LTD received Zingo as a gift a few years ago and I have seen it in many homes. LTD recently rediscovered it in our house as our BB baby proofing resulted in a few things being put not only out of reach, but out of our memories. LTD’s continued screaming of Zingo got me thinking about other Think Fun items we have enjoyed. BB has been crushing on in his Move & Groove, while LTD has been taking his new 5 year old status out for a spin with Square By Square. BB has been learning to dance with Move & Groove or should I say The Mommy has been re-learning to dance with the bright plush cube. You roll the cube like dice and whatever color it lands on, you pick one of the matching dance move cards. The cards have categories including Workout, Body Parts & Silliness. Truthfully, he isn’t going to win Dance Fever any time soon, but he seems to enjoy watching us make fools of ourselves demonstrating the cards. Of course, LTD has fixated on the card instructing him to Dance like a Robot.
Speaking of LTD, he has long enjoyed tan-grams and puzzles and so the Square By Square is challenging him pretty good these days. The game has 60 different puzzle cards to try and make on the square using 8 blue pieces and 6 green ones. The cards include hints so you do have to monitor him to prevent taking the easy way out. Okay, yes, I too have occasionally had to resort to using the hint to help him, but rarely. I also like that the game comes with a bag for easy travel.
I never thought little pancakes would be a thing that I would ever care about, but becoming a parent has changed my feelings about many things. In the past five years sure my priorities changed, but so has the places I go and the food I buy. Obviously, Trader Joes has unbeatable prices and certainly is a great place to take the little ones. Of all their products the Little Pancakes that come frozen and heat in less than a microwave minute are the best. Why because you can not beat the simplicity. In short they are a game changer. LTD dips them in real maple syrup (I’m from Maine so our house is exclusively real syrup) and pops them in his mouth. Why is so amazing, because it normally takes him forever to finish a meal as he is easily distracted and has zero time management skills. However, five small pancakes in a circle on a plate with syrup in the middle streamline his breakfast like no other meal. I know what you’re thinking, why is he going on about pancakes? Anyone who has ever tried to get a child out of the house in the morning know all too well that you can’t do it alone. The Fates have to be on your side. And Trader Joes Pancakes may arrive frozen but they heat up our son’s slow morning routine.
Sadly, BB is still having trouble in the solids department, but thankfully, he is okay with liquids. Now that we are beyond bottles it has been difficult to find a good cup not only that he likes, but is actually spill proof not just says its spill proof. The MAM line features what they call the Starter, Trainer, Learn to Drink, and Sports Cups. Each member of the family is BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free and CPSIA-compliant (I have no idea what CPSIA is but it is probably good that they are compliant. Additionally, the cups are dishwasher safe which is a very good thing if you have ever left milk in a cup and that cup under the couch for many weeks. However, what is pretty cool is that MAM has a design feature on their site that allows you to pick from themes including animals, nature, rock n roll, but all of that is irrelevant because they only design feature that matters (to LTD anyway) is Monster. Right now we are happy that BB is enjoying his spill proof cups because his brother tends to get animated during meals and has been knocking over glasses left and right.
Winter is taking a toll on BB his skin is getting eczema and even though the heating system in our place suffers from a lack of quality the air is still dry as a bone. In terms of humidifiers the kind that take filters are particularly bothersome to me. I always forget to change them because they are hard to find and expensive. Duux’s energy efficient Ultrasonic Air Humidifier, in addition to making the room look like it is from the future, requires no filter as it generates that cool mist that prevents the boys from hacking in their sleep. The Mommy digs it because it features an auto shut off and because it has a built in nightlight, LTD thinks it’s a robot. Of course, I think it is cool, no pun intended, because it doesn’t make a lot of noise like the humidifier in our room that The Mommy uses on max which sounds like a plane landing on my face. The internal water tank lasts 8-10 hours which I wish was how long the boys slept.
There are a lot of boutique baby items out there that frankly, only The Mommy knows about and aren’t on my radar, but I think it is pretty cool that Target and buybuy Baby are selling more specialty baby products like the Tortle. I will pause while you laugh at the name. Turns out there is something out there kind of serious called Flat Head Syndrome. The Syndrome affects a ton of little ones. The Tortle is a lightweight knit beanie that helps prevent Flathead Syndrome. I can’t really explain it better than this: “The incidence of Plagiocephaly and Torticollis (or Flathead syndrome) has increased to epidemic proportions since 1992 with more than a million babies being diagnosed with the condition each year in the U.S. alone. This is due to their lack of movement and the amount of time infants spend on their back (the safest place for them to be). If left untreated, there can be long-standing problems. Treatment is frequently expensive and can be somewhat uncomfortable for a baby. Plagiocephaly and Torticollis are almost 100% preventable with repositioning and Tortle makes this safe and easy.” In the future, I expect to see more and more parent or doctor created specialty baby items at bigger stores, but for now my kid’s head is a cueball.
