spread features a baby asking its mommy if she loves him, and the mom responding in reassuring metaphors. “I love you like the wild rye” says the mommy mouse, “I love you like the warm earth” says the mommy rabbit, “I love you like the oak tree” says the mommy owl. It’s a sweet book with very pretty pictures. I read it to Simon all the time. Matt has attempted to read it twice and failed. He just gets too choked up to make it all the way through. And that right there is enough to put it on my favorite list!

Feet: Preferably his own. About five weeks ago Simon finally discovered his own feet. Who knew such a fabulous toy was just inches away? Now he grabs on to them and plays with them regularly. It’s cute when he’s on the bed or on the changing table, but it’s especially amusing in the stroller. If I have him heavily reclined in it, there are times when from the profile all you can see is Simon’s outstretched hand grasping onto his foot. It makes him look like he’s doing pilates on the go.

Magazines: I read in one of my (few) parenting books that babies Simon’s age can play with fabric books, board books, or magazines you don’t mind being destroyed. As Matt and I are always drowing in newspapers, magazines, and catalogues, I figured I had something to spare for the experiment. Well, Simon grabbed the LL Bean Traveler catalog and went nuts! He crumpled it, he wadded it, he grabbed at it, and I’m pretty sure he ate part of it. It’s not just that this thing is only fit for the recycle bin by now, it’s that it looks like it’s already been partially recycled. I think the next magazine needs to be something printed with soy ink for health purposes!

I’m Leap, Let’s Sing the Alphabet Song: I have no idea what the actual name of this toy is. But it’s a small stuffed frog named Leap, and when you press it’s belly-or breathe real hard on it from what I can tell-he introduces himself and sings the alphabet song. At the end, he does a little two-phase giggle. “He-he-he-he-he…he he he he.” I do a mean imitation. Simon loves Leap and seemingly never grows tired of listening to him. I grow tired by time fifteen or so, but if it makes Simon this happy and can’t begrudge him it.

The Ball: When we stayed with Tony and Katherine last month, Simon enjoyed playing with a ball of Thomas’s. So much so that we decided to get him his own. If he’s in the right mood, you can roll a ball back and forth to Simon and he will laugh every time it moves. You’ve gotta love any low-key amusement like this.

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