Childproofing for your Creative and Adventurous Little One

To truly childproof you will need to think like your child. It is not enough to just install some plug blockers and doorknob covers. For little ones with less mobility and less personality this means you need to get on the ground and crawl around and see into what mischief you can enter. For toddlers and preschoolers you have to think about what attracts their attention and curiosity. child proof safety furnitureSome things will be universal and others may be particular to your child. Perhaps shes an avid climber, or he is an aspiring chef. You may need to look-out for potential makeshift step-stools and other tools that your little genius will invent. My mother brought this to my attention in an email she sent me today. She writes:

“When visiting overnight, after 2-year-old Leelee goes to bed, I always want to peak in at her, she has a way of getting stuck and tangled in things.

A few months ago when they visited here, she slipped her body between the two pipes that make up the bed rail (top) and the bed base (bottom) of a youth bed but which didn’t have the netting attached after the last time it had been used. When I told her dad about it he said he had already seen her do that. I was so alarmed to see her stuck like that! She had been calling out (not crying) and they say let her “talk” it out and she’ll go back to bed. But she was wearing the bed rail like a flattened holla hoop with a bed attached. We pulled her out and thought that we could fix things so it wouldn’t happen again but it did: right away. Then we tied a bumper around those rails and she couldn’t do it. Then last week she got tangled in chords on the floor and something else got her foot stuck while she was playing in the bed room. I had bettered secure all the chords from now on.

But here’s the worst one: It reminds me of years ago when we were staying over your grandma’s. Hannah (about 2 1/2) and I had to share a bed (you had the other bed and Ida was in a pack ‘n’ play.) Then I woke up in the morning with the long tie from my nightgown tightly wrapped around Hannah’s neck! Sheesh! I told everyone about it so that it wouldn’t happen to someone else that way. Who would have thought about it? Earlier that day I had bought that nightgown and thought it was great. Later I tied it in back and went to bed. But then in the night the tie made its way from around me to around her neck. She was fine, a little surprised only when I woke her up shreeking in whisper.

What happened to Leelee was this. I was putting sheets on her bed and she had gone into the hall to climb on a stationary bike. She had managed to climb up onto a low flat spot where she could sit and straddle the bike, like she was riding it. Then she began to call out and I thought she was just frustrated with her new climbing spot. She would yell when she couldn’t get something to work and I saw her in my periferal, thinking, I’ll go help her down in a second if she doesn’t figure it out. Then I really looked at her and she had slipped her neck between two pipes that make up the handle for the stationary bike. They are separated just the width of a neck. About two feet up from where they start, they open up and become the handlebars, allowing her neck to drop in when she stood up on the flat spot. The thing is she wasn’t even sounding distressed, just calling for help as though she needed help getting down from a highchair.

Now, we are of course getting rid of that bike but are waiting for the soon-to-be yard sale. You can bet if anyone wants to buy it I”ll tell them to watch out for that. It should not go to a house with small children!

Please look around your house at everything you might have that is dangerous. Can you imagine that if Leelee had let her body slip off the bike and lost her footing (there was still a foot of room to lower herself before the floor). She could have broken her neck!

What made me think about it today was that all day on the radio I was hearing about the recall of drop side cribs. We still have two, maybe it’s okay to get rid of them and use the pack n plays. After all it’s just a visit at Grandma’s. Let’s hope a safe one.”

One of my son’s pediatrician’s once described Lex as a “moving target”. This analogy could not be more fitting, except for the shooting part. The aim that was hitting a bulls-eye last month or last year might not even land in the outer ring today. Childproofing is no different. Just because we ambitiously childproofed they home with Lex started crawling does not mean that it is any where near adequate for a four-year-old that knows how to start up computers, open up hot water faucets, and turn on the dishwasher.

Having said this, no amount of childproofing will substitute for regular adult supervision, instruction, interaction, and correction. Teach safety. Reward safe choices. Observe problem solving and attention-seeking behaviors. Regularly check on your little ones; as they grow they need more alone time, but they need to be checked on as well.

