Sunday, 23 February 2014

The 6 Best Things About Being A Baby

Hi all,

So I was just chilling out the other day with the Little-Dribbler (sounds like a Batman villain), when all of a sudden he burst out laughing for no reason. He didn’t seem to be looking at anything (at least not at my funny face), and I guess he doesn’t really have cognitive thoughts enough to make up jokes in his own head, so I just have to assume that he’s a pretty happy chap. 

It got me to thinking, how many people say to you ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be a baby again?’ and I think the answer to that is DAMN RIGHT IT WOULD. The most common reasons people say this is because if they were a baby again it would mean they wouldn’t have to:

- Go to work
- Worry about their mortgage
- Be angry at the amount of tax they have to pay
- Feel a moral responsibility to fight crime with those super powers they developed after drinking that radioactive slush-puppy when all they really want to do is watch a Breaking Bad box-set and laze about not doing anything

So why else do babies have it easy? Why would it be fun being a baby again? Because I quite like making lists, these are my own top 6 reasons why:

1) You Can Drink Milkshake In The Middle Of The Night

Well you can’t really do this as an adult. If you told someone you got up at 2am and 5am every night to drink milk then they would think you were a) a weirdo, and b) some sort of milk salesman. But as a baby it’s normal. And not only is it normal, it’s a good thing as you need it to grow! I love milk, but as the government classes me as ‘technically obese’ (which is pretty rude), I couldn’t justify waking up in the middle of the night to drink it, even if I left out the cornflakes.

Milkshake o' clock!:

2) Screaming Gets You What You Want (And That’s OK)

‘It’s my party and I'll cry if I want to’ comes to mind. I can’t really think of any social situation as an adult that if you started screaming and crying then you would get something quicker AND have people accept it as normal behaviour. If I ordered a burger in a corporate chain restaurant (no names, I don’t want to get sued) and then started crying, yes they might bring me it quicker to shut me up, but it certainly wouldn’t be normal. I’d have strange looks and probably spit in my burger.

As a baby, as soon as you start crying then you have fawning adults running about after you, cuddling you, singing to you, bringing you milkshake, changing your clothes, bringing over toys and blankets. It’s great! It’s like being a King and having willing slaves that you activate by shouting.

Bert and I a few months ago demanding burgers:

3) You Can Sleep Whenever You Want

How much sleep is too much? The recommended amount sleep for an adult is 8 hours a night (although the reality with a newborn baby is that you’re probably closer to 8 minutes than 8 hours). From a quick totally non-scientific survey (eg asking 3 people sitting next to me) I just did, most people seem to get 6-7 hours a night. But I think anyone would say, if given the choice, that if the 24 hour day was extended by 6 hours so everyone could have 12 hours sleep a day rather than 6, then they would all definitely sleep for 12 hours. Sleeping for 12 hours is brilliant! Babies totally exploit the fact they don’t have to go to work or have anything else to do to sleep 16 hours a day! That’s what I call living the dream.

If you asked anyone at any given time of the day ‘If you could have a sleep for 3 hours right now, would you?’ I bet they would all say yes. But then they couldn’t as they have TPS reports to fill out. A baby never has TPS reports to write. Too busy sleeping.

Wouldn't you rather be sleeping than doing TPS reports?

4) You Have Cuddles All The Time

I’m going to chuck this out there, I love cuddles. Or Man-Hugs if I’m feeling overtly masculine. Who doesn’t like hugs? If I’ve known someone longer than a day then I’m likely to want to give them a bear hug when I see them. Plus there is nothing like a big hug to make you feel better if you’re down. Babies pretty much get to hug 50% of their time. The other 50% they are pooing and drinking, so that’s a pretty good ratio.

You can't hug people 50% of the time as an adult. If you go out on the street and ask people then you get arrested and the judge tells you not to do it again.

Hugs are great: 

5) You Can Shit Yourself And Get Away With It

Sure we've all done it as adults, it's a fact of life that everyone has or probably will shit themselves at some point in their adult life (my old housemate even had a shit in the bath once). This is most likely after eating some dodgy meat from the new local takeaway (and you wondered why it was so cheap - they saved money by not cooking it), or drinking funny water out the tap in a foreign country even when you were warned not to, because 'I've got an iron stomach, I can take it' whereas when the Arsepocalypse happens it becomes quite clear that you in fact can't. Yes it's fine to shit yourself in those situations (it's hilarious in fact), but if you have proper friends then it's their duty TO NEVER LET YOU FORGET IT AS LONG AS YOU LIVE. You'll always be known as the guy who shit himself that time, and it's going to be pretty embarrassing when that comes up in your wedding speech.

