Hindsight is twenty-twenty—that’s why I can now see that baby registries are a good idea. In the fall of 2008, however, while pregnant with my daughter, I thought I knew better. As a professional editor of baby and kids products (for dear old Cookie mag, RIP) and a professional design snob, I took one step inside my local big box baby store, and balked at the vibrating pastel bouncers and battery-operated plastic playthings. Boppies? Ick. A Diaper Genie? In my house? Never!
At work I was awash in Netto and Nume (see gorgeous cradle above) and artisanal German toys, and I was determined to carry over that minimalist aesthetic and quality craftsmanship to my baby’s nursery—heck, to motherhood itself. If the subject came up in conversation, other parents were prone to a smirk or an all-knowing smile. Just wait and see, they told me, your priorities will change. I swore they would not. High design and beautiful objects, or bust.
I began to cave not two weeks after my girl was born. The object of my undoing: A play mat. The culprit: My mother-in-law. In my hormone-induced state she was able to convince me that our unadorned, organic cotton bassinet, lovely as it looked in the living room, was perhaps, for the newborn, a tad…boring. I gave in because suddenly (obviously) I cared about nothing save my daughter’s happiness.
And so it came to be that our apartment was home to a candy-colored, excessively-patterned, no-doubt polyester apparatus. They don’t make play mats from plywood and linen, after all. Nor should they. And in my ongoing process of embracing all that is fun and functional (yes, we now own a Diaper Genie), I have come to appreciate the highest achievement in kid design: products that satisfy both parent and child with smarts, style, and high play-value. A perfect example is the brand new vintagy-sweet play mat from Woodours. Next time around, I’m totally going to put it on my registry.
Photos: Nume, Geared for Imagination