An Early Christmas Gift for Rudy (DIY Learning Tower)

Since Rudy's first birthday, we've had some rough but exciting days.  In the past couple of weeks, Rudy has cut two new teeth, had a pretty extreme growth spurt, a couple of difficult nights and she's started talking!  Sure, she said a (very) few basic words before but now it's happening for real and we are so excited!

It's so crazy that it happened so quickly but she only said a few words by her birthday and in the past couple of days her vocabulary has sort of exploded.  She now says "Hi" to everyone and will even put it together with words that she knows to say "Hi doggies!" when she greets the boys.  The staff at daycare tell us that each person who enters their classroom is now greeted with a "Hi" and a wave.  Rudy also says "Santa" and "Buh Guh" (which means Bubble Guppies, and yes we are a little ashamed) "diaper" and "burp" all in the proper context.  She even waved and said "Bye diaper" as I was throwing her diaper away yesterday.  All of a sudden, she seems to understand that sounds are for communication and it is amazing!  

Along with this new language, Rudy just seems older this week somehow.  When I see her at the end of the day, a little girl greets me and I can't find many traces of my baby.  Of course, she wants to do everything we do and we decided that we weren't going to let the fact that she's small hold her back any longer.

We wanted her to become more involved in kitchen chores.  Corey and I love to cook and bake together and we want Rudy to share our hobby.  I'd read about a great Ikea Hacked learning tower and Corey said he'd make one for Christmas for Rudy.

We bought a Bekvam stool from Ikea and Corey picked up some lumber.  We used the photos and directions from this blog as well as this one.  Of course, it's not quite finished yet and we still need to fill some holes and sand it a bit.  We are going to think about whether we want to stain it or leave it raw and let Rudy paint it when she's a little older.  Just a couple of hints, if you're trying the same project: assemble the stool but don't secure the top step.  Instead, use that as the base for the top portion.  Also, it's a good idea to measure against your own counter to make sure it's the right height for your space.  This is an easy project and the height of the top portion is easily modified. 

The end result was a huge hit though.  The whole project only took Corey a few hours and Rudy came home from school to a learning tower just for her!

It allowed us to messily make some shortbread cookies (Nana pre-made the dough for us) and spend some time enjoying a new family activity.

Of course, baking with a toddler (even when successful) always falls into the disaster category.  I think there are still sprinkles between my toes.

Rudy almost made it down on her own too.  We ended up helping her because it was her first try and she's still pretty little...

The cookies look disgusting but they tasted great once they were baked.  When I offered Rudy a piece of cookie she examined it carefully and then laughed before shoving it in her mouth.

We're excited to have found a new way for Rudy to participate in our daily lives.  

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