Category Archives: Stuff for Kids

Rockin’ the SSC: A Review of the ERGOBaby Sport Carrier

Babywearing has always been associated with the more “organic” types of carriers (ringslings, wraps, pouches etc.) but the more “scientific” carrier, the soft-structured carrier or SSC, is part of the babywearing spectrum as well.

There are too many soft-structured carriers in the market that actually do more harm than good for both the baby and the babywearer. When I walk around the mall and see people wearing their babies in ill-constructed carriers, I really have to stop myself sometimes to share babywearing tips with the parents. In the early part of my babywearing journey, I was turned off from SSCs because of these types of carriers.

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Image source: Google Search


I won’t go into detail about hip dysplasia and all the other stuff that make me cringe as a result of unsafe babywearing. Jenny of Chronicles of A Nursing Mom wrote a few posts about safe babywearing here, here and here.

But then. Here comes the ERGObaby carrier. I first heard of ergobaby while scouring the babywearing forums for information and tips. I noticed a lot of parents mentioned ergobaby whenever SSCs were mentioned. Just last year, I spotted them at the SM Baby Fair, got a card, and they were able to take part in Babywearing Meet 4. The local distributor of ergobaby, Richwell Trading, sent over an ergoBaby Sport Carrier for me to review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: ergobaby.com

The first thing I did was examine the carrier. Here’s what I liked:

  • Light, soft, dry-in-no-time-at-all material. Perfect for our tropical climate.
  • It has a little window on the carrying pouch, for more ventilation.
  • All the straps have these secure elastics that are stitched on. No dangling straps or tangles in your baby bag!
  • Because it’s soft, it folds right up and stows in your bag easily. Of course it will never compare to a sling, a pouch or hybrid that just plain folds flat, but hey. I find that it helps if I stow it in a drawstring bag before I put it in with the rest of Basti’s stuff.
  • It also features a tuck-able sleeping hood, which I feel may be too hot to use outdoors. In an airconditioned area, it might prove useful.

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I first took out the carrier on a short mall trip. Basti is now 2 years old and weighs 12kg. The ergoBaby Sport Carrier  is guaranteed up to 45 pounds, so I was really counting on that for carrying my growing baby boy. I put on the carrier, positioned Basti into a front-carry and voila! I felt absolutely no strain on my back or shoulders. AT ALL. I shifted him into a back carry and the weight distribution was equally superb. Their advertising does not lie. The ergobaby carrier has amazing weight distribution, I kid you not. Lately, Basti has been straightening his legs when I carry him on my back, so doing that position in a ringsling has become a little dangerous. The ergobaby and the meitai have proven to be the better choices for back-carrying these days.

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So with that short trip, I decided to take the carrier on a real test. I strapped it on, put Basti into a back-carry and walked a kilometer from our house to the supermarket. I did the groceries and trekked back, carrying Basti on my back and grocery bags on both shoulders. I swear I got more tired carrying the groceries than carrying Basti!

The ergobaby carrier is not just a comfort to the babywearer, it makes sure your baby is positioned properly as well. The seat is designed to put your baby’s legs into a right angle, sufficiently covering the behind for adequate support. You can use this SSC from infancy (with the help of the separately sold infant insert) all the way to toddler age.

Next test: The Painter test. My husband is not a babywearer. He doesn’t like the idea of needing to adjust the sling or learn how to wear the SaYa, and he feels all of it just looks too girly. I’m going to make him try out the ergobaby carrier on our next family day out and see how he likes it. Update to follow!

Hooray points:

  • Amazing weight distribution. No strain on back or shoulders. Can be worn for hours. Ideal for traveling with your child around the world. I wish I had this when we were once trapped at the Cebu airport because our flight was delayed for 3 hours. I bet I can go exercise walking with this as well. Lemme try that tomorrow next week when I want to exercise when hell freezes over when I have time.
  • Low learning curve. You put it on, strap baby in and snap everything in place. Done. People who don’t like too much hullabaloo will LOVE the ergobaby carrier.
  • Perfect positioning for baby from infancy to toddler. No spine or hip issues happening here!
  • Compact and portable. Unlike some other SSCs I’ve seen, the ergobaby is not a monster of a contraption. It can fold in with the rest of your stuff.

