Archive for the 'Parenting' Category

Oct 22 2013

Citrus Lane – October 2013 box

Published by under Parenting,Products/Shopping,The Boy

Our second Citrus Lane box arrived last week. I wanted to give The Boy some time to handle the contents and see how he liked them before I rated the box. For me, the initial impression was “Meh”. However, since he seems to enjoy the two main items, I guess this gets a passing baby grade.

October 2013 box

OK, so The Boy is 20 months old this month. This is the box he got.

Cool It Buddy instant cold packs
Amazon price: $4.99
OK, so it’s a cold pack. Or specifically, it’s a package of two cold packs. Useful and everything, but I’ve had instant cold packs in my medicine cabinet since The Boy started moving around independently. I can’t imagine not having cold packs around with a wonky toddler going full tilt around the house all the time. I tossed these in the medicine cabinet with the rest of them.

Boon Water Bugs Floating Bath Toy with Net
Amazon price: $7.99
Comes with three plastic water bugs that float in the water, and a net to catch them with. The theory is that it helps with hand-eye coordination and motor skills, but The Boy laughs in the face of intended toy use. He floats the net in the water and puts the bugs inside. Or chews on them. He plays with it, though, so it gets a passing grade.

 Green Tones Train Whistle (by Hohner)
Amazon price: $19.84
It’s a nice whistle. It has a good sound. It’s made of sustainable rubberwood, and other non-toxic materials. The Boy enjoys hearing us blow it, but he hasn’t figured out blowing himself, yet. I’m sure when he does, I’ll be sick of this toy in no time flat. It’s nice that it’s also shaped like a train so he could pretend with it as well. Personally, if I saw this toy in a store, there’s no way I would pay $20 for it. It’s also worth noting that two days after we got it, he dropped it on the floor and one of the decorative blocks broke off. The glue holding it to the main body gave way. It was simple to reattach it with wood glue, but it was an eye-roll worthy moment, when the big, sustainable, non-toxic, expensive train whistle broke due to normal toddler handling.

Babybug Magazine (one issue)
Yearly print subscription is $33.95 at, one issue value approximately $2.83
The Boy was underwhelmed by this. He looked at it one time, but every time we’ve picked it up since then, he’s refused it. We also got a coupon for a free digital subscription or reduced priced print subscription to this mag, but I threw it out, so I can’t put down the details. Regardless, we won’t be redeeming it. The Boy isn’t into digital content yet, and he didn’t care for the print, so it would be a waste either way. I will give this “magazine” props for being printed on very heavy paper. It’s like glossy book paper, not thin magazine paper. It is much more durable and will hold up well to a toddler paging through it. The pages will still tear, but shouldn’t rip with normal handling.

This is one of those instances where the monetary value of the box will exceed my subscription price, but the actual value will not. The train whistle I would have rated at most as a $10 toy. My husband told me he wouldn’t have spent $5 on it, but he is notoriously 1980s in his mental pricing. The cold packs are practical, but I think it would be a challenge to find a Citrus Lane subscriber who is parenting a toddler and who doesn’t have cold packs in her arsenal already. Maybe I’m wrong about that.

The total cost of items in this box was $35.65 (not including the free or reduced magazine subscription). My subscription cost was $25.00.

Want to get $10 off of your own Citrus Lane box? Click here!

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Sep 24 2013

It was a bad day.

Published by under Parenting,The Boy,The Man

Today was a bad day. I can’t say it was the worst day of my life, because no one died, except for one wild animal, but it was right up there in the top ten.

The Boy was great this morning. Everything went along just as it usually does. But when he woke up from his nap, someone had flipped the Demon switch. There was a tantrum – a long, screaming, crying tantrum in which he hit me at least six times. Then, after the tantrum and the calm down session, we played and watched TV. Normal. He jumped on the couch and when I told him “no”, he hit me again. At dinner, I accidentally gave him a bite of way too hot food, and he burned his mouth. More crying, on both our parts. Thankfully, The Man took a shift and gave me some down time before I left for book club. When I left for book club, The Boy cried again, which made me want to stay home, but I went anyway.

Book club was great, as usual. It was nice to be around other adults and discuss things that had nothing to do with parenting or children. I drove home in the dark, down a winding country road. As I rounded a curve, I could see there was something in the road. The eyes glittered. I assumed it was an animal crossing, so I slowed down.

