Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Imaginary Play

Dragonfly's Hollow makes incredible custom Waldorf dolls. This fairy mermaid is one of Isla's favorites.

Another key play item is playsilks. They are great for all ages, and "grow with your child." You can find them almost anywhere, but I like the ones from The Farm House Boutique for their hand-dyed uniqueness.

Toddler Backpacks

When Isla started trying to carry around more than she could hold comfortably in her arms, I decided it was time for a backpack. The best ones I've seen are hand made and available here.

Magical Kids' Room Decor

Harvest Moon By Hand makes these beautiful window stars for your little one's room.

My daughter has the rainbow sun catcher up in hers, and it definitelyadds a touch of magic to her space. They start at $10 and are available here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

International Bebé

What was I thinking taking my toddler to Europe?? My first advice is don't do it. If possible, postpone until your child is older and take a more child-friendly vacation. If that's not possible, then I do have a few tips for you to hopefully make your excursion easier for you and Baby.

First, do bring a stroller. Yes, if you are taking the subway and traveling on cobbled streets and climbing crazy staircases a stroller will suck, but not as much as not having one at all. I only brought my ergo pack, and wore her the entire time. We won't go into the back problems I am still dealing with.

Second, consider your baby. Both France and England have great parks, and really any patch of grass where Baby can safely run around for a while will be much appreciated. London has the best parks we've ever seen, with special buzz-in gates surrounding the child area to keep kidnappers and pervs away. Besides the parks, the only other places we saw other babies were the toy stores. We played for hours in each one. **Make sure you make a time agreement with your little one rather than just scooping him or her up when you are ready to go. Tantrums are guaranteed if I don't let Isla know when she only has one more minute left to play. I remind her again at thirty seconds, and then count down from ten.

Third, bring your partner. My husband was still recovering from back surgery when we took our trip. The single parent thing is even harder than it looks.

Lastly, don't forget to ask! Or at least make sure the person in charge sees you have a babe with you. France is so baby-friendly. People smiled at me just because I was carrying a baby... kind of like they do here in the states when they see a pregnant lady. We did not have to wait in line anywhere because as soon as Isla and I were spotted we were whisked away to the front. Do ask if you are able to get a bassinet for the flight. Whether or not you choose to use it, you will be seated in a row with substantially more leg room.

I have a feeling this was my last trip to Europe for a long time. I am, however, heading off to Cabo after the first of the year, so I'll be sure to post about that. This time I will have backup, and between my husband, siblings, and mom I'm anticipating a more relaxing trip.

***Cabo was excellent. Probably the most fun we've had as a family, ever. Go someplace warm with an ocean and pool, and save the Europe trip for when Baby is older!

Why Anatomically Correct Dolls?

In my search for the best anatomically correct dolls, I found a surprising amount of opposition.  Even some of our family members didn't understand why we wanted Isla to have a couple of anatomically correct dolls.  What started out as a simple quest for a good Christmas toy turned into an interesting debate with friends and family.

Why would we want Isla's dolls to have genitals.  Simple:  Gasp!  She has genitals.  So do all of her baby friends, and every other human being I know of.  Why would her dolls have faces, arms, hands, feet, and bottoms like her, but in the place of a vagina, only a flat spot?  Rag dolls barely resemble real-life babies, so their missing genitalia isn't an issue for me.  The baby dolls she likes, though, are of the plastic, extremely lifelike variety, and I don't want my daughter thinking there is something wrong with her because she has a vagina rather than smooth plastic in her diaper.

An argument against anatomically correct baby dolls is that it would make kids prematurely interested in genitals, and cause exploration.  I think we can all agree that this happens with or without dolls, and maybe exploration with one another would be less important if children could answer those questions by looking at their dolls.  

Another thought - what about siblings?  When we have another baby, I bet he or she will have genitals.  Would the "progressive and understanding" women who are so against anatomically correct dolls consider a new baby to "...numb [our children] to the sacred nature  of our bodies," or see the new baby as "...adding to the pile of [nudity]?"  Then why on earth would a doll?

I'll have to finish this when I have more time, but please post if you have any ideas that can enlighten me in either direction.