Archive for January, 2009

Toddler Picks!


I’ve come across a couple of books that Ian just love and I had to share them. The first one is Fisher Price’s Little People Let’s Go to the Zoo!. It’s a great board book that doesn’t have a lot of reading content, but it has a ton of things for Ian to check out and do. Here’s the book description:

Featuring lots of new animals, Let’s Go to the Zoo! teaches colors, counting, matching, and more in an entertaining way. With surprises hidden behind dozens of flaps, kids will want to visit the Fisher-Price zoo again and again!

It’s fabulous and they are right. Ian loves going back to this book just to check out what’s under the flaps. Even though there isn’t that much to read, I can make it up as I go. I can ask him what the lion says or the tiger and he’ll respond (he loves saying RAWR!). Each page is something different too. The first one deals with sounds, the second one has colors, the third has numbers, the fourth deals with motions, and the last page is all about matching up the babies with the mommies. Ian loves looking at the babies (he loves pointing out all babies) and he’s pretty good with matching them up too. When he got this book for Christmas, I wasn’t expecting too much, but damn is he enjoying it. I have a feeling I’ll have to end up replacing it because he loves reading it so much.

The second book that Ian (and mama) is going nuts over is B is for Bear by Roger Priddy. Ian is a huge fan of the Usborne Touchy Feely books (i.e. That’s Not My Dragon by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells) and this one is along that same line, but it’s all about the alphabet. Whereas the Usborne Touchy Feely books are simple and repetitive, this one is a little more indepth (for a toddler) and it’s great. Each page has a different letter of the alphabet with an image and one of the images has something he can touch. There isn’t something on each page, but it’s not needed because he loves running his hands over the entire page and finding the “hidden treasures”. One of the things I like is that the sentences aren’t all the same. While there is still the rhyming theme going on, I’m not reading the same 5 words over and over again (like in the Usborne Touchy Feely books). This is the other book that Ian has been reaching for a lot lately. Plus it’s one of the bigger board books so Ian can put this in his lap and read on his own (which I’ve seen him do).

Another set of books that has Ian jumping for joy round the clock are the Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends stories. He’s been going nuts over trains ever since he got a domino laying train for Christmas and these were a godsend. The best part about the books, they are short and sweet. Each book contains 3-4 stories and Ian has no problem sitting through one or two. And, not all the books contain 3-4 stories either; there are a wide selection of content for the books. One of the more simplier books, Catch Me, Catch Me! only uses 50 words to tell the story about a race between Thomas and Gordon. Another great aspect of these novels are the DVDs. Now that we’re reading so much Thomas the Tank Engine, I had also picked up a few of the DVDs so Ian could see the trains and they are great. He loves watching the trains on the TV and I love it because each segment is only about 5 minutes long. These stories are perfect for his attention span and it increases his vocabulary.

The last book that Ian tends to go back to time and time again is Matthew Van Fleet’s Spotted Yellow Frogs. The book itself is really simple, but he loves being able to pull out the pages and looking inside. The basic idea is that on 8 different pages, there are 8 different colors and patterns, that when you turn each flap reveals an animal of that color and pattern. Then the last page is a huge fold out page where each of the animals are part of a mural, but all of their patterns have been changed. Ian loves the “flap” part of the book. He’ll sit there and we’ll go through it 4 or 5 times before he gets bored with it. Plus, they don’t have just one animal under each flap, but multiples so we can also count how many are there. It’s not that complex, but it’s another great story we can make our own. Ian can do the sounds of the animals, count how many are there, tell me what the colors are, etc etc.

So those are Ian’s favorites at the moment. He has other books he likes to read, but these are the ones he keeps going back to and I’m really glad they are in my collection. Although, I have a feeling that once the Thomas DVDs go back to the library, I’m going to get into trouble.

The Count


And you thought I was lying when I said Ian liked the Count….

You know how I said that while Ian does like Elmo, he asks for either Cookie Monster or the Count more, yeah, this should prove that. Ian wanted to watch the count when we got home tonight and Jesse decided to video tape him asking for “Count”. Yeah, by the end, Ian was losing his patience.