The headlight etched the gory scene in my mind. It was a mangled raccoon, horribly still alive. Its tail was spinning around and its mouth was open in pain. Its back legs were gone. What could I do? I jerked the wheel and ran it over again, putting it out of its misery. Then I cried the rest of the way home.

I am so over this day.

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Sep 19 2013

Citrus Lane – September 2013 box

Published by under Parenting,Products/Shopping,The Boy

Citrus Lane is a subscription service for children from birth to 5 years old. You pay them money ($25 for a month to month subscription; discounts for prepaying) and they send you a box once a month with things hand picked for your child’s age and gender. These can be toys, books, body care items, food products, lovies…you just never know what you’re going to get. There’s generally a mix of things in each box.

We ordered Citrus Lane because The Boy is at an age where there aren’t a lot of things marketed to him in the stores. It’s like there’s a void between 12 months and 2 years where toy manufacturers go “I don’t know, kid. Here’s some blocks; call us in 6 months.” We do have various kinds of blocks for The Boy (these are our favorites because they are easy to grip and stack), but we wanted some ideas of other things he can be playing with that aren’t either 6 months behind or 6 months ahead of where he’s at, developmentally.

We got our first box yesterday. Let’s see how we did, shall we?

Citrus Lane Sept 13 box

Hape City Planner Blocks
Amazon price: $9.99
This is the first thing I saw when I opened the box, and needless to say, I was disappointed. MORE blocks? Ugh. However, these are well made, wooden blocks, and they are nicely sized to fit in a little paw. It’s a 15 piece set, and the size and number of the blocks mean I can throw them in a baggie and put them in the diaper bag to use when we are out places. Disappointing to get more blocks, but still something we will use.

Charley Harper ABCs
Amazon price: $7.96
New books are hit and miss with The Boy. We have to read them aloud, in his presence, several times before he will deign to show interest. This one is a pretty basic ABC book (A is for Ape, B is for Bird, etc). The drawings of Charley Harper are what set it apart. They are nice illustrations, but when I started reading it, The Boy said “No!” and closed it up. I’m not sure if he didn’t like the book or didn’t like the newness. Only time will tell.

Happy Family Organic Superfoods Super Toddler Bar – Mixed Berry
Amazon price: $8.78/box of 5
New food is even worse than new books for my kid. He wouldn’t even try this. I took a bite, though, and it was pretty tasty. It had a strong, pleasant berry flavor, and a nice light texture. It’s made with brown rice, which is a nice change.

Episencial Playful Wash (8 oz)
Amazon price: $9.43
Smells nice; haven’t tried it yet. We don’t have any allergy problems, so I’m sure this will be just fine for bath use. It’s a combo body wash and shampoo that smells like tangerines.

Nail Color from Julep
Amazon price: $14.00
I have to be honest, it ticked me off to see this. For one thing, I order this box for my son, not for me. I don’t need a gift. For another thing, what if I weren’t a mom, but rather a dad? The box is shipped under my husband’s name. For all they know, I could be the grandmother and The Man could be raising our son alone. Regardless of the presumption, I would rather have had another goody for my son rather than a gift for me. Anyway, it’s a fine nail polish. I put it on last night.

So, leaving out the nail polish, I got $29.14 worth of items for $25.00. That’s a pretty good value, and the items are of good quality. We’ll keep going with the subscription, and hope that future boxes are a little more innovative with the toys and a little less concerned about throwing Mom a bone.

Want to get $10 off your own Citrus Lane box? Click here!


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Sep 18 2013

Play date.

Published by under Parenting,The Boy

We had a play date today with Julio and her little boy, who is almost exactly a year older than The Boy. I don’t know what to call him…maybe Lil’ Scot because he looks exactly like his daddy. That’ll do for now.

Anyway, we started out at a park in my old hometown (where Grandma used to live). Our boys don’t really play together. They kind of walk around and try to escape and Julio and I have to constantly herd them back into the safety zone. After we were there for about five minutes, the Lutheran school across the road herded a whole class of preschoolers over. I don’t know why. The school has its own playground. It’s a nicer playground than the one we were at. The whole time the preschoolers were outside, no other class was using their playground. It was bizarre. They were outside for about 15 minutes, and every time The Boy or Lil’ Scot went over to an unused piece of equipment, 3 or 4 of the school kids decided that actually, THEY needed to use that thing RIGHT THEN, even though everyone had been ignoring it up until that point. It was frustrating.

