So, it turns out that toddlers are allowed at the kitchen counter.
I know. I was shocked too.
Sometimes I miss the boat when it comes to “typical” toddler things. Not all things, mind you–and usually not the important things–but little things have been known to slip through the cracks around here. For Simeon, the activities that typical kids do usually fall into one of four categories:
- The “Not Yet” Category: He can’t do these activities yet but with a little help and a lot of encouragement (ie: nagging) he’ll get there. Example: putting pants on without help. BTW, do you have any idea how hard it is to put your pants on when you aren’t standing up? It’s like, THE hardest. I tried it once and I quit after 3 seconds. #determination
- The “Never Will I Ever” Category: He won’t be able to do these activities– not even with a lot of hard work or if he uses Professor Harold Hill’s “Think System.” (<— If you understand that reference then welcome to the Musical Theater Nerd Club.) Examples: Jumping rope, jumping jacks, leap frog, hop scotch (and who even wants to do those anyway? not me).
- The “Yes with modifications” Category: He can do these activities if we provide modifications for his success. Examples: riding a bike (with a hand tryke), getting out of bed on his own (with a foam wedge to crawl down).
- The “I CAN DO IT!” Category: He does these activities without help, just like a typical child. Examples: counting to ten, coloring, washing his hands, recognizing farm animals, memorizing all the words to “Let it Go,” having a colossal meltdown in the middle of a crowded department store.
And so, when I saw a photo on Facebook of a toddler standing on a chair to reach the counter, I was like… whoa– so we’re doing THIS now? And I knew Simeon would totally dig standing at the counter. And this would definitely fall into the “yes with modifications” category. And adding an additional option for keeping my kid entertained (by which I mean distracted enough that I have 5 minutes to devour a sleeve of thin mints in peace) is always a win.
The question was, how to get him up to the counter safely?
Simeon has HKAFOs (leg braces) for therapeutic standing but without support (either holding onto his walker or having an adult hold onto him) he topples like a sturdy tree in a forest that’s crawling with lumberjacks. While most 2-year-olds could stand on a chair to reach the counter, Simeon needs a bit more help to reduce the risk of falling. A friend mentioned using the Learning Tower from Little Partners but the platform was too big and the cut outs on the sides seemed a wee bit chancy for my weeble-wobbly kid.
So I did some hardcore research, like the inspirational mom I am, (kidding— I just looked at the Learning Tower and Amazon suggested an alternative because it’s made of beautiful witchcraft) and found something perfect:
The FunPod by Little Helper. Hallelujah!
This thing is perfect, you guys. It’s basically a tall cube (or “rectangular prism” if you’re nerdy) that you lower your kid into so they can reach the counter. Think of it as an enclosed step stool. You can raise or lower the foot platform depending on the height of your child and, since the enclosed space is relatively small, there’s no risk of falling down while standing in the pod. It comes in a few colors and we chose red because obviously red is the funnest.
Sim’s Grandma Gigi gave it to him for Christmas and it’s been a lovely addition to our kitchen. Here’s the short list of what he’s done in the pod so far:
- Decorate cookies
- Roll and cut out biscuits
- Clean the counters (as much as a two-year-old can “clean”)
- Art activities while I make dinner
- Playing in the sink <— his all time favorite thing
The best part? Since he wears his braces in the FunPod, he’s logging in some good therapeutic standing time while having fun at the counter. All while I get things done (and by “get things done” I mean Instagramming cute pictures of him using his FunPod). Dream come true.
So, if your kid wears braces and isn’t quite ready to hop on a step stool or pull up a chair to reach the counter, you should try this thing. I plan to use it with Franny too because it’s the bomb diggity.
Just thought you should know.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I will receive a small comission. It also means I dig this product and think you will too.
So what do you think? Got any other ideas on how or where we could use this thing? Anyone else have a tool to make the kitchen more accessible? Speaking of kitchens, isn’t my mother-in-law’s kitchen the prettiest?