Bouncy chairs, baby heels and the balance between style and function

Click here to review or purchase the Baby Bjorn BabySitter Balance Bouncer.

As I’ve mentioned previously our little one has been growing at a furious pace. At 2 months he was out of most of his 0-3 clothes and well into the 3-6 comfortably. This growth has impacted not only his clothing, but other aspects of our day-to-day. In previous posts I’ve mentioned how much we love our BabySmart Cooshee changer as both a place for him to cosleep and a changing table. Well, at this point I wish BabySmart produced a larger sized Cooshee because I would be first in line. Junior fits in the current Cooshee at present, but I think he’ll soon outgrow it and for the time being getting our hands around him for transfers only reinforces the fact.

Bouncy Chairs. The Truth, The Fiction And The Alternatives.
Outside of the clothes and the changer I was very surprised to feel that we needed to change our bouncy chair. We started out of the gate with the Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer which according to Fisher Price’s site is intended for children up to 25 lbs. First, let me say that our son LOVES this thing. He sits in it, sleeps in it… it’s been our savior on several occasions… the cover comes off easily for washing. That said, there are two items that i think are worth mentioning. First, it takes 4 D batteries which initially seemed a bit much. My advice to anyone buying one of these is to make sure you have rechargeables so you’re not sending the batteries to landfill (I will note that the batteries seem to last a looooong time, so it’s not really a gripe, just a callout for the environment).

Next, the Rainforest Bouncer reclines quite significantly so he’s more laying than sitting upright. I’m sure this is by design and was great when he was smaller, but as he’s gaining head control it would be nice to have other settings so we could prop him up to a greater degree.

Rainforest Bouncer And Baby Heel Exposure
Here’s the one that surprised me. Our little guy is 15.5 lbs and loves to lie back and kick his legs. Unfortunately the location that holds the batteries on the Rainforest Bouncer doesn’t include a padded cover (see the beige element near the baby’s feet in any photo of the device). As baby kicks his or her legs her heels will strike the hard plastic case which honestly doesn’t appear to bother my son, but certainly bothers me. We’ve since added our own padding which resolved the issue, but it strikes me as a design oversight to have not addressed this out of the box. Additionally, given that his heels strike the box now, it won’t be long before it’s his Achilles and I can’t bear to watch that regardless how much it does or does not seem to bother him.

From Rainforest Bouncer To Baby Bjorn BabySitter Bouncer.
The other day I took the leap and ordered a Baby Bjorn BabySitter Balance Bouncer in hopes of addressing the issues listed above. The Bjorn BabySitter folds flat which will be great for travel, it has several settings to allow baby to rest at different angles, it includes a toy bar (so does the Rainforest Bouncer) for entertainment and it looks damn good. What it lacks is vibration, but I figure now that he’s got some bulk behind him my son will be able to produce his own bounce. The bouncer hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ll be sure to provide a review once it does and we’ve had some time to put it through his paces. If anyone out there has experience with the BabySitter please let me know.

Click here to review or purchase the Baby Bjorn BabySitter Balance Bouncer.

Unhappy Hipsters. A funny commentary on ‘modern’ design

I recall reading a few blogs recently wondering who was buying the many, many designer baby items that pop up on a regular basis and fill shop after shop in any major city. Who are these people? What do they look like, what do they do, where do they live?

I have to admit that I found myself in one of those shops this weekend and parted with cash in exchange for something justifiable more for the design and visual appeal than for its functionality. I’m a sucker. I admit it. I will work to prevent it from happening again.

Now, back to the questions in the first paragraph. I stumbled across a site today that I think does a pretty good job of answering them: Unhappy Hipsters :)

If you only read one post… make it this one: It was difficult to get through dinner with kids on their laps, but neither was willing to sully the Stokke high chair.

Time for a baby gear garage sale… and he’s only 7 weeks old

The rate of baby ‘stuff’ accumulation has been remarkable over the past couple of months. We made a conscious decision not to make major baby-related purchases prior to the birth. Call us superstitious… but with the exception of a crib and a car seat we didn’t buy much in advance. It’s a good thing we didn’t. Since Jr’s arrival we’ve accumulated a shocking number of things. Clothes, toys, burp cloths a bassinet, play mats, our beloved Cooshee and on and on it goes. Looking back we’re getting use of a remarkable number of these items, though there’s an almost equal number of items that are taking up space. Some of you may find the following helpful:

Stuffed Animals
Don’t buy these. Other people will at a rate that you’ll find quite shocking. There is one exception to this recommendation. Many of the stuffed toys you’ll receive will be… well… your typical stuffed animal while there are actually some pretty fun and interesting plush toy options available these days. As such I’m actually planning to purchase one (1) plush toy for Jr despite the herd already taking up space in our bedroom. Despite my well known penchant for UglyDolls I have my eye on a little beast from Monster Factory.

