Young and Modern

Wooden blocks and pull along toys are fine, but I’m a baby of the 21st century. I have to stay on top of advancements in technology to remain competitive and relevant in this world. A modern baby simply can’t afford to fall behind. These are not simple times.

When mommy needs to take care of mommy related activities, she brings me my tablet. As soon as I see it coming, I get impatient to get to work. I run over and yell while mommy pokes at the device. After what seems like an eternity I get my hands on the tablet and I get to work.

Mommy goes about her business leaving me to concentrate. This is a sophisticated piece of technology and it requires my full attention. I hold it carefully in both hands as I place it flat on the ground before me. I get comfortable next to my tablet and I give it an intense look.

I see nothing but a matte grey surface. I immediately realize that something isn’t right. I flip the tablet over and with a thump the screen is revealed. That’s much better. Now I can get down to business.

The screen is covered in colourful shapes with silly faces. I touch one and it dances about while a cheerful tune plays. I smile and clap my hands. I do like music. I listen and watch the shapes jump around on the screen.

As the melody fades I tap another shape and a new song begins. This is followed by more clapping. I repeat this process several times to test for consistency. Every time I touch a shape, a brand new tune begins just as I expected. So far, so good.

Next I deploy my pincer at one of the shapes and I try to pick it up. The shape jumps out of the way and dances around. I follow after it and try to pincer it again but it darts away for a second time. I abandon the pincer and go for a full on grab.

Baby playing a game on a Samsung tablet

I’ve got you!

I look at my now closed fist with high hopes. I turn my hand over and slowly open my fist, but it turns out to be empty. Even though I’ve had the same result every time, I still feel a pang of disappointment. I keep hoping for the day when I find a smiling shape sitting in the palm of my hand.

I look at the happy shapes dancing on the screen, and I pounce on them with both hands. Nothing. I pounce again! Still nothing. I smack the screen repeatedly with both hands and it explodes with lights, sounds, and dancing shapes. I watch all the animated activity with satisfaction.

As the music stops and the shapes go back to their more relaxed state, I repeat the two-handed smacking procedure. The results are the same and the shapes dance around in the midst of lights and sounds. I wait for the show to end and I try it again, but this time I get one foot in there with a few kicks.

All the sounds stop and the screen goes dark. I give the tablet a tap with my hand. No effect. I try a little nudge with my foot. Nothing changes and the screen remains dark. I do a double slap and kick combo. No change.

I shriek at it a little but still there is no reaction from the tablet. Then I shriek at it a lot but that has no effect either. Getting upset now, I howl in mommy’s general direction. Mommy is significantly more responsive and arrives promptly to assist.

Mommy picks up the tablet while I look on with concern. She works her magic and within seconds I see the illuminating glow reflect off mommy’s face. I immediately get impatient that I don’t have the tablet in my hands yet. Mommy ignores my grumbles and fidgets with the tablet while I grumble louder.

Then I hear the music of the dancing shapes come on again as mommy hands the tablet back to me. There they are on the screen just as colourful as I remember and they’re all smiling at me. I put the tablet back on the ground and prepare my pincer for deployment. I think I’ll catch one of these shapes this time. I have a really good feeling about this.

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Better Than Chocolate

Did you know that inside of every box of chocolate there is a toy? I wouldn’t joke about something as serious as playtime. There really is a toy inside every box! I discovered this only recently when we finished off one of our many boxes of chocolate left over from Christmas.

For the last three months I have watched countless boxes of chocolate be opened, consumed, and then thrown away. So many lost opportunities to play. Luckily there is still a small stack of Christmas chocolate left and I have high hopes for those boxes. No box of chocolate will be tossed on my watch.

The toy inside each box is a game. Before you can play with the toy, someone needs to get rid of the chocolate. Most of this task goes to mommy and daddy but I have been known to help on occasion. I think it would be faster if we just dumped the chocolate out on the floor but mommy and daddy disagree. They never want to try things my way.

Once the chocolate gets removed, the playing surface is revealed. What you are looking at is actually the underside of the game board. The next step is to pop the toy out of the box and shake out all the chocolate crumbs. When you accomplish this, your game is ready to play.

Next you will need a flat surface to place the game board upon. I like to use the tray of my high chair. It’s big enough and I can sit comfortably while I play. I’m sure you could use a table or even the floor if you prefer. Any surface that is firm, flat, and big enough for your entire game board will work.

Place your toy on the flat surface with the bubbles pointing upwards. Now you’re all set to have some fun. Ready to play? The object of the game is to press down all the bubbles. Try to make the game board as flat as possible. Don’t worry. It’s not as hard as it sounds.

Baby playing with packaging from a box of chocolates

It takes a bit of concentration

You can take your time and press each bubble carefully with your preferred pressing finger. Or you can speed things along by mashing the bubbles down with the palm of your hand. You could use both hands if you’re feeling adventurous. Or you could even use another object by holding it tightly and smashing it down on those bubbles. A wooden block works great for this.

