Those dodgy warranties are your friend when you have a baby in the house

I’ve always made a point of NOT purchasing those extended warranties offered at electronics and furniture stores over the hears. I figured that a) I’m not a huge klutz, making it unlikely that I’ll fall on the couch while carrying fists full of freshly sharpened knives, lit matches and lantern oil. To date that practice has borne fruit as I have yet to break or greatly damage any of my purchases until much later in their lives when replacement is more desirable than repair.

When Jr was just around the corner my wife and I decided that we needed to replace the small condo-sized couch in the living room as well as the queen sized bed in the extra bedroom since we’d have more use for that room as a place to hang out with the baby vs. keeping it cramped with the bed waiting for the rare overnight visitor. For some reason when we purchased the couch(es) and they asked me whether we wanted the extended warranty I paused, as did my wife and we said yes for the first time. The entire drive home I felt like a sucker.

Fast forward to yesterday when Jr shot a remarkably strong and well directed stream of urine over the half removed diaper, over my outstretched arm and ALL OVER the new couch. Apparently I can see the future… and I’ve never been so happy to get suckered into a purchase. My recommendation to anyone planning a large furniture purchase as well as the introduction of a new family member is to assume that anything and everything that will be leaving your little one’s body will at some point find its way onto the furniture despite your best efforts. Further, there is a reasonably good chance that between their flailing and your panic and stumbling, said bodily products will to some extent get ground into the fabric beyond your abilities to remove them.

White noise and your sanity. Why I would recommend a Squeezebox to anyone with a baby

In case you’re not interested in the Squeezebox review and just want to know what calming music works for us with our baby I’ll outline it first and save you some time. That said, I can’t say enough how great its been having boundless music options throughout our house immediately at our fingertips without having to keep our computers running.

Our calming sound preferences and one very specific CD:
Calming Wave Sounds
Sounds of Chirping Crickets
Steady Rainstorm Sounds
Peaceful Babbling Brook Sounds
Deep Forest Comparsa – A personal favorite

Now, on to my review of our use of the Squeezebox Duet to maintain sanity as new parents
Consider this product review number two, though I didn’t actually buy this in response to having our son. We’ve had our Logitech Squeezebox Duet for almost two years now and we’ve loved it with a few exceptions (poor firmware upgrades) but man, I really appreciate it now. Why? The selection it brings, and the fact that most of it is available at any time.

Logitech Squeezebox Duet is good white noise and nature sounds solution to calm your babyRadio’s good, but you’re restricted to the few channels it picks up and what is playing at the time you want to listen. Internet radio’s great, but having to fire up the laptop to manage music is also a pain. The squeezebox is great because a) it is aware of all the digital music we have b) it has access to thousands of Internet radio stations across the world and across all conceivable genres and c) there are whole sets of channels dedicated to calming noises perfect for bedtime.

I’m not sure what products they’ve introduced in the past couple years, so I can’t comment on what the best buy is out there but we remain happy with our duet. We purchased a second receiver for another room in the house as well. One recommendation that I do have if you can find a location selling lone receivers (Amazon offers them here) is not to buy the full receiver and remote combination if you’re an iphone or android smartphone user. Both of these devices offer pretty solid Squeezebox remote apps for a fraction of the price of the full remote hardware. If you don’t have one of these phones then by all means get the remote.

Anyway, as I said… if the day calls for NPR we can listen to NPR. If it calls for a certain podcast we can access that podcast at our leisure… and if the evening is fully of baby cries we can pull up the white noise channels and choose from crickets, bubbling brooks, thunder and many other calming, repeating tracks to soothe junior to sleep. Sure they cost a couple bucks, but man… my sleep is worth it.

There’s a pretty good review of the Squeezebox Duet here.

Babies aren’t quiet even when they’re quiet.

Here’s something else I didn’t know. I assumed that when babies weren’t screaming they generally sat pretty quietly or made quiet coo-ing noises, like on TV. That’s not how it works. In an attempt to save ourselves having to get out of bed to soothe our little one in the middle of the night we’ve set up a co-sleeping arrangement using the Cooshee Changer (see my previous take on that magical device) to keep him in place, and to keep us from rolling on top of him.

Here’s what I expected. When he woke up and was hungry or otherwise upset he’d scream bloody murder and one of us would soothe him with a finger or a pacifier, or if it was feeding time my wife would nurse until he’d had enough and would fall back to sleep. Wrong. Here’s the deal. Babies are crazy noisy whether they’re awake or asleep and ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT. Our little guy can sit in his bouncy chair asleep for hours in the afternoon and not make a sound. At night it’s all snorts, whistles and what sounds like congestion. The doctor says that everything’s fine and it’s normal, and from what I can tell that’s true as he doesn’t wake up at any point during these symphonies, but man, good luck sleeping through it if you’re the parent.

