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Posts Tagged ‘Toddler

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Update 6/22/2012:  RIP Plum!  Too soon…  Good article here on why it failed.  I’m keeping this post up, because I still believe in the idea.  Interesting perspective in the article on why ThredUP works, too.

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Original Post Follows:

Here’s an interesting notion for parents wanting to live simply yet still deck their kids out in boutique clothing: rent it.

Plum is a new company that calls itself “Netflix for baby clothes.”  Subscribers pay a monthly fee to receive bundles of two, four, or seven outfits at a time by mail, sending them back when finished for a fresh set.  Bundles are packed in a resealable envelope for easy returns, and the subscription supports one free exchange per month.

Does this pencil out over buying new?  Pretty much – at least for the brands they’re touting (Tea Collection, Petit Bateau, Kate Quinn Organics…)  Let’s say you were dressing an infant for exactly three months, and could live with Plum’s seven outfit bundle on top of all the stuff you were gifted by friends and family.  That’s a $49/month subscription – about $150 for the 3 months.  By contrast, Tea Collection or Kate Quinn layette separates run about $30-35 a piece – which would total about $210-$245 for seven outfits if purchased new.

Plum’s no-hassle stain policy (no worries – they just donate it to charity) helps make the service an overall good value, especially if you’re just having one child of a particular gender (finally – a girl after three boys!), or are not the type to do the legwork of keeping stuff pristine for resale.  Parents of multiples can use it to supplement what they already have in the house, maybe giving that little girl four sweet outfits “of her own” each month (for $29) on top of the more gender-neutral stuff she can reuse from her brothers.  It’s also a fun gift for relatives or friends to consider – either one time, or recurring.

Plum is in a public beta at the moment, with a waitlist for new members.  But if it interests you, definitely sign up and keep your eyes on it.  A similar service is ThredUP, where families nation-wide swap used baby clothing for $15.95 a box.  ThredUP is a great idea for the mass market, but with brands tending to be a lot more mainstream – Carter’s, Old Navy, that sort of thing – the lack of selection can be frustrating to folks who prefer (and would post up in exchange) the kinds of brands that Plum is carrying.

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Editor’s Note: ThredUP has since added a Concierge service which helps get higher-end swappers into the game.

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Gilt Groupe KidKraft Pirate Deluxe Set

Photo Credit: gilt.com

This pirate ship deluxe set from KidKraft really is kind of arrr-some and totally puts the plastic stuff to shame.  It has 28 different parts and about 35 screws for assembly (took us about an hour, with kids “helping”) but the directions are straightforward, and the pieces build on each other so you kind of get excited about doing it as you go.  (Kind of.)

Unlike some playhouses, this Pirate Deluxe kit comes with 4 pirate figures, cannons, a treasure chest, a “gilded” throne and coffin, two sharks, palm trees, a rowboat and other accessories.  All pieces are of good quality.  The peg-legged Pirate (who our daughter dubbed “Sharkey”) doesn’t stand so well out of the box, but if you bend his upper body forward, you can get him reasonably stable.  Characters are scaled so as to fit with other KidKraft sets – we also have a pink princess castle sort of thing, so our kids now like to play Pirates and Princesses.

If you’re not yet a member of higher-end discount aggregator Gilt Groupe, by all means use our referral link so we get credit!  KidKraft items are on sale for a limited time starting today 8/3, with the Pirate Set going for $90 (sugg.retail $159.99) and “Aye!” it’s worth every penny.  If you miss the sale at Gilt, ToysR’Us carries it regularly online for $129.99.

Here’s something you won’t see on the chi chi baby gear blogs…

We recently had to get out of dodge quickly after our dishwasher caught fire and filled the house with smoke.  It was my first time flying with both toddlers, and I tried to pack light, but was not going to get caught with my pants down!  I am a professional.  Which meant, while hastily salvaging a half dozen belongings from our basement that didn’t smell like burnt plastic and electrical soot, I grabbed my giant carabiner and said a prayer.

I wish someone had taken our picture at the airport.  I had Z’s car seat over one shoulder, Z himself in the Bugaboo Bee, diaper bag stuffed in the stroller basket, Sister H walking, and another backpack with the crucial DVD player and snacks hanging off the back with the carabiner.  Without Z in the seat, the whole thing tipped backward.  But with everyone in place, it was a thing of beauty.

We somehow made it through security, after which Z decided he’d stay shoeless.  So shoes (thanks to their little ankle loops) were added to the carabiner.  Ten minutes later, a hoodie came off.  Looped onto our friend with the shoes.  Down the gangway, time to gate check the stroller and board the plane – quick and easy, since the carabiner kept stray items in check.  And no little shoes lost on the plane – added Sister’s to the mix and kept ’em all together, no worries.   Changing planes, same deal – don’t want to carry it?  Just clip it on.