 

Mi Paternidad Verdadera

Por Rodrigo Galván

La paternidad verdadera, cuando me pongo a pensar en el titulo de esta página lo primero que tengo que pensar es si yo sé que es la paternidad verdadera, y al día de hoy todavía la estoy descubriendo, asi que si vienes a esta página para resolver la pregunta , soy un buen padre? Creo que no estás preguntándole a la persona correcta, la única persona que te puede responder eso eres tu, No tus hijos, ellos solo podrán responder,  “Fui un buen padre?” Y quizá para cuando te puedan responder sinceramente ya será muy tarde; Ni tu pareja , ella solo podrá responder,  “Soy una buena pareja?” Ten en cuenta que tu pareja también tiene necesidades, de atención, de cariño,  el hecho de que seas padre no te quita que seas su pareja, es muy importante que tomes en cuenta eso ; la verdad es que son preguntas muy ambiguas, que hace a un padre un verdadero padre? quizá  hay tantas respuestas como hijos , como personas en este planeta, lo que si te puedo comentar es que NO hace a un buen padre, y trataré de enlistar las cosas más comunes ya que para todos puede haber excepciones asi que empezare con darte mis 3 recomendaciones de cómo NO ser un padre verdadero según mi corta experiencia.

  • Un padre NO verdadero NO está ahí para sus hijos,
    “tu trabajas para vivir, no vives para trabajar”

Decidí empezar con el más polémico de los puntos ya que este punto también lleva a una questionante, que es “estar ahí”, para mi es simplemente estar al pendiente de sus necesidades, entonces cuales son sus necesidades? ,  esas solo las podrás responder mientras conoces a tu hij@,  una de sus necesidades probablemente será verte, asegúrate de que te vea, al día de hoy hay mil formas de hacer video llamadas en caso de estar fuera, háblale aunque no te entienda, pon fotos tuyas en todas partes, salgan mucho, diviértanse como familia, asegúrate de que te vea por lo menos una vez al dia, disfruta de su compañía y tu hij@ disfrutará de la tuya. Muchas veces no se puede, toma encuentra que es mas importante, esa junta en el trabajo?  O el partido de beisbol o la presentación de ballet de tu hij@; si no sabes la respuesta, preguntale a tu hij@?

  • Un padre NO verdadero NO crea un vinculo con su hij@
    “Que tu hij@ te considere su segunda Mama”

Darles de comer, cambiar un pañal, arropar a tus hijos, bañarlos, dormirlos a las 2 a.m. esas son cosas que no te puedes perder, quizá te de miedo al principio, o cansancio pero es normal nadie nació sabiendo como cambiar un pañal, ofrécele a tu pareja que tu te encargas de alguna tarea en especial, tu pareja trabaja tan duro como tu, deja que descanse los fines de semana y aprovecha para crear ese vinculo, quizá por el tiempo será difícil coordinarse, pero por ejemplo el baño es algo que puedes hacer por tu hijo todos los días o el despertarse a las 2 o a la 1 am aunque tengas trabajo al día siguiente, tu pareja pero sobre todo tu hij@ to lo agradecerá , ese tipo de cosas crean vínculos aunque no lo creas para tu hij@ que no puede todavía no puede hablar, cuando le cambias un pañal estas ayudándolo a sentirse mejor y eso lo sabe, y aprende que tu estas ahí para hacerlo sentir mejor, eso es la base de el cariño, una ves que hayas cumplido con lo básico, juega con el/ella, juega todo el dia no importa lo cansado, báilale, cántale , se su mejor amigo, cuidado la televisión lo hace por ti, que no sea la tele un mejor padre que tu.

  • Un padre NO verdadero NO vive en armonía con los demás.
    “No compres una casa , crea un Hogar”
    .

Tu eres su ejemplo, o su primer amor, ten cuidado con lo que le enseñas a tu hijo porque ellos aprenden todo de ti aunque no creas que están aprendiendo, ellos te ven cuando maldices, cuando das sobornos, cuando compras piratería cuando gritas y maltratas a la gente que quieres, verbal o físicamente, me da mucha pena hablar de este asunto pero nosotros somos los que moldeamos ese pedazo de arcilla que nos mandan del cielo, y muchas veces no nos damos cuenta que estamos moldeando a un criminal, a un golpeador, o algo que no sea tan obvio, a una persona que no sabe querer o rechaza a los que lo quieren por no saber manejar ese cariño, es el momento de mirar atrás y caminar hacia delante, si esperas que tu hijo sea mejor que tu y tenga una vida mejor a la que tu tuviste es el momento de ser mejor, se mejor tu para tu hijo.

 

Empecé la plática con decirles que yo no se cómo ser un padre verdadero, y quizá lo que yo les comentó no sea la solución a los problemas del mundo, pero si te digo que si tu eres un buen padre, tendrás un buen hijo, y ese hijo sabrá dar cariño a los demás y sabrá la diferencia entre lo que es bueno y lo que no es, ser padre es más que solo tener un hijo, es criar a un hijo, y tienes mas responsabilidad sobre tus hombros de lo que crees, de ti depende que ese hijo o hija tenga los valores tuyos y de tu pareja y que al final sea igual o mejor persona que tu.