Points for consideration:

  • The ergobaby carrier also carries directions for hip-carry, but I couldn’t get past the instructions. It involves unhooking the shoulder straps and crossing it over to the whatnot and… okay I lost it. I think the front and back carry works fine. I also associate the hip carry for short trips, so you’re better off just shimmie-ing your baby in a pouch if you want to hip carry.
  • The instructions that come with the carrier need a little improvement. The wording is convoluted and the illustrations are scattered all over the place. A lot of guesswork. Luckily, the ergobaby carrier has a solid fan base around the world, so it’s easy to search for mom-made instructional videos. The carrier itself is user-friendly. You can figure out the front-carry by yourself. The back-carry needs some technique.
A word about counterfeit ERGOBaby carriers.

 

I’ve been asked about my opinion on counterfeit ergobaby carriers, and other SSC brands, as well. You can find sites and posts on buy-and-sell sites selling ergobaby carriers that are China-made, factory-priced.. whatever. They are sold much, much lower than retail price and promise to deliver the same features. My own personal opinion is this: safe babywearing with an SSC lies majorly on the workmanship of the carrier. The structure of the carrier, from the materials, the stitching, positioning of the parts, etc. were extensively studied by the manufacturers. I myself would not put my baby in a position that may have adverse effects on his physical development, and may put my own health in danger. I would buy an ergobaby carrier only from a licensed distributor, whether it be locally, abroad or online. I feel better knowing I’m protected by their guarantee and their warranty. ERGOBaby has information on counterfeit carriers on their website. If you choose to buy outside of their official channels, then that is your risk to take for your baby, and for yourself. Bow.

OVERALL REVIEW:

  • Great carrier for medium to heavy babywearing. Perfect for napping, traveling, shopping, walks.
  • Easy to put on, a breeze to take off.
  • Ideal for back-carrying toddlers.
  • A little pricey, but the superb construction makes it worth it.

Here’s my problem. They’ve got a designer edition Petunia Pickle print that is so much like my blog’s design. I want!

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I henceforth dub thee, The Painter’s Wife ERGOBaby Carrier. Hehe!

 

UPDATE: The Painter loves the ERGObaby carrier. He says as long as we have it, he can be in charge of carrying Basti.

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ERGObaby carriers can be found in the following outlets:

  • SM Pampanga Department Store
  • SM North Edsa Department Store
  • SM Megamall Department Store
  • SM Makati Department Store
  • SM MOA Department Store
  • SM Cebu
  • SM Davao
  • Baby Company SM North Edsa Annex
  • Baby Company The Podium
  • Baby Company Power Plant Mall
  • Baby Company SM Southmall
  • Rustans Makati Department Store
  • Rustans Tower Shangri-la Mall Department Store
  • Rustans Alabang Town Center Department Store

Right now they carry the following models: the Basic Carrier (Black, Camel, Red, Purple Print, Galaxy Grey) and the Sport Carrier (Black, Red). Coming soon in July: the Basic Carrier in Zebra Print, and the Organic Carriers in Highland Navy, Plaid, Peaceful Portofino and Evening In Innsbruck (which is a luscious print, I must say).

Our Cebu Holiday

The Painter is from Cebu. Even after 20 years of living in Metro Manila, he has not and will never lose his Visayan accent. Once or twice a year, we go home to his hometown in Cebu, a nicely tucked-away baranggay called Mainggit, in Toledo. It’s a whole area filled with Ypons, and we can’t walk a hundred feet without my husband calling out, “‘Gaw! ‘Musta ‘gaw!” (Cousin!! How are you??)

I’m so happy we have a place like this to visit. One of my frustrations growing up was that we never had a province. When we were very young, we used to visit a relative’s rice field in Bulacan. We would take long walks in the paddies, trying not to fall into the mud, go fishing for tilapia in the ponds, climb trees and eat on banana leaves. It was heaven. I’m so grateful Basti has the chance to taste provincial life. With all the development going on in the area, it won’t be long till going home means just going to another city.

I was really excited and some nice people sent me stuff that were really useful for the trip!

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Human Heart Nature sent me a sampler set of their baby care line. Perfect traveling sizes! I loved the baby bath and lotion, and the oil was very useful for Basti’s after-bath massage. No Aquasana water filters there. Basti’s skin easily dried from the weather and the water. Check out one of Basti’s bath sessions!

