Tuesday, 5 April 2022

A Magic Carpet?

No, not one like Aladdin's - which was able to whisk Jasmine away from all her domestic chores as they sailed across the skies...

This is much more prosaic. What can mothers of sweet little babies and toddlers do to protect the carpet at home? Those dear children, we love them so much - but let's be realistic, they spill food, they puke, their nappies occasionally leak, and as they get older, they grind wax crayons into the rug, or leave felt pens uncapped, or deposit bits of playdough which stain the pile, or stick to it in cement like clumps...

In 1981 I spent £3.50 on this "Recticel Sutcliffe Playmat". Measuring 80cm x 120cm - made of PVC coated cotton, printed with a 'town' design.

For the next few years, it was spread on the floor as Liz and then Steph played on it. We pushed cars up the streets, trains along the track and placed toy figures in the park, and little animals in the zoo and the farmyard. When we were not making up stories involving the design on the mat, it was a general purpose catch-all for all the messy stuff [see paragraph 2] 

It stood under the high chair at meal times, or was used as a tablecloth when we were painting. And I kept it, long after the girls were older, as a table protector - or a mat for visiting babies to play on. And since 2016, it has lived at Cornerstones and Rosie, George and Jess have all made use of it. I won't get rid of it yet [even though someone sold an identical 'vintage playmat' for £20 online recently]

But life has moved on. The latest thing now is the "Totter and Tumble" mat. I have to say that I think these are brilliant and would have loved one 40 years ago if they had been around. These mats are made of Memory Foam encased in tough, wipeable, textured plastic. They roll up for storage, and are reversible - a different design on each side.

They are three times the size of my mat, similar to the average living room rug.[also compact or round]

But unlike my town plan, these have stylish designs - as you come into the room, they look like a 'proper' rug. And [a boon for those with hard floors] they feel soft underfoot too. I spent 4 days with Liz, marvelling at hers- sitting on the floor playing with Jess, walking across the mat in bare feet or socks, thinking "this feels so comfy".

Steph has one for George, and that adds a necessary cushion on top of her hard floors - ideal for a toddler who still tumbles occasionally. Liz appreciates the protection for the carpet from Jess's spills and Rosie's pens. And in the evening, when the toys are away and the children in bed, the mat doesn't feel like a bit of 'babystuff' - it looks properly 'grown up' as it is spread across the carpet. [but you could easily roll it up and put it behind the sofa if you wanted]

OK - these are not cheap, costing between £125 and £140 depending on size. But that is the same price as good quality 'regular pile' rugs from IKEA/Next/John Lewis etc. The T&T website has a 'swatch' service, and they also offer gift vouchers, which is useful.[John Lewis stock T&T too,] 

This blog does not ever carry ads for which I get paid. I will only endorse a product which I have found to be good, and think it is worth sharing. With two daughters, and three grandchildren clearly very happy with T&T, I'm passing this information on as a bit of babykit I think is well worth considering. 

Perhaps it is a magic carpet like Aladdin's after all, if it reduces the domestic chores for young parents.


11 comments:

  1. That looks like a really good investment for new mums. We had a similar 'road rug' when the boys were small, very wipeable but more rug like than yours. They both loved it and would make Lego houses to sit on it, making it hazardous to walk on with bare feet!

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  2. I wish this had been written 6 months ago when I purchased area rugs for our church nursery. For some reason, I thought cream colored carpets was a good idea. They are adorable with giraffes, tigers and monkeys on them, but the color is so impractical! So far they have weathered the little ones, but I know the day is coming when a spill or leaky diaper will happen!

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    1. Church nursery carpets do get heavy treatment, don't they?

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  3. We looked after our Grandson for five days a week from when he was five months old, as our daughter in law returned to work full time.
    I went to our local (huge) fabric/hobby store and bought a piece of wadding 1.5m x 2m, some lovely washable fleece, and the same amount of brightly coloured patterned (diggers, dumper trucks etc) sheeting.
    I made an enormous bag for the wadding to sit in, poppered up down one long side with some ready poppered tape I had hidden away.
    It was a great invention, he snoozed on it, played on it, ate picnics on it, an all round brilliant item!
    Every Friday evening, just after he'd been collected by mum/dad, and before I sat down and fell into an exhausted sleep, the wadding was removed, and the 'bag' thrown into the washer.
    It served three years, and then I replaced the wadding and it went to a local playgroup, where I believe it's still going strong! X

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    1. That sounds like a brilliant creation. Well done - not just for the mat, but also for your commitment and support for your daughter and grandson. It is a privilege to look after these little ones, but as we get older, it is much more exhausting!!!

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  4. Both designs are brilliant. I do like the idea of the larger one that looks like a regular rug when the children are in bed, to give a semblance of normalcy in the chaotic but wonderful world of little ones.

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  5. That looks amazing! I don't know if I could have afforded it. I may have tried.

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    1. I think it would be a good gift for grandparents and aunties etc to contribute to.

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