When my firstborn was little, we didn't have enough space for a playpen unless we wanted to jettison the couch--which was actually a loveseat, because there wasn't room for an actual couch, either. When my secondborn was little, I didn't think of a playpen: I was on auto-pilot, using whatever equipment we already had.
As soon as the first twin started crawling, I knew we were in an entirely unfamiliar world. Here is a glimpse into the world of twins, free of charge: unless you can unhinge your eyes so that they'll move independently of each other, it is very, very, very difficult to keep track of two babies at the same time. Childproofing helps, and we ramped that up to previously unachieved levels. But what really helped was something that goes beyond the word "playpen" and on to the word "corral."
It is the North State Superyard XT Gate. Ohhhh, yeahhh. Eighteen-and-a-half square feet of toddler patrol. There's enough room in there for two toddlers and a heap of toys, and if you have triplets or an extra-big living room you can get the extension kit that doubles the inside area. We bought the extension because my grasp of spacial relations is tenuous at best. We've never used it, because my grasp of spacial relations instantly improved when I saw how the original gate without the extension used up nearly all the floor space in our living room.
It is such a relief to have a safe place to put the babies down if I'm bringing in groceries or folding laundry. Or, you know, finishing just one more chapter. It's big enough that they can crawl around, and they don't have the pitiful look of a babies in a cramped prison cell. An adult can easily sit in the pen with the babies, if an adult feels like having babies crawling all over her.
The whole thing is plastic, so you can hose it down if the need arises. It folds down accordian-style to the size of one panel (but thicker, of course), and can be brought outdoors or to the beach if you're ever feeling brave enough to attempt such a thing. My aunt says she has seen the same play yard advertised in her pet catalog, for use with dogs and puppies. It can also be used to keep children (or dogs) OUT of a place: I read online that one mother said she used hers to surround the Christmas tree, protecting it from all those little curious grabby hands. I'll keep that in mind for next Christmas: this Christmas, it's still more needed as a corral.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...