One of the most important material objects in my life these days is my water bottle, which Brandon bought for me right after Elliot was born.* Now Elliot has decided that he loves it, too.
I love my water bottle because it: holds a ton of water; has a built in straw; has a built in lid for the straw; can be carried dangling from one finger; is blue. I don't know why Elliot loves it, but he really does. It will keep him entertained for huge swaths of time and he will choose it over and above any number of shiny baby things which you might wag in his face. Lately he has taken to actually holding the straw part in his mouth; he can't actually suck on it effectively, but it's still looks sort of charming and adult.
*This was actually my big post-birth present, which was an idea--the post-birth present--that we got from our pals who were pregnant the same time as us. One of them somehow acquired the notion that it is only fair that, upon the completion of pushing a baby from her body, a woman deserves a present. The other mama and I found this a little retro, but very charming, especially since it meant...a present. Which is great! We called it the "vagina present." For my vagina present, I got, as I said, my water bottle. My friend got diamond earrings. Here's what I have to say about that: she deserves those earrings, and my water bottle is the only thing that got me through the first two months of middle-of-the night feedings, and so things are A-OK. Except now Elliot keeps trying to steal my water bottle. Which is unfair, because what did he do to deserve a vagina present? That's what I'd like to know.