A couple of weeks ago, we got an email from our health insurance company, Kaiser Permanente. Since I've been with Kaiser (since 1998 or so), I've been really impressed with them. They're generally very forward-thinking, even offering such services as acupuncture and biofeedback. I love that about them.
That's why I was shocked by the email we got - and very, very angry.
The email was about Charlie, and I only remember one of the questions: "Which race does your child identify with? Please choose one of the following options." Guess which option was missing? That's right: mixed race.
My child does not identify as Caucasian, nor does identify as Asian. She is BOTH, for crying out loud. Equal parts. I can't believe that, in this day and age, we are still asking people race questions with radio buttons instead of check boxes. We "decline to answer," for lack of a "screw you" option. Thanks a lot, Kaiser.
I knew this time was coming, but I honestly didn't think it would happen before she could walk.Comment
Sometimes when I tell people about the things I do -- my little projects and such -- I realize that I sound like a complete and total crazy person. Normal people have better things to do with their time than think up ways to redecorate their not-even-a-year-old baby's room.
During the day, we mostly use cloth, unless we're going out (more on that below). If you're doing cloth with gDiapers, you have two options: pre-folds or the gDiapers brand gCloth. Pre-folds are really cheap, and all you have to do is fold them in thirds and stuff them in the gPants. However, they make for a really big bum, whereas the gCloth is much more streamlined (it's basically flat, but really absorbent). We used gCloth when she was in size small gDiapers (I found them on Craigslist), and we now use pre-folds (because I'm cheap - gCloth is REALLY expensive).
At night time, I find that the cloth isn’t absorbant enough. Thus, we use a biodegradable gRefill, which is more absorbant. To soak up the extra night-time pee, you can either use another gRefill folded in half underneath the main gRefill (which gDiapers recommended), or you can stick a couple of cloth “boosters” underneath the gRefill, which is what we’re doing. Once again, this has a lot to do with our pocketbook. We use Amazon's Subscribe & Save for gRefills, but they still aren't cheap.
- After she outgrew size small, we had to buy a lot of medium gPants new (I recommend buying them at Babies R Us and doubling up on coupons). It’s an investment upfront, but saves a TON of money over disposables in the long run.
- If you're wondering exactly how we get the pre-folds in the gDiapers (or want awesome close-up photos of every aspect of gDiapers), check out this post from Joyful Abode.
- I like gCloth better than pre-folds, but the pre-folds are much, much less expensive. I bought the pre-folds to fit the medium size gPants, but in retrospect, it would make more sense to buy the gCloth for size medium/large instead of size small. She’ll be in mediums until she’s 28 pounds, and the larges use the same size gCloth. Definitely more bang for your buck if you're going to spend money on gCloth at all. Otherwise, just be cheap like me and buy pre-folds. Three dozen is more than enough.
You can add this stuff to your registry too (we added some of it; other stuff we discovered later), but you won’t use it until your baby is a little bit older.
Toys - Early Months
At some point around the third month, your baby will stop finding the ceiling fan super fascinating and will start to notice other things. That’s when they’ll actually start to play with toys! These are our favorites:
- Activity Mat - this is one of the first toys we introduced. She liked staring at the different hanging things, and eventually grabbed for them to make the music play. It soon became the place she felt most comfortable experimenting - when she learned to roll over (both directions) she tried it here. I'm kind of amazed that she loved this until we didn't bring it out anymore.
- Sophie the Giraffe - yes, I know everyone recommends her and she’s super expensive for a toy. But Charlie loves her. She squeaks and is a fun rubbery texture, perfect for chewing on. She loves it so much that we have 2.
- Baby Paper - this was given to us by my cousin Ruth. It’s the most simple thing in the world, but it’s LOUD and Chuck LOVES it (see above). I don’t know where she found it (probably a local store) - this was the only online retailer where I could find it.
- HABA Happy Quartette blocks - we just bought these, and Charlie LOVES them. The different textures and sounds are really cool. I also love that they're simple.
- Bright Starts Rattle - Good for getting the attention of a smaller baby, and easy for them to hold onto when they are starting to grasp things. Charlie now tries to shove the entire thing in her mouth.
- Angel Dear Monkey Rattle - this thing is wet 24/7: shake, stare, stick in mouth, repeat.
- Bright Starts Lion - For some reason, they don't have this on Amazon and I can't find the lion, only the dog. My friend Kathy gave this to Chuck and it's a #1 favorite!
- Winkel Toy - my mom bought this before Charlie was born, and it’s become one of her favorite toys! It kind of bounces, and those tubes are the perfect size for a baby mouth.
- Stacking cups - I know they look simple, but Charlie LOVES these. They may be her favorite toy. I couldn't bring myself to take them from her when we decided to start eliminating plastic.
- Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes - Before I had Charlie, I swore I wouldn’t have anything in my house that made loud noises with flashy lights (that stuff makes me crazy), but my friend Krista gave Charlie this, and we both love it. Hey, I can admit when I’m wrong! She flips around like crazy on the changing table, and this is the only thing that will keep her on her back long enough for me to get her dressed.
- Car Seat bar - you don’t have to get this one, but an activity bar in the car seat saved our freakin’ sanity. Yes, it has a light and music. Yes, that’s necessary.
- Bright Starts crinkle book - I don’t know what it is about this thing, but Charlie seems to be fascinated by this book and could play with it for hours. This is a set of three.
