Category Archives: baby gear

The Angel and the Devil

Did I ever mention my two personalities?

I have the crunchy-granola earth mother side.  She’s all kum-bye-ya and shit.

Then I have the I’m-just-a-little-too-tired-and-cynical-to-bother side.  She’s louder.  She’s totally a more assertive personality.

They are constantly fighting in my head.

It goes a little something like this:

Kum-bye-ya:  Why the hell are you using those evil landfill-filling drop in bottles?  You know they suck for the environment.

Cynical: Right, like those Dr. Brown’s numbers that sent all sorts of chemicals into Cakie’s system?  And you spent a half-an-hour every night washing them?  In WATER?  A precious natural resource?  Not to mention the energy spent heating the water and running the microwave with that steamer thing?  Fuck it.  There’s less plastic in all the drop-ins we’ve used so far than there were in the ten Dr. Browns bottles we had to throw away, lest they poison someone else’s kid.  There’s more plastic in half an exersaucer.  And we never bought a new one of those.  Plus, we got these drop in bottles second-hand.  Reduce, REUSE, recycle, honey.

Kum-bye-ya: But, ummm,  they’re disposable.  We suck.  We might as well be eating all of our meals off of plastic plates.

Cynical:  We may suck.  But aren’t you glad you’re sitting here blogging instead of washing bottles?  Plus, you don’t see anyone fretting over all the damn StarSucks cups they use.  We make our coffee at home.  Think of the trees we save.  It all balances out.  And we don’t drive an SUV.  We’re actually saving landfill space by continuing to drive our 1996 Nissan. (And only about once a week, at that.) Think of that, Miss Earthy.

Kum-bye-ya: Oh, shut up.  I mean,  peace.  Like, chill out.  You’d better not let the internet lesbians get wind of this.

Cynical: Don’t worry.  Your secret’s safe with me.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under baby gear, nothing at all

Gay Gay Vacay

Oneofhismoms is on vacation.

A short one, yes.  But it is the first time my little family has gone somewhere alone and stayed in a hotel instead of with family or friends.

So here we are in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  How very lovely.  I had heard it was gay friendly.  This morning, when Trucker got up at six am, I hauled it down to the Starbucks we’d seen when we arrived late last night for some caffeine.  Every single person who walked in was lesbian.  Except the one dude.  Of course now that I’ve been here for the day, I know there are plenty of straight families about.  It is a really interesting place.  I spent a summer living in Provincetown after college and I have to say, I kind of like it here a little more.  In P-town it was so very gay that the straight tourists tended to get a little uptight.  Which I don’t care about either way, but it was sort of a look-at-my-rainbow-flag-and-nipple-piercings-I’m-gay-gay-gay-damnit kind of scene.  Perhaps it has changed since then.  Also, when I lived there all of the lesbians pretty much had the same very short haircut.  I did not.  So if I dared to wear a skirt, I’d get hit on by every straight guy within a mile radius.  That said, I did love my time there.  But this place is different.  Mind you, I haven’t even been here for 24 hours yet, but it seems almost seamless.  Everybody just seems to be co-existing.  And having a good time.

It is nice for families, too.  The sidewalks, at least where we are, are very stroller-friendly.  The boardwalk is not up any steps.  It is even with the sidewalk and the beach.  So it just seems very easy.  The beach is not too deep (as in, not to long of a walk from the boardwalk to the sea.)  So it is fairly easy to haul all of our gear to the water’s edge for sandcastle fun.

I’ve been hoping to find a gay-friendly and family-friendly vacation place for a while.  And though this place does not have as much character as I used to crave before I had kids, it makes up for it in ease of … just ease I suppose.

Now one thing I forgot about when I planned this whole hotel bonanza is the fact that the kids go to sleep at seven and eight pm.  Wooo!  Partaaaay.  So I’m glad we have a room with a balcony.  At least I can watch the party from here.  And when I say watch the party I mean watch the party.  The biggest, loudest boy party night spot is less than 200 feet from this balcony and my sleeping boys.  Next time I’ll look for the word “quiet” in the hotel description.  For now, I’ve invested six bucks in some heavy-duty earplugs.

3 Comments

Filed under baby gear, family, LGBT

The Best City Stroller

Kim asked about my hands-down best stroller purchase.  The answer is easy: Maclaren Techno XT.  Done.

Ok, I guess I should tell you why.  The Phil and Teds is handy for pushing two boys at once.  I also love the air-filled tires.  But the thing is huge, heavy and takes four hands to fold (not really, but it feels like it.)  I’m currently using it to commute the boys to daycare when they go because of the ease of  pushing both at once, but it is a pain in the rump to hold a door open while pushing this giant.  It looks like it has a large basket, but there is not any easy way to access the basket, so it may as well not be there.  The Volo is nice and light, but because of that, it tips over very easily.  Even though it always says  in the directions not to do this, moms hang things on strollers.  We just do.

