September 4, 2007

Review: The Girlfriend's Guide to Bay Gear

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I'm sure I wasn't the first person to get pregnant not knowing a thing about babies and what they gear they needed. I knew I wanted to have a baby, but once I finally succumbed to pressure and started my registry, I realized that I didn't have a clue about what I should buy, what would be a waste of my money, what was safe and what could potentially harm my baby, etc. I had no clue. So what I did was run to my nearest bookstore and see what was there that could help me. Low and behold, I discovered The Girlfriend's Guide to Baby Gear by Vicki Iovine. Having worked in said bookstore in the past, I was aware of the very popular The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy and had actually read it during my break times before deciding to try for a baby. I loved it as it was hysterical, and flipping through this book, I thought it looked like it had a lot of good information in it. And it really did too. It has a whole chapter on buying a car seat, lots of good information on what you may want for a stroller and what types are out there, great safety advice that I never would have thought of (such as those car seat mirrors being huge safety hazards in the event of an accident), and opinions on what good brands are. It's also co-authored by Peg Rosen who is an expert about safety with babies. I don't have the book anymore as I passed it along to my cousin when she became pregnant, but it's a must read for any first time mom. Use it when you make your registry and for all baby purchases you make for your little one, it'll be a huge help.

Laura at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 31, 2007

Review: Phonics 4 Babies

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We received a preview of a new DVD called "Phonics 4 Babies." To be released on September 25, "Phonics 4 Babies" introduces 300 key words and phrases that form the basis of your child's speech. This program was designed with the help of prominent clinicians at UCLA, speech pathologists, and child educators. It was specifically designed to engage babies and toddlers in early speech skills.

The DVD features several puppet "Tummy Tots." We received one of plush 8 legged creatures these with our preview copy. In the DVD, Giggles is a Tummy Tot toddler, who is just beginning to speak. On the arm of Mallory Lewis, Giggles learns how to say "please," and "thank you," and learns the sounds of each letter of the alphabet.

The DVD emphasizes different sounds and identifying various objects. A common element is Mallory Lewis asking the audience to pick out an object from a group of three. For example, a picture of a rabbit, sandbox, and a coat is displayed. She asks the audience to find each one in turn. Each scene often involves a quick song, sung by Ms Lewis.

We had Anderson watch the DVD with us last night. He wasn't too interested at first, but after a while he finally settled down to watch with us. Still, most of the time his attention was kept elsewhere. He had no where near the slack-jawed attention he might give to Blues Clues, for example. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not.

There's no way I can tell right now if this DVD delivers what it promises. But it does seem to be headed in the right direction. If you're going to have your child watch DVDs, be sure to watch with them, and help reinforce the lessons that are taught. That way, your child will get much more out of it than by simply watching it alone.

Of course, parent watchability is a key factor if you plan on doing that. Laura found that the DVD got on her nerves very quickly. I didn't think it was as bad as her, but there are definitely some annoying things about the DVD. However, its really not as bad as some of the toddler-oriented stuff out there (Wiggles, I'm looking at you!). And Phonics 4 Babies does promise to be a little more educational than your average TV program.

Peter at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 24, 2007

Review: Slick Sugar

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Here at Super Cool Baby headquarters, we received a size 2 Rock Star Dog t-shirt from Slick Sugar. Laura wrote about Slick Sugar late last month. They specialize in clothing for newborns to 6T.

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Peter at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 20, 2007

Review: Wilbur

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There's a show on Discovery Kids that's trying to teach children an important lesson: books are fun and empowering. Wilbur, a young calf, and his barnyard friends have fun and challenging adventures. When they get stuck on some particularly vexing problems, Wilbur turns to his books. After reading the first few words the books come to life, presenting your kids with an animated story. In these stories, the solution to Wilbur's problem is shown. Sometimes it takes another reading to get the whole solution nailed down, though.

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Peter at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 14, 2007

Review: B Nature Organic Clothing

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B Nature Organic is a baby clothing company that makes everything out of 100% organic cotton. They were founded because they wanted an organic alternative on the market that was both comfortable for the babies as well as stylish. They use a lot of natural colors and are also chemical free, which allows them to "be natural," hence their name! Their clothing is made with organizations that treat their workers fairly and have healthy work environments too. So you don't have to feel bad about clothing your child in their clothes!

