When I was still pregnant, one of my mom friends recommended this giant contraption and said it was a "lifesaver." I took one look at it, thought about my small apartment, and it was an easy pass. Enter toddlerhood, when dinner time started becoming more and more stressful. I think I speak for 99 percent of all parents who come to resent dinner time — the cooking, the cleaning, and the negotiating.
After a particularly painful dinner, the memory of this recommendation came flooding back: "We have to call Ashley and find out what that step stool is called!" I told my husband. Within a week, the Little Partners Learning Tower ($200) was at our door.
While it doesn't help with the cleaning or negotiating, it has completely changed our family's routine when it comes to cooking dinner. Our daughter now happily stands at the counter and watches me cook, or just hangs out and snacks, while I get to move around the kitchen freely. It may not have instilled the best habits, since she often likes to eat while standing in the Partner, but sometimes, you just gotta keep your 2-year-old happy.
She loves climbing in and out of it on her own, so I like to think it's instilled a little extra mobility and sense of independence for her too. We've been using it since she was around 18 months old and, with the adjustable height, I imagine we'll be using it until she's at least 3. At $200, the price was definitely a bit of an investment, but it has been totally worth it for our family.