gift for two year old and for new parents
March 25, 2016 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Hi everyone. I am going to be traveling in a month and staying with close friends, whose children I am fairy godparent to. Nephew #1 is two and a half, nephew #2 is going to be less than 3 months old. I would like to get a gift for nephew #1, the two and a half year old, and perhaps something for the parents. My needs are fairly simple, but I'm not around kids much and I don't know what I'm doing. More details under the cut.

I would like to get my nephew an age-appropriate book or toy, especially since he is newly a big brother. For books, something featuring a child of color would be preferable. I would normally start thinking about art supplies, but I know they are set for that.

For the parents, perhaps something that will give them an excuse to chill out, or something you can't have too much of with a new baby. My first thought was green tea, since I know they do not have time to read much right now.

All items must go through airport security without issue, and must not be huge. I would like not to spend more than $20 each.

Thanks in advance!
posted by bile and syntax to Shopping (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I usually gift cleaning services or gift cards to restaurants that deliver to new parents. Since your budget is pretty small, maybe a gift card to Trader Joe's or another place that has a lot of tasty boxed meals? I would be psyched about green tea but some moms avoid caffeine while breastfeeding.

A baby toy might be nice for the big brother--one that will let him copy/practice what his parents are doing with his new sibling (so with accessories for "feeding" and "changing" the doll, for instance). YMMV, I don't think most people give dolls to boys, but why not?
posted by chaiminda at 9:39 AM on March 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I might just go to the dollar store and buy a couple of funky container systems. Little kids like to put things into containers, and take them out again. A couple of Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars? My friend's daughter LOVES wheeled toys.

For the parents, I'd find out what neighborhood pizza joint they like, and get them a gift certificate.

Have fun!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

Dr. Suess books are the classic and timeless gift for young children. I am sorry that I cannot name one with a child of color.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 9:49 AM on March 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Can I just point out that you should also get a toy for the new baby too - not so much for him but for his big brother to use to interact with him. Most children love to be in the role of "teaching" the (admittedly) uncomprehending baby and it helps them develop empathy and a closer relationship. Don't buy plastic crap, something wooden (if painted, then with non-toxic paint) with no small pieces or the possibility of breaking.

For the toddler's book, wolfie the bunny is cute, and Peanut butter big brother addresses biracialism nicely (not sure if that is an issue with your NOC). You might want to pop into your local library and ask the children's librarian for suggestions - you can then narrow down things that are important to you and browse the collection for ideas.

For the parents, time and energy is what they *need*, so don't give them anything requiring either from you (says the person that still has gifted scrapbooking supplies packed away from my teen's birth). Maybe bring a frame and take a nice picture of the family together and get it printed and put in the frame (most of my pics make my children look like partial orphans as one parent was the one taking the photo, lol)
posted by saucysault at 9:52 AM on March 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

I agree with the book idea. Little kids often have so many toys, parents struggle to contain them all and many don't get played with. But a good bedtime story book or two takes up little space and can be used with/by both children in time.
posted by cecic at 9:54 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Divya Srinivasan is a WOC author of childrens' books. We have Little Owl's Night by her, which is beautiful. If you are as big of a cephalod fan as I am, her book "Octopus Alone" might be a nice bit of you to give. It is for ages 3 and up, which I think is just about right for a 2.5 year old kid.

Otherwise a Doc McStuffins book (a cartoon girl of color who plays doctor) would work, too.
posted by jillithd at 9:56 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, and a postcard-of-the-month from you just to check in and send some regular love might be welcome for the new parents, too. It requires little effort for them, but reminds them that you care. :)
posted by jillithd at 9:58 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Peter's Chair has a protagonist who is a child of color and is a good book about becoming an older sibling. (I'm not wild about the whole "pink is for girls, blue is for boys" angle but I've gotten around that by explaining to kids that some people like that idea but not everyone has to go with it if they like something else.)
posted by corey flood at 10:06 AM on March 25, 2016 [5 favorites]

For nephew #1, I would suggest a board book by Ezra Jack Keats (the author of the above-recommended Peter's Chair). I really liked him as a kid, I can still remember my mom reading Snowy Day to me, and my kids have also loved his books.

