Who Would Buy Nikes For Toddlers?

Who would buy Nikes for a toddler? I would.

For a while I was of the mindset that spending money on brands like Nike, Adidas, etc for a toddler was foolishness. We bought our little guy (now not so little) whatever was well priced when he needed a pair, and fit his feet. What made me change my mind? Well, we noticed that at around age 3 he started to complain about going for walks that were more than a couple blocks long. It didn’t matter which shoes he wore, he would ask to be picked up after a couple blocks. We tried several pairs, thinking that it could be the shoes didn’t fit well, but it didn’t seem to matter. On a whim when we were searching for new shoes we tried on a pair of Nikes and as soon as they were laced up he started to hop in place smiling. Crazy. To be honest I still figured it was a fluke, but we went ahead and bought them as they were on sale.

Fast forward to that weekend and we asked him if he wanted to go for a walk. His response was much as before but we went ahead and got him dressed and went outside. Put simply it was the longest walk we had in months and not a single complaint. He walked (often ran) the entire way and from that point forward was excited to get outside.

So, I take back everything I said / believed about higher end athletic shoes not being worthwhile for toddlers. Since then we’ve stuck with it and wouldn’t change it for anything. Don’t believe me, give it a shot. Buy a pair that fit and take them home. Let your toddler wear them around inside the house (you can always take them back if they’ve not been worn outside) and see how they react.

Christmas 2012. The Haul.

So, we’ve failed. Clearly. We’ve failed in our promise to ourselves that we wouldn’t allow the toy situation get out of control. I clearly remember visiting friends’ homes and cringing at the piles of toy cars and sports equipment that just seemed to occupy every nook and cranny of their previously tidy homes.

We promised ourselves that wouldn’t be us.
We failed in that promise.

As a result of Christmas 2012 I now have a new project on my hands. Identify, review and select Vancouver-based services that accept used toys, kids books and children’s clothing and put them, or their proceeds to good use.

While our situation may not be as bad as most, our little guy certainly has more toys right now than he needs, or frankly than he can manage. More concerning, where prior to Christmas he showed little interest in either presents or the idea of new toys, he now considers anything loosely resembling a present as being something that should be his, and to my dismay he’s asked me if he can have “new cars.”

I figure there’s no time like the present to try and change that attitude and to reduce both the clutter and amount of distraction for him in and around our home.

I’m open to any suggestions for worthy recipients of toys, clothes and books in good to excellent condition. Currently I’m thinking of:
Vancouver Public Library for the books.
Big Brothers for toys and clothes that our friends’ kids won’t be able to use.

Halloween 2013. Halloweenier.

Right, so its the end of September and we’re already starting to think about what the little guy will be on October 25th. Last year we got lucky (aka got lazy) and found a pretty funny dragon costume for a very reasonable price from Old Navy. While I admit I considered jamming him in that same costume again this year I suspect that would meet with disapproval from the grandparents who are already getting their cameras ready for something new and fantastic.

Speaking of new and fantastic, check out this Master Chief costume featured over at Fashionably Geek. I will state it for the record, that is one bar that I will not meet this year.

From Fashionably Geek

Kid in a Master Chief costume. Perfect for halloween.
Kid in a Master Chief costume. Perfect for halloween.

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.

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.

Baby clothes sizes continue to confound me (in this case baby life jackets and baby PFDs)

Click here to review some Children’s Life Jackets as well as Children’s PFDs.
We ultimately purchased a Mustang Survival Child’s Life jacket, though being in Canada we purchased from a local retailer since Amazon doesn’t offer to ship this product to Vancouver.

This weekend we left for a few days at the cabin which involves a short drive to a local harbor followed by a not-so-short water taxi ride from the mainland to the cabin. The Kidlet is presently about 3 months old and a robust 16-17 lbs based on last visit to the doctor. Now, prior to the trip I did a bit of research to find out where I could find a baby life jacket and guess what? All the information I could track down pointed to life jackets not being certified for children under 20 lbs (or was it 30? It’s too much work to find the page again on the crappy Canadian Government maze of websites) which suggested we shouldn’t worry about it. That seemed like a bad idea, so we went ahead and purchased the smallest approved PFD we could find (and yes it was a PFD and not a life jacket, and yes I did read that life jackets do a better job or keeping the wearer oriented upright).