Atte.

Un papa haciendo un hogar para que su hija de 10 meses crezca siendo feliz.

 

Milk Kefir for Children: Excellent Probiotics and a Milk Allergy Cure?

In case you have not read some of the other articles I’ve published on this web site, I should begin by saying that my son had terrible colic, was diagnosed with severe GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) at 2 month of age, and was diagnosed with a bad milk allergy by his 8th month. At the writing of this article my son is 3.9 years old.

Six months ago my wife started looking into Milk Kefir as a treatment for some health issues she was experiencing; she also thought that my son and I would benefit from its consumption. Instead of trying to list the various health benefits in this article, I’d like to point out that it has a very high concentration of probiotics and has been alleged to aid digestion, lower cholesterol/blood-pressure, and incite world peace. I let you guess which of those is an exaggeration of the truth. The following links might educate you better: Wikipedia’s Kefir Page and Comprehensive Kefir Information from a believer

Milk Kefir Grains (Mother Grains)

About 4 months ago we started put teaspoons of Kefir Cream Cheese in my son’s juice once or twice a day. Kefir Cream Cheese is made by removing much of the whey from Milk Kefir in order to thicken it, concentrate many of its nutrients, and reduce its lactose content. We used such small amounts to both ease him into the taste (which is a little like a sour yogurt) and ease his digestive system into regular dairy consumption. Steadily we increased the content until about 3 weeks ago we started giving his up to 3 ounces of Kefir Cream Cheese mixed with 4 ounces of juice. Lex appropriately calls it “milk juice”. He often requests it throughout the day and I estimate that he consumes up to 7-9 fluid ounces of concentrated Kefir Cream Cheese per day.

The Proof is in the Pudding

On his current diet of Milk Kefir Lex can now eat any quantity of and variety of cheese without any digestive issues. Three years ago, the smallest trace of any dairy product gave him endless diarrhea. We no longer give him daily does of Culterelle Probiotics. We expect that 20+ friendly bacteria strains in Milk Kefir are more than enough for our son. Honestly, Lex is the most regular that he has ever been.

Perhaps coincidentally we were able to reduce his GERD PPI medicine by half for the first time after after Lex was taking Kefir for two months. This was totally unexpected after so many previous failed attempts. I can’t help bu think there is a connection between this wonder food and the improvement in his reflux.

We recently went on a cruise and for some very foolish reason we did not take any Milk Kefir or Kefir Cream Cheese; we took some Soy Milk instead. Bad idea. Firstly he would barely drink it. Secondly, although we resumed giving him 1 capsule of Culterelle probiotics each day, Lex developed a bad case of diarrhea. We are almost certain it came from all of the cheese and deserts that we let him eat while on the cruise. When we cut off the cheese and dairy-containing desserts Lex returned to normal. I am almost certain that if we had been giving him Kefir Cream Cheese as regularly as we do at home that he would not have had any digestive problems. Needless to say, when we got home we were all happy for him to get back on his super probiotic-fortified milk Kefir.

Conclusion

I was skeptical of Milk Kefir and all of the miraculous claims that my wife told me about, but after what I have witnessed I now cannot deny that it has helped my son greatly. He likes the flavor and I know that he loves the ability to eat regular cheese and even regular ice cream without getting diarrhea or bad gas. Even I feel better when regularly eating it and it has lowered my wife’s cholesterol as well! Has it cured my son’s Milk Allergy? No, but it is treating it, or rather it is controlling it and permitting him to eat, within reason, as all of his other friends do without any concerns. We don’t even tell others that he has a milk allergy anymore and we don’t worry about him being offered or finding dairy products.

Update – Lex Age 5.2

We now give Lex just about 1/3 cup of straight milk kefir mixed with about 3/4 cup of 100% fruit juice. He seems to like it and it mixes more smoothly. He seems even more regular now than before and more importantly he seems to have no trouble with the occasional ice cream or chocolate milk. We still add KAL Crystal Calcium to the “shake” and also supplement every other day with those Calcium Gummy Bears.

 

Enjoying Tokyo with Your Toddler and Seeing a Side You Wouldn’t Otherwise (2 of 2)

PLEASE NOTE: If you haven’t yet read the first part of the Article (part 1 of 2) then I highly recommend that you start there first.

The following is a continuation of the lit of places that I have enjoyed in Tokyo with my 3-year-old son and I highly recommend that you and your toddler, pre-schooler, or older child explore them together.

