Mom’s Visit | Day 5

I sat on the floor with this stranger’s children, and my own son, and we all talked about milestones, and the joys of having boys. Their father was an absolute doll, and his words about raising his boys, and when they each started talking, walking, and getting their teeth, were so comforting to me, as I often worry about Liam hitting his milestones on time. They were such a lovely family.

Advertisements

[You can read about Days 0-1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, and Day 4 here.]

Hello, friends! Today was another great day, with only a few minor low points to share. Today is my mom’s 50th birthday, and once again, we decided to go to the pool at the Metro Center in Princeton, and it was even better than it was yesterday! We decided to schedule our whole day around the pool trip this time, so that we could get as much time in the water as possible, and left much earlier than yesterday, as soon as Liam finished his breakfast, and we all got showered and dressed.

It was barely 11:00 when we got to the pool, and there were only a handful of swimmers in the large pool. Once again, we had the kiddie pool to ourselves, and Liam could hardly contain his excitement as we approached the shallow pool. There was no hesitation this time, no clinging to my legs, no fear, just pure happiness, and so much splashing. He really wanted to put his adorable, new swim shorts to good use! He came 100% out of his shell, wading through the water, going after the pool toys, dunking them, pouring them, and being so much more curious and adventurous with the water. My mom managed to get a dozen more pictures of him today, and he was smiling in every single one of them. It filled my heart with so much joy to see him having so much fun.

Cj5SakrWsAUUB3S

We stayed at the pool for about an hour, but had to leave around noon to grab some lunch, because Kyle had a meeting about a scholarship for his CDL class at 1:00. Luckily, the meeting was in the same town, so we stopped at a nearby Subway to get some lunch, but because the lines were so long, Kyle had to leave his sandwich with us, and leave for his meeting. While he was gone, my mom drove me a bit nuts, which has been happening off and on for the last couple days, but I managed to have a good time. I ordered Liam his own sub for the first time, and he sat in a booster seat at the table with me for the first time ever. He did so well! It was amusing to watch him pick apart the sandwich, and decide which veggies he did and did not like (his absolute favorite Subway veggies are pickles and olives, just like his mama!).

Unfortunately, my happiness faded when I saw Kyle pull up, just a short time later, with a very obvious frown. He did not get the scholarship. His income was too high, thanks to his last two, abnormal paychecks, and he did not qualify. He was upset, and my mom kept saying that she would pay for it for us, which made me upset. She already paid $5000 toward my failed college education, and I still owe my old school, and her, money. I didn’t even want her paying for things for us while she was here (despite her many protests), let alone dish out thousands for Kyle’s class. But without her help, we don’t know if we can make it happen, and that is absolutely crushing. Maybe I should put my pride aside? I don’t know.

After lunch, we headed back to Peru to do a little grocery shopping. Despite our fridge being absolutely empty, and only having $80 to buy food for the month, I found myself feeling offended when my mom offered to pay for our groceries, and turned her down yet again. She left the store to have a cigarette (she quit years ago, but started smoking again recently, and hasn’t told her boyfriend), and never came back in. Things were a bit tense between Kyle and I, as they usually get when the topic of money comes up, and we grabbed only a handful of things, like milk, bread, bagels, cheese, and bananas, to try and stay under budget. We warmed up again once we left Walmart, and headed home.

Liam had not taken a nap yet, so I put him down as soon as we walked in, and he passed right out. I put something on Netflix for us to watch, but our internet stopped working shortly after that, and despite our best efforts to revive it, I ended up having to call our internet provider, who had me do a handful of ineffective things, before informing us that there was a actually massive service outage in our area.

Fantastic.

With no internet, cable, movies, games, or really anything to do, we all just kind of sat around in silence for a bit, not knowing what to talk about. Eventually, the internet came back on, and we continued on with watching Netflix, and fiddling with our phones. Around 4:30, just about when Liam would be waking up from his nap, my mom suddenly stood up, and left, telling us to text her if we wanted to get food or something later. Sure enough, not even 10 minutes later, Liam woke up, and we texted her to come back. She hadn’t even gone back to her hotel, she had gone to the park up the street, because apparently the trees and grass are better company than we are.

