VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Songs & Sounds

Looking to get any of the VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels cars as part of a play-set or individually? Then you should have an idea of what songs and sounds they make. I took 4 of the 6 cars we have and turned them all on at once so you can get an Idea of the noise generated when your kid plays with these. The sounds trigger when the cars roll, the button is pressed or when the cars interact with any of the coordinating play-sets. It can get noisy! Luckily each car has a switch on the bottom to turn the sounds off. ūüôā

4 Best Selling Baby Carriers Reviewed

Early on in my pregnancy I knew that I was going to have to carry my son a lot as we live in Brooklyn, and strollers aren’t always the most efficient mode of transportation. Pushing a stroller through snow banks¬†only to find yourself¬†carrying it¬†down a flight of crowded subway stairs gets old FAST! ¬†So one winter day I dragged my husband to a local boutique baby store and made us try several carriers in hopes of narrowing our options. ¬†We liked three options, and we had already registered for the original Ergo carrier. ¬†Over time we ended up buying and trading our way through 4 carriers. ¬†My husband and I both used these extensively.

The following article reviews the carriers that we ended up purchasing and using:


Kinderpack Infant Carrier

BabyCarrier_Laundry
Using the Kinderpack to wear the baby AND do laundry. SuperDad?

We ended up purchasing the Kinderpack infant carrier by Kindercarry because I was having my son in the summer and I knew the Ergo’s infant insert was like a sleeping bag and way too hot for a NYC summer!

The Kinderpack is great because you can purchase it with¬†a mesh front¬†where baby sits allowing for ventilation on hot days (see featured image). ¬†NYC summers can be brutal, and I am one of a¬†few in this world who hates the heat. ¬†In addition, it’s design is highly customizable allowing you to convert it into an infant carrier and then gradually transition it to a toddler size.

The Kinderpack straps also criss-cross in the back, which we have found is¬†much more comfortable for us. In fact, the Kinderpack excels in this regard. ¬†It has straps that can be adjusted from various angles making it easy to get the perfect fit. ¬†Or, if you don’t like cross crossed straps you can wear it like a reversed backpack. My husband used to take our infant son out for walks at night and his only complaint was that while this carrier is hyper adjustable, he¬†found that it was not always easy to adjust¬†when he was by himself and unable to reach some of the back straps.

Their design also allows the Kinderpack to be worn in a hip carry position and on your back with your little one looking over your shoulder.  The one thing the Kinderpack does not offer is a forward facing front carry.

Kindercarry is a small family run business and all carriers are hand sewn in Illinois by a handful of people.  It feels great to support a small family business for something so convenient and well made as the Kinderpack.  They also have carriers in a wide range of fun prints.  Many of the prints appear to be limited, so if you see one you like it may not be available in 6 months.

I give the Kinderpack 4¬†out of 5 stars. ¬†It really is an excellent carrier. ¬†It is very comfortable, lightweight and the mesh is a great feature. ¬†I just wish it had a forward facing/front carry option. ¬†We have only experimented with back carry a few times. ¬†Our son seems a little young for this, but perhaps as he gets older this position will fulfill the forward facing need. ¬†In fact, I think it’s time we try it again… hold on… [trying back-carry again] ¬†Okay, My husband just wore him around the house for 15 minutes and Jr¬†seemed to like it, although I think he’s still a little too short and ended up watching¬†a lot of my husband’s shoulders and neck.

PROS:

  • Lightweight and breathable fabric.
  • Very customizable straps for excellent comfort.
  • Also supports hip and back carry positions.
  • No need for accessories if you want to use it as an infant carrier.
  • Fun prints!

CONS

  • Not great for cold weather (if you purchase the mesh version).
  • Doesn’t support a forward front carry.

 

Ergobaby Original

ergobaby
Ergobaby Original

Now, I have raved about the Kinderpack because I think it is a fantastic carrier, but I will admit that I still used the Ergo Original a lot.

I used the Ergo primarily¬†through the winter. Since we bought the Kinderpack with mesh, it wasn’t great for the miserable¬†NYC winter. The Ergo is a very comfortable carrier, provided you don’t require the straps to crisscross your back. ¬†The straps are very well padded, the weight distributes well, and it was cozy warm.

The pocket on the front of the carrier allowed me to¬†slide in a wallet or keys when I just needed to run to the grocery store, and the hood was great to pull up over my son’s head on cold days when he would fall asleep. ¬†All in all, the Ergo is a¬†great carrier, and I am sure I will continue to use it, but we eventually purchased the Beco Gemini, which changed baby carrying for us in a big way.

