Our Experience with Sophie the Giraffe

I’m sure you’re all familiar with Sophie the Giraffe. She’s everywhere. Why a giraffe? I have no idea and no one’s been able to answer the question for me. Over the course of year 1 we received no fewer than 3 Sophie’s and guess what? Our little guy showed little to know interest. We tried desperately as given the popularity we were sure that at some point he must grab hold and come to love it, but no.

Two of the Sophies were regifted to folks we knew were giraffe lovers, and the other sits at the bottom of one of our toy boxes waiting for an opportunity to help with teething.

Anyway, I guess my takeaway is that if you’re looking for a gift for a new baby a Sophie the Giraffe will be looked upon well, though will almost certainly be one of many that the little on receives. Second, it may or may not get used, but hey, that’s true for any toy gift. Babies are individuals, and they all won’t like Giraffes named Sophie!

For those interested you can get your own Sophie the Giraffe here.

Update on our Experience with the Babysmart Cooshee Changer

Quite a while ago I posted about Babysmart’s Cooshee changing table. We bought this item after quite a bit of research and at the time were quite happy with it. It served its purpose as a changing table very well, and given frequent trips to visit relatives the fact that it was easily portable was a huge plus. Additionally the raised edges and relatively narrow width made it a perfect co-sleeper while on those trips… a great multi-functional baby tool.

After over a year with the BabySmart Cooshee Changer I can say that nothing has changed. We still use it to change our little guy though it no longer accompanies us on trips (we’ve turned to the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib which is awesome in its own right). The surface remains clean and wipeable. Initially I was a bit concerned that the foam might start to come apart, especially as our little guy became more curious, but there isn’t so much as a scratch on it.

But, remember to buy the lime green version since some of the others are rumoured to stain over time.

After almost 15 months with the BabySmart Cooshee Changer I can confidently say that it’s been one of the best purchases since the arrival of our baby.

Update on Baby Shoe Purchasing

On the subject of buying toddler shoes, and whether new is smarter than buying used I heard back from one person. Her perspective was that you shouldn’t buy used because the shoe will have been worn in to the shape of the previous owner. I guess this makes sense at some level, but on the other hand I wouldn’t have thought that a baby or toddler would be walking enough, or with enough pressure to wear a shoe down that much. Especially in our scenario where our little guy isn’t walking yet and so would do very little wear on his boots and shoes.

Any thoughts from others?

Baby shoes. Acceptable practice and recommended brands

Not surprisingly our little guy is growing at a furious pace and we’re doing a poor job of keeping up. His pants are now capris, and his shoes only go on easily early in the day. Shame on us.

This morning we stopped at a local shop and tried on a few pair which immediately confirmed that it is time for new shoes for our soon to be toddler.on selecting a pair of Stride Rite sandals in size 4.5 we were given a bit of shocking news. $52 for toddler sandals. Seriously?!?

Now on checking eBay and Amazon in the US I’ve come to the welcome realization that our local store was trying to screw us royally. That said before I pull the trigger I have two questions. When buying shoes for a baby our toddler:

1. Are there any risks in buying used shoes assuming that they will be thoroughly laundered before our little guy is allowed to wear them?

2. What brands are most reliable? We tried on See Kai Run but they didn’t work with his chubby feet, as well as Stride Rite which seemed to fit really well. Any others I should consider?

One thing’s for sure. When it comes to baby footwear I won’t be buying local.

Two Baby Birthday Parties in One Day

I’m still struggling to understand how this happened. Our son is 13 months old, doesn’t know what a birthday is and quite frankly isn’t interested in playing with other kids. Despite this we have somehow signed up to spend our Saturday at 2 separate baby birthday parties. Two. On the last moderately sunny day for the next four. The break between them will of course be consumed by naptime and they will be bounded on the outside by naps and feeding.

I would like to propose that it be made acceptable, no, expected that in the event a baby is invited to more than one baby-related event in a given day, that the earlier of those events will be given precidence and those that follow should not anticipate attendance. Further, no guilt shall be felt by, or laid by any party involved. All those in favor press your Escape key repeatedly in support.

UPDATE: survived them… And holy crap does fondant ever send kids through the roof.

Swimming lessons for infants and babies

This one’s thrown me for a bit of a loop. Our son LOVES bathtime and looks forward to it every night. For the longest time he would scream as soon as we took him out, wanting desperately to return to his tub and water toys. This seemed to carry over to a trip we took when he was about 8 months old. The weather cooperated and we were able to go swimming in the complex’s swimming pool pretty much every day. Our son’s reaction was similar to his daily baths. He loved the pool. He was happy to splash about for as long as we’d let him, kicking his legs and attempting to mimic his mother as she blew bubbles and motored him around in the warm water.

Fast forward to his first birthday. We’ve registered our son in weekly swimming classes geared specifically for infants his age. Either my wife or I join him in the pool throughout the session and play the primary role in moving him about in the water, following the instructor’s guidance. Here’s the thing, despite being surrounded by other children his age who seem to enjoy their baby swimming lessons, and despite the pool water being quite warm, he appears not at all pleased to be there. Week after week his face shows concern while in the pool and in cases where he’s temporarily given over to the instructor before being returns (via the water) to one of us he lets loose completely.

I’m hoping this is just a temporary thing and that he’ll warm up to both the instructors and the public pool because at this point he gets upset enough that it disrupts the session for the other families involved.

Any suggestions are eagerly welcomed.

Baby Sunscreen. Here Comes The Sun.

So after a pretty dreary spring and early summer the sun has arrived and it’s arrived with a vengeance. The sun rises early and chases away the clouds on a daily basis, beating down on the poor folks who forgot to apply sunscreen before they left for the day… but not our son.

