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Emma Clover, almost four!


As Emma Clover approaches her fourth birthday I am thinking about our past year together, and how she really has changed into a big kid. She took ballet and music classes and went on play dates. She started the using the potty and was quickly toilet trained. We took BART trains and buses all over and had grand adventures. She remained a lover of books and pretty much asked every moment for me to read to her. We tended to a garden at the Lake Merritt toddler gardens. It was super fun times!


As far as clothes go we still buy most pieces second hand. There are so many great children resale shops in Berkeley and Oakland, as well as thrift stores that also carry gently used children’s clothes. We shop at Ruby’s Garden, Silver Moon Kids, Out of the Closet, Savers and Grove Street Kids. I buy clothes that are functional, colorful and easy to wear. I have bought a few things new of course, like underpants and a bathing suit. Emma picks out dresses and leggings to wear pretty much every day.

Emma wore mary jane style sneakers with velcro from Keds and Keen, as well as her Saucony sneakers, Saltwater sandals and Crocs rainboots. We have had good luck with socks from the Gap and Stride Rite.


For potty training we had a Baby Bjorn potty around for a couple years that she could practice on. We bought a step stool for her to use to wash hands early on as well. This year we got a seat for the toilet and a travel seat and they have worked wonderfully. I put her travel seat and wipes as well as extra clothes in the Baggu bags to bring along in the stroller. I still have to pick her up to set her on the toilet. We both love when we go to the Oakland museum or Ruby’s Garden because they have step stools for the kiddos to use and she can be totally independent in the restroom.


Almost every day for the past year Clover has played with her Calico Critters. Last year around her birthday she received a playhouse for them and she loves it so much. She gets new animals every once in a while but every piece is well loved. She and I collected wooden toys to create a Little Bear collection this year too. She mastered puzzles and loves to create things with art supplies. This has also been the year of dress up, mostly in fancy, frilly dresses.



We have an extensive book collection and visit the libraries in Oakland and Berkeley regularly. Emma loves Frog and Toad, Little Bear and anything written by Richard Scarry. She loves Elsa Beskow books and has a large collection of Chi’s Sweet Home. We have started adding Magic School Bus books to our collection as we find them as well. She loves fairy tales and we are lucky to visit Fairyland to watch puppet shows and attend story time. They also have a great library in their reading room.


This year we bought a Bob stroller and I really, really wish that we would have bought it two years ago. We have had two different strollers in that time and they did not fit our needs at all. Now we have a Bob jogging stroller and it rocks. Since we do not have a car, a good stroller can make a big difference. ^_^

Here is more information about our first three years in stuff. And baby essentials for year one.

baby essentials-year one

imagejpeg_2_16Emma is almost one year old and I thought it may be a good idea to document all the stuff we actually used during our first year with a baby.

Onesies and soft pants. I never understood pajamas and play wear for babies. Just dress them comfortably all the time and then there is no need to change to fit the occasion. Carters onesies are soft and come in packs. I had fun buying Emma lots of different second hand pieces and she was cute in them but grew out of everything really fast. Thank goodness I didn’t buy everything full price! Trumpette socks from Target worked well enough for us and we received some others that worked even better that came up higher and also looked like ballet slippers. Bought Acorn slippers later and they are great! Emma wore wool socks as mittens and her fleece sleep sack over her fleece jacket during the winter. People still went out their way to tell us she was cold. So weird! She loved hats until a couple months ago.

Disposable diapers, as well as diaper covers and clips for our cloth diaper days. We bought seventh generation after she grew out of the newborn diapers we were gifted. Cloth wipes were the greatest thing ever to have on hand. I preferred the regular to the bamboo Lionheart wipes. A friend gave us a ton of these little cloths too that we use for everything. I also reccommend the Planet Wise wet/dry laundry bag. For wet wipes I only buy Lasinoh. They are the best—and I know from first hand experience changing diapers at work! The Kirkland brand are the next runner up. For cream I love the Weleda Calendula diaper cream.

Diaper changing pad was from Summer Infant and I didn’t buy a cover. Instead I have covered it will cloth diapers that are easy to switch out. Emma scratched the pad a lot when she was small and so it has lots of tears in it—its really worn out now! For travel we have the quick change pad and it is super duper awesome and like seven dollars. Again I carry a cloth diaper to cover it. I never bought a diaper bag by the way. First I used my Falljraven backpack and now her stuff is squeezed in a Skip Hop frog backpack because its so damn cute.

Bath tub, Johnson & Johnson baby wash, wash cloth and rubber ducky (not an essential but Emma likes it now that e is older). Have wanted to try the Weleda Calendula wash or Burt’s Bees or Mustela but this J&J bottle has lasted eleven months. ^_^ Never put lotions or oils on Emma and she doesn’t have dry skin.

Toys have been few but good quality. A ring from Haba, this cute animal train and of course Sophie. She received the Plan Toys stackers as a gift and likes carrying those colorful circles around too. Emma loved her Ikea gym and still carries the hanging pieces around. At twenty dollars its really the best toy purchase.

Books that Emma has and loves: The Hungry Caterpillar (she loves the holes), Goodnight Moon (good contrast) and the Mommy Loves/Daddy Cuddles series! Those are so, so good. Also Big Red Barn because there are so many opportunities for us to make animal sounds. ^_^

Ikea crib and mattress with the Carter’s fitted sheet. We co-slept until Emma was like six months old. She rolls and spins around so much now that it is very necessary for her to sleep in her crib. Diaper changing table and baskets for Emma’s clothes from Ikea as well.

We swaddled Emma for eleven months. We have her hospital blankets and a few others. They are useful even though we have too many. I picked out a Muny comforter for her crib and of course she cannot have it in there because its a choking hazard. Next year perhaps. We loved all of her many fleece sacks (in which she has had three because she grows so fast! The one she has now has feet so she wear her slippers at night too. She looks like an adorable, cozy elf.

Ikea high chair in red and white. Its a lovely piece of furniture and again like twenty dollars. I was so happy when I bought it and Emma loves it too. We use ceramic cereal bowls from the Crate and Barrel outlet and metal/ceramic/wooden spoons. Glass canning jars for her food and glass Lifefactory baby bottles. They also have sippy cup lids that are cool. I have really tried to avoid plastic. We found some awesome pressed bamboo plates and bowls that Emma can use when she is ready to hold her own dishes. A stick blender and a drink blender is what I had before E was born so I have made do with out buying a food processor.

Lasinoh manual breast pump is really another amazing purchase. We still use the bottle rings that came with it to this day. Lasinoh makes pads and lanolin and the best wipes ever and basically its all good quality stuff. So for bottles we have Lifefactory glass with silicone cover, Lasinoh nipples rings and the Dr. Brown’s nipples. Its a mixed bag but we found the pieces that work.

The big stuff like stroller and car seat were gifts. We picked out the Wave stroller and get lots of compliments on it. I like that its nice looking and as functional as you can get. Everything is adjustable. Since we are a car free family we have a second hand car seat and have used it less than ten times. We did use the Moby wrap and won a Sakura Bloom wrap.

Emma never liked using a pacifier. My sister gave us a ton of Hyland’s teething tablets but eight teeth later we haven’t used them. She has a hair brush and comb but we have almost never used them. We have like five thermometers and three nasal aspirators from gifts plus the hospital sent us home with them. The only toiletries we use are baby q-tips and nail clippers. I bought a nail brush that we use occasionally. I have so many little things that have been in a basket unused this whole year. Its crazy how much stuff you think a baby needs.

Hope this helps anyone who may read this post! Love, Susan and Emma Clover