If I were forced at sword point to give away all of my strollers but one by an evil anti-more-than-one-stroller villian, I’d keep the Techno XT.  It is light, it folds easily, it unfolds easily, it fits in small spaces.  It does not tip over very easily. In fact it has only tipped over once with the child actually in it.  That is because I put one-too-many bags on the back.  And by one-too-many I mean about 12.  The seat reclines for little tiny wee ones.  The sun shade is generous.  It comes with a rain cover. [Phil and Ted expect you to shell out sixty-odd bucks for a rain cover.  I say, let them get wet.  Or, get out the Mac again!]  The handles extend for tall folk like myself.  It accomodates a buggy board.  It rocks.  The only drawback is the small basket.  But for city folk, I reccommend the Mac.  And you don’t need the fancier Techno XT.   A Quest or a Triumph would do you just fine.  Also, the colors change with every season, so you can save some dough by purchasing last season’s colors at a discount. This site is very user-friendly and always seems to have a sale.  Also, if you want to spend more money on a fashion-forward Mac, you can fork over extra for a fancy Kate Spade or Juicy Coutre version.  Not for me, but whatever floats your boat.

If I were in the market today for a new stroller, I’d also take a gander at the City Jogger.  I never saw anything fold so quickly or easily before in all my days.  The Bugaboo looks very fancy and offers a smooth ride (it should, since it can cost as much as a used car.)  I will have you know, however, that most of my friends who did end up with Bugaboos often took their Macs with them when we met in the park or the Botanic Gardens.  That said, I too would probably use the Mac the majority of the time, myself.

6 Comments

Filed under baby gear

I Am On A (Not-So) Lonely Road

Traveling, traveling,  traveling.

I spend a lot of time wishing I were traveling.  I get jealous often, in a not-mean way, of folks like travelher, who make it a priority.  I have entire summers off.  But my partner does not.  And now I have two kids.  So I could travel alone, leaving my honey with two children.  That doesn’t seem very fun, unless there were some way to do it guilt-free.  I could travel with the family for not-long periods of time.  Or I could travel less often.  All of these options kind of stink.  Though, I do remember my mother, who at over age 65 goes abroad at least once a year, all over the world.  I can do it eventually.

For now, we are taking many short trips.  I don’t love this because the part of travel I like least is the actual transit.  When you are going for the weekend, much of the trip is the actual trip.  This month we’re taking three weekend trips in a row.  This weekend we went to my cousin’s lake house.  This coming weekend we’ll be at Sesame Place and staying with my step-mom.  The weekend after, we’re trying out Rehoboth Beach.  (I hear it is very gay, yet family-oriented.  We’ll see what that means.  I’ve never been.)

Though my honey and I are not very adventurous about traveling with the kids, we have picked up a few tips from the few trips we’ve taken.  I’ll share them with you.

1) If driving for less than five hours, leave around bedtime. The kids will (read: might) sleep the whole way, leaving you bathroom-stop and puke free.  Driving back from the lake house on Sunday night, I took a wrong turn which added an hour to the trip.  There was driving rain which caused most of the cars on the highway to put on their hazard lights and slow to almost a stop.  There was lots of traffic.  That trip was much much easier than the last time we drove home from the lake house during the day, when Trucker cried for an hour, we stopped and ate my very last EVER meal at McDonald’s and Cakie had to pee four times.  I think he may have also puked.  Leave around bedtime.  It rocks.

2) Books on tape, get one. If you are driving at night, your whole family might just conk out on you.  We stopped by the public library and borrowed this gem the day before we left this weekend.  It made the driving fly by.

3) Bring a bag of surprises. This is not a new idea, but it is a good one, especially if you’ll be traveling by plane with layovers.  I got it from my crafty and ingenious momtourage friend, Kris.  Fill a small backpack with new toys from the dollar store.  Bring the toys out slowly, building to the big guns (you may not like electronics, but big guns in my family means the portable DVD player.  Other people upload photos onto their ipods or games onto their ithings.)  Kris suggests new race cars for the time waiting in the airport.  M&Ms for the time before take-off.  They are small and keep the little mouths busy.  Even if you are a no-sugar kind of parent, this is a special treat.  Then the rest of the toys slowly, only take out a new toy when the old toy has lost its appeal.