For the parents, I'm not as sure. My memories of those periods of our lives are so poor because of the lack of sleep. What I really valued more than anything was someone watching the kids so we could both get some sleep. Next best was tasty food that we didn't have to cook. Maybe just ask them?
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 10:25 AM on March 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

For books, I highly recommend anything published by Barefoot Books. All of the human characters are very diverse - a very wide variety of races, nationalities, people in wheelchairs, etc. They are beautifully illustrated. For a toddler and new baby, I'd recommend one of their song books like Knick Knack Paddy Whack or The Wheels on the Bus (IIRC, all/many of the characters in both of those are black) - those are easiest for me to "read" to my toddler while simultaneously caring for the baby, since I have the words memorized and can just sing along absentmindedly as he turns the pages himself.
posted by gatorae at 10:29 AM on March 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

A PipSqueaks sticker subscription? My kids love it, and it might buy the parents some independent playtime.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:37 AM on March 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

For a toy, my 2.5 year old son loves this Melissa & Doug Dress-Up Bear puzzle. He will play with it independently longer than he will with any of his other toys. For something even simpler, you could just get a huge number and variety of stickers. My son will sit and make sticker collages for ages on end.
posted by gatorae at 10:45 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Recently on Ask MeFi: What are some classic books for young children?
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:47 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Taking a picture of the family the first day you're there and printing it out and framing it would be amazing. I don't think we have a family photo of us with our 7 month old yet.

For the baby, a soft rattle that they can hold. That's about all they can do and the toddler can jingle it at them.

Ask what the toddler's into right now and get something complimentary. My toddler likes stuff that works together so like a tow truck with a truck to tow or a loader or a digger that fills a dump truck. Stickers are always good too. Around two is when my son started randomly refusing baths some weeks so sometimes we'd have to bribe him into the tub with a special toy. Something small for the tub- he got three small plastic boats for Christmas and really likes those. I agree with the commenter above who suggested stuff with containers.

For the parents, offer to watch the kids and let them go out (if they're ready for this). It might make more sense for them to go to brunch or out during naptime, not necessarily at night. Otherwise, get up when the kids get up- yes, probably 5 or 6 am- and help out however you can. My dad visited last weekend and did morning duty with the baby and it was so nice. You could entertain the toddler or make breakfast if the baby needs to be with mom for feeding.

If there's a place that does premade dinners in their town you could buy a couple for the freezer or get a gift card (though that requires them to go out and get something which honestly can sometimes be a pain).
posted by betsybetsy at 10:56 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Books by Ezra Jack Keats for the little guy. For the parents - especially if they're not ready to leave the little one with a minder - a gift cert to the poshest, most amazing restaurant that does either takeout or delivery. Share it with them, if you're of a mind. Adult conversation that doesn't involve the kids is golden.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:08 AM on March 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

Two of the very best books for that age that recently came out are: The Day The Crayons Quit, and The Book With No Pictures.
posted by Amizu at 11:19 AM on March 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Every two and a half year old sees themself in Maurice Sendak's Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue
posted by ElGuapo at 11:45 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

For the baby, anything they can shake and make a noise with. For the toddler, bath toys or duplo - duplo is something they'll get years of use from. (Also, what's a fairy godparent? I'm just the regular boring kind and if they're giving out wings I want to know about it.)
posted by Jubey at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

For the baby/kid a mini photo album of pictures of people who love them. Take some candids while you are there, send them to print at the local kiosk at the drugstore or Target, etc. assemble with some blank pages or tuck in a few fun quick poems and you're done. Babies love faces. Big brothers can make very funny faces.

For big brother, a cuddly, bright microfiber or flannel pillow cover/case for snuggling with in bed and squeaking out a few more minutes of rest;)
posted by childofTethys at 4:57 PM on March 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Two year olds love these things! Build walls, and then knock them down! It's the best game ever!

Also they're durable and inexpensive and you'll love them, too.
posted by Admiral Viceroy at 7:04 AM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I actually think the green tea idea is great if that's something they like. I got a lot of fancy tea and fancy teapots and funny mugs and stuff when I had little babies, and I really enjoyed them.

And Peter's Chair is one of my favorite books, despite the pink/blue thing. Highly recommended.
posted by gerstle at 8:55 AM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

(Also, what's a fairy godparent? I'm just the regular boring kind and if they're giving out wings I want to know about it.)

The dad and I are atheists and wanted a funny, non-gendered term. I'm queer, so I picked fairy godparent.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:21 PM on March 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thanks very much for the suggestions, everyone!
posted by bile and syntax at 6:22 PM on March 26, 2016

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