Friday, August 27, 2010

On the road with Ergo

Most if not all baby experts would recommend that we wear our babies as much as possible from the moment they are born. There are many good and practical reasons to wear your baby - check out Babywearing International for more information.

We started carrying our son in a carrier soon after he got home from the hospital. Our first carrier was the Evenflo Snugli. This was a reasonable-priced alternative to the more popular Baby Bjorn. Our baby started out facing in and when he was old enough around 3 months, he put him in facing out. The first time he faced out, he was so thrilled that he kicked his legs furiously when we took him out for a walk! The Snugli carrier worked well for us the first few months but when our son's weight started to progress around about the fifth month, having him in the carrier for more than 10 minutes would strain our shoulders so much that it hurts. Besides, the Snugli has a weight limit - for babies up to 26 lbs. (Note that my son was nowhere near 26 lbs and his weight was already killing my shoulders!)

Hence we went on a quest for a carrier that is more back and shoulders friendly. After sifting through reviews online we decided on the ErgoBaby. And we loved it from the first moment we used it!
Here's the skinny:
The weight limit of the ErgoBaby carrier is a whopping 40 lbs (18 kgs). This means, our son can easily fit in that thing till he's 2 or older. Great way to calm him down after a bout of activity outside. Our son now weighs almost 24 lbs and it's still very easy to carry him around. No strain or sore whatsoever on our shoulders. This carrier works extremely well for us as it is challenging to use the stroller at a lot of places around Singapore.

Other than carrying the baby in the front, you can also piggy-back baby or carry her on the side. Check it out here at ErgoBaby. Our son loves to be carried in the back! Great help when we're at the grocery store where it's crowded and busy. Little tot's hands are free to explore and touch the fruits and vegetables on sale but he is not able to sip around freely on his own.

The ErgoBaby Sport that we got is made of lightweight cotton material unlike many other carriers and this is greatly appreciated in the hot and humid weather condition where we are. When our son is finally tired and needs a nap, the carrier comes with a sleep hood that you use over the sleepy head as he naps restfully against his mommy or daddy's body.

For more tips on what to look for in a baby carrier, check out the babywearing website. Meanwhile, we are glad that ours will serve still serve us for a while.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Retro books

I love most things retro. Hence when I discovered this Classic Books website, I was thrilled! Part of the United States' online Library of Congress, it has digital version of vintage children's books that you can browse. Categorized according to age, it has books for kids and teens. I love the rich illustrations of these books and their standard of the English language. It is good to know that something is done to preserve such treasures.
Pixs credit:
While my son is not allowed any television at his tender young age of 18 months, occasionally we would give him an online video or digital book treat. He would sit on my lap as we browse some of the books here. One of our favorites is Apple Pie by Kate Greenaway. I hope your tot will enjoy these digital online books as much as we do!

Monday, August 16, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond....

This picture can be found here.
Has it been two months already that Toy Story 3 first hit the theaters and stole our hearts? Has everyone gotten over one of the best family movies of the year? Or are we still on a high, fueled by all the follow-up merchandise and toys galore? I remember when my daughter was around three or four years old and was hooked to Toy Story and Toy Story 2, she just couldn't get enough of Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the gang - Toy Story DVDs, Woody, Jessie and Buzz dolls, figurine collection from a fast food chain, stickers, books, VSmile game....

With Toy Story 3, the craze has reawakened -- newer versions of toys and games and just about anything and everything. And many of these might just leave a dent on your pocket if junior were to get everything he wants. Luckily for me, my junior merely raved about Buzz switching to Spanish mode as she has moved on to more 'senior' stuff now that she's older.

If you're looking for something cheap, or free, and good (yes, sometimes they do exist) for your little Toy Story fan, you just need to go to Disney's official Toy Story website here. There's plenty of activities and online games for your child (and you!) to do and play.

There are recipes to make Mr Potato Head cake pops, Green Alien cupcakes, instructions to make a Toy Story pinata, party invitation cards, many printable coloring pages, etc. Imagine junior's next birthday party theme....

As for online games, you can find quite a number of them like Daycare Dash, Woody's Wild Adventure, Rex's Game, Hamm's Game, Jessie's Game and Toy Story Mania where you can even build your own games.

These should be enough 'ammunition' to stock up on to keep your child occupied for a few instalments of online games since school is still out for the summer break. Or for those of us in Singapore and Malaysia, it's the wet season these few weeks and these online games may just be a good change from the regular Gameboy, Playstation or Nintendo that can keep the kids indoors.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Family-friendly Japanese dining

If you love Japanese food but found dining at a restaurant with a toddler a little too much work, Shokudo Japanese Food Bazaar is definitely worth checking out. Other than its unconventional concept of more than 10 booths that cook up (right before you!) over 300 varieties of Japanese food, its 15,000 square feet of floor space includes a family dining area with a children's play space.
So, while you're dipping your piece of sashimi into the wasabi-laced soy sauce, your anticipation will not be broken by cries of boredom as your kids are happily occupied at the play area which is furnished with low tables and toys designed to encourage the development of young minds and motor movements.

Ever since my son was an infant, Shokudo has been our go-to restaurant when I've a craving for some belly-warming ramen and decently priced sashimi. Of course, there are also the chawan mushi (savory egg custard) and Japanese pizzas which we all love so much as a family.

The skinny? A great dining place that's young children friendly for good Japanese fare. And if you dine there often enough, you can pick up their frequent diner card for a mere $30 that could chalk up savings from dining discounts and birthday specials that amount to much more than the membership fee. My annual membership just expired and I think it's time to renew it...
Shokudo Japanese Food Bazaar @ Raffles City:
Raffles City Shopping Center
252 North Bridge Road, #B1-44E
Tel: +65 6837 3793
Dining Hours:
11.30am – 10.00pm

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Too tired to read to your child?

Kids love stories, whether it is at bedtime or any other time. There had been times when my daughter was younger and couldn't read on her own, that she would ask for one story after another and we would end up tired with dry throats from reading book after book.

A win-win solution that we found useful were audio books, books that come with a CD. What's good about it is that you and your child can listen to the stories without having you read them.If your child is learning how to read on her own, they are a great help too.

Audio books are easily available in local bookstores or online stores but they are usually more expensive than regular books. If you wish to save some money, check out this site, Storynory.

Storynory Kid's Audio Stories has a pretty sizeable collection of free audio stories, separated into different categories such as fairy tales, Bible stories, Christmas stories, animal stories, Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm, Aesop, Greek myths, other original stories and even poems and videos.

All you need to do is select the story you wish to listen to and click to play. The text of the story appears on screen and you can also print it out if you wish. The site also allows you to subscribe to it.

Storynory brings you a new story every week. The stories are downloadable, available via iTunes, so you can store them in your preferred mobile device such as your iPod. It makes it easier for your child to listen to the stories when you are on the move, travelling or do not have a computer in your child's room when you need the stories for bedtime.

My husband used to download the stories to his iPhone and they've come in very handy during those boring times in the car, while waiting at the doctor's, or when we wanted our child to sit still in a restaurant.