I give the Ergo Original 4 out of 5 stars.  It is very comfortable, it was a great carrier through the winter, but it is a little warm for the summer months, especially with the infant insert. It would be nice if the straps could cross in the back and if a forward facing/front carry were an option, without having to upgrade to the Ergo 360. In retrospect, I wish we had registered for the 360 instead as it offers many of the features found in the Kinderpack and Beco Gemini [reviewed below].

PROS:

  • Very well padded straps.
  • Great for cold weather.
  • Helpful front pocket.
  • Popular, so it’s easy to find this used or as a trade.

CONS

  • Straps can only be worn in one position, like a reversed backpack.
  • Requires an additional insert to carry an infant.
  • In retrospect I wish we had registered for the¬†Ergo 360¬†instead.
BabyCarrier
Braving the winter cold! Using the Ergo with an additional fleece cover.

Didymos DidyTai

Didymos DidyTai
Didymos DidyTai

When we went to the boutique store to try out the carriers, I tried on and really liked the Didymos Didytai.  It was lightweight, and a mix between a structured carrier and a wrap carrier.  It was also comfortable.  Keep in mind that I tried this with an 8 lb doll.  Effective, but VERY different from a live squirming baby.

Since there are no clicking buckles to struggle with, snaps in weird places or Velcro to scratch you, the result is¬†a very natural feeling carrier that conforms to your body shape. A DidyTai allows for many tying variations¬†including a¬†front position, a¬†hip carry and¬†a baby backpack. ¬†It doesn’t allows for a forward facing carry.

I purchased this wrap from another mother as it was out of my price range new. ¬†I gave this wrap a try on a number of occasions. ¬†I wore it through the neighborhood, into Manhattan, on long and short walks, and I realized as much as I liked the carrier, it just didn’t work for me. ¬†I needed more structure. ¬†The carrier constantly loosened on me and dropped too low. ¬†I could never keep it at the correct height and I was always concerned something was too loose. ¬†I still like the carrier and I think it would work for someone else. ¬†It is a great concept and I really do wish it would have worked for me.

I give the¬†Didymos¬†DidyTai a 3 out of 5 stars for being a great¬†concept, but it just didn’t fit me well. My husband wore this a few times. ¬†It’s definitely the most feminine¬†of the carries we owned so keep that in mind if your husband is concerned about those types of things.

PROS:

  • Lightweight!
  • Great for infants. ¬†Super snuggly!
  • Comfortable. ¬†Because it’s a wrap the weight is distributed widely across your body.
  • Unique look.

CONS

  • Can be a long process to put this on, especially if your kid is fighting it.
  • Hard to to adjust once you have it on.
  • Less structure than other carriers.
  • No forward facing option.

Beco Gemini

As I met other moms in the neighborhood and started to see all of the other carrying options, I began to see some of them wearing their little ones faced forward in the carrier.  This is something that I knew my son would LOVE.  Sadly, the Ergo Original and the Kinderpack did not allow for a forward faced carry.

I was able to trade the Didymos Didytai with another mom for the Beco Gemini.  I have to say, the minute my son was able to face forward, his mind was BLOWN.  Walks and outings became exciting trips.  He could see the world, not just my throat.  He rarely if ever fusses when in it, and it is as comfortable for me as the KinderPack and Ergo.

Now, that being said, facing him in again may not be an option.  We will see once winter comes again and the cold wind picks up, but every time I try to face him in now he tends to fight it, or tries to turn or hang out of the carrier so that he can see out.  I have tried back carry and hip carry both in the Beco Gemini and Kinderpack and those work fine as well, but nothing is the same as forward facing.

Let’s talk about the straps. ¬†These can be worn Crisscrossed across your back or in the reverse backpack position. ¬†Each has it’s own benefit. ¬†The backpack style is very fast to put on and remove, although my husband never felt that this was as comfortable and secure as having the straps cross your back.

The Beco Gemini¬†also has buckle locks. ¬†Basically once you clip the straps together they have a third button your need to press in order to undo them. ¬†This has been a mixed bag. ¬†It’s nice having the extra safety, but taking this off can be a tricky feat of coordination until you get used to it. ¬†We can undo them¬†one handed now.

Once adjusted, this carrier stays in place and doesn’t drift or loosen. ¬†Yet, somehow, the¬†Beco Gemini¬†has proven to be super easy to adjust as you wear it. ¬†Sometimes we loosen it up if our son wants to squirm, other time we tighten for a snug feel. ¬†Loosen it again to sit down and then tighten when we get up to walk again. ¬†Loosen again to breastfeed, etc. ¬†Besides the option of forward facing, the ability to easily adjust the carrier while being worn is it’s killer feature.

