Baby Things I Want: Cloud B Sound Machine/Sleep Aids

I once wrote about the Cloud B Ladybug Constellation Light (which I never got), and now I see that that is just one of many soothing Cloud B sleep aids. Hila sleeps just fine now (well, not lately, but in general), but she certainly didn’t start out that way. I’m hoping No. 2 will sleep eagerly and successfully from day 1, but I know that’s highly unlikely. (Don’t all mothers-to-be assume that their baby will be the angel baby who sleeps through the night at three weeks?) I want one of these. They look cuddly and I like that the sounds and/or vibrations can be set to go off for up to 45 minutes. Cloud B Sleep Sheep — I’ve seen this in stores and it really is cuddly. This one plays four soothing sounds — mother’s heartbeat (weird, but supposedly effective), whale songs, ocean surf, and spring showers. This one plays for 23 minutes before shutting off. It also comes with a velcro strap so you can secure it to the crib.Alternatively you can get the Cloud B Giraffe. This one has a 23-minute and 45-minute option and plays the following four sounds: safari groove, safari trail, Victoria falls,

Read more

Educational and Fun Toys!

Now that the novelty of all of the new Chanukah toys has worn off, I have been able to observe which toys are truly up to par. These are two toys that my kids still love to play with, one month after receiving them. They meet all of my toy criteria: the kids think they are fun, they are educational, and they require minimal help from me. My almost-two-year-old loves her Garanimals Shapes Sorter: She was already adept at spatial intelligence, but this has really helped her fine tune those skills. It has also helped teach her colors and the name of the shapes. After helping her a few times and labeling each color and shape for her, she can now put all of the shapes back by herself, and in record time! My almost-four-year-old has been very busy learning with Alphie, a learning robot: He comes with 30 double-sided learning cards from which he asks questions about shapes, colors, animals and their habitats, cause and effect, vocabulary, and more. He uses fun games to promote independent learning. Plus, he’s a cool robot that says funny catch-phrases! Batsheva is a mom to two daughters ages four and almost two. In

Read more

Mrs. Potato Head

First, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our readers! We hope 2011 is a year filled with health, happiness, and lots of baby things! Hila’s 2nd birthday is coming up, which probably doesn’t mean anything to her, but for me, it means an excuse to buy more toys. Already hidden away for the big 2.0 is a classic Mrs. Potato Head. I also got her a tea set, but she found it already, so it turned into a Chanukah present (which, by the way, she LOVES). The tea set is the Schylling Summer Bug Tin Tea Set, and it is really adorable. It comes with a tray for serving, 4 tea cups, 4 saucers, 4 little plates, and a tea pot. I only wish it also came with something to store it all in–like a pretty bag or a picnic basket. Any other ideas for good toys for 2-year-olds?

Read more

Kids’ Best Friend

I highly highly highly recommend you get your kids a dog. I think every child should grow up with a dog. I only had one till I was about two years old. I don’t really remember her but I see in photographs and old home movies how happy I was to have her around. We got Coby about a year and a half before Eliana was born. He’s a mixed breed. Part German Shepherd, part kitten, we always say. We’re not sure he realizes he’s a dog. If I sit on the floor he tries to curl up in my lap. He has no idea he weighs almost as much as I do. He’d sleep all day in a patch of sunlight by the window if you’d let him. Before I had kids, I had a baby visiting at my house one day. The baby was napping on my bed, and when he started to cry, Coby charged at me and started barking (Coby NEVER barks) as if to say “The baby’s crying! Do something!” Coby is the gentlest creature. He lets the kids climb all over him and use him as a pillow or a couch. One rainy day

Read more

A Good Night’s Sleep for Everyone with Ocean Wonders Aquarium

When my daughter was born, we got the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium as a gift. I say “we” because it was as much a gift for my husband and me (OK, me. He can sleep through anything) as it was for Eliana. As a baby, she loved to watch the toy fish and listen to the soothing music. When she got older and I was sleep-training her, I would turn it on to keep her company until she fell asleep. The music, glowing lights and bubbles (which you can choose in several different combinations – music; lights and bubbles/ocean sounds; all three – last for 7 minutes in this version, although on mine (many, many years old since it was a hand-me-down and we received it 4.5 years ago) it lasts for 18. At first I had to go back in and turn it back on if Eliana hadn’t fallen asleep after 18 minutes, but eventually she learned to do it herself. It also has a couple of knobs and switches to make the fish move, if your child needs something to do before dozing off. Eliana would turn on her aquarium if she woke up in the middle

Read more

Classic Must-Have Toys

Here are some oldies but goodies that make excellent baby gifts. Some toys just never go out of style! THE FARMER SAYS…Here is a variation on a classic. When I was a kid, these had a pull string and were slightly larger. This is basically the same idea, but instead of string, you pull a level. It was a bit hard for Hila as a 1-1.5-year-old, but now she’s got it down. The arrow points to an animal and then says (depending on the animal), “The cow says moo.” This one switches off and says, “Where is the cow?” And then there are two arrow that point to songs, either The Farmer in the Dell or Old MacDonald. Cute, not too annoying, and educational! FISHER PRICE CORN POPPER PUSH TOYThis toy proves that you don’t need music and batteries for a toy to be annoying. If we had a balcony or a backyard, that is where I would keep this toy. I don’t know–now that I’m writing about this toy, I’m starting to like it less and less. It really gives me a bit of a headache from the loud popping noise and you can barely carry on a conversation

Read more

Small on Space, Big on Fun

One day when I was filling my car with gas, I saw a sign at the gas station that they were selling “ball tents” (like a ball pit in a tent). I didn’t know if the 50 balls it came with would make a big enough ball pit, but supplementary packages of balls are available in quantities of 50, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400 and even 1000 balls. I thought the whole thing was a cool idea, but a terrible idea at the same time because the balls would be all over the house after approximately 30 seconds of play, and I’d spend the rest of my life collecting them and putting them away. At the park one afternoon, someone set up a princess castle tent, which entranced all the neighborhood children and had them swarming over to play in it. These tents come in lots of other styles too, such as pirate-themed, animal barn, circus tent, spaceship, fire station, and many of your kids’ favorite cartoon characters. I thought it was adorable but not the kind of thing I’d ever splurge on. Then I was at my friends’ house for lunch one day and they had a little pop-up

Read more

Fisher-Price Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote: The Real Deal

A few months ago I had put the Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote on my wishlist, and so when I was in America–the land where all your baby things wishes come true–I bought the remote and instantly fell in love with it (and so did Hila). Here are some reasons why we love the Silly Sounds Remote: Because of its gray/silver color, it can easily pass as a real adult remote control. It really does make silly sounds: When you press a number you’ll hear the number said aloud and then if you press it again, you’ll get a silly sound–Ernie laughing, Cookie Monster eating cookies, animal sounds, and other sounds and noises that really make us laugh. (Hila particularly likes Ernie’s laugh.) It has volume control and an on/off switch. The eyes open and shut when you press a button, and it’s cute. When Hila reaches for a real remote or phone, we can quickly slip her this remote and she’ll be satisfied (usually). I give the Fisher Price Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote Control two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

Read more