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Mothercare sent Urtekram zinc cream that was very useful for the tiny bites and booboos we both got during the trip. We did a lot of walking around on uneven ground, plus all these leafy green things (i.e. plants) had so many inhabitants. #cityfolkproblems Urtekram has a full range of organic baby products, all available at Mothercare.

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I wanted to bring the Flexibath I bought from them on the trip, but I was overweight as it is. (I said this all over Twitter: I don’t understand why infants don’t get even a little bit of baggage allowance. They have more stuff than we do! Plus, it’s not like they’re flying for free.) I also wanted to bring my SkipHop diaper bag, but it was also too much. I bought it at Mothercare months and months ago too, at the best price compared to anywhere!

Basti loved playing with all the kids. On my side he’s only got 2 cousins, but in Cebu he has 10. Add his siblings and it’s a party everyday!

We spent days on the beach that was just a short walk away from The Painter’s house. And as usual, for my husband, there can be no play without work. He dragged us out to a river, stripped down Basti to nothing, and had us pose for future paintings. Basti loved the river!! I didn’t even want to think about the carabao we saw taking a bath upstream. Hehe.

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My constant companion was my Next9 ringsling. From airport to van terminal to tricycle to seaside to the market and for the strange-house anxiety Basti got on our first night, it was a lifesaver. Traveling really is so much easier when babywearing!

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I can’t wait to see how Basti will appreciate the province more as he grows up. One thing we have yet to experience is the town fiesta! I heard it gets really crazy with all the relatives that come in to visit. Oh just give me this and I’m ok:
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This was one of the SIX lechons we encountered over the holidays. #heartattack

Ok so now I want lechon.

Basti’s First Dental Visit

At Basti’s last pediatric checkup, one of our assignments was to go for our first dental check-up. I finally got around to doing it today. I decided to check out Dentphix Clinics in Silver City, only because it was walking distance from my house.

I like the lobby and the facilities.

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Basti liked the play area.

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Our dentist was Dr. Fina Gupit-Lopez, a very pretty lady with four kids of her own. She checked Basti’s teeth, cleaned them and did a flouride treatment, all while Basti’s favorite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was playing on a television set in the room. Basti did well. There were a few tears of protest but he mostly stayed still and was cheerful again soon after, with a little toy and a Mickey Mouse toothbrush from the dentist to reward him. I wish I had someone there to take pictures. It was really pretty awesome. Sadly, Basti already has signs of tooth decay on his front teeth. That’s what I get for procrastinating!

Here’s a few things I learned from our visit that I thought I’d share with you:

  • The bacteria that causes tooth decay is contagious! The dentist said that blowing on your child’s food before feeding is a cause for passing on the bacteria. So mommies, don’t do this, and tell your yayas not to do this too!
  • It’s good to go for a dental check-up on your second trimester of pregnancy so you don’t have bacteria to pass on when you give birth.
  • There is no need to rinse after brushing your teeth, even for us adults! Don’t rinse your teeth and let the flouride work its magic. If you rinse or eat something within 30 minutes, the brushing would have been for nothing.
  • Basti nurses during bedtime, so the doctor suggested I give him a quick brush just before settling in. She said to do it lying down in bed, and again, no need to rinse. Basti will learn to spit eventually. Keep the amount of toothpaste to just a dash.
  • Chocolate is a better snack than crackers or potato chips because it melts and gets washed off by water. Crackers, cereal, wafers or chips will get stuck in the teeth and cause cavities!

We’ll be back again in two weeks to catch up with the decay on Basti’s teeth. Good oral habits is something I want to establish with Basti. During my childhood, regular dental visits was something we didn’t do, even though my aunt was a dentist! I’m going for my own visit soon.

Thank you Dr. Fina and Dentphix for such a great experience for Basti!

Dentphix is on the Ground Floor of Silver City in Frontera Verde, Pasig City. Tel. No.: 5840693, 2162928.

Bananas Over Pajamas: PJs Sleepwear

Pajamas to me are:

  • my uniform when I am feeling sick, down, or both. There’s something about pajamas that set the cocooning mood better than just plain shorts and a T-shirt
  • the best thing for breastfeeding mothers. The buttons make the boobies easy-access and they keep you warm even if you forget to put your blanket back on when you nurse half-asleep.
  • the cutest thing on children. They bring to mind early morning breakfast, bedtime stories and sweet dreams.