Kameido Sun Street


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Fun on Kiddie Train at Kameido Sun StreetSun Street Kameido (link) is a swirling cluster of mall stores generally geared towards children and parents. On the weekends they have a train for the kids. Towards the back there is a big slide and in the middle there are often free concerts and games for the kids. They have a great pet store, Sizzler, a grocery store, homegoods oriented Daiso (100 Yen store chain), a nice 300 Yen store, a store with affordable kids and mother’s clothing, lots of coin operated rides, etc. My son generally loved going there. There is a Toys R Us, probably the largest one in the area. If you want to get a feel for

Shinjuku Times Square


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South Shinjuku Times Square Tokyo JapanThe satellite view of this area is a bit scary, but my son loved exploring all of the different views from the ground as well as the views from the top of the Takashimaya department store (east side looking out over Tokyo) and from the Hotel Restaurant floor (18?) just west of Francfranc. Krispy Kreme is just north of Francfranc and he loved that place (especially the free donuts given while in line). The Christmas lights here are amazing. It is fun to watch the trains below. There is a big bookstore with lots of kids books just south of Tokyu Hands. The Takashimaya department store has lots of fun toys out to play with and there is a small park and fountain on 12th or 13th floor.

Shinjuku Station Department Stores


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Department Store Rooftop Amusement ParkMany of the department stores in Tokyo are wonderful for two reasons: they have handicap bathrooms with wonder changing tables and they have great toys that your children can play with. Our favorite department stores where Tokyu (Shibuya), Odakyu (Shinjuku), Keiyo (Shinjuku), Takashimaya (Shinjuku), and any other department store with Bornelund store. If you are looking to purchase any Japanese toys and you want the best deal I would head to Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara for the very best prices and Toys-R-Us for almost as good a deal. In most cases, your child will enjoy Toys-R-Us and their surrounding locations much more.

NHK Studio Park / Yoyogi Park / Meiji Jingu Shrine


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A northern walk from Shibuya, or a quick jump on a “Hachiko” bus from the station will bring you to Tokyo Meiji Jingu Shrine with Toddlerthe NHK Studio park. This national television station has created a theme park which shares a little of their world with the public. I have been twice and I can say that my toddler enjoyed it as much as I did. Just to the north of the NHK studios begins a long, wide sidewalk that leads you to Yoyogi Park. This park is pretty good. Very big, lots of paved trails, lots of trees, lot of grassy areas, lots of benches, lots of ponds. My son really enjoyed this one, and it is just the prelude to the must-see Meiji Jingu Shrine. Bring an ERGO baby carrier, or an off-road stroller for that hike.

Ginza, Clocks and Sony Building


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The Sony Building may be quite interesting to some children. My toddler loved the annual aquarium event (Early August).Sony Building Aquarium He also enjoyed exploring the first few floors and watching a movie up on the top floor. The Yurakucho station is interesting and you can find a Krispy Kreme in one of the small underground malls. There are some great clocks in Ginza and some are animated in the afternoon (I forget which hour, its either 4, 5, or 6 PM).

Roppongi Hills Park


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The park behind the Roppongi Hills buildings is interesting. It has a slide that is sort of like a pyramid and swings that are safe for very young toddlers. There is a pond here and a basketball court. The inside of the main building (the mall) is interesting as well. If you go to the basement you might be able to find those $100 mangoes, grapes, and $300 square watermelons. In the passageway/breezeway there are lots of free cultural events; look for announcements and plan a return at night.

Tokyo Tower


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Tokyo Tower vs ToddlerMy son loved the “bounce house” up on the 3rd or 4th floor called “Nipponland” (as I recall). Entrance fee covers the first 30 minutes and then you pay a little for each additional 10 minutes. They have a pool of plastic balls, lots of bouncing, annoying blaring music, and those huge soft blocks. The roof of the building under the tower has a kiddie amusement park (a bit better than those found on top of some department stores).

Hibiya Park


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This park is near the Imperial Gardens and very much in the middle of Tokyo. It has a nice hill to climb, and Liberty Bell replica that was given to Japan, and some of the best swings in Tokyo. The park really helps balance out the more crowded parts of Tokyo with its spaciousness. The concrete animals are an interesting feature.
Closest Stations: Kasumigaseki and Hibiya

Tokyo Metropolitan Children’s Hall (Tokyo-To Jido Kaikan)