So, Dad’s out there who haven’t gone through this before, be warned. Sleep doesn’t mean silence, and you’ll hear some of the craziest noises you can imagine while trying to rest. My best piece of advice is to arrange alternate sleeping arrangements somewhere else in the house so you can manage a couple hours of rest and still function at the office. At first I was hesitant to do so, but soon kicked that concern to the curb.

Good luck :)

Kids are big business and I’m on the wrong end.

No surprises there right? Given the accumulation of ‘stuff’ since your baby’s arrival, some clearly beneficial and some of very questionable value, you know someone’s making money. Think about how many baby stores there are in your neighbourhood and the wisdom of jumping in starts to get cloudy.

In our neighbourhood… actually on a single street in our neighbourhood there are no fewer than six baby-focused shops all competing for my misspent earnings.

So maybe its not the commodity baby shops if you’re jumping

First of Many Product Reviews From a New Dad Who Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing.

Lime Green BabySmart Cooshee Changer

Click here to view the Cooshee BabySmart Changer on Amazon

So as I said, we recently welcomed a new addition to our family and I, like many new fathers was blissfully unaware of what I was in for. They say to treasure sleep before your baby arrives. They say it. And they mean it. I didn’t heed the warnings, at least not to the extent that I should have, and now I’ve joined the masses of parents doling out that bit of advice to the next crop that will ignore it.

Here’s another one. Get ready to spend way more money than you’d ever anticipated. Shocker.

Now for some real advice to the Dads out there that want to feel like they know what they’re talking about. It feels like every day someone is suggesting a product that we don’t have, or in all too many cases a slight variant of a product that we already do have. Fortunately we live in an apartment which provides a forcing factor in terms of what we can and cannot hoard so in many cases I’ve been able to avoid purchasing what seemed like a completely unnecessary item. That said, every so often there comes an item that in truth, will make your life as a new parent MUCH easier. The first such item on our list was the Cooshee BabySmart Changer.

This thing is awesome. It’s light… made of foam so you can carry it under your arm no problem. It’s easy to clean so if (when) something gets on it you can quickly wipe it down, or soap and rinse it in the tub. Based on our son’s reaction its pretty comfortable as he falls asleep on it with no issue. Best of all its simple. I can’t believe I’m writing a product review about a baby changer.

If you clicked the link above you’ll notice that while the different colors are the same size they vary widely in price. When we were researching the Cooshee Changer we found that some parents had issues with the Cooshee staining, and some colors were worse than others. Hence the price differences with the cheapest likely being the worst and hardest to sell. According to the forums I read when researching, the lime green BabySmart Cooshee Changer is the one to get, which we did, and thus far there is no indication of staining. Yes it’s more expensive, but ‘staining’ sounds gross and there’s nothing worse than spending money on something you’re not going to use. For more feedback you can check out reviews on Amazon here and you’ll see that where there are negative reviews they tend to be about the staining, not whether the product works. Get the lime green one!

Anyway, that’s my recommendation for this evening (ugh, I guess its actually morning). The BabySmart Cooshee Changer in lime green. Why? Comfortable. Simple. Light. Wipeable. Easy. Not gross.

Oh, one more thing. I tried to find one of these things in Canada and came up blank. What I ended up doing was buying it from Amazon.com and having it shipped to an address in the US where I picked it up. If you get a note from the recipient telling you that a MASSIVE box arrived don’t panic. They shipped it in a box the size of a dining room table surface but the actual Cooshee box inside will fit easily in any trunk or back seat.

Click here to view the Cooshee BabySmart Changer on Amazon

Here Come The Kids…

Sorry for the pause in posting, but we just welcomed a new addition to the family… and this one’s been a long time coming. As such the posts are going to have quite a bit of ‘new dad skew’ to them and for that I’m not making any apologies. Before it was all about posting things I found when I was researching gifts for OTHER peoples’ kids, but now that its for my own unfortunately the price of items is likely to fall, thereby bringing them into reach.

I’ll be kicking things off shortly… likely with some notes about life jackets for infants since we have an infant now and a pending need for a PFD as we plan to visit on the Gulf Islands

Cheers.

Kitten Vs. Baby…. Fight!

From the “That thing better not have claws file” this giggling baby and kitten appear to have an understanding that their wrestling will be only in fun. My personal experience with cats and kittens under similar circumstances often degenerates into slashed hands and bite marks.

April Fool’s Day Product At ThinkGeek – Tell Me Your Secrets Bear

My first reaction to this was … terrifying. Then I remembered it was April Fool’s day and Think Geek are known for their interesting prank products posted on this special day. Btw, the video reinforces my sense of creepiness with this little fellow.