We decided to go to the large, Chinese buffet in Peru, located right near her hotel, since it is a favorite spot of ours. We pigged out hard on all the delicious things, and left feeling miserable, and hating ourselves, as usual. It was delicious. Afterwards, we decided to take Liam to the mall play area to burn some energy, and tire him out, since he had taken such a late nap. When we got there, there was only one man in the play area, with four boys. We immediately hit it off with him and his sweet boys, and Liam made two friends. He was there with his wife and mother, who were across the way getting their nails done at the salon. He had a baby with him, who was just four months old, and the sweetest little thing I’ve ever seen. He made my ovaries weep, and made me crave having a tiny baby again. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

He also had a little boy who had just turned two, and another boy who was four. They were absolutely enamored with Liam, and the four year old asked me a million questions about him, and me.

“Does he like cars? What kind of car do you have? We have a Diesel truck!”
“Does he eat a lot of food?”
“Does he cry a lot? I cry a lot, and scream, because my parents irritate me.”
(LOL!)
“Does he talk a lot? My brother is two, he doesn’t talk.”
“Do you like bouncy balls?”
“Do you live here? We’re from far away. We’re driving.”

He was adorable. I sat on the floor with this stranger’s children, and my own son, and we all talked about milestones, and the joys of having boys. Their father was an absolute doll, and his words about raising his boys, and when they each started talking, walking, and getting their teeth, were so comforting to me, as I often worry about Liam hitting his milestones on time. They were such a lovely family. The four year old kept giving Liam hugs, and saying he wanted to be friends, and the two year old would walk up to me and share his bouncy balls. They were the absolute sweetest, and it was so wonderful. We talked and played for a while, before we all had to go our separate ways and head home.

Oh, I forgot to mention that right before we left the mall, my mom got a FaceTime call from her boyfriend back home (who she has been with for 20 years, but they aren’t married, so I still call him her boyfriend instead of my step-father), and we were able to introduce him to Liam and Kyle, and chat for a little while. It was nice to see him, and for him to meet the boy who is basically his grandson.

We also stopped to introduce my mom to our upstairs neighbor when we got home (the one who has helped us with many, many problems we’ve dealt with since living here), and we all chatted outside for a bit, before I insisted on going inside, since it was an hour past Liam’s bedtime. Liam was half asleep before I even put him in his crib, and I sat down with a cup of coffee, and began typing shortly after. Kyle goes back to work tomorrow, after having these last two days off, and I think I might take a day to myself to catch up on housework and cleaning, which has gone completely undone since my mom’s arrival. We’ll see.

I am also trying to arrange a nice dinner with Kyle’s mom, my mom, and Kyle, Liam, and I on Friday, since it will be my mom’s last full day in Illinois, and we really want her to meet Kyle’s mom, who is basically my second mom. It is the only day Kyle’s mom has off, though Kyle works until 6:00 that night. I’m hoping we can work something out.

Anyway! That’s all for today! Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Cj5SbstWsAAFCZq

Mommy/Daddy Birth Interview Assignment

Hello, friends! Recently, my good friend, Lindsey, asked to interview Kyle and I on our pregnancy/birth/baby experiences as part of a school assignment, and I was more than happy to do it! I thought it would be fun to share with you our answers, so you get a chance to hear a bit from the daddy part of our parenting duo. I had so much fun doing this interview, and it made me miss being pregnant! The baby fever is REAL, guys! Here was our interview:

Mother: Janise
1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We weren’t trying to have a baby, per se, but we weren’t preventing it. We both wanted a baby, and after a while, I had my suspicions that it finally happened. I went to the store and bought two of those 88 cent pregnancy tests, the ones with the silly droppers, and sure enough, they came out positive!

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was excited. Really excited.

3. What was pregnancy like?
A breeze, honestly. They say something like 2/3 of women experience morning sickness, which can last for months, or the entire pregnancy, but I never had any at all. I never had any symptoms at all until the last few weeks when my feet swelled, which was awful!