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Toddler Play Area at The Tokyo Metropolitan Children's HallIn the area between Shibuya and Omotesando stations there are two large buildings dedicated to children and the exploration of their world. One is called “The Children’s Hall” and the other is called “The Children’s Castle“. The Children’s Hall is free and, having visited both I, it may be just as good or even better depending on your child’s interests. The Children’s Castle seems to receive more Japanese children, but my son and I always felt very welcome exploring all of the different rooms and stations. We enjoyed the play room of course (indoor playground, toy trains, etc.), loved the music room, learned in the art room, romped around on the roof, built cool wood projects in the basement, ate delicious onigiri in the cafeteria, and loved discovering all of the rest of the games. It can get crowded in the afternoons, but in the mornings you will have the place to yourself and be welcomed by the warm smiles on the women and security guard at the front door.
Closest Station: Shibuya, exit 13a. If you are exploring Shibuya on the surface the easiest way to find The Children’s Hall is to located Tower Records (big yellow and red building) and then head east on the road on it north side. Go under the JR tracks and after you pass Meiji-Dori, pass the “cocoti” store, and head up the hill just a little a ways, you will see The Children Hall on your left.

Helpful Online Resources

 

Enjoying Tokyo with Your Toddler and Seeing a Side You Wouldn’t Otherwise (1 of 2)

In every place that I have lived or visited since Lex came into my life I have found great appreciation for the information I have received which helped me find new places and new ways to enjoy the location. Discovering these places with Lex has helped me see the location from a different perspective, often making an old place seem new again, like turning old stomping grounds into unexplored frontiers. Lex did this for me with Portland, Oregon and with Tokyo, Japan. In this article, I would like to help others enjoy and explore Tokyo with their toddler (or young child) and I invite all comments and suggestions that you may have on the topic.

Covering the Basics

You can’t really enjoy anything until you met your child’s basic needs. So let me break it down for you quickly:

Diapers: The cheapest place to get diapers is almost always at Toy’s R Us. There are located Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City, Kameido’s Sun Street, Shimura San-Chome, or at least those are the ones I have been to. The ones at Sunshine City and Kameido are the best locations because there is plenty for your little one to do in the area. Toy’s R Us usually posts the price per diaper, but calculate it, all of the pull-up brands they sell are great and perhaps the Genki brand are the best if you must have the best. Know your child’s weight in Kilograms. “Big” is the size Lex wears as a toddler. FYI, any larger supermarket with a sale on diapers will probably have a good price too.

Wipes: I don’t like Japanese brand wipes. Bring your favorite wipes if you can, if not get to a Costco. Otherwise, make do with the Japanese ones.

Changing Diapers: Diaper changing stations accessible to fathers are limited to very family-oriented places such as Toys-R-Us and Kameido SunStreet (see below for more info) and handicap bathrooms of upscale department stores. A good spy always knows his exits and a great parent always knows where to find a location to change stinky nappies. By the way, pack freezer Zip-Loc bags with you, because no one wants to smell your child’s masterpiece.

Food and Drink: Toys-R-Us sells lots of feeding products, juice boxes, and formula (I think). American fast food can be found nearly everywhere, including in most convenience stores.

Miscellaneous:If your little darling is attached to a certain sippy cup, bring 3 or 4 backups. Otherwise feel confident that you will be able to find any other thing you need. Toys can be found at their lowest prices in Yodobashi Camera (Akihabara, a.k.a. Akiba) or for a little more at Toy’s R Us. Bring a compass, or get one at a 100 Yen shop. North with me the Kanji highlighted in a different color. The compass will help you know which way to go when you will undoubtedly get confused (especially when taking subway trains). Get an ERGO baby carrier and keep it with you at all times for safety, comfort, and sanity.

Imperial Resident Park


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My son loved this park and I enjoyed it a lot as well. Park Near Imperial Garden, Rock FountainIt has a lot of swings, a nice wooden play structure (off to the North side, watch out for the roller slide, a pinching hazard), a very nice and large granite rock wading fountain, a fenced/covered sandbox, and more. The park has a large sports practice field and even a basketball court too (as I recall). The park is quite spacious and generally a treat to visit.
Closest train station: Shinanomachi

Hiroo Park


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Just north of the Hiroo station, across from the National Azabu supermarket (lots of foreigners shop there for homeland favorites), there is a great park with a big pond, ducks, ancient style bridges, waterfalls, docks, great fall foliage, and lots of paths. There are no playground structures here, but the kid won’t miss them.

Hiroo Playground


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Hiroo Playground Tokyo JapanThis is a nice playground just south of Roppongi and north of Hiroo. It sits west of the Kogai Elementary School on Gaien-nishi Dori. It has a large sandbox area and a very large wooden play structure with a zip line that can be fun for older kids.