Yeah, this was one of the first times we danced to the Song of the Count and Ian loved spinning…if you couldn’t tell by me almost running into one of the walls from being so dizzy.

Ian loves dancing to any song sung by the Count. He has so much energy when he dances like this that it tires us out waaaay before it tires him out. This was the third time this morning I believe.

Song of the Count


Ian loves this song. He loves to dance to it by spinning (ME) around in circles until we’re both dizzy. There’s a video of the two of us dancing to this and me literally falling into a wall (almost) because I was so dizzy.

Some New Favorites


For a long time now, Ian’s favorite characters have always been the Muppets from the Muppet Show.  Over the last couple of months, Ian has started to acquire a few more characters that he simple loves.  He still goes nuts over the Muppets and he’s even calling Fozzie by name (it’s so cute!), but he likes to share his love.

The first character that was added was CARS.  He got to a point where he loved anything with wheels and for something new, I popped in Cars instead of the handy muppets.  He didn’t have the patience to sit through the entire movie, but he loved it.  Whenever we went downstairs, he immediately went for Cars.  At the same time that Ian discovered cars, he also decided to start potty training.  So we took advantage of this  and at Thanksgiving we started Ian’s Hot Wheels collection by giving him a new car every time he went to the potty.  At this point, Ian has not gone poopy once in his diaper since we started this, but we’re still working on getting a dry diaper.

Over Christmas, his second character was introduced, but this time it was the object and we gave him the character.  For Christmas, he received a train that laid down dominos and he LOVED it.  From that point, he wanted to play with his “whoo whoo” just as much as he wanted to play with his cars.  Since he was having a blast with trains, I decided to pick up a book and DVD of Thomas the Tank Engine.  Now, that’s all we read at night – Thomas the Tank Engine.  He loves watching the trains on the TV too and I love it because each segment is only about 5 minutes long.

The last two characters that he’s really getting into right now are not that surprising.  Not if you think about it.  Neither Jesse or I want Ian to get into the Elmo craze, so we’ve been picky about which Sesame Street he watches.  I started picking up various DVDs at the library and he’s loving the ones with Cookie Monsters and the Count in them.  That’s right, he’s lovin Cookie Monster and the Count.  He’ll say Elmo, but he’s using that to indicate Sesame Street (I know this because it doesn’t matter who shows up on the screen as long as it’s a muppet); however, if he starts yelling for Cookie Monster or the Count, then I had better have that up or he gets louder.

So those are Ian’s favorite characters right now.

Ian & Snow


Ian was all about the snow today. He loved being outside during the summer and we could tell by his reaction today that he has missed being outside. He was loving it…being outside.

Brushing his teeth


Ian loves to brush his teeth. All you have to say is “teeth” and he knows exactly what to do.

Thomas & Ian


Check out the tunnel we made for Thomas. Ain’t it spiffy?

Baby Gift Suggestions


Over the last year or so, a few of our friends have been experiencing the joy of parenthood (or know someone who is) and we’ve had to figure out what to get them as a baby shower gift.  Most of the time, the parents-to-be have a gift registry of what they want, but I’ve found out (granted after I had Ian), that what was on my registry wasn’t always what I needed. For instance, I didn’t have a single toy for Ian when we brought him home.  It didn’t dawn on me to include any on the registry or to pick any up (trying to play with a newborn is frustrating enough without having a toy around to get their attention).  So I started deviating off of registries and getting items that I knew would come in handy. Usually this meant items that were family cheap and it allowed me to get more.

Now I have a few friends who are asking about gift ideas and I thought I would write down my suggestions.  These are random items that I either couldn’t live without or found to be truly excellent (and Ian loved as well).  Most of my suggestions are all under $20, so they are completely reasonable as gift ideas.

The first suggestion I have is a Sassy Earth Brights Wooden Trio Toy. It doesn’t have to be this exact toy (this is the one we had for Ian), but something from this line. The wooden toys with the color fabric is a great sensory toy and they come in so many different shapes and sizes.  They not only make noise when they are clinked together, but each fabric generally has a different feel to it, so it’s expanding baby’s knowledge too.  Plus, you don’t have to worry about (s)he teething on it since it’s wood.