4. What was the birth process like?
I wish I had been more informed of my options, and what could go wrong during labor and delivery. Despite a healthy pregnancy, I developed preeclampsia during labor, and had to be put on a Magnesium drip to keep my blood pressure down, but then it dropped really low, which made me incredibly sick. I had an epidural as well, and Pitocin to help my labor, so I didn’t feel anything at all. I was exhausted though, and slept a lot. I labored for about 14 hours, and pushed for an hour and a half. The pushing was the worst. My epidural had started to wear off, and I was starting to feel again. It was weird though, because I didn’t feel pain, just a LOT of pressure. My partner had to leave the room, and after pushing on my back for an hour, they had me switch to the supine position (on all fours), which was awful, and a lot harder. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of control or say in what happened, and when they would tell me to push, I felt like it wasn’t the right time. Yet when I knew it was time to push, they told me not to. It was really stressful, and I felt very alone, despite being in a room full of people.

5. What do you remember the most?
The moment they handed my son to me. I was still on my knees and elbows, and they handed him to me through my legs. I felt completely numb, and overwhelmingly happy, seeing his face for the first time. That made all the pain, the sickness, and the 4-day hospital stay totally worth it!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
Pain. A lot of pain. You hear a lot about the pain of birth, but no one ever talks about what your body goes through afterwards. I bled for six weeks, and because I suffered a 4th degree perineal tear during delivery, I had a hard time doing much of anything. Housework went completely undone, because my partner had to go back to work early, and I was alone all day, every day, with this newborn. It was a little overwhelming.

7. Is it what you expected?
Honestly, some things were easier, and some things were harder. Not to toot my own horn, but I discovered that I was kind of a natural at the whole motherhood thing. I knew exactly what my son wanted based on his crying, and that made things so easy. He was such a good baby, too! Slept great, didn’t have any colic, and ate like a tiny linebacker. The hardest, most disappointing thing for me, personally, was not being able to breastfeed. I had all these hopes that I was going to exclusively breastfeed, but it never happened for us. He just wouldn’t latch, and I found it impossible to pump enough. I still feel guilty about it.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Within weeks, if not earlier. The first few nights were a bit of a shock, and really confusing. I didn’t have any family or friends to help me, or answer questions, so I relied a lot on the internet to get me through it. I read a lot, and it paid off. He was only a few weeks old and I felt like a pro. It relieved a lot of stress and worry.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Honestly, yeah, a little bit. Getting him to change a diaper, even 13 months later, is a fight. He used to get frustrated so easily when the baby cried, and he didn’t know why. It is frustrating, feeling like you are doing 99% of the work in raising your child, especially when the other parent is actually there, but he helps out when he is able, which I appreciate.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
Completely. I feel really bad about it, really, because we had a great sex life before, even when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant. But thanks to my traumatic delivery, it has been difficult. My body took a very long time to heal, and it is still uncomfortable for me to have sex now, but there isn’t much I can do about it.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
The judgment. Parenting itself came easily to me, but the judgment that I’ve received from family, friends, and even complete strangers, is disheartening. Every little thing that I post online, someone always has to say something. Everything from not being able to breastfeed, to co-sleeping (which we stopped doing when my son turned 6 months old), to letting him use a pacifier. Someone always thinks you’re doing something wrong. It took me a long time to adjust to that, and to realize that my son is happy, healthy, and crazy far ahead in his development, so they can go find someone else to judge!

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Lately, it has been being able to actually PLAY with my son. He is finally walking and running around, and it makes life so much more fun. Before, when he was just a tiny thing, we could only play on one spot, on the floor, which was great… but this is so much better. Seeing him grow and develop, and learn new things, it is so amazing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Father: Kyle

1. How did you find out that you going to become a parent?
We kind of knew for a while that it was going to happen. She bought a few pregnancy tests, and I was outside the bathroom door, and then we knew she was pregnant.

2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was a little scared, but I was happy, too.

3. What was pregnancy like?
Not very different really. She didn’t have any cravings, or mood swings, or anything like that. Her stomach just grew.

4. What was the birth process like?
Scary. I wasn’t able to be in the room, I just couldn’t handle it. I was still there, on the other side of the curtain, but it was still scary. I was expecting her to scream, like they always show on shows and in the movies, but she didn’t scream at all.