Clothes, in particular onesies
Again, you’ll get a ton of these from folks after the birth, and during the various baby showers that are bound to be scheduled. The number isn’t the issue, in fact you’ll want as many of these as you can get your hands on since your baby will be burping, peeing and pooing all over them with abandon. The issue is that they appear to size these things very optimistically. I suppose it could lead to more sales, but man… at 7 weeks Jr fits comfortably in 3 to 6 month onesies and can’t extend his legs when squeezed into 0 to 3 month outfits. Don’t believe the tags, ask people to buy reasonably rather than for cuteness and unless your kid’s a preemie make a point of returning your 0 to 3 in exchange for something that will fit.

Burp cloths and swaddling blankets
We got a lot of these. We need a lot of these. You will need a lot of these too. If someone offers, take them cause you’ll need them.

Diapers and wipes
If they’re not on the boob taking milk in, they’re preparing to expel it from all orifices in quantities that will blow your mind. Again… you’ll never have enough. Stash piles of them everywhere… in your diaper bag, the stroller, your car, every room in the house. One of the best tips I got shortly after Jr arrived was that when preparing to change, lay him on the new diaper before you take the old one off. Further, when you undo the first diaper, use the front of the diaper itself to perform the initial poo wipe to trap the bulk of the solid matter in the old diaper. Then use wipes to get the rest while cautiously guarding against pee in the face. Once wiped, roll up the wipes and the old diaper and throw them in the garbage (one can in every major change room) then quickly do up the new diaper which is already positioned under his butt, which by this time is probably read to fill it. Placement of diaper #2 and use of #1 for wiping are both key. Thank me later.

Anyway, a few tips to guide accumulation where it will be needed and avoid it where it won’t. Good luck!

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.

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 :)

My Wife And I Still Don’t Have Our Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair, Yet They’re Marketing Child-Sized Versions

designer furniture for your children... small versions of furniture you can't afford

Edit: Please see the first comment below for clarification on this post.

I’ve been eyeing an Eames lounge chair and ottoman for about 5 years now but haven’t been able to justify the purchase of one. One day, I keep telling myself… one day I’ll have one in the living room.

Well, it seems that some children don’t have to wait for “One day” as you can now buy child-sized versions of Eames and other designer furniture. On the one hand I look at this and think, ‘ that’s soo cool’ and on the other I seethe with jealous rage.

I suppose that if I can’t afford the original I could hopefully buy a pint-sized version and position it carefully in the room to downplay its size.

100 Things Your Child Will Never Experience posted a list of 100 things your kid will never know about, and on reading through there were actually a few that I had to think twice about. Embarrassing I know, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

The list can be in the GeekDad area of Wired here.

The ones I had to think about a bit were:
– Rotary dial televisions with no remote control. You know, the ones where the kids were the remote control.
– The buzz of a dot-matrix printer

On a completely unrelated note have a look at this incredible solar eclipse photo taken last night (not by me).

Good times.

Automation To The Rescue, Indoor Robot Baby Carriages!

Remember the gold plated rocket car we were promised as kids? Well it looks like it's arrived for us in time to be parents

So from what I can tell this robot baby carriage promises to keep your baby happy and comfortable while you and your spouse are taking care of routine tasks around the home. From the BMGK Co Ltd website you’ll find it promises to:

  • provide a comfortable chair from which your baby can watch you work

  • provide an equally comfortable cradle when junior falls asleep
  • act as a swing when baby wakes up. Oddly the swing isn’t in a pendulum motion but rather what they describe as a horizontal sliding motion. Weird
  • provide a ‘maneuvering’ mode that as far as I can tell is very roomba-like and moves around the room without hitting furniture. Hopefully it knows what stairs are as well
  • clean up easily, allow you to move it manually and hold a charge for over 3 days

I don’t know about this one. If anyone’s had an opportunity to try one out I’d love to know how it works. If it lives up to the promises then the $500.00 price tag may be a steal.

Found over at The Daily What