My toddler is frustrated. Not that that’s an unusual occurrence, but it’s because she can’t quite bicycle as well as her older sister. Granted she is not yet 3 years old, but she takes her inability to master new things right away very personally (don’t we all?). When we took the girls out for a bike ride around the neighborhood, the little one was having difficulty grasping the concept of keeping her feet on the pedals; she just wondered rather loudly “why it won’t go?” So we resorted to her dragging her feet (literally and figuratively) as my husband pushed her from behind. Needless to say, his back was killing him before we made it down the street. For parents with aching backs everywhere comes an ingenious new set of wheels designed with the preschool set in mind. The YBIKE PEWI (pronounced “pee wee”) is described as a hybrid walking buddy for kids 9 months-3 years old. It helps little ones develop basic motor and balance skills well in advance of the bike-riding age. Its friendly smiley face design will capture kids’ attention right from the start. Mind you, this isn’t a traditional walker that kids simply sit on and move around using only their feet; the PEWI lets them hold on to it and take their steps, or they can sit right on it. Because they have complete control over their movement, there’ll be less opportunity for frustration. And fewer visits to the chiropractor for you.
In a Nutshell: Don’t push your tot into pedaling before she’s good and ready. Let your budding bike rider build up her balancing skills with a set of wheels that’s just her speed.
Baby monitors have come a long way since the days of scratchy walkie talkie-type gadgets that could pick up your neighbor’s juicy phone conversations. Because the rooms in our humble home are relatively close together, and also because I had very “vocal” babies, no monitor ever truly wowed me enough to bother with. Now in stores, there’s a monitor that isn’t only a listening/viewing device, but a modern-day keepsake. Baby Moments Digital Video Monitor has the ability to capture up to 50 photos at a time, so you can download them to your own computer and share with co-workers, friends and far-away family members. Then, when the video monitor isn’t being activated, you can use this multitasking tool as a picture frame to show off your favorite shot of your baby in action–even if she should be sleeping. As far as trying to catch the dirt on your neighbor’s love life, well, you’re on your own with that one…
In a Nutshell: Caught on camera: your baby won’t be able to a do thing without you seeing it firsthand on this hi-tech monitor.
I know it’s spring because our cat is a bit more kooky than usual. Blame it on those warm breezes wafting through the open window, beckoning her outdoors to play…but she can’t because she’s an indoor kitty (sorry, Peanut). Nevertheless, my daughters think her frequent pouncing and jumping into mid-air before barreling down the hall is a riot. But I know she’d much rather be outdoors soaking up the sun and fresh air, and I feel a little guilty that I’m such a stickler for keeping her housebound (we live in woodsy setting across from a pond, and we fear that, if given the chance, she’d head out the door and never look back. Plus, I’m afraid of a resident hawk who’d swoop down and make her his dinner). Since Peanut can’t quite enjoy the full outdoor experience of rolling in the grass and stretching her limbs, my older daughter thinks our kitty is deserving of a special treat (I wonder where she gets this philosophy from…). So, to fulfill my duties as a caring mom, we’re investing in some catnip, but not any ordinary kind. DuneCraft’s new line of Garfield-themed terrariums gets my girls in on the action of offering our beloved kit a sweet treat. Garfield Crazy Catnip, Garfield Goofy Grass and Garfield Catnip Garden offer plenty of opportunities for kids to make snacks for their favorite feline friend, and watch the fruits of their labor. It’s also a great way to get them motivated to start planning this year’s vegetable garden. As for Peanut, she’s just happy to have her own little greens to nibble on…
In a Nutshell: Dog may be man’s best friend, but if you’ve got a kitty–and kiddies– in your life, invest in these catnip-making kits for a fun activity for all.