4) Pack lightly. Ha ha ha!  Just kidding.  I once went to South America for a month carrying only a bookbag-sized backpack.  Those days are gone.  But my honey and I spend a lot of time thinking about and organizing baby gear for trips.  We try to get as much of the stuff to be already there as possible.  When we go to Florida, my mom is going to borrow a friend’s car that already has a carseat in it.  We will carry only one car seat with us.  This does make for a terrifying-but-legal cab ride to the airport with Cakie riding with only a seatbelt.  The other option is to drive and park, leaving the other car seat in the car.  We bought this nifty carseat instead of a booster for Cakie when Trucker was born. It is heavy, but it folds flat, so we just bungee it onto a luggage roller for the airport.  We like it better than our Britax, and it is just as highly rated for safety.  Ask if the place you are visiting already has a pack and play, booster seat, etc.  I even usually ask the grands to pick up a box of diapers for us, so we don’t have to carry too many with us.  Though I do always carry more than we need for the flight, in case it gets cancelled.

5) Make the journey the destination. So I said I hate the transit part.  But I try to be zen and make the travel the fun part, too.  If the trip is really long, break it into two parts.  If your car trip is longer than five hours, stop at a zoo or a park in the middle for a picnic and a frisbee toss.  (Or, perhaps if your child has Cakie’s travel sickness, a cookie toss.)  Have a long meal at a restaurant in the middle and let the kids run around outside for a bit.  I try to keep my spirits up during the travel and remember the funny things that happen.  When we went to New Mexico back when I was pregnant with Trucker and before Cake was potty-trained, he announced to the whole plane “I made a poop!  I pooped! I made a poop in my diaper,” as folks were deplaning.  I think people may have even walked off the plane a little faster than usual.  🙂

I’d love to hear what other folks do to ease travel.  For those of you with very small babies, take heart.  They eventually develop what I call the car trance.  Cakie zones out and must be meditating or something whenever we’re in the car for more than ten minutes.  Trucker is just beginning to develop his car trance skills as well.  Since they are not staring at a tv, I’m hoping the car trance is a good thing.

What do you guys do to ease travel with wee ones?

3 Comments

Filed under baby gear, my hon, my second son, my son, Trucker

What I Have Given Away

The glider.

IMG_2317

I sat in it so many times with Trucker nursing.  Then taking him off.  Then gliding him to sleep.  We’d bought it when A was eight months pregnant with Cakie.  The woman who sold it to us lived in one of those highrises in Bay Ridge that you can see from the BQE.  It had an amazing view.  It had entirely too many toys in it.  And three adorable children. We both made a mental, later audible, note to never ever have that many toys in our house.  The woman wouldn’t even let A carry the ottoman down the stairs in her condition.  It fit in the back seat of our little sedan.  Then it was in our living room.  Then in Cakie’s room.  Eventually it landed in our bedroom between the bathroom door and the bedroom door.  It felt like you had to walk an extra fifty feet to get to the bathroom.  With great hesitation and a little bit of yearning, I posted it.

The man who bought it’s wife was due the next day.  He was skinny and cute and he seemed pleased to be doing this grand act of finally getting the glider before the baby was born.  I helped him carry it to the elevator. I asked him if they knew the baby’s gender yet.  He gave me a look and said, “Yes.  We did find out the sex.”  And I felt a little goofy that I had said gender because really, that’s for the baby to figure out no matter which sex organs it happens to have.  I smiled at the soon-to-be parent and told him I always get those terms confused.  And I felt kind of glad that my cushy-but-ugly furniture was going to him.

The clothes.

IMG_0664

(Please to tilt your head to the side.  I can’t figure out how to rotate the image.)

The first clothes we had for Cakie came from lesbian mom friends of friends who gave us three trash bags full of clothes.  They gave them to us at a party and I spent the whole party wishing I was at home looking at the little baby clothes.  When I did finally get to open the bags at home, I was amazed at how many blue items were in there.  I thought for sure the lesbian moms would have avoided pigeon-holing their son into blue rompers.  The dozens of little overalls thrilled me.  This was all before I realized that most of your baby’s wardrobe is given to you by other people.  And most of those people buy the clothes at places that are not over-priced boutiques.  At least in New York City, if it isn’t an over-priced boutique, it is hard to find baby clothes in colors other than pink, blue or yellow.  I remember putting the little outfits into piles according to size, and putting the sizes into different boxes, so I could just grab the next size up when I needed it.  Of course there were more clothes later.  We got clothes from the showers and birthdays.  When Cakie was born, we received a package a day for almost a month.  Each tiny shirt was a manifestation of someone else’s excitement for us.