Whatever method you decide on, each attempt to flatten the bubbles will be rewarded with a delightful crinkling sound. That’s how you know you’re playing the game correctly. If it crinkles you’re on the right track and you should keep up the excellent job. If it doesn’t crinkle you might need to reevaluate your strategy and try a different approach. Don’t give up.

Once your game board is thoroughly flattened, you might think that the game is over and playtime is finished. No need to worry. Simply ask either your mommy or your daddy to pop the bubbles out for you and the game is reset back to the beginning. You can play forever! Or until you get bored. Whatever comes first.

Every box has a different game board inside. Collect them all or swap with friends. With a stack of boxes you could get the whole family involved. Smash your bubbles and then trade game boards and smash bubbles some more. It would make a great family night.

The next time you have a box of chocolate lying around, hurry up and get rid of that chocolate. Before long you will be able to give this fantastic game a try. You won’t be disappointed. It’s a great game and is sure to provide hours of fun. You’ll like it even more than the chocolate.

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Whisked Away to Playtime

I have a new toy! If you’ve been here before, you might have noticed that I sometimes do product reviews for toys that I’m particularly fond of. Usually, mommy helps me with my reviews. She supplies the facts while I do the product testing. Then we put it all together along with my general impression of the product.

Only my favourite toys get this honour and today, a new toy is entering the ranks of this elite group. This review is a little bit different from my previous ones. I am reviewing this toy without mommy. This review is based only upon my own keen observations and my personal opinions.

Without further delay, let’s get started. My new toy is called a Whisk. One end is springy, and the other is long and smooth with a loop at the end. The Whisk doesn’t have much of a flavour and it doesn’t smell like anything, but it is shiny and very pretty.

Baby with a whisk

That’s me whisking.

The Whisk is wonderful for making music. You can hold the smooth side and bash the springy side on a hard surface. This makes a very interesting sound which I’m sure you’ll never get tired of. For variety, try bashing it against different things. Every bashed object makes the Whisk produce a different sound.

If you’re a more advanced Whisk player, you can hold the springy side and bash the smooth side. This makes a louder sound but holding the springy side is a bit more tricky. Beginners should stick with holding the smooth side until their Whisk handling skills improve.

I love playing with my Whisk but if I was to make any improvements, I would suggest that the smooth side could use a bit more pizzazz. Maybe if it had a face on it, or a button I could press. I like pressing buttons. This is a minor flaw and overall, it is still a pretty amazing toy.

The Whisk is made by the second kitchen drawer. As far as I can tell, it is free. The second kitchen drawer never seems to charge mommy any money. You should check your second kitchen drawer to see if it has a Whisk for you to play with.

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Big Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Eleven months ago I was a newborn baby and now I’m a big girl. I changed so much in this period of time and my needs and likes have changed as well. There are bins in the attic full of things that I no longer use because they are too small, or simply because I don’t need them anymore.

With storage space rapidly shrinking, the need for versatility has become more apparent. Since there is no stopping me from growing, the items I use need to grow with me. Today I want to tell you about one piece of baby gear that has done exactly that. I used it in my earliest days and it is still useful to me now.

It’s fine for an item to be useful for a long period of time, but it’s even better if that item can grow with me by adapting to my changing needs. The Grow-With-Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit has proven that it can withstand the test of time. This well thought out product made by Infantino has been a great investment and I am getting a great deal of use out of it.

In my earliest days, I used The Grow-With-Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit for tummy time. The turtle shaped mat features marine themed pictures and is bright and colourful to attract the attention of the littlest people. The mat is cushioned but I prefer a softer surface. It works well enough on carpet or a foam floor.

Attach the two removable arches and the mat becomes an activity gym. The arches have a total of eight loops for toys. Four toys are included to get you started. The purple octopus is a rattle, the yellow starfish crinkles, the red crab has a mirror on one side, and the fish has a teething ring attached. For variety and interest mommy often swapped the toys out for items from my toy bin.

Baby in the Infantino Grow-With-Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit

How many balls are too many?

Now that I’m a big girl I no longer fit under the arches. Not a problem. Daddy has removed the arches raised up the sides, and I now have a ball pit. Meanwhile, the four toys have migrated into my toy bin and are now part of my regular toy collection.

The ball pit comes with 40 balls which store conveniently in the turtle’s head. When daddy saw how much fun I was having with my ball pit, he went out and bought me a whole bag of balls. Now I can’t find my feet in the ball pit. Are they even in there? I do like to throw the balls around and the additional balls are extra ammunition. I’m torn as to the ideal number of balls required for optimal ball pit function.

Regardless of how many balls you chose to fill your ball pit with, The Grow-With-Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit is sure to prove useful for some time. This product has been with me for my entire life and it’s still one of my favourites. I recommend this item to babies everywhere.

Stepping into Music

Now that I’m a big girl, and practically an expert at sitting without falling over, it’s time for me to figure out how mobility works. I have been wiggling around on the ground with some success, but I would like to take this to the next level soon. If I’m going to take my first steps, I’ll have to get my lazy feet into shape.

Mommy and daddy are helping me reach this goal. One of the ways they help me is by holding me steady while I practice standing on my own feet. I’m much too wobbly to stand on my own, but with support I can manage to do it for a little while.