Fancy strollers and diaper bags sell “valet clips” – but really, don’t you just need a giant carabiner – or two?  I think I got mine at the Fred Meyer checkout as an impulse buy in place of mints.  Dare I suggest this as an offbeat baby shower gift?  They should cost about $8 a piece, and you want at least 7″ x 3″ to fit around most stroller tubing.

Someday perhaps you’ll take up rock climbing.  But in the meantime, you’ll just rock.

In the weeks leading up to her 3rd birthday, our daughter became suddenly and fiercely attached to the idea of riding a scooter.  We were a bit skeptical (it was wintertime, after all, which would put the scooting mostly indoors), but she persisted, driving us to spend many late nights on-line, researching wheeled possibilities for the toddler set.

We ultimately settled on KickboardUSA’s Mini Kick scooter, and after two months’ scooting (indoor AND out) cannot recommend it enough.  Mini Kick is specifically designed for beginning riders – it’s low to the ground and features 3 wheels (2 in front!) for greater stability, yet maintains a decent turning radius for navigating the living room furniture.  It has a smooth, quiet glide, and is light enough for our 3 year old to lift and maneuver off the ground when necessary.

Scooting on Mini Kick seems completely intuitive to the child – our daughter has essentially taught herself how to scoot, steer and brake while we sat back and marveled.  The only bummer is the flexible plastic footing – while totally functional and key to this beautiful concept, it doesn’t support the weight of an adult, so we can’t get in on the fun.

Mini Kick costs $79.99 through KickboardUSA.com and comes in an array of candy colors – we got orange, though I’m sure our daughter would have preferred hot pink.

The rumor mill continues to swirl around Bugaboo’s vaunted new double stroller, The Donkey.  In September, Fast Company’s Design staff gave it an info-packed preview but held off on any real judgment.  Read Co.Design’s article here, then return to GaGaGear for our thoughts, which continue below.

Bugaboo Donkey: Single + Storage

Our Take:

Before getting into it, you should know how heavily we at GaGaGear are anticipating Bugaboo’s double stroller.  We’re big fans of the Bee (own it), which really delivers for urban strolling in addition to turning heads with its elegant design.  So let’s just say expectations are high.  Now for the (p)review…

Frankly, from what we’re seeing, it’s hard to judge whether Donkey’s really got kick.  First of all, the name is terrible – why pick a moniker so loaded on the back end?  (But then Bugaboo’s names have never really made any sense to us, other than the Bee.)  Better make sure it performs, or the recall headlines won’t be pretty.

Second, the would-be-iconic design proposition of a “stretch” conversion seems in itself a stretch.  Sure, it might be clever for adding that double, but forcing a single into a wide and unbalanced stance in the name of storage just doesn’t make sense to this mom.  (Not to mention two kids is two times the gear – and how much storage?  Wondering how the basket area underneath will be affected by the expansion mechanism.)  Pushing a Maclaren Twin Techno for just a month with 30 pounds on one side and 15 on the other was so sketchy, we just threw our baby in the Ergo and continued to push our toddler in the Bee.  Donkey’s horizontal push bar would make a difference over Maclaren’s two handles, but it’s hard to see how this is going to ride smoothly as a single stroller, especially one-handed (latte-handed?).

Bugaboo Donkey: Expanded

Maybe it’s really a smooth and simple operation as advertised…but any solution that requires parents to assemble, disassemble or otherwise configure their stroller instead of just popping it open or shut could be missing the point.  The more kids you have, the simpler you need this stuff to be!  One-step fold was Bugaboo’s weak spot with both the Frog and Cameleon, but they solved it brilliantly with the Bee.  Seems like they’re back to a series of steps with Donkey, which is a shame.  Not to mention the simple truth: more moving parts means more potential points of failure.  Donkey’s designers do a good job disguising the complexity here – we’ll need to get hands-on to know for sure…  But we wonder whether expanding – which was certainly the harder solution to design – is ultimately preferable to snapping on along the lines of Baby Jogger’s City Select, which we profiled in 2010.  (Or maybe Baby Jogger just protected the heck out of that IP?)

Here’s our theory on why baby gear purchasing drops off so dramatically as families grow.  Moms aren’t magically sprouting more hands so they can do more with less.  The more kids we have, the simpler gear has to be to hold our attention.  And there simply isn’t simple gear for twins and multiple young children in a family.

For years, the double stroller world has been wide open for innovation.  And with the debut of the Donkey, it still is…?

NEW PHOTO 3/8: Bugaboo Donkey, showing two bassinets installed rear-facing…

Bugaboo Donkey all configurations

Bugaboo Donkey | Photo Credit: bugaboo.com

Petit Collage Giraffe Growth Chart

Photo Credit: bloumebaby.com

What a great idea for a growth chart.  Your little one may actually grow faster as she cranes her neck for a view while you mark her height on this whimsical reflective giraffe.

Made in the U.S. out of light, shatterproof mirrored acrylic, and available at bloumebaby.com for $80.

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.

Bugs

Ladybugs

Dots Blue

Propeller

Flora Blue

Jungle

Hybrid Cars



  • 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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