Once the kids went back to school, we played for a little longer, but Lil’ Scot wanted to go to McDonald’s. Since it was almost lunchtime, we were game, so we drove to the next town over and had lunch. Then the kids ran around the play place. Well, Lil’ Scot did. The Boy split his time between standing at the glass door and saying “Bye!” to every car in the drive thru, and playing in the little toddler section they had. It was nice to just sit and talk to Julio and not have to worry about what The Boy may or may not be getting in to. But I realized while we were there just how unadventurous he really is. In the toddler area, there were two or three platforms that the kids could climb up to a very short slide. The Boy never even considered going up there until I walked over and showed him that it was OK to climb and he could go down the slide. Meanwhile, Lil’ Scot is climbing up to the top of the big kid structure and having a blast. My boy seems to be quieter, for now. We’ll see what happens when he’s 2.5 years old instead of 1.5 years old.

In the meantime, I obviously need to get him more socialized. He doesn’t know what to do with other kids. I don’t think he even realizes that he’s a kid himself. As I said to Julio, he looks at them as if to say “Is this what you call a hoo-man child?” Not exactly what you want to see, as far as a well-rounded boy is concerned. Now that he’s down to one nap a day and it’s happening around noon, we can do more playgroups and stuff.

When we got home, our first Citrus Lane box was waiting for us, but that’s another post.

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Sep 11 2013

Melt down.

Published by under Parenting,The Boy

We are in the process of pushing The Boy’s morning nap back to noon or 12:30. He’s in that transition phase where he doesn’t want two naps, but if he only takes his morning nap at the usual time, he is too exhausted to make it to bed time. Usually, kids will drop the morning nap and move their afternoon nap up, but we got one of the kids who wants to drop the afternoon nap, which means a 7+ hour stretch in the afternoon with no nap…not good. The solution is to push the morning nap back slowly. We started with the morning nap happening at 8-8:30 AM and we now have it moved back to 11:30…except for days like today.

Today I took The Boy to a park in the morning, because it’s supposed to be hot and raining this afternoon. I wanted him to get some outdoor time in, and it’s easier to keep him awake longer if he’s not cooped up in the house all morning. So, off we go to the park, where the very first thing he wants to do is swing. Now, I’m not against swings, but the point of getting him to the park was so that he’d run around and get some exercise. Sitting in a swing while I push him is not exercise. But, whatever, he wants to swing, let’s swing for a bit and then I’ll get him down and we’ll explore.

So, into the swing. I pushed that kid for twenty minutes in the swing while we watched the park employees cut down a dead tree. Then I thought “That’s enough, I’m tired of pushing this swing, the sun is hot, and he needs to run around.” So I said “Ok, kiddo, that’s twenty minutes of swinging. It’s time to do something else.” I took him out of the swing and put him down. Cue the melt down.

This boy LURVES to swing. At home, his swing is not as awesome, because it doesn’t go as high or swing as smoothly. The park swings are like the Cadillac of swings to the swing lover, and he was not best pleased at being told his time with the Caddy was over. He threw himself a nice little fit. He clung to my legs and wailed, and when I reached down to pick him up, I forgot I was holding a can of Diet Coke and dumped it all over him (and my leg, but whatever).

Well, that was it. We had to go home, but he refused to walk and he was covered in soda, so I carried him to the car and drove him home. Once home, I took him out of his seat and he ran off to go get some rocks. I said, “OK, we have to go into the house and get lunch started and change your clothes.” Suddenly, he couldn’t walk anymore. Clinging to my legs and crying again. I tried to take his hand to lead him to the house but noooo…he can’t walk. Threw himself down full length on the grass and noodled around like a wet dishrag.

Dang, I was so pissed at this point. Somehow, we got into the house. It might have involved me holding him under the armpits and saying “Walk. Walk. Walk.” as I moved him to the house. We got upstairs (he miraculously recovered the power to move once inside and climbed the stairs) and into his room. I got him into some PJs, turned out the light, and we sat in the rocker where he finally calmed down.

It was only 10:30, but what are you going to do? The Boy was obviously done in. I held him in my arms and he finally quieted down and snuggled with me. That’s how I knew he meant business: no more awake time right now. He only snuggles when ill or tired. So, we rocked a little bit, and I whispered “I’m sorry, buddy. I forgot you’re just a little guy.” He sighed a little bit and leaned his head on my shoulder. It must be hard to be 19 months old sometimes, especially when your Mom loses her patience.

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