My endurance is much greater than mommy’s or daddy’s and they often get tired before I feel that I’m done practicing. We have come up with a solution that works for all of us. When I feel that I need more time on my feet, I use my 4-in-1 Step ‘n Play Piano.

I am no stranger to the piano. I have several versions of this instrument in my toy box and I play with all of them. When mommy and daddy first introduced me to the 4-in-1 Step ‘n Play Piano I already knew what to do. The difference is that I am now standing on my feet while I play.

baby using the fisher-price 4-in-1 Step 'n Play Piano

I like to sing along.

My new piano has a few surprises for me. Not only does it make music when I press on the colourful, light up piano keys, it also plays music when I move my feet on the colourful mat I stand on. It also has 3 musical modes to spice things up. There is a continuous play mode, one that plays short tunes when I hit the keys or move my feet, and a third mode which allows me to plays single notes and compose my own melodies.

The 4-in-1 Step ‘n Play Piano is more than just a piano. It has a guitar with a spinner ball and slide. There is a drum center which allows me to add percussion to my compositions. Two musical note sliders allow me to make even more sounds. Colourful clackers that are fun to poke at are included, along with a tambourine, and microphone rattle. Finally, there is a good-sized mirror so that I can play music for my dear friend, the baby in the mirror.

The seat which holds me has an adjustment that allows for two different heights. It swivels freely and I can slide it from one end to the other so that I can reach all the features. It also has an extra toy on either side. There is the spinner with the colourful balls which makes delightful noise. On the other side is the slide maze where I can move colourful disks from one side to the other. Not as noisy, but still fun.

The 4-in-1 Step ‘n Play Piano is made by Fisher-Price and I highly recommend it. I have had mine for a couple of months now. I play with it several times per week and I still love it. I can have fun, make music, and practice for my first steps all at the same time. I’m a very busy baby and for me, multitasking is a necessity.

A New Friend

I made a new friend! She is a girl, like me, and her name is Emily. She has dark eyes and curly orange hair that she wears tucked up under a hat. Emily is a happy girl, which is evident by the smile on her face, and she makes me happy too.

Emily wears her hat every day, and she pairs it with a matching dress, striped tights, and pink shoes. Wherever she goes, Emily brings her toys along and she doesn’t mind sharing them with me. My friend is only about 12 inches tall, which isn’t very big. I’m bigger than Emily and that’s unusual because I’m usually the smallest person in the room.

Emily may be a doll, but that doesn’t make her any less fun. She comes with two click clack rings in her hand, and a fun rattle around her neck. I really enjoy the rattle. It has an interesting flower shape with a different coloured ball in each petal that I can see moving about when I shake it.

Baby with the Lamaze My Friend Emily doll

See the colours in there?

One of my favourite things about Emily is the bit of curly hair under her hat, and the curls on her feet. You can pull them straight all you want, but they always bounce back to curly as soon as you let go. I don’t know that works, but it sure is fun.

Emily has a crinkle edge on the bottom of her dress, and the undersides of her feet crinkle too. There are all sorts of different textures and colours all over my doll that I can explore. Emily is soft and fun to cuddle with when I get tired from too much playtime.

The My Friend Emily doll is a Lamaze brand toy. Lamaze toys can be on the pricey side, but it is possible to find a good deal if you shop around and wait for sales. If you’re looking for a new pal, Emily may be a good match for you.

Keeping Busy

Guess what I have. A new toy! Happy day! I really like this one too. Unlike most of my other toys, this one isn’t trying to trick me into learning a new skill. No reason to get frustrated with this toy. It’s easy to play with and fun to look at.

My new toy is called a Busy Ball and it is made by Alex. It is round, as you have to be in order to be called a ball. My Busy Ball is soft like a plush toy. That’s nice because sooner or later all of my toys bonk me on the head. The Busy Ball is covered in fun patterns and different colours which are nice to explore.

If you look more closely, you begin to notice that this toys has some rather unusual and hidden features. It has three loops on one side which make this ball easy to hold. Roll it a little, and there are another three handholds hiding there. These are strange long things that I haven’t fully figured out yet.

Baby with a Alex Busy Ball

What do you suppose these are?

All of these protrusions make it fun and easy to grab onto the Busy Ball. I like to hold it tight and wave it over my head. This is when those head bonks I told you about tend to happen! But that’s not a problem with the Busy Ball. This is also when the secret feature is unleashed. The Busy Ball makes a rattle sound! I love it when my toys make noise. That’s how you know you’re playing with them correctly.

I also like to use the protruding parts of my Busy Ball to chew on. My gums feel funny all the time and chewing on certain things helps them feel better. I wonder what’s going on in my mouth. I’ve had this funny feeling for some time and it doesn’t look like it’s going away. Sometimes it even hurts a little. The only thing that helps is to chew on things. I prefer rubbery things or fabrics. Those help the most.

My Busy Ball is lots of fun and I think you should get one too. It’s great for play around the house and it works just as well on the go. Mommy lets me take it with me wherever I go because if it gets dirty, she just throws it in the washing machine and it comes out looking like new. The Busy Ball makes both of us happy.