Navigating the Wild World of Motherhood
Wow, yet another blog post about video games. Can you tell I’m the mom of boys or what? In my house, 2012 is the season of wacky dudes with equally wacky names. Trigger Happy, Terrafin, Stump Smash and Ghost Roast are just a few of our new family members. That’s right, MommyQ is living in a Skylanders wonderland.
Welcome to Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. It’s expensive, highly entertaining and all the rage. Cool molten lava dudes cough up fireballs, clumsy trees smash stuff and spit out balls of wood…hmmm…there’s a lot of spitting. What’s funny about this game is in the Adventure mode, which is supposed to be relatively peaceful, you can walk around smashing innocent sheep. My four-year-old find that to be beyond hilarious.
It’s cool because you can drop a new character on the Portal of Power and send it right into the video game. It springs to life with a weird giggle and a grunt. Of course, there are tons of them so it’s an endless money pit. Although it is very unique and lots of fun to play. The game pieces also serve as memory chips so my kids can take their Skylanders to a friends house and play. Kinda cool concept.
Have you met the Skylanders yet? Who’s your favorite character?
If the oddly amusing sounds of laughing and snorting pigs along with the melodious hum of cawing birds echoes in your ears, you’re no doubt an Angry Birds fan like me. Well, not me, but my boys. Who knew a few furrow-browed birdies could be so darn entertaining?
This ridiculously addictive game has broken all sorts of unbelievable internet records. It recently became the first game in gaming history to be downloaded over 500 million times. In fact, the uber-successful maker of this game, Rovio, has gone on record stating that users “on average log about 5 million hours of Angry Birds play time daily. More than 266 billion levels of Angry Birds have been played and close to 400 billion birds have been catapulted at the dastardly pigs.”
And just in time for Christmas, a whole new (or “nuther,” as they say in Texas) Angry Birds egg-stravaganza awaits. You can now get a new “Wreck the Halls” edition for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac. For Christmas, Rovio has released an update with 25 new levels and several other added features. The Angry Birds “Wreck the Halls” update can be downloaded in the App Store. I hear you will meet a new Angry Bird and if you’re good enough, possibly King Pig. Gee, I hope he’s wearing a Santa hat.
If you haven’t heard the buzz about this new doll, I’ll break it down for you. Breast Milk Baby is a doll that allows little girls to simulate the act of breast-feeding. And as you can imagine, this toy is creating waves of controversy as it will soon be available in the US. So what’s the big deal about another doll? I mean, we already have plenty of dollies that eat, pee and poop. Well, it could be the vest with sensors to trigger nursing or the suckling sounds or the fact that little girl can loosely experience latching. Pick one. Here’s a recent article from ABC News.
Today, I spoke with FOX 7 about it and shared my thoughts as not only a mother, but a mother who happens to know a lot about baby products. I even posted something on Facebook about my impending interview, which created its own little swirl of debate. This is a controversial doll for many reasons. Instead of exploring the obvious, I thought it was far more interesting to hear reactions about the doll from dads. After all, dads shower their daughters with gifts. Will they buy Breast Milk Baby for their daughters? One dad added his two cents to my lively Facebook discussion by posting the following:
“Don’t want to drag another ‘party’ to the discussion unknowingly… But having had this very discussion today…. It’s not about sexuality or nourishment as much as it seems to be about the publicity of it. Should be private and between a mom and child, not public and out for display for everyone to share. I think public display kind of sensationalizes it. Back to the doll – is that the right WAY to send the message or teach our children? My girls will never own one of these, but you can bet they will know everything they want and need to about breastfeeding and discretion.”
Bravo, daddy! I think he illustrates great points and let’s face it, dads are an integral part of parenting, so why dismiss their feelings? Many dads seem to be annoyed by the doll, because they feel young girls don’t need to experience something reserved for grown women. It’s simply too much, too soon. Other dads think there is a shady sexual undertone that just makes them feel slightly ill. Loving daddies might not want to imagine their sweet little girls as mothers quite yet, especially with all of the valid fears of teenage pregnancies.
Weigh in, dads! What do you think about this doll? Will you buy it for your daughter?
Summer is best known for relaxing poolside, sipping a frosty beverage and enjoying lazy days. Wait, it is? Then why is my summer a completely chaotic, unorganized journey of madness. Okay, it’s not that bad. Not yet. As the mom of two youngsters, pool safety is a major concern. And getting my little guy (who has the mentality of a stubborn teenager) to willingly wear floaties or a life jacket is a battle.