5. What do you remember the most?
I remember when Janise threw up on me, because she had to take Magnesium, and it made her really sick. She wasn’t even completely awake when it happened. They didn’t let her eat anything, but then they gave her an apple, because she was so weak, but it didn’t stay down. That, and cutting the umbilical cord, which I did do!

6. What do you remember about the first month after the baby was born?
A lot of crying. I got really sick right after he was born, and we found out it was because of my blood pressure, and probably stress. So I remember a lot of crying, and being sick all the time.

7. Is it what you expected?
No, it was actually a lot easier. I thought it was going to be like death, or the end of everything normal, but it has been really easy. He is really good.

8. At what point did you feel “comfortable” with a new baby and taking care of him/her?
Umm, I think after he turned 5 or 6 months old, and he wasn’t so tiny anymore. It was less scary. I was always afraid to do anything when he was really small.

9. Did having a baby change your outlook on your partner?
Not really. It has been really cool to see her as a mom though.

10. Did having a baby change your sex life?
YES. It did! Drastically.

11. What is your least favorite thing about being a parent?
I can’t really think of anything. I didn’t have a life or friends previously, so not much has changed about my social life, except now there are three of us here. She’s made it pretty easy for me. I don’t have to change any of the bad diapers.

12. What is the best thing about being a parent?
Seeing how goofy my son is. He’s just like me. The weird faces he makes, and just how silly and funny he is, it just makes my day. He is a funny kid.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for reading, friends! Thanks again to Lindsey for choosing to interview us. I hope you enjoyed our answers!

Was your pregnancy/birth experience similar to ours?

Jan (and Kyle!)

Daily Prompt 2/22/2016 | Triggering Memories

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/22/2016 | Drawing a Blank

When was the last time your walked away from a discussion, only to think of The Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.”

A comeback? No. I just wish I had the right words to say…

I sat helplessly behind the screen of the computer that he had given me just after my 15th birthday. I could barely read the words popping up in the X-Fire chat window through my tears, let alone see the keys to formula some kind of response. Not that it would have mattered at that point anyway.

I’m sorry.
I’m tired of this.
I’m coming over.

We had been arguing. Over the course of 3 years, he had been my everything, but he had broken my heart so many times, and I always came back. I didn’t know any better, and I had no one else. But not the last time. I had chosen to move on with my life, and had found someone else to share myself with, who didn’t treat me that way. He didn’t like it. I sat there for what seemed like hours, when really, the drive from his house to mine only took a few minutes. I heard the knock on my front door, followed by footsteps coming to my bedroom.

His eyes were red, and he was shaking. He reached for my computer, and began unplugging it, taking it apart to take back to his house. Taking away my only form of communication with the outside world, and my new, long-distance boyfriend. Taking away a part of me. He was angry, and he was hurt, and I didn’t try to stop him. At least, not from taking the computer.

You can’t do this…” I said to him, grabbing his shoulders, trying to calm him down. I was bigger than him, and stronger, but he was in a bad place, “I won’t let you do this.

He ignored me, and I choked back tears, trying to stay strong. I didn’t know if he wanted me to try to stop him or not, I didn’t know what he wanted to hear. I didn’t know what to do. My mom and her friend sat in the kitchen, just outside my bedroom door, and I thought about telling them what was going on, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even speak. So I didn’t.

I watched him dismantle my computer, get into his car, and drive away. I waited until I knew he was back home, and called him. He answered, much to my surprise.

Please, don’t do this. Can we talk about it?

No,” he choked out, he was crying.

Then I heard the pill bottle, and my heart stopped.

Stop. STOP.” I demanded, but all I heard was sobbing, and the sounds of pills scattering across his desk. He was in his room. Was his mom home? Should I call the police? I’d have to hang up the phone. I couldn’t hang up the phone.

Don’t do anything,” he said, seemingly reading my mind,his voice raw, “I’ll unplug the phone. My mom has a gun upstairs. Don’t make me do that, Janise.

I was sobbing. I had no words. I was frozen. I could hear him counting pills out loud… 1… 2… 3… I didn’t know what he was taking. Why was he doing this?

Please…” I sobbed.

Thank you,” was all he said, then, “goodbye.

Click.