Even better than plain pajamas are awesome-looking pajamas. I was so excited when Rosette of PJs Sleepwear invited a few of us to see the re-opening of their Shangri-la Plaza branch last year. Basti enjoyed looking at the pajamas (even if he doesn’t look like it) and it was nice to meet other bloggers.

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Top: Basti and I checking out the pajamas; The PJs Sleepwear Shangri-la Mall branch storefront.
Bottom: Jackie Go and her little princess (she’s so pretty no? #sarapsakalin); The bloggers: Michelle, Kris, me, Mrs. Martinez and Jackie!

This is a much-overdue post, so they’ve got other designs than the ones you’ll see here. They had Christmas-themed pajamas and I already made a mental note to include that in this year’s shopping list so Basti can look so cute opening his Christmas 2012 gifts. They’re so photogenic, haha. PJs Sleepwear used to be the shop that made clothing for some very well-known children’s wear brands. The quality is excellent, and the fabric is perfect for our weather.

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PJs Sleepwear gave each of us two sets of pajamas. Basti got one with a dinosaur design and I got one with elephants all over it. So adorable!

They’re perfect for bedtime play!

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I’ll definitely be back to buy more for myself and Basti. I wonder if they have men sizes. I forgot to ask. The question is, will The Painter wear pajamas with monkeys all over them? Hmmm.

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PJs Sleepwear

  • Level 4 Shangri-la Mall (#571-9228)
  • Level 1 Trinoma Mall
  • SM Clark, Pampanga
  • Marquee Mall, Angeles, Pampanga
  • Abreeza Mall, Davao City
  • Limletkai Mall, CDO
  • All branches of Rustan’s Dept. Store

This Is The Way We Wipe Our Teeth (Giveaway!)

I want Basti to have good teeth. I don’t know about you guys, but it took us a while to get from tears, protesting and cajoling, to this:

Before this, I could barely get him to open his mouth, much less brush his teeth properly. And then there were those times we were out and couldn’t brush his teeth between meals.

Until.

A couple of these were sent to me one day:

Tooth tissues!! Who woulda thunk?? I must confess I once thought of using regular wipes to clean Basti’s teeth, but the very thought of a screaming toddler in public was more than enough to turn me off that idea. I honestly doubted it would be the same with the tooth tissues. But the first time we tried it, whoa! Not a tear, a wince or a frown in sight. My baby boy gamely opened his mouth and patiently waited until I cleaned out every nook and cranny. It was great! Because I was using my fingers, I could feel for the little morsels that toddlers have a habit of harboring in their mouths (even while they sleep!!)

I tried out the My Dentist’s Choice Tooth Tissues myself and here are my thoughts:

  •  They smell clean. None of the soapy or chemical-y odors of wipes. I have a feeling this is why it was so easy to use them on Basti.
  • They taste clean, like a mild toothpaste. Tooth tissues have xylitol in them, known to battle tooth decay.
  • They feel clean, as close as you can to that just-brushed-my-teeth feeling, without brushing your teeth. It sure beats popping a mint.

I now carry a pack in Basti’s diaper bag all the time. They’ve saved the day, and Basti’s teeth from tooth decay many many times! Sometimes, when we’re out late and I see my baby boy nodding off to sleep, I give him a quick wipe with the Tooth Tissues and I’m no longer paranoid in case I can’t get him to wake to brush his teeth when we get home. I carry a pack in my purse too, because I hate brushing my teeth in public bathrooms!

 

 

The My Dentist’s Choice Tooth Tissues were sent to me by Tine Rodriguez-Pau, who heads The Yellow Mustard Seed and is my fellow LATCH breastfeeding counselor. She’s also one of my oldest friends – we were classmates in nursery school! She’s a great believer of all the products her company carries and is eager to spread the word about them. Click on the logo to go to her Facebook page and check out her photos – she has a few more cool things for your little ones!

 

 

The Yellow Mustard Seed is giving away THREE goodie bags of Tooth Tissues to three readers! For a chance to try them out yourself, follow these simple mechanics:

  1. Post this on The Yellow Mustard Seed Facebook page: “I think Tooth Tissues would be useful for _______________”. It could be about you, your baby, anything!
  2. Fill out the form below. If you can’t see the form, click here.
  3. For an extra raffle entry, tweet this: “I joined the Tooth Tissues giveaway by The Yellow Mustard Seed on PaintersWife.Com! http://wp.me/p1Nf7i-hM @PaintersWifePH”. Make sure you tag me so I can verify your entry.

