Posts Tagged ‘Co-op

Hey thanks for coming along with us as we start to offer products via OpenSky! Your feedback – in words and clicks – has really been helpful.

GaGaGear is pleased to now be able offer the fabulous organic cotton lunchbugs from Mimi The Sardine in 6 delightful patterns.  (See our back-to-school review of the Ladybugs here.)  Our ladybug lunchbug gets a lot of play – at preschool, on picnics, in the play kitchen, as a hat, and out on adventures.  I just picked up the hybrid cars for our little guy.

Click on each image to see details and purchase in our OpenSky shop.  Lunchbugs are $25 each.  Matching bibs and splashmats are also available in our shop.



Dots Blue


Flora Blue


Hybrid Cars


Some kids like to wear shoes, others just socks, still others run barefoot every chance they get.  And most of the time, we are happy to indulge them.

At daycare or preschool, though, there’s often a footwear requirement – usually the ambiguous term “slippers” – or socks at the barest minimum.  And this makes sense to us parents – hard flooring can be cold in winter, slippery for foot races, and downright unsanitary in the potty.

Enter, Bical Grippers – the sock with a shoe attached!  Bical offers a snug-fitting performance sock with a fiercely grippy full-length rubber sole.  This alone would be the perfect toddler “shoe” but they go a step further with colors and patterns ranging from simply cute to absolutely badass.

Our shoe-shedding toddler pulled these on the moment they arrived, and had them wrestled off at bedtime.  She wore them the full day at preschool, even waiting patiently to don her “piggies” before racing off for the indoor slide.

Bicals retail for around $22.00 ($24.99 for the knee-high version) but there are a number of great stores offering them for less.

Online deal (updated 5/22/10): – currently on sale from $15.50 on up.

Local steal: Bella Stella in NE Portland regularly stocks new Bicals for around $16.

Be careful buying Bical second hand on eBay, since the washing instructions are very specific and you’ll want to inspect them pretty closely for snags from the grippers.

Also: Bicals run almost a full size *small* so definitely size up to buy a little growing room.

We recently joined up with a neighborhood co-op playschool – a fantastic parent-run pre-preschool environment that’s equal parts daycare and playdate.  True to the prevailing ethos in our nouveau hippie urb, the standing rule is: No Characters Allowed.

While explaining the co-op’s policy on bringing in items for individual use or group share, our welcome committee gaily recounted the time when a donated box of Groovy Girls mysteriously appeared on site, only to be swiftly and equally mysteriously disappeared by a conscientious shift worker.  This was all described with a chuckle, and the admission that the girls in the group had been really excited about the dolls.  [I don’t know if they were really so bad] they confided, moving on to the next co-op rule with a shrug and a smile.

Which got me thinking.  Is there some hierarchy of Character that is simply understood amongst enlightened parents, or is the character ban really about something else?  What’s at the core of this objection, which I feel viscerally each time I change a princess pull-up?

I’m sure the lawyers of the Justice League could represent Superman and Spidey vs. Babar and Madeline and put them all in the same boat.  The prosecution rests on a tenuous central thesis – that commercial characters threaten a child’s capacity to imagine.  It’s Waldorf thinking taken to an extreme: if your child takes to Dora, Dolly dies.  Imagination only happens with wooden toys and faceless fairies.

(There’s another argument about protecting kids from predatory consumer culture, but we’ll just skip that for now.)

After some reflection, I don’t think we give kids enough credit in this scenario.  And we are a household with a similar ban, for similar reasons – just add the fact that most of these characters seem specifically designed to be exceptionally annoying to parents.

Some of the most physicaly and verbally capable, most outwardly imaginative, and enthusiastic toddlers I know have spent their days tickling Elmo, playing Power Rangers, and running around in character diapers (or Underoos®).  In a way, characters are just like people they meet – they have names, some elements of personality, and context.  I haven’t met many toddlers able to sit still enough to be spoonfed an entire character’s life story.  They take a nugget, and run with it.  Maybe not so bad after all.

Am I happy that the co-op restricts character-based content as a rule?  Sure – it means a quiet and consistent playspace with a high-end look to it and many excellent toys from the likes of Melissa & Doug and Plan Toys.

Am I opening the floodgates to mass commercial characters in my own home?  Not likely – I still prefer the company of Olivia and Pippi, “Broccoli Tiger” and “White Bunny.”  But if my kids want to imagine exploring with Dora, outside the diaper aisle, I won’t intervene.


In defense of characters and imagination, here’s a heart-warming story about a young Seattle boy taken on a superhero adventure by Make A Wish Foundation.

On the Princess Craze: What’s Wrong With Cinderella? from Peggy Orenstein of The New York Times (via excellent children’s lit blog

  • JHeff: I have read a good number of comments about most users of the boba not really ever using the foot rests. Looking at the videos I've seen, the back on
  • Mama GaGa: Oh, boo! Thanks for the manufacturing update - I will make note in the post. Cheers - MG
  • Cathy: I know this is a couple years old but I ran across this post and was so excited when you said the Boba was made in America - a big selling point for m

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