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Laura at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 8, 2007

Review: Babysitter PlaceTile

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Peter and I are finally ready for a babysitter. For the longest time I felt incredibly insecure about leaving Andy with almost anyone. Even now that I'm at the point where I can go out for a few hours on a date, I still need to make sure the babysitter knows how to reach me, I know who her mother is, she knows CPR, etc. Super Cool Baby can't help you with most of these worries if you're in the same boat as me, but we can help you make sure that the babysitter knows how to reach you and knows where to look for your numbers every single time she sits. The Babysitter PlaceTile is a fully erasable, seven inch ceramic tile that stands on its own and has a spot to write all your important information. Included are a spot for where you are going with room for the number, the pediatrician's name and number, nearest hospital and its number, allergies and medications, and notes. And of course you can use any of these spots to write whatever you want if you have other information to give. There is also a dry erase marker that can be attached to the back of the tile via a magnet.

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Laura at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 3, 2007

Review: Siente: Night Songs from Around the World

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We recently started playing music for Anderson at bedtime. Just like children all over the world, the soft lullabies definitely help him fall asleep. In fact, Siente: Night Songs From Around the World is a great testament to that fact. Each song is a traditional lullaby from a different part of the world. Some lyrics are sung in their traditional dialects and others are sung in English.

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Peter at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 30, 2007

Review: Kids Love Spanish DVD

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Kids Love Spanish is brought to us by the Brock sisters, two sisters and mothers who studied Spanish when they were growing up. When they had children, they wanted to find a way to teach them Spanish as well. When they couldn't find a series of DVDs that was engaging for the whole family they decided to make their own. Basic Words is the first volume of this series.

This DVD teaches words like "hola" (hello), "comida" (food), and "agua" (water). Each word is demonstrated many times in various ways, along with some explanation of what the word means. This continues for the entire 30 minute running time, except for the song and dance at the beginning and end of the DVD. After a viewing (or perhaps a few), you could easily pick up the words covered and begin using them in your daily routine. This repetition will help reinforce the words learned and help your baby grow up bilingually.

As this DVD is part of a larger series, I think that it would really be most effective in that larger context. By itself, this DVD will expose your family to the smallest slice of the spanish language. However, in combination with the other DVDs you could learn enough to inspire a lifetime of bilingual education. If you're interested in the entire series, Kids Love Spanish is also available in a special boxed set.

Peter at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 13, 2007

Review: Sit-to-Stand Activity Walker

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Several months ago we bought a Sit-to-Stand Activity Walker for Anderson. He was just beginning to show signs of wanting to walk, so we wanted to encourage that behavior in addition to giving him a fun new toy to play with.

The Sit-to-Stand Activity Walker is really several toys in one. Before your child is standing, you can set it up as a sitting activity center. In this mode, your baby can sit in front of it, push buttons and be rewarded with all kinds of fun animal noises and so on. The wheels lock so that it doesn't roll away while your baby is playing.

Then when your child is learning to pull himself up, you can easily switch the toy to be a standing activity center. By keeping the wheels locked, the activity center will remain stable. When in this configuration the keys and buttons play different sounds. Andy played with the toy like this for a long time, and even began to push it around with the wheels locked. He had to push it backwards though, so it didn't tip over.

Just recently we unlocked the wheels, and now Andy has a high quality and durable walker to help him walk around the house! I only wish that the toy was a little easier for him to steer. The wheels are slightly rubberized so they don't slip, but this is a drawback when it comes to steering. Luckily there are plenty of long, straight hallways for him to walk down.

Peter at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 10, 2007

Review: My Brest Friend

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I knew that I wanted to do my best to nurse Andy when he was born. I researched nursing pillows, and because of all the good reviews out there, I decided on My Brest Friend. Sure, it had a silly name, but everyone seemed to think it was great. And more importantly, it had a pocket for your remote control or your stash of granola bars, which I ate up like crazy after giving birth. What makes this pillow different than the Boppy is that it actually attaches around you, and you can adjust the strap. And there are bumps on either side to help lift your baby's head to the appropriate position for nursing. Doesn't that sound great?

Too bad it was too good to be true for me. I could never get the pillow to stay where I wanted it, so it always fell to my hips. When I sat down with it the pillows made Andy's head too high for nursing, so it's not built for short women like myself. And it says that the pillow is great for sitting in chairs with armrests, but I could never fit in any of those, and I'm not very large! I also couldn't leave my hands free because it felt like Andy was about to roll off it all the time. But the worst part about it in my opinion is that it is hard. I learned how to nurse using old pillows that we had laying around in my house. Andy hated using My Brest Friend after that because it felt like a rock to him. There is nothing cozy about it.

This pillow has great reviews at Amazon, so I may be in a huge minority here. But if you are looking to get a nursing pillow, consider the Boppy instead. It's softer, easier to get in and out of, and doesn't have the weird bumps. I used it a bit near the end of my time nursing, and Andy and I liked it much better.

Laura at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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