As a baby if you decide to shit yourself, for no other reason than you need to go, it's just expected and nobody bats an eyelid. You can do it several times a day and the best thing is someone just comes and cleans it up for you! I'm not saying I would shit myself every day if I could, I'm saying it's good you could do it without getting a poo-related nickname for the next 20 years.

The Lion, The Witch and the Speccy Kid Who Shit Himself:

6) A Onesie Is Suitable Clothing

For many years if you wore a onesie as an adult, society deemed you either a snowboarder, a hipster, or a twat. And usually the latter. But recently onesies are having a bit of a renaissance, and are becoming more common, more acceptable and even dare I say it more fashionable. But you still wouldn’t go to work in one (unless you are Spiderman). I have been assured that they are super comfortable. I still don’t own one, and if I did it would have to be Superhero themed. I worry about quick access for toilet emergencies (I’m sure Spiderman has the same issue).

I digress, any baby can wear a onesie. It’s expected. They can even go outside and spend all day in them and that’s fine. They basically live in pyjamas.

I want to live in my pyjamas!

Some of the Onesies I want:

And that’s my list of why I think it's great to be a baby. Anyone else wanting to spend a day back in their baby’s shoes?

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Baby Toy Review Roundup

Hi peeps,

My child is a genius! In my eyes anyway (and probably MENSA as well). He can roll over! I fully appreciate moments like this in my past when other parents have said similar comments to me about their own children, and I have thought Really? Everyone rolls over! (especially the ones in the bed as per the nursery rhyme) But now I have my own little one, I understand what they mean. Genius behaviour.

So now we all agree my boy is an established genius, he is looking for some brain stimulation. He is starting to get control over his arms and hands now, and has been developing his Iron-Strong Grip (seriously, he has robot like strength in those tiny hands). Both of these things mean he is starting to get into toys! We have quite a few toys for him but we have a certain few that we are using to play with him and keep him entertained, and that he is at the right age for (unfortunately he is not old enough for Skylanders yet).

I thought I would do a mini review of each of his current toys he is using. I have my patented* JUDGEMENT SCALE, and I have figured the 7 best things to judge them on. Suitability For Baby Eating, Educational, Durability, Fun Level, Danger Level!, Parent Annoying-ness Level, and Does Bert Like It?

*In no way is this patented

The Judgement Scale ranges from 1 to 10. 10 being HOLY COW THIS IS AWESOME, and 1 being Do we really want to give this to our children??


Disclaimer: These views are my own, nobody has given me these toys free or asked me to do this as part of any PR, I just like toys and judging.

1. Elephant Rattle
Bert got this for Christmas from his Nanny and Grandad, and it is one of his favourites. It’s a furry rattle resembling an elephant, with a squeaker inside and crinkly sounding ears.

Suitability for baby eating – 4
Bert loves to put this in his mouth, and the shape and softness means he can jam it right in. But it isn’t chewy so not sure it helps with teething so much, and it’s also fluffly, meaning the copious amounts of drool coming out Bert’s mouth often make it a damp stick of fur.
Educational – 5
It’s an elephant head with ears and eyes and a mouth, so that’s good for nature enthusiasm. But it’s red and on a stick and furry, 3 things which elephants aren’t. So half and half.
Durability – 7
Pretty solidly put together, but it is fur so won’t last as long as plastic (ie 500,000 years in a landfill)
Fun level – 9
It squeaks and the ears crinkle. Babies find that funnier than Seinfeld! Plus it’s a red elephant.
Danger level! – 2
It’s soft, so Bert can jam it into his face multiple times without poking his eye out.
Parent annoyance level – 6
Higher than avergae. It squeaks and crinkles during Breaking Bad, and gets covered in drool which makes it damp to hold.
Does Bert like it? – 9
It’s one of his favourites.