Many of the baby products geared specifically for “DAD” usually have some built in cheesiness and a wink that the maker feels is perfect for a product that they perceive to be traditionally female only merchandise. However, I like Diaper Dude’s take on the diaper bag (from Elm Baby) because it is basically gender neutral and sleek. The sturdy bag can handle the in and out constant nature of always needing the diaper bag. I also like the messenger bag design as I’m usually caring two kids. The Diaper Dude also comes with a changing pad that if you are like me you will always forget to use. When I’m carrying a bunch of kids around, I like to keep things clean and simple plus I get to say dude a lot if anyone asks about the bag. A video is here.
One of my favorite things to do is watch Netflix in bed when everyone is asleep. Of course this means headphones. I have never felt comfortable or enjoyed wearing in ear phones and thus seek out traditional cushiony headphones. Tracks V8 headphones by SOL REPUBLIC make sense when you got young kids, who don’t really want you to enjoy watching Man of Steel wicked loud, because one of their main features is the headband listed as “virtually indestructible,” I mean this thing really twists and bends plus you can swap it out for a different color. Another cool feature that is also necessary when you have hyper youngsters or a baby that wakes up frequently during the night is the “single button mic + music control” which I use almost exclusively to pause my movie (at the good part) to calm a crying toddler. As I previously mentioned, since I’m in bed watching movies that The Mommy doesn’t care for and the kids aren’t old enough for the last thing that I think about is the hardcore bass that I dig during said nonfamily Expendables/high-body-count type movies. However, my new pastime could also be the reason I don’t sleep anymore since I added the HBO and Showtime apps to my phone, but publicly I will still blame the kids.
Now that the boys are taking baths together water is flying everywhere as they both engage in vigorous splashing. I mean come on you think a four year old is just going to ignore it when a baby splashes him? And what is a bath without bubbles. “3-in-1” BubbleBath, Shampoo, and Wash by Baby Mantra keeps things simple and allow us to set up a one stop shop to get the kids clean while we dodge streams of water flying at us. The all natural toxin and dye free suds aren’t laced with bubble making chemicals so you need to insert the liquid directly into the running water. The shampoo/wash features a subtle lavender scent and Aloe. One of the reasons I like all in one’s so much as that with the kids messing around in the tub so much that I forget to actually wash them, but with all the bubbles I figure they are getting clean through osmosis.
It is not great that BB doesn’t sleep through the night and it’s not great that there are many reasons for that. However, one thing that tends to keep him up is his perma-cold caused stuffy nose. And when it comes to stuffy noses this household turns to saline spray. And this household also likes to use silly words (okay, just some of us). Boogie Mist gently sprays saline into a child’s nose and unclogs the plumbing. The saline is not treated and is natural, but unlike some other saline sprays Boogie Mist features a Schnozzle instead of a nozzle which is scented. The cool thing about saline sprays is that you can use them frequently so like most meds you don’t need to watch the clock to deliver another dose. Most kids react pretty strongly to having sprays shoved up their nose, but Boogie Mist name alone goes a long way to getting a kid to sit still while you spray.
Now that it is nippy out and I had to get down the family’s winter gear from the attic we could finally see if BB was up for my favorite game show, Will The Baby Keep His Hat On? I’m not sure if it counts as a win or not because the game show’s rules are a bit fuzzy, but BB does indeed NOT keep his hat on. Much like his socks there is nothing he does faster than take his hat off. Which is why we needed a something a little stronger. Dots on Tots, made from organic cotton, are double thick baby hats that feature Velcro on the flaps. Of course like most good baby products these hats are made by a mom in the good ole US of A. The flaps completely cover the youngster’s ears to try and prevent ear infections. Dots also makes a Noise Reduction hat with ear protection inserts in case you’re like me and you keep taking the baby to Metallica concerts. I’m still waiting for someone to make a hat that doesn’t just cover the ears, but also stops the little guy’s nose from running as it does all winter.