Entries will be accepted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. Three winners will be drawn and prizes will be sent by The Yellow Mustard Seed by courier to anyone NATIONWIDE!

For those in the Southwho want to see The Yellow Mustard Seed’s array of products, Tine will be at the Zonta Christmas Carnivale Bazaar from Dec. 16-18 at the Cuenca Community Center in Ayala Alabang Village.Say hi to Tine!

Good luck!

New! The Bailey Wrap: Review and How-To Picture and Video Guide

As I mentioned in my post about the Babywearing Meet 3, we met a couple of ladies who started making their own version of the wrap and called it The Bailey Wrap. I’ve mentioned wanting to try a wrap before. Then, the choices were to buy a Moby Wrap from the US, or find fabric and make one myself. Since I’m not really the DYI kind, I was so happy that there’s a local supplier already! Grace and Nicole were ever so generous to give me one to try out. I’ve been using it since the Babywearing Meet, and here are my thoughts.

  1. The child is wrapped so securely that even bending over felt safe. Of course, don’t risk doing so – always support your baby’s back and head when you have to reach down.
  2. The weight is beautifully distributed across both shoulders and back.
  3. Putting it on at first can be quite a challenge, and once you put it on, it’s a little hassle to take off again. If you’re wearing something fashionable, forget it. Make the wrap your fashion statement instead. (Pick a pretty color!)
  4. It folds into a convenient little pouch that makes it easy to pack into your diaper bag.
  5. Though the fabric is a little more breathable than its foreign counterparts, the wrap can still be a little warm. Make sure your baby doesn’t get overheated if you’re wearing it outdoors.
  6. The fabric is nice and stretchy, easy to wash and comes in a wide range of colors!

I wish I had this when Basti was a newborn. I can just imagine him being all snuggly inside the layers of cloth. We could’ve taken some pretty relaxing afternoon naps together.

Putting on the Bailey Wrap is quite similar to the SaYa, because it criss-crosses across your chest as well. Here’s a photo guide on how to put on the wrap and wear your baby in the front-carry position (facing back).

Click on the image to go to the step-by-step guide.

I also made a video:

But the people behind Bailey Wrap also have their own YouTube channel with instructional videos.

I’m so happy we have a local wrap supplier. The more, the merrier babywearing will be, don’t you think?

You can order the Bailey Wrap through their Facebook page or call 0922-8824426 or 0933-7200278. Happy babywearing!

 

 

Nom Nom Nom: The Philips Avent Toddler Feeding Set

Basti didn’t take to solids right away. It took a couple of months of experimenting, introducing, re-introducing and trickery (peek-a-boo + fast reflexes = mealtime) to get him to enjoy eating. He loves soups and I’ve had a grand time (snicker) figuring out recipes he would like. So far, he loves these:

  • Chicken Sopas
  • Fresh Mushroom and Ground Beef Consomme
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Egg Drop Soup with Shiitake and Carrot (in other words, whatever veggies I have onhand)
  • Pumpkin Soup
  • Cream of Brocolli Soup
  • Any mixed rice dish

All moms know that along with solid feeding comes the inevitable mess and trashing of feeding equipment. I was on the lookout for a new bowl for Basti because he broke his old one. He swiped his arm across it, sending it to its demise with a flip, a tumble and crack. No tears – it was a free bowl I got for buying soy sauce. I don’t know if it was BPA-free or anything like that.  #cheapmother

In perfect the-universe-provides timing, Philips Avent sent over a toddler feeding set for Basti!

Things I like:

  • The lime green color. It matches my watch and our Kaboost. #sowhat
  • The not-so-cutesy design
  • The pieces are useable till Basti is a big kid already.
  • The bottoms have a rubber coating which make the bowls stay put! Even the utensils have them!

Basti and I are both happy.

But here’s the best part. Philips Avent sent not one, but TWO sets.

And one of you guys is gonna get it!

