Don’t Call It a Pillow!

The Author Delivers a Liquid Meal to His Topponcino Clad Infant Son | Courtesy B. Maschal Private Collection

One inescapable fact of becoming a new parent in this day and age, is that people are going to try to sell you stuff. Like, tons and tons of stuff. “Must haves” vs. “not worth the cash” recommendations for baby gear on the internet as well as that from friends who have children are contradictory at best. Paraphrasing one piece of advice received: “Trust me bro, if you don’t get that warmer for the butt wipes, you will regret it.” Meanwhile, another parent opined: “Can you believe they make warmers for the butt wipes? And people wonder why children are so coddled and helpless to do anything on their own these days!” I’m sure that both parties were 100% correct with respect to their personal experiences in child care.

For the record, we skipped the warmer for the butt wipes and our little guy does not seem to mind at all. One item, however, that we did opt for and which has been awesome for us- is a topponcino. If you are like I was when I first heard this word, you might be asking yourself “what the eff is a topponcino?” It is basically just a little oval shaped cushion with a pillowcase-type cover that goes over it.

One of the books that B read in preparation of the arrival of our little dude was about Montessori education. Similar to all of the other media that we digested in advance of the birth, some of it was interesting and useful, while other parts of it, not so much. I didn’t realize until B checked out the book from the library that Montessori is actually the name of an Italian teacher (Maria Montessori) who founded the eponymous method of teaching in the late 1800’s. Fascinating stuff! Before this I had assumed “Montessori” was just a fancy Italian name they came up with for the school where the bougie rich parents in our neighborhood take their kids, so that they could justify the price.

What has proved to be the most relevant (to me, anyway) takeaway from the Montessori book was the discovery of the topponcino. I was initially fairly skeptical about how much of a difference, if any, a little pillow could make. But I also wasn’t about to tell B that it would be a ridiculous purchase. After all, she was the one who had put in the hours to do the actual research.

The Author Repurposing a Duvet Cover as Spare Topponcino Covers | Courtesty: B. Maschal Private Collection

Instead of vetoing the purchase and despite the fact I was even less sure about the value of the item once it arrived, I supported the idea and even pitched in to sew some extra covers for it, using cloth from an old duvet cover that we had recently retired. Fast forward a couple of months to where I’m a new dad (again) trying to figure it all out. One thing that I picked up on very quickly was that our little guy had a tough time staying relaxed during the transition from being held in arms, to laying in his bassinet/crib. Early spring can still be pretty chilly in our part of the world. As a result, beds can feel brutally cold to the touch, especially when going directly into bed from being cozily cradled in the warm arms of a parent. Imagine dozing off in a mummy bag, only to be jarringly awaken by someone throwing you into an ice bath! Okay I’m sure it’s not that extreme. But you get me, right?

Cue the topponcino. This little cushion thingy was the solution to the problem. I’m not sure if Maria Montessori was the one who actually came up with the idea, but if so, thank you Maria. Will you definitely regret it if you don’t purchase it? Probably not. Will your kid be a coddled little brat incapable of doing anything on their own if you do get it? Honestly, your kid is probably going to be like that regardless of whether they have a topponcino (J/K?). It’s also unclear whether or not the topponcino encourages our little guy to learn by exploring his own interests, according to the Montessori method. But regardless of any of this, it has made a world of difference for our little guy when we transition him to and from his various locations of repose. Based on our experience with this super basic little pillow/cushion, I can highly recommend the topponcino to those caring for infants.

Posted in News and tagged , , , , , .