My 1st grader is zipping through Junie B. Jones. Having recently developed a voracious appetite for reading, she is devouring nearly every book she can get her hands on…and I couldn’t be more delighted. Since my husband and I are true bookworms, we’ve happily passed along this gene and helped cultivate it over the last 7 years. There are times, of course, when my daughter would rather snuggle up with one of us than read alone, but because we’re hoping to instill more independence in this little girl who we’ve affectionately nicknamed “Glue,” it helps to have a companion for reading time. That’s why the line of book-inspired plush dolls from MerryMakers is a real plus for newly minted readers. From picture book favorites like Olivia and Katy Duck, to the never-boring Joneses (Skippyjon and Junie B.), each character features an expressive face and is detailed right down to the heart on “The Kissing Hand’s” raccoon. Since bedtime is the perfect moment for winding down with a good read, these friends make ideal bedfellows when it’s time to turn out the lights. What better way to head off to dreamland then having read a great book–and having made a new friend?
In a Nutshell: Reading doesn’t have to be a chore when you’ve got a friend to join you. Take one of these buddies along on your child’s next reading adventure and see if she still puts up a fight at bedtime.
It’s too soon to start planning for Kate Middleton’s baby shower–her wedding day isn’t even here just yet–but it’s certainly fun to imagine her as mum-to-be some day. No doubt her baby’s nursery will be outfitted in royal finery, and her bundle of joy clothed in the lushest, most soft fabrics. But something tells me that when it’s time to step out with the future prince (or princess), the future Queen of England will be doing so in style. If we could be so bold as to suggest a couple of our favorite baby products, we’d put these on her baby shower wish list. To help navigate those London city streets with a little one, the Cybex Callisto is the way to go. This highly functional stroller converts into a stylish city pram just by snapping on a carrying cot right onto the stroller’s frame. That extra roomy storage basket lets the future mum stash away her umbrella for rainy treks or anything she picks up during her daily jaunt. And once those grey skies brighten, she can resume her fresh air walk with her baby safely tucked inside a Snugli baby carrier. We’d recommend the Union Jack model, of course, so she can pay homage to her homeland. Not only is it an eye-catching print, but the back straps are adjustable and the fabric, breathable. Because, yes, even princesses perspire.
In a Nutshell: A stroller that suits royalty and a front carrier that proclaims true patriotism? God save the Queen…
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, my co-worker ventured their guesses as to when I would go into labor. Much to my chagrin, one guy was banking on May 5th and went so far as to yell out “Cinco De Mayo Baby!” whenever I’d waddle down the hall. (My actual due date was May 19th.) Turns out it was more like Memorial Day Babe, as she was born at the start of the long holiday weekend. Trying to figure out when a pregnant buddy or family member will give birth is a great way to build the momentum of the Big Day, and to further up the ante, there’s a new online game that gives even more of an incentive to come up with the winning day. Aptly named the Baby Guessing Game, simply visit the 4moms site to set up your own contest and then invite people to guess your baby’s arrival date, gender and birth weight. After your baby is born, you’ll be able to enter the correct info and the game will automatically calculate which person’s answers were right or who came closest. Winners and game hosts have a chance to earn Insider Points, which can be redeemed for discounts on 4moms baby products, like the mamaRoo Infant Seat (pictured here). To add to the anticipation, players can even converse with other guess makers and view their predictions. Very soon, the Baby Guessing Game will also include an Announcements feature, so proud parents can e-mail the good news, along with a photo of their new baby and one of the winner, if they so choose. Who’s claiming Cinco De Mayo now?
In a Nutshell: The office pool finally catches up to the modern day with a hi-tech baby guessing game that gets everyone in on the action. And if you win, you truly do earn your bragging rights!
A mom friend once posed the following question: “Is it awful if I answer my husband honestly about what I’d like best for Mother’s Day: to be left alone?” Ava Gardner she was not, nor am I that friend. But truth be told, it is nice to escape the mom label every now and then, be it in May or any other day for that matter. If you think you’ve come too close to adapting the full mommyhood routine, take a closer look at that bag you’re carrying. Is it loaded down with diapers, wipes, Goldfish and every other imaginable kid-friendly contraption? Be honest. If you could use something that’s a bit more you–or perhaps the “you” before there were babies in the picture–consider the Kalencom Spize Girls Buckle Bag. This fashionable tote has a retro floral design that’s incredibly stylish. The bag contains three matching accessories–an insulated bottle bag, changing pad and zippered case–that can be swapped out when your little one is potty-trained and/or drinking from a big-kid cup. We love the messenger style because it harkens back to those days of strutting across campus when your biggest decision was whether or not to sign up for an 8 a.m. elective with that cute guy or get an extra hour of sleep. Ah, sleep….what is that again?