I give the Beco Gemini 5 out of 5 stars and our MostRoyal badge for being so versatile!   My husband also prefers using the Beco to carry our son, even at a his heavy 14 month old weight.

MostRoyal_Stamp

PROS:

  • Forward facing!
  • Allows for other carry positions such as facing in, back carry, side carry.
  • Confortable. ¬†Straps are easy to adjust even after you have it on.
  • Straps can be crisscrossed or worn backpack style.
  • Extra safety locks on all belt clips.
  • No need for accessories if you want to use it as an infant carrier.

CONS

  • Fabric seems to get dirty easy (then again we use this the most).
  • We’ve read some complaints that the leg gap becomes too narrow as kids get older. ¬†We are watching for this.
  • Extra safety locks on all belt clips would be a bad option for anyone with¬†finger joint mobility concerns.

 

In conclusion, I would say that the Becco Gemini carrier has been our most versatile carrier.  The forward facing feature made such a difference for us carrying our son around the city.  The Kinderpack and Ergo come in a close second, and the Didytai was nice, but not for me.

I would absolutely recommend trying on carriers before you make any decisions.  If you have a baby who will cooperate, use them! If your little bundle of joy has yet to be born a weighted doll will suffice, so check to see if the store has one. Many do. If you are far into your pregnancy and have a belly to contend with, bring along your spouse or a friend who can also try the carrier on and give you their thoughts.

Baby carrying is a great way to bond with your child, and if you’re living in a city and do a lot of walking like we do, it is the perfect mode of transportation.

Baby Boredom-Ball? [VIDEO]

I purchased the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Learning Basketball toy for my son when he was almost 6 months old.  I liked the toy because I thought it would grow with him well through his first year and, hopefully beyond.  I have to say, once we set it up and gave it to my son to play with, I was a little disappointed.  I was hoping the toy would have kept his attention a little longer than it does.

Also, what’s with the name of this toy, “Learn Learning?” ¬†Is this really the¬†best someone could come up with?

The “learning” aspect of the toy is as follows:¬†the buttons on the backboard light up, and it describes the shapes, colors, and numbers. The hands on the face of the toy really do nothing except move back and forth as you pull the basket down. ¬†I was hoping that they would prompt a song or a noise at least. ¬†It also counts and plays music each time a ball is put through the hoop. ¬†¬†The main joy our son¬†got out of the toy was listening to the voice count as he would drop a ball into the net. ¬†Provided you keep this up at a regular pace the voice and music gets more excited. ¬†For whatever reason our son has always loved counting and this toy delivered on that.

My son only uses the toy occasionally now and quickly gets bored with it.  Perhaps as he gets older and plays differently, it will hold his attention a little better, but by then I might as well have a bigger basketball net for him.

My biggest complaint is that the design¬†is very top heavy. ¬†I would say this is my son’s biggest complaint as well! ¬†He gets pretty frustrated with the toy when it falls over, which is basically every time he touches the darn thing (see video). ¬†In fact, I gave him the toy to play with this evening to see if he would be more attracted to it (at 13 months old,) but all he did was stand in front of it and tip it over backwards. ¬†He put the ball through the hoop once after I showed him, and pushed a couple buttons, but moved on from it very quickly. ¬†He is more attracted to the balls than the toy itself. ¬†I should have just bought him small basketballs to play with!

The batteries die pretty quickly if the toy is left on. Sensors in the basketball hoop detect when the ball  is dropped through.  These are always on, so when you are not playing the sensors are still draining the batteries.  We learned this one night when my husband was up late and catching up on work  He kept hearing this low buzzing and clicking noise.  Thinking he was going insane he eventually found himself crawling around the room trying to pinpoint the sound.  It was the dying batteries in the basketball net.  Turning this off between uses fixed that problem; an automatic sleep mode would be a great addition.

All in all, I give the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Learning Basketball¬†toy a 3 out of 5 stars. Users on Amazon give this toy positive reviews, so perhaps it’s just not right for us.

Anti-Spill Sippy Cup? [updated]

I feel like I am constantly on the search for the perfect sippy cup. ¬†We have tried maybe 8¬†so far, and of those I am happy with three. ¬†The Nuby No-Spill Flip N’ Sip Cup is not one of them. ¬†Maybe it was human error, but I put water in this cup for my son the first time we used it, shook it upside down, squeezed the straw, and was I happy to see that it did NOT spill. Off to a great start.

I gave it to my son, turned around to put something away, and when I turned back I found that he was splashing his hands on his high chair tray and that he had sufficiently soaked himself.

