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.
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.
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.
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.
As long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know well, I like things that are not only simple, but do what they claim to do. In honor of Halloween’s arrival and the possibility that your kid may be dressed as a ghost and actually disappear, Uh Oh Bands are an easy way to gain piece of mind. The silicone waterproof bands slip on with ease and allow you to write the child’s name and number in case of misplacement. They also have bands for allergies and medical conditions. I have seen child info tattoos and stickers, which work well, but require a little extra effort; bands are as easy as it gets, as the bands simply state, “Uh Oh I’m Lost.” I’m still waiting for them to come out with an adult version since I can never find The Mommy in Target.
I had a hunch that LTD would dig getting his first ever sleeping bag, but I was not prepared for the extreme level of reaction he had. In fact, as I write this I’m still trying to get him out of it. We are in the very early stages of figuring out how to expose LTD to the concept of camping outside. So far he loves tents but we have only set them up inside. When I was a boy one of the things about camping that I didn’t like was being cold (as oppose to all the people that like being cold) so I want him to be, in his words, ‘toasty’ warm. Deuter’s kid sleeping bag is a little hard core for simple sleep overs at grandmas, but it is as LTD would also say, the real deal. The Little Star EXP features an adjustable foot section that allows you to take the bag from 3 feet to a little over 4 to compensate for a child’s growth. The bag is made from all sorts of durable space age stuff but the words Thermal Bonding have been tossed into the mix which means it is wicked warm but is able to breathe. Unfortunately, the current heat wave forced LTD out of the sleeping bag or else he would still be inside.
Being back in the baby business for the second time is a lot like the first, but I will admit we are slightly more tired (lazy) then for the first dance. Of course we are using most of LTD’s gear for BB, but amazingly in the last four years there have been some cool new developments that we could have used the back then. The Mommy and I have never had good luck with the diaper bag (as I always wanted a backpack and she did not) so we basically used two and half bags and I it was hard to find things. For BB we have done things a little different, Me+Mine Files by SugarSNAP is basically a filing system for the diaper bag. The five mesh bags, which fit in a diaper bag or basically any bag you want, feature blank tabs for you to write the contents of the bag or you can use the category stickers provided. And like most good baby products these were created by two moms who saw and a problem and fixed it. I know what you’re thinking; won’t I lose the bags inside my bottomless black hole of a bag? Each bag has a detachable ring that hooks to a larger central ring for a key ring effect, so in theory you shouldn’t lose them. The mesh bags are semi-see through so you can tell what is inside in case someone put something back without reading the label. The system works well so that you can make any bag a diaper bag much like having a car seat base for each car.
I would like to say that now that BB is five months old and we are starting solids that we are back in the bib business, but truthfully that the way LTD eats yogurt we never left. As my number one priority when it comes to bibs is in the cleaning department, I am all about the BPA free silicone. Ulubulu Silicone Baby Bibs are, as LTD would say, the leader of our bib collection. I don’t like to put bibs in the laundry since they have so much food wiff on them that I think it is gross to put them in with the clothes (trust me the cloth diapers already meet the household gross laundry requirement). Not only are the Ulubulu’s wipe clean capable but feature a crumb catcher that works overtime when the little guy eats anything that generates crumbs. As an added bonus they come in silly monster designs and you can never go wrong with silly monsters.
While LTD is four his eating habits drift towards a child of younger disposition. He still has a difficult relationship with the fork. Therefore the placemat has become a vital part of our dining experience. A lot of our hard plastic placemats get sticky and worn quickly from cleaning and fork abuse so we have turned to our friend vinyl. The Oopsy Daisy roll up soft vinyl reversible placemat is easily cleaned after each zoo like feeding cycle. As an added bonus the placemats feature cool designs including animals from around the globe and world landmarks by artist Donna Ingemanson. We use the map version and it is nice to be able to see all the countries instead of the scratched out missing LTD edition from the other placemats.
LTD has been watching a bit of the undersea adventure show The Octonaunts lately. I don’t mind the show as it has its beginnings in England so the characters all sound more professional and act with more gravity then some of the other shows on Disney Junior (ie. that creepy princess show. The show focus on a team of ocean adventurers who discover new worlds, creatures and promote ocean conservation. The Fisher Price toy line has the characters from the show and one of them comes with something called a Vampire Squid which is something that I don’t remember on any Jacque Cousteau special. The show also has a Life Aquatic vibe which gives the toys a pretty cool color spectrum. So far the little guy loves the Octo-Compass as he is getting into maps and states. I like the toys that logically can also go in the tub as LTD still puts up a fight in that department and every bit helps.