Mita’s Pirate Boat Playground


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It seems that all parks in Tokyo are unique, but this might be one of the most unique from a child’s point of view. It has a wooden pirate boat buried in the sand and ready to be played with by imaginative buccaneers.Pirate Boat Playground Tokyo Japan This park is literally hidden, but somehow it has been found by many locals. It is just South-East of the Mita subway station and it right along the unmissable JR lines that pass every minute or less. There is a fountain that runs during the day which is also quite unique and would be nice to run through on a hot day. Just under the JR rails to the south east of the park is a larger more spacious park with some different playground structures. Lex and I often hit one and then the other with every outing in this direction. If you have a bike or take Taxi then you can easily head north from here and hit the Hinode pier and take a nice boat ride too, making for a wonderful day out.

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Hinode Pier/Odaiba Seaside Park


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Hinode pier is not much to look at, but the water bus/cruise ride is amazing.Odaiba Beach I recommend a round trip ticket to Odaiba Seaside Park where you leave in the morning or afternoon and return later at night under the lights and stars. Odaiba Seaside ParkSure you could get there on the Yurikamome line, if you do get the front seat if at all possible and your child will love it, but taking a water bus/cruise is so much nicer and not really much more expensive. My toddler loved playing at the Odaiba beach with the locals and getting lots of attention from the teens and twenty-somethings. The Ferris Wheel is a must see (very safe for children) and there is a fun, large children’s store in Venus Fort (with Totoro’s cat bus, fur and all). Of course, closer to the beach they have lots of arcades and other fun happenings.

Ikebukuro Sunshine City


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This is a huge indoor mall with some interesting destinations that toddlers and children in general can find quite interesting. My 3-year-old Lex loved exploring all of the different Cars in the Toyota Auto Salon Amlux. Even at his age, he enjoyed much of the very affordable indoor theme park called “Namco Namja Town” (link to some info). There is a planetarium and an aquarium but we never made to either. Read more about it here. There is a Toys R Us (way in the back) here and some good deals can be found on clothing too in some of the other stores, especially if they are selling clothes in the kiosk areas. Tokyo Disney tickets can be bought here too, but not sure what the benefit is to buying them there.

(continue on to second part of this article, click here)

 

Creative Designer Pacifer Straps, Binki Clips, & Other Essential Baby Accessories

A relative of mine has recently introduced me to their new online shop of baby accessories. At first I was not sure what to think, I was concerned that she was pouring a lot of time into a new business that wouldn’t really go anywhere. Well, I was quite wrong. Apparently her Designer Pacifier Straps and Binky Clips are selling themselves and at her current prices they are steals. Her shipping is dirt cheap too, so I can see why her store is already off to a great start.

Creative Pacifier Strap, Look It’s a Tie!

Designer Pacifier Strap

Designer Pacifier Strap

My favorites are the ties. Of course, I only have Lex and so I am partial to the more “manly” baby accessories. I only wonder why no one has thought of this before. It looks great and it has class, something that I think a lot of little guy and girl accessories are missing.

Something for the Little Ladies Designer Binki Clips

Designer Binki Clips

Designer Binki Clips

For the more feminine angels there are quite a few options available. Here is one that caught my eye. These really bring some elegance to to your pretty little angels.

 

Headstrong Toddlers: Parenting, Teaching, and Learning

Our darling little Lex has progressively become rather difficult in the last couple months. He is still two, but will turn three soon. I’ve found myself suddenly caught ill-prepared to deal with this stage of development. It is humbling. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, but lately it seems that for the past six months I missed some good opportunities to start providing better behavioral guidance. For example, giving him juice when he demanded it, just because I was pleased he could finally use “his own words” and express his desire. Now I am suddenly discovering that I need more developmental help than he does.

I have to try and resist with all of my will the urge to slap his hand and yell at him “No HITTING!!!”. Yes, it is ludicrous. I am the adult here and I know that example is the best teacher, and especially that bad example will override almost any other form of teaching. I need to step up my game fast before my own parental deficiencies harm my child’s development and even my marital stability.

Anyway, I have started searching the web for some help. I am also turning to my siblings for help. Some are in the same stages and some of them are ahead of me by years. I need all of the help I can get. Here are some of the published articles that I have found quite useful so far (this list should grow over time and I am open to suggestions):

 

A Review of the Best Carrier in the World: The ERGObaby Carrier

My Only Regret Is That We Didn’t Buy It Sooner

I have been meaning to write this product review since I first started this web site. There are a very limited group of products of which I can say that my only regret is the I didn’t purchase the product sooner. In fact, I think I have said this about our Amby Baby Hammock Motion Bed, my Casio wristwatch with a built-in compass, my Sony PSP, our Baby Björn Travel Crib, and our Ergo Baby Carrier. I truly do regret that we did not purchase it before our son, my wife, and I had to suffer through all of those other carriers. I hope this ERGO Baby Carrier review helps spare you the same regret!