I am not 100% sure how he managed this, but I suspect it is all in the straw. ¬†It seemed that if he squeezed the straw with the cup upside down the water poured out, which he apparently figured out very quickly! ¬†I have not used the cup again since. I am willing to give it one more try to see if I just assembled it incorrectly. ¬†But, before that happens all our other cups will need to be dirty! ūüôā

UPDATE

Dad¬†here. ¬†So we’ve given this cup several more tries, and it is better, but not perfect. ¬†We have some¬†issues trying to reassemble it (getting the straw through the hole in the top can be frustrating,) but the leaks are¬†minor. ¬†Our son did like the flip top a lot. ¬†So much that he would get distracted and play with it . ¬†…Not sure if that¬†is a pro or not. ūüôā

We¬†give the¬†Nuby No-Spill Flip N’ Sip Cup 3 of 5 stars because it leaked heavily upon first use but seems to be improved after additional usage.

The World’s Best Sippy Cup? [updated]

Want a sippy cup that doesn’t leak? I think we may have finally found it. ¬†And, fingers crossed¬†this time because we are about to lose our mind from leaks.

Imagine the scene: ¬†Mom and dad in a heinous truckstop bathroom trying to change a poo-splosion diaper that’s barely clinging to the underside of The Little Prince.

MOM: ¬†“GET ME A DIAPER, STAT!”

Dad frantically digs in the diaper bag.

MOM: ¬†“HURRY, I can’t contain this anymore. ¬†The wipes have burst into flames!”

DAD: “I can’t FIND¬†them!”

MOM: ¬†“At the bottom! ¬†Quickly, it’s like the BP Oil Spill over¬†here!”

Dad finally connects with the clean pampers only to discover that they are already busily soaking up a leaking sippy cup.

DAD: “%*$H!T¬†%Dh#R@F& $&!@$%”

This bring us to our review of the¬†Munchkin Sesame Street Character Cup, we pray to you,¬†o’¬†blessed¬†vessel of water and toddler refreshment.

We love this because:

  1. Easy to assemble.
  2. It has a face, thus you can make it sing and dance if your are desperate.  If you have taken a long car ride you understand how helpful this can be!
  3. The lid and handles stay attached and don’t leak.
  4. Unlike some of the other cups we have tried, our little guy took to this straw right away. It may also be the first time he didn’t choke and water board¬†himself. ¬†The straw has a 1-way valve to prevent leaks and this seems to help control the flow of liquid.
  5. He loves the handles.  We have some other cups that leak when you use the handles.  Not the case here.
  6. BPA-free.
  7. Top rack dishwasher safe.

Some people have complained that the straw doesn’t have¬†a cap. ¬†Seriously? ¬†We have not found this to be a problem. Even if it did have a cap, how long is that going to last before we lose it? ¬†About 45 seconds. ¬†Then two weeks later The Little Prince¬†is going to find it under the couch and shove it in his mouth. ¬†No cap? ¬†Not a problem for¬†me! ¬†As listed above, the straw has a one-way valve and we have had zero issues with leaks; a cap¬†would be excessive.

Now, is this really the PERFECT cup. ¬†No. ¬†Nothing is. ¬†But so far these have brought some sanity to our lives. ¬†We did have one leak incident, but that seemed to be our fault as we apparently didn’t put the lid on all the way.

 

Give these cups a try.  We think you will love them. Also, Amazon sells it as a two pack!

Update:

After several months of use, we are sadly finding this cup leaks more and more.  Particularly out of the straw when cold liquid is exposed to warmer air. It appears that the one way valve that prevented this at first is becoming looser and softer after repeated toddler abuse.

Here is a¬†pro tip for sippy cups in general, if you fill a sippy¬†cup with ice cold liquid and the cup gets warm it¬†will create air pressure inside the cup. ¬†Air has to get out and it will force it’s way out, often taking liquid with it. It’s like microwaving leftovers with the tupperware lip still locked. ¬†It will heat up, pop the cover off and throw¬†food everywhere in the process.

Preventing this is super easy.  Use room temp liquids or keep your cup cold.  This worked well when we were just filling Elmo with water.  But now that we are using cold milk out of the fridge we can watch it creep out of the top and dribble down the side as it begins to warm.

When we take “Elmo” on a walk in the blistering city heat we keep him in an insulated pouch surrounded by ice. ¬†This seems to resolve the issue when traveling. ¬†But sadly, it’s when we are at home and our son is carrying this cup around and it’s not in a little cooler, well… leaks happen.

It is no longer my favorite sippy cup due to the durability of the one way valve. ¬†That said, our son loves it so much that we keep it in rotation. ¬†It’s very easy to get him to drink out of this cup and that’s extremely helpful on days when he is being fussy.

Revised score is:  3 out of 5 stars.