I sobbed loudly. My mom had already left with her friend, and I was alone in the house. Had I lost him? Was it too late to do anything? I curled up on my bed, and I cried. My body shook, and I soaked my pillow. I never did anything. I don’t know when I fell asleep, but I woke up to my phone vibrating. The sun was up.

I reached for it, and saw his name on the called I.D. I didn’t want to answer. What if it was his mom? What if it was him? I answered.

I need you to come over. We need to talk,” came his voice from the other end of the phone. I agreed, and he hung up.

The sobbing started all over again. I had my mom drop me off, and told her that his mom would be bringing me to school. She still did not know anything about what was going on.

I didn’t knock on his door, I hadn’t done that in months. I went straight to his room, where he was sitting at his desk. He looked awful.

Are you okay? What did you do?” I demanded, “Did you tell yout mom?

He nodded slowly, and told me that he had told her everything. Everything about us. Everything he was feeling. He had taken 22 extra strength Tylenol, and 6 of his ADHD pills last night. I dropped to the floor, crying. Why wasn’t he at the hospital? Why was he here?

I needed to tell you… that I’m sorry…” his breathing was starting to sound labored, and I looked up, just in time to see him fall from his chair. I heard myself scream, and his mother and younger sister came running downstairs. He was still lucid, and he got to his feet. He swayed, and tried to run to the kitchen, with us right behind him. He fell to the kitchen floor, and I knelt beside him, placing his head in my lap, while his mom sobbed into the phone. She had called 911. The ambulance was on it’s way. The wait was terrible. His mom was crying, his sister was saying this was my fault, and I was silent.

I rode to the hospital with his mother, who had some very cruel words for me. She blamed me for this as well.

I missed the entire school day, and spent nearly 8 hours in the hospital with him. I was there when they gave him charcoal, to flush his stomach. I sat by his side, holding his hand, and talked to him about everything. About us. About what was on TV. Everything. I was so thankful that he was alright, even though he wasn’t. I didn’t know if I was helping him, or hurting him, but I got my answer later. They made him talk to a therapist, and we were asked to leave the room. The therapist also blamed me, and they all agreed that it would be best if I get out of his life. Forever.

I called my mom to come get me, unable to stand another moment with his mother, and I broke down in her car, and told her everything. She didn’t blame me.

The weeks and months that followed were some of the worst of my life. I had lost my best friend, even though he was still alive. Every single friend that we shared, had turned their backs on me, and rumors flew around the school about what really happened that night and the following day. It was absolute hell. Seeing him, every day, and not being able to say anything to him, to see how he was doing, was awful, bur that’s what he wanted. He made that abundantly clear when he switched out of the 3 classes that we shared, and glared at me whenever we passed in the halls. How could people hate me so much, when I was simply trying to move on, and make myself happy?

I never defended myself. I never gave my side of our story. I never tried to correct people when they spread blatant lies. He was fine, but a piece of me had died that night, and it still affects me to this day. Triggers me.

We have since made up, and are friends from a distance, talking every once in a while via Facebook. We have never spoken of it, and I sometimes wonder if he ever thinks about that night, and if it ever cuts into him like it still does to me, nearly 10 years later. If I had the right words to say, would it have changed the outcome of that night? Or did what little I was able to say actually keep him alive?

I wish I could say this this was the last time that I was put in this situation, but unfortunately, it happened again more recently. However, that’s a story for another time.

Thank you for reading, friends. If you, or someone you know, is thinking about suicide, please get help.

US: 1 (800) 273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/16/2016 | Gizmos and Gadgets

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/16/2016 | World’s Best Widget

You’ve been granted magical engineering skills, but you can only use them to build one gadget or machine. What do you build?”

Robotic. Arms.

I know, I know, robotic arms already exist, and have been used for several years now… but mine wouldn’t necessarily be for people with disabilities. Mine would slip onto your shoulders, with a device resembling football pads, and would be pre-programmed to assist the wearer in completing normal, every day tasks. There would be several different models, each with special programs for specific tasks, such as changing diapers for parents, extra grip for rock climbers, and other sports… things… for sporty people.