I kept seeing these little cuties at the pool with nifty flotation devices. After some online research, I found out they are called Puddle Jumpers by Stearns. It’s like a life jacket combined with floaties with an adjustable strap and buckle in the back. It’s not a bulky or uncomfortable. Shockingly enough, I ordered one for my youngest son at the beginning of the summer. Yeah, I’d normally do it three days before summer officially ended. Anyway, I bought it at Leisure Pro and we took it for a test drive today. LOVE IT.
Here’s more about it:
- The Patent Pending design allows free range of motion and great stability while in the water.
- Choose from the green frog, the orange smile, the blue lion and the red ladybug.
- The Puddle Jumpers life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard- approved, and is also a great confidence builder for kids who are just learning their way around they water.
They sell them at Target and Toys R Us, but I found the best selection and prices online.
What’s your favorite summer toy for 2011?
Wondering what to get the little guys in your life this Christmas? Well, here’s my list of super-duper gifts for boys from toddler up to kindergartner. (I’m not being paid to tout these items, nor were any of these items freebies.) I’m compiling this list based on three criteria. First, these are toys my boys play with all of the time. Second, they are built to last and worth every penny. Third, I like these toys too. And that matters because they’re usually scattered all over the house, so I get to see them a lot. I like to think of toys as home decor, don’t you? Anyway, let’s get to it!
Oh, how I love the Leapster2. It was certainly created with little kids in mind. The colorful educational gaming device is chunky enough for small hands and it can withstand some serious bumps and bruises. Both of my boys have taught themselves how to play all of the games. The instructions are very easy to follow, even for toddlers. Both boys operate the controls with ease and the wand, which is needed for certain games, is attached securely – yay! The graphics are fantastic and if you take the time to download everything, you can see a summary of how long they’ve played (hours) and how well they are scoring in different academic areas. I love Leapster!
If these toys had been around when I was little, I would’ve begged borrowed and begged some more for them. I think these animated hamsters are hilarious! (And they don’t stink or poop.) I got my boys the Kung Zhu Pets because those are the rugged (boy) version of the girlie Zhu Zhu Pets. These guys are ninja warriors. In fact, you can buy them armor! See pic at top of posts for fierceness. See, I told you they were cool. They make the funniest little noises and bounce around at will. We often race the Zhu Zhu Pets on the Shake ‘N Go track I mention below. Now that’s entertaining! Besides, this is the closest my boys will ever get to owning hamsters.
Razor Rip Rider Castor Trike
This is the modern day version of the bulky Big Wheels we all had as kids. This Razor trike is the coolest toy we’ve ever purchased. It is lightning fast. I mean, this baby moves. It’s easy to control thanks to the Razor wheels and castors on the back. My son picks up serious speed on it, but he can easily maintain control. It’s so smooth and maneuverable, he can ride it around inside the house too. Much to his dismay, a helmet is required either way.
Another super toy/gift for toddlers! Both of my boys have their own Twlight Turtle (my older son has Twlight Sea Turtle) and we turn them on every single night. Twilight Turtle is one of the few toys that travels with us anytime an overnight stay is required. We’ve never used nightlights and I think it’s because of this innovative toy. The turtle illuminates the ceiling with tiny stars and a moon. You can choose blue, green or yellow stars, so it never gets boring. Plus, there is a self-timer so it automatically shuts off after 20 minutes. Love, love, love it.
I’m sure you’re like, “Come on, MommyQ, please stop talking about your love affair with Wheely Bugs.” No can do, folks. This is still one of my all-time favorite gifts for kids. I’ll go out on a limb and say a 2-year-old or 3-year-old might never stop playing with this ride-on toy. Everything about it perfection. The look, the design, the mobility. If you click here, you can read all of my posts about this speedy little critter.
Omg! What a super-terrific toy for little boys who love cars. This is definitely the most sturdy, functional and fun race track I’ve seen. Period. It comes with two shaker cars, but any shaker car fits. The cars require some solid shakes (we think 7 is the magic number), but they race around the track a lot faster than you might imagine. My boys also race their ‘Cars’ cars, HotWheels, NASCAR cars and even Zhu Zhu Pets around the track. We’ve decorated with our own stickers to make it perfect. This gift is great for toddlers and my kindergartner loves it too.
This guys is patiently waiting in the closet for X-Mas morning. You may have seen this tumbling monster on The Ellen Show, because he’s gotten a lot of attention this year. Much like a Kardashian, he’s always headed for trouble, so it’s fun to watch. He roars and pounds his fists, and then he takes off rolling around and walking. He walks forward and backwards and the six buttons are happy, angry, sleep, fun, ball, and exercise. He even throws a ball. A+ for amusing.
This is another toy we’ve had for over a year and the boys still love it. The Bat Cave has all sorts of trap doors and secret entries, but non of it operated with batteries. It’s all run on imagination and that’s why I love Imaginext. You can buy extra figurines and accessories to make it even bigger. (I highly recommend the helicopter.) There are a few small pieces, so if you’re giving it to a toddler keep that in mind. The Bat Cave folds into itself and closes, so your kids can pack it up and take it to different rooms with no major toy spillage. It’s very cool!
