The Little Things Parents Wonder About

Em has one pair of gloves and they don’t really fit him. We’re definitely going to have to invest in a few more pairs immediately. On Saturday this became very clear. Tobyjoe and Em were out for a walk and TJ couldn’t find Emory’s gloves (not that they fit him anyway) so he put his adult-sized mittens on Em’s tiny hands. As they were walking through Williamsburg, a passing stranger whispered to her friend, “That baby has giant hands.”

Three days earlier I took part in a discussion on the playground about gloves and how difficult it is convincing them to put (and keep) them on. We all just kind of shrugged about it, unable to come up with a solution.

While on a playdate this morning, the question came up again. My friend asked, “What do you do whenever you’re at the playground? They can’t very well climb stuff in them, can they?”

What do you do with these little guys in winter? It’s really hard to climb stuff while wearing gloves and it’s certainly cold—cold enough to turn their bony fingers into tiny human icicles. What to do?

As of late, I’ve been kind of winging it, but I bet there’s something out there—some type of product—that makes everything better.

And while I’m on the subject of products, let’s talk squirters. (Incidentally, do NOT type that word into a Google Web search. Ugh.) I have a bunch for Em to use at bath time and I try and make sure and squeeze the water out after each use. But recently I noticed that the yellow lizard was growing funk. I pinched it and the funk moved around. Disgusting, right?

Naturally, he’s gone.

What do people do with these things? Do they bleach them? Do you not use them for this very reason? Is there something I’m missing when it comes to keeping them funk-free? If I have to clean these things every time he uses them, they’re going to end up becoming land critters.

And last but not least, there is one product that has helped us out a lot lately. We picked up a couple bib crumb catchers recently and boy have they helped cut down on laundry!

But stick with the flimsy, softer materials. We bought a couple of the harder plastic Baby Bjorn bibs and he hated it, refused to wear it. I think the hard plastic attachment was the culprit. (Also, they’re not cheap!)

However, they seem to have excellent reviews on Amazon, so maybe it’s just us.

Please feel free to rant and rave about any products you’ve discovered (or cool tricks) in the comments sections.


  1. I’m a big fan of the mittens on the strings. I was chastised nearly daily at daycare for this one, as they do not allow stringed mittens, because of the worry of strangulation. How else do you keep mittens on a 1 year old???? I have seen little two sided clips, one clips to the mitt, one to the sleeve, but never bought them. This year, at 2, Jonah will finally keep his mitts on.
    The bath squirts get disgusting quickly. I noticed ours were squirting out black floaters one day, and confiscated them. You can soak them in a disinfecting solution of bleach and water, making sure to fill them and squirt all the nasties out. But then I worried about Jonah eating the bleach, because he liked to squirt them in his mouth. So eventually I just tossed them all and now we use boats in the tub.


  2. Yeah, I think we have no choice but to toss the squirters. (Note to self: DO NOT buy these for any future babies.) That’s how I noticed, Wendy. I squirted him one day and black funk came out.

    So freaking gross.

    Future parents: Avoid squirters.


  3. Evan will FINALLY keep his mittens on. At daycare last year they actually DUCT TAPED them at the wrist of his coat so he couldn’t get them off! Even stringed mittens, he would take them off and lose them almost as fast as you put them on. He would only keep them on when we were playing in the snow. Now, at 3 years old, we have a set of mittens on a string for each of his winter coats (the kid has 3..I didn’t buy any) and we have a few extra cheapy sets around the house for emergencies, ie: he rips the string ones out or the dog gets them.
    The water squirters are a good idea in theory because they do create a lot of laughter in the tub, but they do get extremely disgusting in no time. I accidentally squirted black floaters onto Evan and tried to clean them out but it was so frustrating. We now use boats and cheap sandbox toys in the tub. I will never buy the squirters again.


  4. There really needs to be someone out there yelling STOP! DO NOT BUY THIS! when it comes to certain items. The Squirters come to mind immediately, what a waste of plastic and time for Chinese children. Another massive waste of money were the Skip Hop Floor Tiles Wow! Did that ever suck for us. They most definitely could have spent their time and money and resources on something less than awful. In my opinion.


  5. I put Anthony’s bath toys in the dishwasher but they still get kind of yucky. Have found that tupperware and a turkey baster are awesome fun for bath time.

    And, as for mittens, Anthony doesn’t like them much either and I’ve found that in a pinch socks work very well as mittens. Not the warmest, but they do stay on, so that’s something! I know, I know, kind of lowbrow, but you do what works, right?


  6. Patty! Lowbrow? PLEASE! You belong here! I was about to write, SOCKS! HOW DID I NOT THINK OF SOCKS! and then saw the lowbrow followup.