It would be completely voice activated, but you can program up to 5 users of any age to use it, as the shoulder pads and arms would be adjustable to fit most sizes. It also comes in 712 different colors and patterns. Yes, you heard me, 712 different colors and patterns. Some people prefer Oxford blue over Prussian blue, ya know? It totally counts as just one gadget, since it is all the same type, right? I think so.

As a stay-at-home mom, who does 100% of the work when it comes to our one-year old son, I know I could definitely use an extra set of hands. Like when I am trying to make dinner, and my son is getting cranky, and is trying to climb up my legs to get me to pick him up, but I really need to focus on the food. I am sure I am not the only parent out there who could use an extra set of arms, am I right?

So, does anyone want to send some funds my way?!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

 

DIY Learning For Toddlers By Mamiblock

Hello, friends! A friend linked this video last night via Facebook, and after watching it several times (and checking out a bunch of other videos on the Mamiblock YouTube channel), I decided that I had to share it with anyone who might be reading this! There are so many cool things! Don’t let the German scare you away, the videos are still pretty easy to follow.

These simple, inexpensive DIY projects are fantastic for teaching tiny toddlers and young children a range of skills, including counting, telling time, the alphabet, and writing. They look like so much fun, and I am definitely looking forward to trying these out in the near future, now that Liam will be turning one in 10 days!

I love finding channels like Mamiblock, and you should definitely check out the whole channel, as they have tons of videos on cool ways to make your life with baby a little easier, and more fun, like exercise, meal ideas, baking, and so many more crafty things. I hope this inspires a few of you as much as it inspired me. I’m so hyped to try some of these!

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Holiday Toy Haul Ratings (6-36m): Part 3

Hello, friends! It has been a busy time here on my little blog! I started doing the daily writing prompt (you can find them here), and it has started to get my creative juices flowing again. I missed writing just to write!

I decided that now would be a good time to add another part to my list of toy ratings from Liam’s first Christmas! His first birthday is in just two weeks, and I’m sure he’ll get all sorts of fun toys, so there will be at least once more part to this series. So let’s get rolling! I’ll be doing another 5 toys today… kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel now.

Just like last time, I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.

1. B. One Two Squeeze Blocks
blocks
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Colorful and cute. Each block has a number, a textures design, and an animal, corresponding to the number. Blocks squeak when squeezed, but it isn’t super loud. Blocks are easy to clean, and work well as teethers. Can be played with in the bath!
Cons: When you first get them, they are covered with a strange, greasy substance, which is difficult to wash off. I had to scrub each block with soap, water, and an old toothbrush before giving them to my son.

2. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Speedsters, Puppy
k2-_0baaa5a4-9cfc-4948-9fd7-c8a049e223cd.v1
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Such a cute toy! Button lights up when pressed, and says the ABC’s, as well as several other phrases. There are actually 3  characters, and each one teaches something different (Monkey teaches shapes, Sis teaches numbers), and there is also a speedway you can buy for them. Cheap, fun toy!
Cons: No volume control, toy is a bit loud. Wheels are loud on hard surfaces. Feels cheap, but for the price, I’m not complaining!
** Edit: Liam got the Monkey and Sis cars for his birthday today, and he loves them! The sound on Monkey seems to be MUCH louder and sharper compared to Puppy and Sis, but if baby is happy, I’m happy!

3. Disney The Good Dinosaur Arlo and Spot Activity Ride On
10306723_10205469611279183_8752390327538041380_n
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: One of Liam’s current favorites, as you can see! Several buttons and levers (including tiny “piano” keys) for baby to play with. Lever makes dinosaur’s head move when pulled. Lightweight and easy to push around. Very sturdy.
Cons: No volume control, no on/off switch. Assembly was a bit of a pain.

4. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks
MATTEL-2501235-01
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Honestly surprised by how much Liam loves this timeless, classic toy! The shapes are sturdy and bright, and he enjoys playing with it by himself, or with me. He knows how to put the shapes in, and enjoys shaking the container around and making noise when it is full. Another one of his favorites, and it is such an inexpensive learning toy! I had to give it all the stars!
Cons: The lid comes off very easily. Not a big deal, but I wish there were some sort of simple latch.

