HOT: Melbourne Pregnancy Babies and Children’s Expo

Last Saturday, Joyce and I caught the Number 96 Tram all the way to the Melbourne Convention Centre and the Melbourne Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo.

It was as terrifying as it sounds.

It was loud. There were screaming kids and blaring kids music for the whole day. (Joyce – I think we got a jolt of reality about what our future as parents would be like. Eek!)

It was packed. There were pregnant women and strollers  clogging the aisles at every turn.

And it was shamelessly emotionally exploitative. I couldn’t count the number of stalls that intoned some variation of the statement that ‘Your baby deserves the best’ or ‘You shouldn’t risk raising your child without our product ‘. There might as well have been a giant banner urging attendees to ‘Measure your love for your children in dollars!’.

However, despite it all, it was probably worth going. There were lots of worthwhile ideas for Joyce and I as first time parents – heaps of things we hadn’t thought of before and seemed genuinely useful. Further, there was lots of cheap and discounted stock – cutting out the retailers margin certainly makes getting ready for the arrival of NKOTB easier on the wallet. (Joyce – who knew that there was so many nappy options on the market!).

So on balance the whole ‘expo thing’ was a worthwhile experience that we’d recommend to our friends, maybe as a once-off.

With one important caveat. We wouldn’t recommend doing it WITH kids. Joyce was struggling enough by the end of the day carrying around the NKOTB in her stomach. Bringing an audible and/or mobile tot in tow at a convention like this would be a recipe for major parental pain. Urgh, I don’t want to even think about it!

We’ll be blogging a number of the HOT and NOT things we came across at the expo over the coming week or so.

HOT: Sesame Street Celebrity Cameos

Essentially Baby recently posted a list of the 10 best Sesame St Celebrity Cameos.

It was a great list, but it didn’t include my favourite:  REM’s Furry Happy Monsters.

Dare you not to smile after watching this video!

HOT: Little Passports

Tim and I are huge travellers but we acknowledge that our weekend break/backpacking overseas travelling days are probably over for the near future with the arrival of NKOTB.

Nevertheless, we’d like to be able to instill a sense of adventure, wanderlust and curiosity for other cultures early on in NKOTB without the pain of longhaul flights and repeated cries of ”are we there yet?’. So I was most excited to discover Little Passports. I’m a grown adult and I want to sign up for myself!

Little Passports is a subscription service run by two mums out of San Francisco whereby every month your child receives an exciting new package from a new country from the characters Sofia and Sam. The delightful looking packages include letters, souvenirs, stickers and photos as well as online games and through it your child will learn about a country’s geography, history, culture and language.

Can you imagine the thrill of being 5 years old (recommended age is 5-10 years old) and receiving real post (remember what it was like in our childhoods?) as well as something exotic from another country including toys, puzzles and postcards?

Finally, I love Little Passports even more when I find out that a portion of the subscription fees are donated to select charities positively impacting the lives of children around the world.

Little Passports currently appear to only ship to the US and Canada. However, I’m seriously thinking about using the Hop Shop Go service which provides an American postal address and stockpiling these subscriptions for NKOTB now, then presenting them every month as a year-long present for her 5th birthday.

HOT: High Expectations = High Performance

Given that NKOTB will be a member of the Eurasian Generation of Super Kids, help am I allowed to become a High Expectations Asian Father?

If so, buy my high expectation is that NKOTB be able to perform Ukulele versions of classic pop songs by the age of four:

patient 0,40,0″>

Only four years to wait…

HOT: How to Handle Insightful Questions from Kids

Another one from the “I’m going to try to remember this for after NKOTB” arrives.

Via XKCD:

Given that Joyce has quite rightly pointed out that I am very good at sounding authoritative about things that I know nothing about, I’m going to have to be disciplined about helping NKOTB to ‘learn more’ rather than ‘bluff through’!

HOT: The Bitch is Back

Now that RM and I finally have a place to call home (and from which we don’t have to move from a very long time) and a baby on the way we’re starting to get mightily excited about furnishings of all sorts, including baby stuff.

Our new unit is a curious mix of Art Deco/21st century modern and so I’ve started haunting eBay for vintage items like old wooden desks, as well as shiny metal modern pieces like an Arco floor lamp. We’ve also morphed into middle-aged retired couple persons and taken to browsing vintage furniture shops on our weekend.

The strangely named The Bitch is Back (100A Barkly St, St Kilda) is well-known in interior design circles as a shop stocking vintage mid-century furniture in excellent condition with some new, retro-inspired pieces dotted amongst the display. The front corner room was particularly exciting for me – lots of gasp-inducing statement lamps and chandeliers (I have a real thing for lamps at the moment). As you pick your way through the first room the shop extends back to about three rooms, piled high with cupboards, wooden tables, smooth Danish designed chairs and bric-a-brac such as old scales, radios and vases.

While there was lots to love in the shop (and the friendly owner told us that their online catalogue changes with new stock all the time) in the end, RM and I agreed on only a single item that suited our needs and budget – a bird lamp for the nursery for $99. Not sure of its provenance or designer, but we like it and we hope NKOTB will too.

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