Suffering Through Other Carriers

Lex has always feared the vacuum, but never when he is in the Ergo Baby Carrier

Lex has always feared the vacuum, but never when he is in the Ergo Baby Carrier

Let me be frank with you, I strongly supported and drove the purchase of our Baby Björn Active/Sport. It was supposed to provide extra comfort and somehow bring about world peace. Instead of living up to any of our expectations it caused backaches, neck aches, overheated baby, pinched baby legs, sore skin around the legs and crotch (baby not me), and very long adjustment times for each time my wife and I wanted to switch wearing it. The only expectation that was met was that of the Baby Bjorn’s high resale value. Fortunately, we were able to unload it for $20 less than what we paid for it new. I expect that our Ergo Baby Carrier has a very high resale value because the very few used ones we have found for sale have an asking price at just about 90% or higher of retail. This makes it an excellent and nearly risk-free investment.

We tried some less expensive slings too, sold by Target, when our son was an infant and those were just terrible for everyone involved. I should add that my petite wife, more than I (5’11’, 165 pounds, me, not my wife), found the Baby Björn carrier to be extremely painful and not user friendly.

Web Research Revealed Rave Reviews of an Unknown Product/Company

Staying Dry and Comfortable with the Ergo Baby Carrier ReviewIt was my wife who began to research the web (early fall 2007) and seek out a better alternative. What she found were great reviews spread around here and there of a product and company that we had never heard of. The product wasn’t the cheapest (it seems to me that it was $92 USD at the time) nor did it seem to be marketed very much either, but it seems that it didn’t need to be because it sold itself. The web site of the product’s manufacturer did not have the latest and greatest bells and whistles (then, it is pretty cool now), but it did tell us which local stores we could visit in order to purchase their product. After a short confirming phone call, we jumped in the car and headed straight down there.

It was a small locally owned baby boutique that we had never before visited, but they stocked lots of different colors of this newly discovered baby carrier (the complete opposite of Babies R Us, Walmart, Target, etc.). We were also able to pull it out of the firm vinyl bag and test it out with Lex. They gave us a few pointers, but my wife more or less took over because she had watched some online videos already. The Ergo Baby Carrier came with an instructional DVD (which I watched later) which seemed only necessary for the side/hip mounted position (which we have NEVER used).

It Sold Itself, Love at First Use

We both immediately liked the Ergo Baby Carrier and my wife had already decided that she wanted the “camel/camel” color because from experience with other all cotton products she expected it would look the best over time, or rather that it would hide any color fading better than the darker colors available at the store (from use and washing). Now, looking back, I can tell that she was right; it still looks great 2 years later. I should point out here that the version we purchased is not the current generation of the Ergo Baby Carrier. I will point out the important distinctions below.

Ergo Baby Review: Feeling Comfortable and Secure in the CarrierAt this time, Lex was about 10 months old (about 24 pounds) and he fit perfectly in the carrier. The hood/headrest fit him perfectly too. When mounted in the front my wife would often sit down on the train without any problems or discomfort to her or Lex. Lex was comfortable enough that he began falling asleep in the carrier too (he couldn’t in the Baby Bjorn any longer).

Which Is Best, Putting My Baby/Toddler in Front or in Back?

Back then and even up until now (almost 3 years old and 31 pounds) it has always seemed equally comfortable to mount Lex in the front or on the back of the ERGOBaby Carrier. Of course, getting him in the “backpack” position took more delicacy when he was younger and usually required another helper. Now, at age 2.8, I just grab both of his wrists with him standing in front of me facing away from me and I swing him around and up on my back. Its a collaboration between him and I that usually entertains curious on-lookers and the occasional good Samaritan who offers to help. Depending on his mood he may prefer to ride in the front, but usually the back is his choice and for walking, shopping, and even biking the back is the only way to go!

Comfort and Security, Enough to Fall Asleep

Lex stopped sleeping in public long ago, in fact, until recently his last nap outside of this crib (or portable crib) occurred in the ERGOBaby Carrier at Disneyland on Christmas 2007 with my wife (mounted in front). This spring during a walk in the desert, in the midst of a rather active adult conversation, Lex got tired and begged to be put in the carrier. I mounted him in front and he fell asleep immediately outside of his designated bed for the first time in 1.5 years. Since then, he has fallen asleep in the Ergo Baby Carrier almost every time he skips his nap and we go out for a bike ride.

