Today, I'm listing some things that have made life easier for Max and our family (but mostly for Max). Please add your own discoveries!
1. A great highchair
A year or so ago, at the recommendation of an OT, we bought a Keekaro. It's a good feeding chair for any kid, but it's especially wonderful for ones who need extra support. We got ours with a cushion that's easy to wipe down. It's for tots ages six months up, and can be adjusted to fit someone up until (so says the site) he is 250 pounds. I'd say that if your child hits 250 pounds, you've been using the feeding chair entirely too much and need to go find a hobby.
2. A great spoon
The Boon Bender came recommended by another OT. The plastic is malleable and can be angled, so it's handy for kids who aren't that coordinated about getting food into their mouths. Works for Max!
3. Great nutrients for nurturing kids' brains
When Max was in the NICU after he was born, a world-renowned pediatric neurologist came to examine him and mentioned Coromega Omega-3 Dietary Supplement. It's this orange-mousse concoction packed with Omega-3s, which are said to boost brain development. We slipped a half-packet into Max's food once a day when he was young, and now we go through one a day. We also use Nordic Naturals Omega 3•6•9 Junior (and the adult version for us).
4. Great toys for kids development
A couple of months ago, I blogged about smart toys for kids. One more I've since discovered:
Cranium Balloon Lagoon (geared toward five-year-olds and up but fine for a four-year-old) gets kids to use their hands in all sorts of ways and think creatively and logically. Max tried it at our friends' house this weekend and did an impressive job of fishing magnetic alphabet letters out of a "lagoon." It's in high demand, so see if you can find a used one on eBay. UPDATE: Mommie Mayhem is right, they're on sale for $10 at Toys R Us! Go get 'em!
5. Great (and free!) online educational games
These sites get two thumbs up from Max (OK, two hands up, he's not very adept about extending those thumbs—why his computer touch-screen comes in handy): Kinderweb and Kaboose Funschool.