As Cakie grew, and his clothes did not, I learned just how much clothing maintenance is involved in parenting.  There is all of the washing and drying —  those hot metal snaps burning your fingers as you reach into the dryer to take them out.  Once the long sleeves become three-quarter sleeves and the pants become capris, overnight it seemed, they get organized again and put away for the next baby.  The closet filled with too-small clothes in little boxes (less-organized now) by size and season, awaiting their second life on our second child.  But would we have a second child?  And what of the sex of that second child?  Would I actually keep the sea of blue if I had a girl the second time?  My blog filled up with worries and BFNs, my credit card filled up with sperm charges, and that closet filled and filled with those little clothes so filled with Cakie’s presence, it was hard to imagine them on another child.

Then he came.  And boy did Trucker come.  He weighed almost twice what Cakie weighed at birth and was born a month earlier.  I had thought they would wear the same clothes for the same season.  But where Cakie didn’t even fit into anything but a white kimono tee shirt when he got home from the hospital; Trucker bypassed entire boxes of clothes.  Though he did wear some of his brother’s hand-me-downs, we needed to actually shop for the lad.  In stores!  I sold two big bags of clothes on the listserve for $20.  I felt like a bandit.  Then, IVPers got pregnant.  And how happy is that?  Sending off a big bag of clothes, including my most favorite pair of plaid pants which only fit each boy for about a minute to the likes of Calli made me feel even better about essentially giving away historical family artifacts.  I sent the Morrissey shirt to England, where it rightfully belonged. And two (or was it three) garbage bags of baby pants (and other things) went to the babypantses.  Even though all three of the strapping young lads who received the little outfits have probably grown out of them, it makes me glad to know that they didn’t go somewhere random.  That those little things filled with the tiny spirits of my children are probably being worn by someone new and equally important.

I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but giving away baby things for the final time hurts.  As a New Yorker, of course, one is glad for the space in one’s apartment when these things go out the door.  But as a mother, knowing that this is the last baby, it feels like I’m giving away something more than onsies.

Now that I’ve thought about it, though, that box of baby baby toys is calling my name.  Trucker got so many new toys for his birthday. We can’t go letting our house end up like that one in Bay Ridge.  Though I understand now, how the woman may have wanted to carry the chair down the hall for her own selfish reasons.  Though her youngest child was old enough to be walking with confidence, she maybe needed to carry that chair out of the building herself.  Just to hold it and then to let it go.

4 Comments

Filed under baby gear, my second son, my son, NYC What is it about you?, Trucker, TTC

Babypushing 101: The Shiny New One

That’s what Cakie calls our Phil & Teds sport stroller with the doubles kit.

I’ve been drooling over this stroller for years.  At first, I was concerned that the child in the bottom seat doesn’t have a very good view, ie, his brother’s butt.  So I started to look at the kids I saw riding in this stroller.  The ones on the bottom always seemed pretty happy.  They were usually looking off to one side and seeming pretty cozy down there.  When I thought about it, I realized that the side is where you want to look anyway, because that’s where the scenery actually changes more often.

We got a sports car red one right before Trucker was born.  My mom bought it as our baby present.  (Thanks, Grandma.)

Here’s the thing, I love it, but we don’t use it as much as I’d like.

Here’s what I love:

  • AIR FILLED TIRES!  They are like butta.  They make the rocky terrain that is Brooklyn sidewalks more like floating in outer space.  The huge cracks and tree trunks don’t matter any more.  The ride is smooth and easy.  I can push with one finger.
  • Double stroller.  Ok, let’s preface this by saying that all double strollers have their drawbacks.  This one has one of the smallest footprints.  That is key for getting through the small spaces in NYC.  No, the kids can’t sit next to each other and bond. But they can’t sit next to each other and kick each other, either.
  • It’s pretty.  It is my prettiest stroller, for sure.
  • The basket is bigger than my Maclarens’ baskets.  No, that’s not saying much.  And it is difficult to access when somebody is in the bottom seat.  But still…

So why don’t you use it much?  Why indeed.

The boys don’t love it.  Cake does call it, “The shiny new one.”  He does get in and fasten himself in readily.  I don’t know why neither of them love to be in it for too long.  It could be that we have been over-ambitious about how long a time we can expect them to sit still in a stroller.

There are also a few cons:

  • It doesn’t fold easily.  In fact, I have no idea how to fold the thing.  My honey did it twice.  She’s clever, that one.
  • The basket, though biggish, could be easier to access.
  • The seat belt has four clasps!  Four!  How silly is that?  I don’t understand it.  And let me tell you, when you’re trying to get a kid to leave the playground, speed of stroller confinement is a real issue.  Luckily at this point, Cakie likes to fasten himeself in and usually recognizes when it is time to leave the playground.  Three-month-old Trucker never gives me any lip about leaving the playground, either.  But it doesn’t look good for a few months from now.