Using the Ergo Baby Carrier in Lieu of a Bicycle Child’s Seat

This is the Bicycle Use that I discuss in my Ergo Baby Carrier ReviewYes, I ride my bike with Lex in the ERGOBaby Carrier, or just “carrier” as he calls it, in the backpack position (this is an entirely independent review and as far as I know ERGOBaby does not recommend this use, just to be clear). Lex wears a helmet and shoes and I put all kinds of flashing lights on the bike. Also I use the plastic D-shaped loops for the hood straps to hang a reflective sash/belt across the main back of the carrier.

After lots of testing, especially at slower speeds and uneven terrain I found that the Ergo Baby Carrier provided a superior solution for mounting a child on a bicycle. Rear and front-mounted child seats made the bicycle unstable at low speeds and provided my son with extra leverage to throw off the balance when he inevitable shifted his weight. Additionally, all of my research identified the most common cause of bicycle child seat accidents occurred when the bike was parked. Putting my toddler in the rear-mounted ErgoBaby Carrier solved both of these issues considerably. It also makes it easier for me to continue on my way without the bicycle if Lex falls asleep as he is already strapped to me.

Flaws, Downsides, or Negatives of the Ergo Baby Carrier

    I am going to list in bullet form the downsides of the carrier and list how I think these have been addressed:

  • The buckle on the shoulder straps falls down all of the time. Our Ergo Baby Carrier is not the current version/generation. From what I can see, but have not yet tested, this flaw has been fixed in the current version being sold by most retailers. I highly recommend you ensure that you are buying the current generation before you put your money out for what I call a defect in design. Anyway, the buckles are on loops that can be adjusted up and down the shoulder straps so that they can be placed where they are most comfortable for you and your baby. This flexibility comes with a price, they can easily slide down off of the padded should straps and down to the adjustable strapping making them very hard to reach when you forgot to check them and you already initiated blast-off with your child.
  • The hood is too short.
    See our reflective sash addition and the annoying hood that always gets in the way

    See our reflective sash addition and the annoying hood that always gets in the way

    While the hood was useful as both a head support and light blocker when Lex was a baby, it is now useless and has been for the past 1.5 years. His head now sticks out beyond its reach. It would be great it the length of the hood was adjustable or if it were removable. Right now all it does is make me want to cut if off when it inevitably falls out of the little pouch, drags on the floor, and catches on things. It is sometimes a safety hazard. I could not tell you if these issues with the hood have been addressed.
  • It is a bit spendy/pricey. This is true. It is nearly as expensive as some cheap cribs and car seats. Nevertheless, if you plan to use it even once every two weeks until your child weighs 40 pounds then you will get your money’s worth. Nothing I have tried made me feel more like my son and I were as securely and naturally fastened together. Like I said, I use this on my bicycle even. Also, you could always put it on Craigslist or Ebay and get back most of your money, so this makes it a great bargain in fact.
  • Your child cannot face outwards. This is true and I think it is part of what make the design work. Comfort and security seem to be the requirements that ERGOBaby was working towards with this one. Maybe they should engineer a different outward facing front-mounted one. It might actually sell based on the reputation of the original, but I doubt it will be as comfortable and might actually harm the brand.
  • No product upgrade program. As you can tell by now, I really wish I had the latest model/version/generation of the Ergo Baby Carrier. It was NEVER worth waiting for, but I might spend a little more to upgrade mine if such an upgrade/trade-in program existed. Maybe I should Ebay ours and buy a newer replacement. Hmm…

Product Enhancement Wishlist

    These are not flaws, but just a list of improvements or enhancements that I would like to see made to this already awesome product. Nothing is perfect after all.

  • Carrying case included: It would be great if the carrier could somehow be rolled up into a attached carrying case (perhaps an enhanced hood).

Notice the dangling hood and the reflective sash that is nearly covered by it.

  • Reflective/Safety Version: As you can see in this photograph I have attached a reflective sash to my Ergo Baby Carrier in the D-shaped loops, there are only one of these in the current version so this safety hack wouldn’t work without some sewing. Would it be better if ERGOBaby sold one that had reflective markings on the shoulder straps, back, and waist belt?

Conclusions

The Ergo Baby Carrier is truthfully a product with which my only regret is that I didn’t buy it sooner. Every time I decide against taking it on a trip or I forget it, I regret that too. It crunches up small enough that it is quite portable and it is comfortable enough that often I just walk around alone with it on while my Toddler terrorizes the merchandise, wildlife, loose gravel, water puddles, grave stones, and smiling innocent bystanders. I hope you find this ERGOBaby Carrier review useful. My son weighs about 31 pounds and he still loves to ride in the carrier and even nap in it. I want him to keep growing, but I don’t look forward to the day he can’t ride in the ERGOBaby Carrier any more.