To join the giveaway:

  • Post this on my Facebook page: I want to win the Philips Avent Toddler Feeding Set for ____________. His/her favorite dish is __________. You can name your own child, a friend’s child, your nephew/niece, or anyone you think would love to have the set. Post a picture of them, if you want. (Not required, I just like seeing pics, hehe)
  • Register your entry below (some browsers may require you guys to scroll down to see the whole form):

Here’s the fine print:

  • You or an authorized representative must be able to pick-up the feeding set from either Gymboree Shangri-La, Greenhills or the Valle area.
  • Fake accounts will be not be tolerated and I will remember and ignore future entries from you FOREVER.
  • Entries will be accepted till Tuesday, September 27, 2011 (Extended from September 18!). The winner will be drawn by electronic raffle and announced on Wednesday, September 28, 2011.

You don’t need to tag your friends on the wall post. Just do so if you feel they will sincerely appreciate it. I don’t want anyone to be annoyed!

Good luck everyone! Spread the love!

Mucho thanks to Philips Avent for this giveaway!

Yue Lai Yue Da! (越来越大! Bigger and Bigger!)

I had to write the blog title in Chinese because this post is dedicated to my good friend Oli. We practice our Mandarin over in Twitter, along with Jen, Cai and Eileen. He convinced me to get a Kaboost Portable Chair Booster for Basti. (What a salesman, I tell you)

 

Basti is beginning to dislike his highchair and prefers sitting with me on the table. This ingenious contraption puts him at almost the same level as the big people.

 

Basti loved the box and wouldn’t let it go.

I put it to the test in our kitchen using just regular monoblock chairs. It was easy to slip on, and it held firm and steady, even if I lifted the chair to move it to a different spot on the table. (Without Basti, of course) Very effective I must say! Basti stayed put in it longer than his highchair. I do have to be there to make sure he doesn’t slip off. I still use the highchair when I have to do stuff, like cook or prepare his food (he complains and glares at me the whole time) but the Kaboost is great for our meals together.

Basti feels he’s one of the us.

In triumph he raises his snack pod and proceeds to gobble down. Not in picture: Our helper with outstretched arms, ready to catch.

The Kaboost will be useful all the way till he’s about six years old. I actually wasn’t considering to buy right now, but this deal was too awesome to pass up.

“Fifty percent off” is sweet music to my ears. I took this picture at about 3am earlier, so you’ve got less than 10 days to grab it! Find the deal at Kids-Agogo.Com.

You can also buy the Kaboost from the Quirks Marketing Philippines online store.

*Kaboost product shots courtesy of Quirks Marketing Philippines.
*Kids-Agogo deal photo from Kids-Agogo.Com.

My Son, The Techie: Basti’s Favorite Apps

There are so many parenting blogs and articles online that go by the way of “organic parenting” as I call it. You know, the no-tv-wooden-toys-only kind.

Well, this blog isn’t one of them. Not by a mile.

Sure I also dabbled with thoughts of not exposing Basti to technology early in life. But how could I? I have an internet love affair. Literally, a love affair with the internet and all things tech.

I have been online for as long as I can remember internet being available in this country. I started with a measly 14.4kbps modem tied up to my Pentium PC, and had a dedicated phone line installed so I could avail of the unlimited log-in time of my then-internet service provider. There was a certain comfort to hearing the modem dial-up, hiss, pop and whistle until that unmistakeable moment of connection.

I met lots of friends from my IRC days. I became an op of some channels, attended EBs, the works. Some of them are still my friends to this very day. I even found a way to incorporate my internet addiction into my college thesis. It was titled, “Internet Relay Chat: Defining A Sub-Culture.” I was lauded for introducing new research techniques to the Psychology Department (read: Yahoo! search) and no one could understand what I was talking about because my professor or any of the members of the panel of peers even had an email address. I got an A.

My switch from PC to Mac brought my addiction to a whole new level. It was around the same time DSL residential lines became available, and I was brought into the world of e-groups, chat and user forums. I was fiercely active in the Philippine Macintosh Users Group or PhilMUG, even getting on the board of directors. Yes, there is such a thing.

The internet became my lifeline when I lived in China. Inspite of The Great Firewall, it connected me to my family, friends and the outside world (thank you proxy servers). When I got back, it seemed like no time passed at all.

Going through baby blues, Twitter became my shrink, Facebook, my connection to the outside world and my blog, my sanctuary. Dr. Google was helpful for times of extreme paranoia, and through my blog, found like-minded mothers who share the same passions as I do.