What Bert says about it: Splsplslslppslsls *dribble*

Overall - 42

2. Keys

This is a set of teething keys on a ring. They don’t open anything (that I know of, if they did it would probably be a gateway to Narnia)

Suitability for baby eating – 7
They are designed to be chewed and stuck in a babies mouth. But at the moment because of the shape and weight, Bert finds it quite hard to actually get the right bits in there.
Educational – 2
They are sort of anti-educational, as we call them keys. So in a way we are teaching him to put keys in his mouth. Which could indirectly lead to when he is older, him swallowing daddy’s car keys when we need to go out. How these things spiral out of control.
Durability – 10
It’s plastic, as stated above. It’ll probably last a million years if it doesn’t snap in half, and Bert isn’t THAT strong yet.
Fun level –4
Are key’s fun? They clack when he shakes them.
Danger level! – 7
As per above, we don’t want him to get in the habit of shaking things on rings e.g. normal keys, measuring spoons, expensive charm bracelets. Plus they are quite unwieldy leading to a few pokes in the eye.
Parent annoyance level – 2
They are quite quiet, they keep themselves to themselves.
Does Bert like it? – 8
He enjoys shaking them and chewing them when he can get them in his mouth. It’s like a challenge to him.

What Bert says: Ba ba ba ba baaaaaaaa

Overall - 40

3. Giggle book

This was another Christmas present from Bert's other Nanny and Grandad. Not a toy that he uses himself as such, but one we use with him. It has a sort of mirror inside so he can see himself, and when you press the buttons it has sounds of babies laughing. LOL!

Suitability for baby eating – 2
It’s a book so may get soggy and possibly teeth marks in the future. And it’s quite large.
Educational – 4
It’s a book, and any book is good. Get him started young! But otherwise it’s just him looking at himself laughing along with other babies, which I imagine probably helps social development.
Durability – 3
May get dog eared with continued use and possible battery running out/snapped in half by baby Hulk.
Fun level – 10
It’s babies laughing! The whole thing is based on fun. Bert loves it and so do we.
Danger level! – 7
It’s quite heavy, if he was to use it himself he may become stuck under it like a giant cardboard tent.
Parent annoyance level – 6
Once he can use it himself I expect hours and hours of baby laughing on a loop. HA HA.
Does Bert like it? – 7
He loves the laughing and looking at himself in it. Ego.

What Bert says: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee *high pitched squeal*

Overall - 39

4. Sophie the Giraffe

This is a rubber like chew toy from France. Apparantly a few years ago this French chap invented them as baby toys were rubbish, and they have been making them to the same recipe ever since (do toys have recipes?). Check out the website here.

Suitability for baby eating – 8
Made to be chewed and seems the right mix of hard and soft. The only downside is the shape is hard for him to get in his mouth sometimes.
Educational – 8
It’s a Giraffe which looks pretty realistic (compared to the Elephant), so he has a head start on the education of African land mammals.
Durability – 9
Meant to be chewed on, and has no joints that could come apart (just like a real Giraffe!)
Fun level – 7
What’s not fun about chewing a Giraffe? It squeaks as well.
Danger level! – 5
Sometimes it can flick outwards and spray drool everywhere. Or flick inwards and do an eye poke. It also has quite long legs so can get a bit far down his throat causing him to cough.
Parent annoyance level – 2
It’s mostly silent. Plus Sophie has a coy but alluring look in her eyes which is hard to hold a grudge against.
Does Bert like it? - 10
He has started a relationship with it.

What Bert says: Ommnn omnn om onnmm *chomps*

Overall - 49

5. Chew ring

Another chew toy. It’s a ring that you chew. It’s ring shaped. It’s a good descriptive name. Nothing more to say.

Suitability for baby eating – 9
See the name, chew ring. Says it all!
Educational – 2
Again, it’s a ring. It has pictures of flowers on, so it may spark a subconscious interest in horticulture.
Durability – 5
It flexs enough but I feel it may break or split with prolonged chomping, which is likely to happen.
Fun level – 3
Mainly just used for chewing, and doesn’t have that many bright colours on it. Plus it can get stuck on his leg or arm and he can’t get it out. And having a toy stuck on you is never fun (or indeed a toy stuck IN you, as they tell me in the A&E department)
Danger level! – 4
As per above, possible splittage and getting stuck on limbs.
Parent annoyance level – 2
It’s a quiet one, but he gets annoyed if it gets stuck, which annoys me.
Does Bert like it? – 6
When it’s doing its job and not trapping him, he loves a chomp.

What Bert says: Stony silence, then an open mouthed lunge.

Overall - 31

So there we go! Bert’s overall favourite toy at the moment seems to be Sophie the Giraffe. Well done Sophie, you’re a good toy. You’ve earned your place in the Albert Bishop Toy Hall Of Fame. As your prize you will be chewed into oblivion.

What toys do your younglings like?