After trying a few different baby sunscreen options we’ve settled on Aveeno Baby Sunscreen, and specifically the Aveeno Baby Sunblock SPF-55.

Why the Aveeno Baby? Well, I won’t say its the best as we only tried a couple before we settled on this one so there may well be others that are as good or better, but the Aveeno sunblock seems to meet our needs.

  • It has a very light, unobtrusive smell.
  • It goes on easily and isn’t sticky or greasy
  • It is easy to apply and doesn’t leave our little guy streaked with white
  • It is reasonably priced

Believe me, easy to apply and not greasy are KEY. Once you start to apply the sunscreen if your baby is anything like ours they’ll have little patience as you rub it on. Further, the greasier it is the harder it will be to contain your child, and so the harder it will be to finish applying the sunscreen :)

I’ll also mention that my sister in law highly recommends Badger Baby Sunscreen though we’ve never tried it. For now I think we’ll stick with Aveeno if for no other reason that the Aveeno Baby is SPF 55 while the Badger Baby sunscreen appears to be SPF 30-35.

Anyway, hoping this will help some folks looking for options where the products they’ve tried to date haven’t met their needs. Good luck!

Baby and infant life jackets and PFDs revisited

A while back I wrote a short post about our purchase of a baby PFD / life jacket (what is the difference between a PFD and a life jacket anyway… I can never remember) and my frustation at finding an appropriate size. Let it be known that the sizing, being based on weight is misleading. Our son ‘fit’ his life jacket, but I would be hard pressed to say that he was comfortable in it. Understand however that the Mustang Survival jacket we purchased was the only one we could find that would fit someone of his weight at the time. The jacket in my opinion was meant for a child of the quoted weight, but someone of greater age. The combination of heavy / chubby baby and small life jacket was a questionable one. The one forgiving factor that allowed it to work? Apparently the rocking and white noise of the boat was enough to rock him to sleep on each of his first 5 trips on the water… allowing him to forgive the discomfort of the life jacket.

To recall, the jacket we landed on was the Mustang Survival Lil’ Legends Child’s Life jacket

My takeaway? If you’re looking for the safety of a PFD or life jacket for a baby well under a year you may end up trading comfort for that security. Further, few jackets appear to be specifically made for an infant of that age, so you’ll have to make due with what you can find , and what your son or daughter will tolerate when on the boat.

Finally, welcome the noise of the engines and the motion of the ocean. If you’re as lucky as we were the two combined will have your child asleep in no time and the questionable fit will be a non issue.

Now, once they hit 8 months or so, at least in my experience their willingness to give in to sleep decreases markedly. Gone are the days of quiet sleep while the boats makes the 45 minute trip from dock to dock. Instead fidgiting is the name of the game.

I’m Starting To Feel Like A Baby Bjorn Fanboy

So thus far we have the Baby Bjorn carrier which was a no brainer as it was given to us by friends who’s children have outgrown it, and once you’ve settled on the sizing its a joy! Note the callout of ‘once you’ve settled on the sizing’ since those times that I’ve tried to put it on myself in order to go for a a long walk I’ve returned home with a couple pretty good tweaks in the shoulder blades. My recommendation to anyone owning this is to have someone help you put it on so that its comfortable when baby is first added as well as at the end of your walk. Once you’ve settled on those settings, use something to mark the straps for YOUR settings so that if you’re alone you can adjust it first and then put it on without needing to trying and find the sweet spot with 20 lbs of baby strapped to you.

Click to Browse the Baby Bjorn Carrier on Amazon

Next up was the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Bouncer. Again, another hit. We started with the Fisher Price Rainforest bouncer and it didn’t take long for our little one’s mass to basically keep him near horizontal which was frustrating for him and threatened to bottom him out when he really got it moving. The Baby Bjorn Babysitter not only folds flat (GREAT for travelling) but also has 3 settings to specify incline. At 20 lbs we have him at the most severe incline and even then he’s to the point that he can get it going so furiously that we need to be careful that nothing rolls under the chair. It took him no time at all to figure out how to get the bouncer moving and once he gets up to speed… look out! Particularly great when he’s in front of the television watching his favorite programe, Electric Company!

Click to Browse the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Bouncer on Amazon

Our most recent purchase from Baby Bjorn was their travel crib (or play yard depending where you make the purchase). I was on the fence for a while with this one, but over the Holidays we visited the inlaws and the travel needs demanded a) a comfortable and safe sleeping area for our son since he’s beyond the size that he can sleep in his Cooshee changer and b) something that was compact enough to travel with easily. The Baby Bjorn travel crib seemed a bit pricey, but now that we’ve had a chance to use it I can say that it’s worth every penny. Here’s why.

  • From what I can tell it is well-made as we’ve seen with our other Baby Bjorn products.

  • It’s compact. The crib folds up into a reasonably flat, easy to manage dimension and slips easily into a provided carry-case.
  • It’s easy to assemble. By assemble I mean unfold because there aren’t any nuts and bolts to fiddle with when putting up the crib. Sides, base and legs are all attached and once you unfold the collapsed sides you need only extend each leg and it will snap into place. Extend all four legs and your travel crib is ready to stand on its own. The only thing to ‘put together’ involves the insertion of the crib’s mattress into the crib itself. 2 seconds work.
  • Takedown is as easy as assembly. Again, extend each leg and fold them to the middle of the crib. Once all four legs are folded in, fold the crib in 2 and return it to its travel case. Done.

Click to Browse the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib on Amazon

Anyway, if you’re considering any of the above and have questions feel free to ask them here. They’re not the cheapest options on the market, but they work, they’re well designed and thus far our son hasn’t voiced any objections :)