PFD and life jackets / life preservers for babies and infants are available to purchase Anyhow, we got to the boat, got aboard with the Kidlet in his Baby Bjorn and then proceeded to remove him from the Bjorn and put on the PFD. I’ll say this again, the Kidlet is no more than 20 lbs and the jacket we purchased is for children between 20 and 30 lbs. It was ridiculous. He looked like he was going to tear that thing apart. When we zipped it up to the top it looked like his jowls were going to spill over the neckline.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Baby sizing is ridiculous. At best it represents a near estimate of whether or not your baby will be able to wear the clothing. Why don’t they include dimensions as many adult clothing makers do as well in order to address the wide range of baby sizes out there? The PFD we purchased was for children up to 30 lbs or, apparently, chubby babies up to 17 lbs.

I would love to know how many tons of baby clothes are purchased and never worn each year simply because parents have no way other than ages ‘sizing’ and in some cases weight ‘sizing’ on which to base their purchase decision?

Halloween is just around the corner and I’m on the hook for an infant Halloween costume

Call it wishful thinking but I had assumed that since the Kidlet hasn’t yet mastered the manual dexterity required to catch and replace a released soother that he wouldn’t be up for Halloween this year. Apparently he doesn’t have a say and Mrs Kidlet has been nominated to speak on his behalf. As such I’m on the hook to find an appropriately cute Halloween costume for a 10 week old. That is the mission.

Oh, did I mention that Mrs. Kidlet isn’t a huge science fiction fan, so the great Star Trek onesies I’ve featured on the right sidebar are apparently out of the question. I even explained the history of the ‘red shirt’ but to no avail. And so the search continues. I’ll likely either update this post as I come across potential baby Halloween costume candidates, or throw up new posts to introduce the options, but for now I’ll outline those that I’ve shortlisted. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Star Trek Baby Onesies (see the right sidebar).
As I mentioned above I’m told this is out… however I’ve already taken it upon myself to purchase a couple just in case :)

Baby Lobster Costume
Let it be known that I’m not overly thrilled with this one, but its proving difficult to find a baby costume that’s worth posting AND isn’t science fiction-related.

Infant Bat Costume
This baby bat costume has promise especially given that the Kidlet continues to be a spaz in terms of arm / hand control. As a result I expect that he’d unknowingly play the part of a constantly-flapping bat like a pro.

Baby Pea in The Pod Costume
Not my thing, but I’ll throw it in the mix to pad the cute factor (and prep Mrs. Kidlet for the break from rules to come). The mother-in-law would love the Pea costume… and Jr is definitely a pee machine, but I don’t think I could bring myself to take him out in public in something like this. The Pea in the pod costume will stay on the list, but if purchased will be restricted to home and family viewing only. Photos are out.

Baby Chewbacca Costume
*BAM* consider the rules broken. I mean, come on… its a baby Chewie costume, how can you not love this? Issues with this one is that it’s more of a partially shaved infant Chewbacca costume with emphasis on hightop and shoulder hair… and where’s the crossbow?

Front runners? Kirk and red shirt Star Trek costumes which have been purchased and will be kept well hidden until the time is right to break them out (Mrs. Kidlet, if you’re reading this… well, I”m sure you expected me to purchase them anyway right?). Chewbacca obviously, and then… geez. I guess the Bat.

Costume makers, if you’re out there here are some requests:

Baby Star Trek Onesies are going to happen… mark my words. Let the infant geekery begin.

So just the other day I was questioning the wisdom of some of the baby clothing we’ve received recently. Granted, Jr is only 7 weeks old and hasn’t formed strong opinions regarding wardrobe selection or style in general, but still… I’ll never be able to buy him a pony, so the pony branded gear needs to go.

Now, I may not be able to afford a star ship either, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t have at least one of these Star Trek uniform onesies by the time Halloween comes around. Clicking the Star Trek onesie graphic below will take you to ThinkGeek where these can be purchased.

Star Trek Uniform Onesies

What I find particularly hilarious about these (excepting the gray one, I’m not interested in that one) is that they include a red shirt onesie. Moreover, if you click the shirt graphic above through to ThinkGeek you’ll see that (at least right now) they have stock for everything except red shirt size 18 month and red shirt size 12 months. For those of you not familiar with Star Trek, or who promptly leave the room when your significant other turns on TOS (the original series) the red shirt is some unknown officer (wearing a red shirt) unfortunate enough to be on the bridge when the captain decides to beam an away team down to an unknown planet. Rather than faking sickness he promptly beams down with them and is killed, never to be seen again.

Again… the only items sold out at present are red shirt onesies… which someone has purchased for a child somewhere. I’m going to assume that these purchases weren’t made by parents, but rather by apartment dwellers who share walls with newborns and want to make a statement without risking legal repercussions.

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!