- Skip Hop Bath Birds - Charlie loves these for bathtime, and they're fun for washing her hair. My only complaint is that she sometimes tries to poke her own eyes out with the beaks, so you have to keep your eye on what she's doing with it.
- Wooden Toys - we are trying to limit the amount of plastic Charlie shoves in her mouth, so we bought a bunch of random wooden toys, which she likes (but none of them are specific favorites enough to list above).
Toys - Later Months
C still plays with most of the toys above, with the exception of the activity mat (when she started pulling up on things, it got kind of dangerous). We've purchased most everything below from Craigslist. Every baby is different, and some of them love the exersaucer while others prefer the jumperoo (or, if they're like C, they hate both). We didn't want to waste money on something she didn't like. This way, we buy something and sell it when she hates it or outgrows it - usually we can sell it for the same price! Gotta love that.
- Jumperoo - I am still sad that Charlie didn't like this, because my friend K's daughter LOVED it. Charlie's main interest is exploring, though, so it's no wonder that she didn't want to be confined. I'm not going to lie, I was slightly relieved to let our friend H borrow it - one less huge plastic apparatus.
- Activity Table - This was a recommendation from our friend Kathy, and OMG Charlie loves it SO MUCH.
- Zany Zoo - If you hate plastic crap as much as I do, you'll love this. It's not chic per say (haha), but it isn't as much of an eye sore as either of the items above!
- Bucket - One of Charlie's favorite activities is taking things out of containers. She likes emptying her bookshelf and dirty laundry. I bought her this bucket to put her toys in because it's rigid enough for her to use it to steady herself.
- Push Toy - Charlie still hasn't mastered this, but I am expecting she'll take off any day. My friend Sarah gave us this, and her daughter loved it! I can't find the one we have, but this is the same concept.
- Teething is no freakin' joke. If you don't want to be heading to the all-night pharmacy like I did, get a supply of baby tylenol, baby ibuprofen and various homeopathic stuff just in case (not the teething tablets - those have been recalled. Also, sadly, orajel isn't safe either). These teething rings are great too - we throw them in the fridge (we used to throw them in the freezer. Then I learned they can damage the gums. Oops! She liked them. :-/ ). We also have an amber teething necklace, but I'm not sure I believe it works.
- I added this to the last registry, but the Baby Comfy Nose snot sucker is worth repeating. I know it sounds gross to suck the snot out of your kid's nose with your mouth, but there will come a day when you won't think twice about it. And if you need this thing at 3am, you're welcome. ;)
- Breathable crib bumper - It’s ugly, yes, but when your baby outgrows the bassinet and moves into the crib, you can’t have a regular (read = cute) bumper, because they’re a suffocation hazard. If you don’t have a bumper, you’ve got baby limbs getting stuck 10x a day and the possibility of a hurt appendage. To be honest, it makes more sense to get one of these from the get-go. Just forget about the cute one. I know, you're obsessed with it (I was too), but you'll probably find it's a waste of your hard-earned dough.
- Sleep sacks - if you swaddle your baby, they will eventually outgrow the swaddle, and you'll have to figure out a way to keep your kiddo warm. Blankets are a no-no because of SIDS, so you'll want a "wearable" blanket - AKA a sleep sack. These Aden & Anais 4-layer sleep sacks are amazing. They are made from four layers of cotton & allow baby to regulate his/her own temperature. We just bought a couple of the single layer sacks for the summertime.
- Extra waterproof mattress pad (plus towels) - I know this sounds weird, but I tell you, we used this every day until Charlie started crawling. Babies love to be naked, and they also love to pee. We laid a mattress pad on the floor, covered it with a towel, and let Chuck roll around. If she peed, it got on the towel and not the floor (you need the towel because the pee beads up on the mattress pad). We invested in a California King size once she became more mobile. Now she crawls off it, but it was great, it really was.
- These Zutano booties are fantabulous. We got ours on diapers.com on sale, but now they're gone (sad face). I want a pair in every color. Little feet get easily cold outside, and socks just aren't enough. These are fleece, and they don't fall off.
- Baby Legs (or Target brand leg warmers). Charlie is a little devil on the changing table, and there have been times where I've had such a hard time getting pants on her that I've just left the house without any. Baby legs keep her legs warm and protect her little knees from rug burns while she's crawling. The only drawback is that they're kind of expensive. We have some from Target, too. They're not as good quality-wise AT ALL, but they're like, $3. You can't really beat $3. Tip: Become a "fan" of Baby Legs on Facebook - they have TONS of discounts on their website, and you can get them for a lot less. Also check out retailmenot.com before you buy anything.
- Big kid car seat - I recommend registering for this, because you will definitely need it. C doesn't need this yet, but this is the one we're getting - it's top rated from Consumer Reports and half the price of the Britax Boulevard that everyone loves (thanks Sarah!)
And that's all I've got! Anyone have anything else to add (note: I'm going to do a separate post on baby proofing)?Comment
May 5, 2011 in
I am so excited to announce that my clothing line is live on the website!!
We're also offering special launch pricing - save $5 on each item, bringing the price to $19. We also now ship every order over $10 for FREE (I hate paying for shipping, so I figured you guys probably do too!)!
Check it out, and please share with your friends!!Comment
Got a burning question? Ask it here!