I’m going to assume that we’ve just been expecting too much in terms of length-of-ride in this stroller.  I’m going to press on with it until the boys like it as much as I do.

Next up for review: the Mac daddies — Maclaren Volo and Techno Classic XT.

3 Comments

Filed under baby gear

Babypushing 101: When Your Back Won’t Even Let You Glance At That Sling (Part 1)

Yes, I have four strollers in my foyer.  Why?  Why?  I’ll tell you why…

Ummm.  Hmmm.  Why don’t I tell you why I have each one instead?

Stroller #1 — The Snap and Go

This is more of a temporary stroller.  I do recommend it to folks, however.  Worth every penny, even though it is only used for a few months per child.  I’m referring to the “Snap and Go.”  It is a wheeled frame upon which you can place your infant car seat — tada!  Stroller.  It is not so pretty to behold, but it has several advantages to the alternative car seat frame situations.

Advantage #1: The baby faces you while you push.  If you do not own one of those $1000 movie-star strollers, this is a great alternative.  When you first bring the little Dickens home, all you want to do is look at him.  Or, check on her.  Or talk to her or make goofy faces at him.  You want to watch that baby watch the trees as they contrast with the sky.

Advantage #2: The car seat goes on the stroller.  That means if you have a sleeping baby, you can move the sleeping baby from the car to the house without waking the sleeping baby.  If I have any assvice for you first-time parents or parents-to-be it is this: let the sleeping baby sleep.  Don’t be fooled by the convenient-looking handle on the infant car seat, either.  Yes, you can carry the whole car seat with your hand.  You could also carry an anvil in your hand, but do you want to? No.  Those seats are darn heavy.  Every time I’ve carried mine w/o the Snap and Go, I’ve regretted it.

Advantage #3: The basket.  Oh, the Snap and Go basket.  How we love you.  I have fit a week’s worth of groceries in you.  And when that baby exceeds the weight for the car seat, it is you I pine for as I move on to the standard strollers.

Advantage #4:  “But I want the travel system, so I can have everything I need and not have to buy four strollers.”  Silly, silly you.  Do not, I repeat, do NOT go out and buy a travel system.  They seem like a good thing, but they are just not.  This is why: one of you is going to be giving birth.  If that means via a cesarean birth or a vaginal one, that one of you is going to be recovering from some heavy physical stuff for at least six weeks.  And guess who usually gets to stay home for those six weeks?  The recovering one.  Just try getting that honking stroller that comes with the travel system in and out of your trunk while recovering from labor.  I mean, don’t try it.  A friend from high school told me she felt literally trapped in her house because she could not handle her travel system stroller after giving birth.  The frame is all you need.  Then you can sell it or pass it along when your baby outgrows it.  Case in point, the Snap and Go weighs 15 lbs.  The Graco Snugride car seat weighs 15 lbs.  That’s 30 lbs w/o the baby.  The travel systems I looked at have shipping wieghts of 38 -40 lbs.  Mind you, they come with car seat bases, but still…  I’ve never seen a car seat base that weighs 10 lbs.  Perhaps I am biased against them.  This one didn’t seem so bad.  If you have one you like, let us know.  Also, I am a city person.  We city folk do not like too much bulk in our strollers.  The stores here have very narrow aisles and not everyone has a four-stroller-sized foyer.

Advantage #5:  The easiest fold of any of my strollers.  It really is a one-hand fold.  I love it.  It opens back up just as easily.

Advantage #6: Price.  These car seat frame strollers go for about 50 bucks.  You know you probably have someone in your family with fifty dollar bill burning a hole in his or her pocket to spend on something useful for your baby.  This is it.  Register away.  Compared to the $160 – $200 price tag of the travel systems, it is a steal, even when you consider that you also need to buy the infant car seat. (Again, register. You may be more likely to get the Snap and Go from one person and the car seat from someone else than the whole $200 travel system from any one person.) Compared to the Bugaboo or the Phil and Teds, it is practically free.

Disadvantages: It is kind of ugly. But people only see the infant car seat and then they want to see the baby and they forget the ugly stroller.  You only need it for a few months. Once your baby is over 22 lbs, say goodbye to the big basket, folks.  It is not known for its smooth ride. You really need to be mindful of the cracks in the sidewalk with this one.  Of course the advantage here is that newborns like a lot of jiggle action.

Ok.  I had no idea this post would be so long, so I’ll have to do my stroller review in several installments.

PS  I’d be happy to review other stollers if anyone wants to give me free samples.  I’ve got space for a few more!

4 Comments

Filed under baby gear