Basti spent a good portion of his days as a newborn worn in a sling while I was in front of my Mac. Now at close to 1.5 years old, he likes to play with my keyboard and mouse (I got him his own so he doesn’t accidentally send a gibberish email to my boss), and he can unlock my iPhone and play music. He can also take Hipstamatic pictures, sometimes much better than I do.

Now that I have an iPad (droool), Basti’s got a ton of stuff to play with. In case you are in the same boat as I am, here are a few of Basti’s favorite apps and activities. If you have any of your favorites to share, please do!

1. The Wheels On The Bus

“The Wheels On The Bus” is high up on Gymboree’s most-requested songs, with its interactive lyrics and fun melody. This app is Basti’s ultimate favorite and I had to get it right away when OC Mom In Manila used it to keep him still while we had our nails done. It features interactive elements, the music in several languages and a record feature so you can have your baby listen to your own voice singing “The Wheels On The Bus” as they play the game. The bubbles go pop pop pop, the people jump up and down, birds hop and sing, dogs bark, at the touch of your child’s poke-poke-poke. So cute! Available for both iPhone and iPad.

2. Phone4kids

Why is it that no matter how many toy phones you buy, they always want the real thing? Basti loved using the call and text messaging functions of my phone that someone actually wanted to be textmates. This app builds on that curiosity and creates similar environments and other fun stuff without accidental calls to your client or boss.

It’s got a phone with the matching tones:

It’s also got a compass, fake SMS center, a function for learning letters, and a drawing palette. If you make the in-app purchase, you’ll also get a few more fun things for your kid to enjoy. The free version though, is more than enough to keep your toddler occupied. Available for both iPhone and iPad, though the app on the iPad makes it look like a giant phone. Hehe.

3. Toy Story Read-Along Interactive Book

Toy Story is Basti’s favorite Pixar film. This interactive book is so jampacked with features, I can’t believe it’s free!

You can choose between the built-in read-along feature (with the original voices from the movie) or you can record your voice! Some of the pages also transform into coloring sheets. I wanna get the others too, but they’re not free. I have to stop myself from purchasing all these apps.

4. I Hear Ewe

We Filipinos love this: “Baby what’s the sound of the dog? Of the cat? Of the alligator? Of the hedgehog?” Well here’s the perfect animal sound learning app.

Sound and image recognition, with another page for transportation sounds like car, firetruck and ambulance.

5. Any Piano app. We use this one.

We’re not married to it. Anything that generates the piano sound is good enough for Basti. I don’t think he’s going to play a Concerto soon. Unless I turn into Tiger Mother tomorrow.

6. My Drawing Book and My Coloring Book

These are free apps, but have in-app purchases for extra tools and drawing sheets.

The free version is enough for Basti while he's still getting a grip on his fine motor skills. Cute, kid-friendly interface and they're not skimpy with the color selection, even at the free version.

 

I have to give a special shout-out to Frances and Vince Sales, who allowed me to get their extra Dodo case for my iPad. It makes my tablet look like a Moleskine.

Photo courtesy of www.dodocase.com

Love it!!! Thanks guys!!

 

 

Allaying the Fear: Steripod Toothbrush Sterilizers

Here’s one thing about me: I’m not a germ-o-phobe, at all. I’m not the most diligent person when it comes disinfection, even when Basti was a newborn. We keep things clean ENOUGH.

After going to a toilet that looks like this:

Ladies' room at Yamdrok Lake, Tibet

.. believe me, I can go ANYWHERE.

So it only follows that our bathroom paraphernalia are just casually strewn about without a care in the world. Until now.

First there was a post by Rone of Mothering Earthlings about her son using her toothbrush to clean the floor. Reading it made me look at Basti and his snicker and wondered if that was soon to be in my future.

And then just the other day, I walk in to the bathroom to see something that made me shudder and weak in the knees. If there’s one thing I truly hate in this world, it’s COCKROACHES. And there was one waiting to pounce on me from my bathroom rug, staring malevolently at me, sitting there like it owned this house. After it was sent to its final resting place by our helper, it got me thinking. Was that roach sitting there all this time? Where has it been? And my eyes zoomed in to my toothbrush and I almost died.

Enter OCMomInManila and bag of goodies that included this little contraption:

And so now, my toothbrush is cocooned in sterile goodness.

It’s supposed to be effective for 3 months. At the very least I can be assured that no stinking cucuracha will do the tango on my toothbrush.