Both Ian and I loved the Bright Starts 3-Piece Chill and Teethe Teethers. These are a must have!  Before, I had only seen the bigger teethers and we had them for Ian, but he had such a hard time getting them into his mouth, that he wouldn’t use them.  When I found these, instant success.  They come in different shapes, but each one fits in an infants mouth.  Plus they weren’t so big around that Ian couldn’t glasped them with his tiny hands.  Even now, at 22.5 months, Ian still loves chewing on them.  He’ll still reach for these instead of the bigger ones.

You may not think the Sassy 24-Piece Lively Links are all that great, but you’ve probably never had to bend over multiple times trying to pick up a toy either. These things are great; I wish I had found them sooner.  You can attach them to the car seat, through other toys, the stroller and nothing will get lost.  Plus, you link a few of these together and they can act as a rattle and they are perfect for tiny hands.  Ian always had a blast swinging these around.  Another benefit to these is that they come in different colors and textures.

I highly recommend the Hyland’s Teething Tablets. These work wonders for Ian while he was teething. They instantly desolve on his tongue and I was able to give him between 1-3 tablets depending on his pain.  They are homeopathic, so I wasn’t giving Ian any kind of drugs for the minor annoyances that teething usually has (before bed, he did get either Tylenol or Motrin).  They don’t last all that long (I want to say 4 hours), but you can give them to any baby up to 3 times a day…a lot more than Tylenol and Motrin and they’re not harmful.  You can find them individually at Meijer, Wal-mart, Walgreens, etc and they are pretty reasonably priced.  Ian loved them and got to the point where, if he was teething and his gums hurt, he would point these out because he knew exactly what they were for.

A great starter book for any baby is
That’s Not My Puppy (Usborne Touchy Feely) (or any of the other books from this line). They have bright pictures and different textures to feel on each page, plus the content is simple to read and repetitive for any child to pick up on. Ian still loves them and we’ve added quite a few from this line to his collection.

Another great book is Goodnight, Baby by Ikids and Ana Larranaga. You basically put all the babies back in their beds and tell them good night.  Initially, Ian couldn’t do it so I did, but it didn’t take him long before he knew what to do and wanted to do it.  It helped with his coordination and his fine motor skills; and the words were simple enough that he enjoyed listening to them time and time again.

Here are a few other books that Ian recommends. And a few more.

This was the most brillant thing I had for Ian (aside from my Boppy). The Boppy Prop Up Play Pad was awesome. This is probably the one gift I have given again and again when I go for just one item (it’s the most expensive on this list at $25). We bought this for Ian because it was recommended to us to put Ian on his tummy as soon as we brought him home (which we did), but he couldn’t keep his head up. This allowed him to be on his tummy and kept his head propped up so it wasn’t buried in the flour. It’s a smaller version of the Boppy, so it was great while he was little and couldn’t hold his head up. Once he started getting bigger and tried to sit up, we were able to use this again as back support. We had him sitting up on his own way before he could actually do it simple because of this. It also comes with a few toys, so while Ian was sprawled over it, he could reach out and grab at the toys. It also comes in a more girly pink version, but even though this is the boys version, I still prefer it to the other since it seems more neutral than strictly boys.

Shirts w/Mittens is a must. They can be a bit hard to find, but I have seen them at Meijers.  Basically, any kind of shirt and PJs with mittens for the first three months are essential.  Ian would grab ahold of his hair and start pulling, then he would start screaming which would make him pull his hair even more.  He would also claw at his face with his nails.  Having the mittens on his shirt were great because he couldn’t fling them off and it prevented him from pulling his hair or using his nails on anything.  This helped him get to sleep so much better that I went out and tried to find more.  These are very much worth the effort of tracking them down and I always include them in any gift I’m giving.  Baby R Us has PJs with mittens, and they may have the shirts, but I know Meijer gets them in the neutral tones of yellow.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, but if I come up with anything more, I’ll add to it here.  Does anyone have any items that they found they couldn’t live without?

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