Jumbo cardboard blocks are a must-have for any child’s playroom. My boys absolutely love these blocks. We stack them, build tunnels, play games and more. The blocks are very easy to put together initially because they fold into themselves, so you don’t have to use tape. They can also withstand some serious abuse. I’ve seen a tower knocked across the room and the blocks survived without a scratch. Storing them can be a slight issue, because they take up a lot of room.
Well, I guess it just isn’t a post about toys for boys with something potentially dangerous, right? I have to admit, this Nurf gun is lots of fun. We have to make sure nobody gets hit in the face, of course, but it is a riot. My 3-year-old has a little bit of trouble getting it loaded, because it requires a pretty strong pump. My kindergartner has no trouble with it and is getting to be a good shot. Not as steady as a Sarah Palin hunting caribou, but he’s decent.
I’m always interested in knowing what items other moms deem as super-duper gifts. Whether it’s stuff for the baby, the toddler or the preschooler, let me know what kind of goodies are sitting under your Christmas tree this year. I’m also curious to know what you are buying for the hubby. If he’s not on the naughty list, of course. Mine is always on that list, but he get lots of presents anyway. Lucky guy.
Here are a few things that made it under our tree this year. Obviously my kiddos don’t read my blog, otherwise I’d be ruining some good surprises.
1. – Reading Tent AKA Home Sweet Play Home from The Land of Nod – Our friends have this for their kiddos and my little guys loved it. Since my oldest is an avid reader, I think he’ll really enjoy some quiet time away from all of us! I also got him the matching cushion.
2. - Twilight Turtle – Our little guy is getting his very own turtle. I opted for the regular as opposed to the Sea Turtle because there aren’t as many lights. There’s just something special about falling asleep under the stars, even if they are battery-operated. We’ve had Twilight Sea Turtle for over a year and he’s still a family fave.
3. – “Jerry” the Peterbilt from Cars – I have no idea where you can find this toy. I bought it on eBay because I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’m sure it’s back in stock at Target now!
4. – NASCAR Slot Car Racers – This is going to be the biggest hit by far. Dale Jr. & Jeff Gordon can race each other all day long. I sure hope it can take some abuse. And lots of screaming.
5. – A Drum Set – Oh, yes! Are we gluttons for punishment or what? It’s a pretend set, so it’s not all that elaborate. We love encouraging our kids to be musical because none of us are. I sure hope they can sing too. (I gotta admit, I’m still undecided about this one…)
Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what made your list!
I’m a Wheely Bug junkie! If any of my friends ask me for a great gift idea for little kids, this is at the top of my list. I seriously think it’s one of the BEST gifts you can give a child age 2-5. If you’re still trying to find that hip, fun, lasting Christmas gift, you’ve found it! Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug – Bug – Large
Last year, I even wrote an ode to Wheely Bug on MommyQ. Yes, I’m that obsessed. And so are my kids. Our Wheely Bug is a constant source of fun and learning. I say learning because it really helps toddlers develop motor skills and balance.
The Bee and the Lady Bug are cute, but you just can’t beat the Cow. There’s something about those little wooden horns that makes you grin. Make sure you buy the large Wheely Bug. Your children will outgrow the small one way too quickly. Even if your kiddos are little, buy the big bug because they will grow into it in a flash.
Sorry it’s been a little while between posts. MommyQ and DaddyQ took a much-needed vacation before the Back-To-School season officially begins. Good friends, great food, lots of laughs and meaningful moments. In other words, perfection.
As some of my readers may know, I also write for Babble’s unique blog about baby products, Droolicious. Yes, the team at Drool is always seeking out the most fabulous baby items in town. If you haven’t been, take a few minutes to visit. You will love it! Here are a few things to whet your shopping whistle…
If this Denim Military Jacket doesn’t make you want to grab a glittery, white glove… Oh, yes! Toddlers and preschoolers (and their folks) are grabbing up this iconic jacket like crazy! Check it out here!
Sweet & sour wooden condiments for your little chef! Yes, thanks to Melissa & Doug pretend kitchen food just gets cuter and safer. Check it out here!
I’m so impressed with this cool idea, the Simple Stencil. It allows you to create one-of-a-kind stencils for any room and the utensils make it easy peasy. Find out how you can stencil like a pro!
It’s amazing how cute babies look with a set of animal ears! I know, I know. Hard to resist this soft, cuddly, sweet goody! If you want to grab this coat, I suggest buying it sooner rather than later. It will certainly sell out by the end of Fall. Happy shopping!