Caroline Corcoran just took a break from retrieving her one year-old from across the room for the 36th time this morning to do some research...
There will come a day - they told me it would happen, they said it - when your child will no longer remain where you place them and where the buy-you-half-an-hour safety net of the Jumparoo is about as OV-AH to him as your years of going out drinking until 3am.
The bouncy chair is a distant memory, the high chair only lasts as long as the pancakes are being supplied and if you put him down on the floor, he is 100% guaranteed to find that tiny sharp pin someone dropped on the most unreachable corner of the carpet three years ago.
Here are some ideas for how to contain your small human…
Essentially a travel cot but he/ she is too small to realise this so bung some toys in there, put it in the kitchen and you can convince your child that this is some sort of awesome playtime fun pit. Leaving you free to go wild (or, you know, put the whites on) without worrying.
If the idea of a thousand fluoro balls flying around the place and ruining your muted Farrow and Ball (OK FINE DULUX) walls horrifies you, go with this from the clever people at Mini Maison. When the baby’s in bed it can almost look like part of your adult decor. Until someone spots the half eaten carrot.
Technically: you’re teaching him to walk! You’re helping him advance! You are a stupendously fine example of parenting prowess! In reality: you’re giving your arms a break and buying yourself five minutes to empty the dishwasher. Be warned though, they need a big clear space in these things or they can cause carnage. If anyone was wondering what happened to the plant in our kitchen, see above.
Adapts to any space you have, so it can be as small as your city centre living room or big enough to fill your mum and dad’s place in the countryside. Either way, this playpen has the sort of rounded edges that make parents as relaxed as three large G&Ts and is perfect for plonking them in while you go to the loo/ run into the other room and shovel in that Dairy Milk you couldn’t eat in front of your cocoa-detective toddler.
Perfect for outdoors in the summer because it comes with its own canopy, so you can stick this up without worrying that an hour on the Welsh coast in 18 degrees is going to end up with your child getting sunburn so bad, the health visitor’s coming round to give you a bollocking. We’re not saying you’re now going to get two hours uninterrupted chilling on the beach with a novel but… well it might buy you enough time to eat a Magnum (fast).