    You say lowbrow? I say genius. And I can already see the looks I’ll get from all the local alpha mommies.

    Worth it entirely.


  7. I love love love the crumb catchers. The best part is that they are vinyl like and don’t absorb water, milk, juice that our daughter likes to spit out. They just hold that liquid until I can pour it into the sink. We’ve saved mucho laundry time with these bibs- saving her clothes and previously necessary clothing changes. Plus when they get grungy into the laundry they go (just hang dry). Very pleased.

    I am running into the same glove issue. There isn’t much reasoning with a 1 year old.


  8. Maybe they could make shirts with built in gloves, can’t take them off unless you take the shirt off, HA!


  9. Actually, Josh, you’re on to something. They make these little mittens for newborns, you can pull back the top bit over their fingers if you want. Not sure if that makes sense. You could make shirts with this option as well. ALthough, something makes me think they probable exist. hmmmmm I shall investigate!


  10. We actually LOVE the squirters at bath time. Yes, they’re a pain if you forget to empty them, which my husband never does. After bath time, I head back into the bathroom to squeeze all the water out and wipe them off. We’ve never had black stuff come out, but maybe that’s just luck. If it weren’t for the squirters, we wouldn’t be able to distract Adeline from the fact that we’re pouring water in her head. (She hates the water part, but LOVES the shampoo part.) Anyway, we’ve used the crumb catching bibs for awhile, and I concur with their AWESOMENESS. Instead of throwing them in the laundry, they can just be wiped off for the next meal.

    We use “Clorox anywhere hard surface daily sanitizing spray.” It’s a wonder cleaner, ya’ll. We use it on her highchair, toys, bath toys, everything we can possibly think of. There’s no fumes, leaves no residue, doesn’t need to be rinsed, doesn’t bleach colors, and is kid and pet friendly. I could be their spokesperson. :)

    As for the mittens, I don’t have a solution. Adeline’s are attached to her coat sleeve by both a strip of fabric and a clip. She’ll leave them on, but she can’t do anything so she gets bored and wants to go inside.


  11. Lowbrow and Lovin' It November 24, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    My little dude (14 months) won’t keep a hat on his head for longer than 10 minutes but the sock/mittens work like a dream. I don’t now why he keeps them on but I feel like the fact that I don’t worry about him losing them has something to do with it-one of those baby mind game things. We hit the Williamsburg streets with pride.


  12. I gave up on the squirters after I had a similar black funk issue. Now I buy the bath toys with no holes and squirt guns which seem to not grow mold and satisfy the kids need to squirt things. As for mittens, I skip those entirely and get the gloves with gripper things on the bottoms. They take a little longer to put on but they seem to be more inclined to keep them on because they can still pick stuff (sticks, rocks, fists-fullof dirt) up and the grippy bottoms allow them to climb.


  13. OK, I just came to weigh in about the “that baby has giant hands” comment. At once hilarious and completely moronic!


  14. We used something like that plastic baby bjorn thing. I think we got ours at Ikea, though. They rocked and were so helpful with the mess. I don’t think Annie liked it at first, but she came around pretty easily when she realized it was required.

    The squirters – it is gross what grows inside those things. I mostly steered clear of those because of that. I used bleach a few times, but then you worry about the chemicals.

    I have decided that winters totally suck with kids. Annie totally hated bundling up and every picture we have of her in the snow she’s crying and miserable. Our solution – move to Arizona. Never again will we have to bundle up an unhappy kid in layers and layers of cloths and lug all that gear.

    I did like the mittens that were attached together by a string that you pull through the sleeves and they just stay there in the coat. We used the clips too, but I found the string kind easiest. I would also get the multi pack of simple stretchy gloves at H+M or Target, they come in packs with several colors, and would always carry an extra pair in my bag just in case.


  15. I second the usage of turkey basters. Those were our squirters when we were kids. And thanks y’all for the advice. I am storing all this for when mr wendyr and I finally procreate.


  16. hiya mihow. i dont know if this will work with a squirter but its worth a try.
    when i used to use a nalgene bottle and it would start to get funky, i would fill it up with water, not all the way, and freeze it. did the trick every time. no smell, no floaters.dont throw them out. theyre so cute.


  17. People use white vinegar to clean soap scum and mold. So maybe when you’re finished with the squirters, you could suck a bit of vinegar into them, shake around, and then empty? It might help them stay clean, and would be much safer than bleach.


  18. I forgot about vinegar! We used vinegar (and baking soda but not together) to clean the coffee pots at the diner I worked out throughout college. Hmmmm

    Many of them met their demise after this post was written, but I held onto a few. Perhaps I’ll give that a go! Thanks!


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