5. IONIX Jr. PAW Patrol, Adventure Bay Block Set
A1L5x+LxkiL._SY355_
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟✰✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: Compatible with Mega Bloks, which we planned on buying him for his birthday! Sticker decals come unattached (except for two, which are already on the blocks). Colorful and easy for baby to grip.
Cons: NO INSTRUCTIONS, I had to look up videos on YouTube. My son had no reaction to these after a couple minutes, and still wants nothing to do with them. We haven’t watched Paw Patrol, so that may have something to do with it. A bit expensive, only a few dollars cheaper than Mega Bloks, but with less pieces. So far, we’re not fans.

There you go! Hope you guys are enjoying this little series of mine. I thought about doing videos on my YouTube channel, so you could get a better idea of how a little one would play with them, but I don’t know how it would work out. That just about does it for Liam’s new toys, but he should be getting more for his birthday! Look for more ratings in the future!

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Holiday Toy Haul Ratings (6-36m): Part 2

Hello, friends! Happy 2016! I hope you all had a safe and fantastic holiday. I won’t talk too much about our New Year’s here, since this is another toy rating blog, but we did have a good time doing things with family, and Liam got tons of new clothes, books, and toys, which I will tell you all about in upcoming post, hopefully sometime soon. But here we go with five more toys!

Just like last time, I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.

1. B. LucKeys Toy Car Keys with Lights and Sound
15187641

Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Keys are made from stainless steel, and are easy to clean. They look and sound like real keys, which keeps baby’s attention. Makes several realistic car noises. Light up.
Cons: Price. We found these keys at Target (though they are only available in-store), and just like with the B. Toys HiPhone, we only paid around $10. However, both toys are listed well over $35 on Amazon. Not sure why. No volume control, but the noise isn’t loud to begin with.

2. Fisher-Price Musical Lion Walker
Y9854-musical-lion-walker-d-8
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Volume control. Piano keys play notes and tunes. Has a tiny mirror with flippy animal images, and several other little gizmos for baby. Lion’s nose lights up (is also a button they can press). Walker makes noise as baby walks with it.
Cons: Walker is a bit on the lighter side, while pushing it, baby knocked it over easily. Wheels do not turn. Not many play options for babies who aren’t interested in pushing it.

3. VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone
spin_prod_964943212
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Very interactive and realistic. Is an actual “touch screen”! Screen lights up in several patterns. Screen slides to reveal two, different screens, each with different activities (number keys and music/sounds). Each number key does several commands. House button (to the right of the “0”) allows you to program your home phone number, so that you can teach your little one!
Cons: No volume control. Screen looks cheap. Lights in screen are red, as opposed to blue or white, and show up dull. Have read reviews about the lights/sensitivity in the screen not working after a short time, but no issues so far.
** As of 2/24/16, this toy no longer works. It repeats the same tune all day long, and no other buttons work. We had to turn it off permanently.

4. Little Tikes Lil’ Ocean Explorers – Crawl ‘n Pop! Turtle
638497-oeans-explorers-turtle_xlarge
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: 🌟✰✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: Cute and colorful. Shapes are easy to put into their corresponding spots. Baby enjoys chewing on shapes.
Cons: No volume control, and VERY noisy when moving. Moves somewhat erratically, as opposed to a straight line. The popping noise it makes when popping the shapes out is very loud and may startle baby. Shapes sometimes get stuck and do not pop. If the turtle is not turned on, shapes do not stay in place very well, and may fall out. Cute toy, until you turn it on.

5. Oball Rattle and Roll Car
k2-_b4517f65-5ea5-49cc-8fb9-0d5f42f17d05.v1
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Colorful, fun design. Comes in 4 different colors (my son has the red and blue pictured). Durable. Surprisingly quiet for a “rattle” toy, but still makes enough noise to satisfy baby. Moves very fast with just a tiny push. Doubles as a teether. Baby can put fingers into holes for extra grip.
Cons: Wheels are a bit loud when on hard surfaces. A bit too lightweight.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope these posts are helping at least a few people with potential gift ideas! I’ll be writing another post or two soon, depending on how many more toys I have left to score.

Hope you’re all enjoying 2016 so far!

Jan