Best gifts for my new born little niece and the parents-to-be

My sister-in-law was about to deliver her first baby and the first girl child in our family. Given my son is now 4.5 years old, I was scratching my head to figure out the best gift I could give the to-be-parents.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law love to travel. We have a hard time tracking them down on any major weekend or seasonal breaks. I was sure that even after having their first child, travel is going to be a huge part of their life. I started looking for gifts that would assist them in this endeavor. I picked Baby Bjorn products:

Baby Carrier Miracle

    Baby Bjorn Carrier

    BabySitter Balance

Baby Bjorn Bouncer

I was hoping that I picked the right products. I am very happy to report that our healthy one month old niece is enjoying being snug in the carrier. She loves being carried around in the carrier in the house. I am sure she will love traveling in it as well. She is equally loving being bounced in the bouncer and looks very comfortable in it.

TitterTot’s Top 3 Halloween Costume Shops on Etsy

You might agree with me that kids go through a huge transformation when they turn four. They start to develop a strong personality and have a say in everything that affects their lives. This makes Halloween a bit challenging. Last year we did the superhero costume with extruding muscles and body hugging polyester covering feet to head. But I could tell that my son was not very happy seeing himself transform so drastically. During the year I also realized that my son was very content wearing a cape and playing knight with a shield and sword. Not having time on hand to make a costume by myself this year I selected costumes hand made by super creative moms.

After scouring the entire internet I came upon Kari Goodwin’s store on Etsy called “The Tree House Kid”. She makes the best costumes hands down. They are easy to wear, comfortable to keep on, extremely colorful and my son had a lot of fun playing in them. Check out the knight ensemble and then visit her store on Etsy to see her collection:
The Tree House Kid

To have a variety of costumes I also bought a reversible Batman/Superman cape from super hero mom – Connie Hughes. Her store on Etsy is called – “Mummy Hughesy”. Based out of UK, she makes very high quality character capes and masks. I also bought the batman mask made of felt that my son loved as well.
Mummy Hughesy

Mummy Hughesy 3

Mummy Hughesy 2

We had a pirate costume from last year that still fit my son, so I bought foam pirate shield and sword and a pirate visor (as our eye patch does not seem to stay on) from Rebecca Neafus. Her store on Etsy is called “HopewellCreek”. Her shop was selected by as one of “The top 50 Etsy Parent Shops for 2012-13”. Visit her shop to check out all the felt toys, décor and accessories besides the costumes.

The greatest thing about all the costumes we bought this Halloween is that they will last all year long and thanks to Velcro adjusters in all of them, they will be used for many Halloweens to come. Thank you to all these fabulous moms we had a great Halloween.

Can your smart device disconnect your tot?

When the iPhone, iPad and other smart devices were introduced with their app rich platforms they made life easy for parents worldwide. If your child is not eating, show him a video on the smart phone, if he is bored at a party let him play a game, if you are taking a long ride there couldn’t be a more compact and entertaining toy. Smart phone device companies have provided a magical wand in the parents hands to control just about any tantrum, any melt down or eliminating boredom for their tots. Also it’s form factor helps us carry it with us just about anywhere in a pocket, in a purse, in a bag. A perfect on the go device.

But as my tot turned 4 years old this year I am starting to feel that the smart devices are likely to disconnected my tot from everything around him. Especially during our travels I want him to be looking around, experiencing a different world and immersing himself in his own little ways. This time around I am trying to hide these devices, remove apps that are not enriching and providing a specific time of access vs. providing access on demand. Setting a certain amount of time and a schedule to access the device could surely prove enriching. But using these devices in other uncalled situations – we might be robbing our children from opportunities to learn, socialize and immerse.

So everyday when I need to prepare dinner and my tot is on the verge of hunger we spend about 20 minutes on our smart device. I did leave a story on the IPad besides the 3 other apps I would like him to explore.

Don’t let your smart device disconnect your tot, let him grow, get bored at times and find his own creative ways of entertainment.

These 2011-2012 statistics gathered by MDG Advertising might not surprise you:
Kid Tech, According To Apple [Infographic]
by MDG Advertising

World Books: The Elves and the Shoemaker by John Cech

The Elves and the ShoemakerOn our weekly visit to the library my 4 year old tot picked up a book called “The Elves and the Shoemaker” by John Cech. It was a great read, short story with unusual illustrations. It reminds one of the old belief that the best solution when trying to solve a difficult problem is simply to “sleep on it”. Things might just be put right while we’re fast asleep.

After reading the book we continued reading the author’s note about the origins of the story. I was quiet surprised that it was also a story collected by the famous German brothers – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. It was a story in their 1812 collection of stories called “Children’s and Household Stories”. A diametric opposite of the fairy tales this was a story of a humble shoe maker and his wife distressed and in financial trouble till the elves come to their rescue. Another great read for the weekend.

We have added this book to our list of Books from Germany.

Happy reading and wishing you a great weekend – TitterTot