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So you want to be a schmuck at an indoor play place?  Who wouldn’t!  Just follow these simple guide and no one will doubt that you are a schmuck.

  1. Play with your phone A LOT:  Endlessly stare and tap at your phone like you are in the middle of using it to end world hunger.  Of course you are probably just “liking” newly discovered memes on Facebook but that is obviously more important than watching your kid play and keeping them (or everything in their path) safe.  This will clearly mark you as a schmuck.
  2. Let your school aged kid play tag:  You’ve never considered that this would be unsafe with infants crawling on the floor and toddlers toddling about?  Congratulations on your amazing lack of consideration.  Act surprised after your precious little 11-year-old runs over my kid and you can safely be called a schmuck.  Bonus points if you have a cup of coffee in your hand and look like you could care less.
  3. Leave your kid unattended:  Dropping a 5-year-old off at the play place while you shop in Forever 21 is clearly a fantastic idea and leaves no doubts about your status as a schmuck.  Your 11-year-old is very well equipped to properly supervise your little hellion and will happily sit and watch them for an hour while you try on everything in the store and gossip with your friend the clerk.  Of course if letting your children supervise themselves doesn’t work there are plenty of involved parents here to deal with your obnoxious stampeding children.  Passing off your responsibilities on strangers firmly places you in the schmuck column.
  4. Bring your sick kid:  Your kid woke up, threw up, sneezed, and coughed all at the same time?  Bring them to the play place and show off your epic schmuckness!  You are doing everyone child here a favor by teaching them about sharing.  Germs are great to share so you should definitely bring your little petri dish to a place where they can smear their bodily fluids onto as many communal surfaces as possible.  More schmuck points are yours if you look worse off than your kid and want to talk to other parents.
  5. Hover over your kid:  Why let your kid play and explore when you can follow them around doing everything for them?  That’s right helicopter parent, we all welcome you to this play place.  There’s another kid in your child’s way?  Move them!  Your kid is starting to climb something?  Pick them up and do it for them!  There’s a minor dispute over who’s next down the slide?  Insist it’s your kid and push them through!  All of these things will teach them excellent social and problem solving skills while developing their ability to be independent.  They will also make you very popular with the rest of us and make it clear that you are a schmuck.
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I try to re-purpose our stuff for O whenever I can because we live in an apartment with limited space.  Having too many items that serve only one purpose would turn our happy apartment into a miserably cluttered mess.  The picture above is a great example of a re-purposing idea that I learned from a Facebook friend.  The common solution to baby safety is a bath seat but I find that a laundry basket is much cheaper and it works better for a baby who can sit up.  It keeps him from tipping over, gives him something to hold onto and contains his toys as he splashes and plays.  He doesn’t need to lean out and try to grab them plus he learns how to balance himself in water in a way that he could not in a traditional bath seat.  When he was younger we used a bath sponge that you can lay him on in the tub.  It worked great and we still use it occasionally.  When we visit family for any length of time we will re-purpose a couple of adult sized towels to reproduce the same basic function.  If we hadn’t gotten the sponge we probably would have used the towel method instead.  We also had a hand me down baby tub and found it to be a hassling space thief more-so than a helpful bath tool.  When it comes to bath time there are clearly many opportunities to re-purpose stuff you already have instead of spending more money on single purpose items that will just hog precious storage space.

Another example of re-purposing is our baby station.  The idea is to take any piece of furniture with a top roughly waist-high and turn it into a changing table by stuffing it full of diaper changing supplies and throwing an inexpensive changing pad on top.  We went a step further and had my father in law build some custom shelves for the sides to create the ultimate baby station.  I talk about our changing station in an older post “Diaper Central Command” which has an excellent picture of how it turned out.  When we went out looking for baby stuff we were dismayed by the cost of specialize baby furniture.  It was nice looking but we had a hard time with the idea of spending $100+ dollars on a changing table that we would use for only one purpose for a few years and then promptly try to shove into the limited storage space we have in our central CT apartment.  Re-purposing has been the right solution for us and ended up producing a piece of furniture that is way better than anything we could have bought from a Babies R Us.

So that is how we have done a bit of re-purposing for our baby in an apartment.  What kind of creative re-purposing have you done?  Have any re-purposing tips that this stay at home dad could use?  Share in the comments section below so we can all benefit from your experience!

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