In a Nutshell: Those bags under your eyes may reveal your mommy identity, but this hipper-than-thou bag doesn’t have to. Now you can walk around town with a tote that doesn’t wear you–or your spirits–down.
Trying to carry a baby bundle around with you is never an easy feat. I remember when I took my newborn daughter out to grocery shop for the first time, with my older daughter in tow. After I thought I had given up that baby weight after childbirth, only to be lugging her around in a front carrier, I knew we would have a bit of a sweaty struggle as the spring days turned into summer. Now moms toting their baby with them in those sticky, humid days ahead of us need not worry. The Baby K’tan Breeze Baby Carrier relieves that feeling of being too hot to handle, thanks to its breathable part-mesh, part-cotton fabric. It’s a combo carrier/sling with a double-loop design, so your baby’s weight is evenly distributed. Made from materials that are both dye-free and chemical-free, this carrier feels just right next to your little one’s newborn skin.
In a Nutshell: When the warm weather hits and you want to keep your little one close, don’t break out in a sweat. Here’s a carrier that will help you keep your cool.
With April already half-over, it makes me realize that May is just around the corner. A busy time in our family, both my daughters have birthdays this month, as does my sister. But of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t remember one of the more popular holidays that month: Mother’s Day, of course. While I’d like to think the day is all about me (ha, ha!), I can’t forget about my own mother and mother-in-law. When I’m on the lookout for gifts, plush is always a fun choice and the more endearing and soft, the better. How can you resist the new assortment of cuddly friends from Fiesta? It’s hard to suppress a smile when receiving the lovable “I Love You” Polka Dot Dogs or the extra cheery Sweater Bears. Ever the faithful companion, these pups are especially playful and particularly plump–and when you’re talking about stuffed animals, that’s a good thing! The adorable teddies come in three varieties, each bearing a different phrase on their sherbet-hued sweaters. I can’t decide which one I like the most…probably “Best Mom” because I aspire to greatness!
In a Nutshell: Not sure how to enhance your basket of spa goodies or that gift certificate to Mom’s favorite restaurant? These plush pals are begging to be taken home to someone who will care for them unconditionally…and if that doesn’t define a mom, I don’t know what does.
There’s nothing I like more than a nice, long soak in the tub after a long, hard day. (Well, I can think of a few more things, but let’s keep things clean–literally!) In our old house, we had a claw footed tub that was the perfect place to wash away the day’s cares. And that was B.K. (before kids). Today, I’m lucky if I can manage a nightly shower without falling asleep. Perhaps my association with tub time as being “quiet time” dates back to when I was little. I fondly remember that the bath was the ticket to all our childhood woes: temper tantrums (although I was told I was an angel with few bad moments), nasty head colds and, in the teen years, bad-mood busters (unfortunately, I was not immune to those). Today, I find baths to be the perfect soother for cranky kids who need a calming way to wind down after a tiring day. Because we are blessed –or is it cursed?–with extra sensitive skin, I have to be especially careful with the products I use on my girls. That’s why Organic Baby Bath Tea Bags from Nature Certified caught my eye. Made from 100-percent organic ingredients like oat flour and chamomile, they are especially kind on tender skin. One whiff of these tea bags and I was instantly transported to a calmer place. Now I can create my own spa at home, minus the clawed foot tub, of course. But you get the idea. And if you’ve got a fussy baby, a gentle bath steeped with these bags may be just the answer you’re looking for.
In a Nutshell: No matter if you’re big or small, tough days happen to us all. When it seems like the walls are closing in on you, it’s time to turn on the tub faucet, throw in a bag and breathe deeply.