Recently, my nephew turned the big oh-one. He followed his older brother by less than two years, which means the household has its fair share of board books and trucks that fit chunky little toddler hands, stuffed animals, and 18-month clothes, including many hand-me-downs from the cousins.
He sleeps in his cousin’s crib (my four year-old daughter’s former crib).
For his birth, the actual (recycled from these cousins) gift I brought was a wooden rocking horse. It seemed like a fitting gift, because it had been a second baby gift from my cousins. Our oldest two aren’t quite so close in age, but not far apart—less than three years. Like my nephews, we were awash in cute onesies and baby blankets. The idea that you offer something siblings or the family can enjoy during this small, small children era feels to me really lovely—affirming of the era they are so thickly “in.”
So when my nephew turned one, I thought about the rocking horse and the babies turning into toddlers in front of their very eyes and the way that feeding small children feels so central and special and involved when they are the center of the show. I bought an apple machine, you know the crank kind that peels, cores and makes the apples into rings. It’s not the first time I’ve given one as a gift, to apple-loving families.
Even though my eldest two are teens, our apple machine remains a useful item: for applesauce making made easy and for drying apples in our dehydrator, which, aptly was a hand-me-down from my brother-in-law, when he reckoned with the hard truth that as much as he liked the idea of drying fruit for camping trips, he doesn’t really enjoy dried fruit.
Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a writer, whose work appears in the ebook anthology Welcome to My World, Brain Child Magazine & the Huffington Post, Babble & Bamboo Magazine amongst others. She does some blogging for Teen Life and keeps her own blog—Standing in the Shadows—at the Valley Advocate. She and her dear husband are raising four children and enduring a great deal of chaos in the relatively sleepless process.