NOT: Belly Casting and Memorabilia

Ok, so we’re explicitly anti-twee here. Also anti-‘earth mother’.

That being said, we don’t want to judge other people. We don’t think any less of people who love twee or earth mother things. Live and let live I say. You can buy an Anne Geddes, we’ll pick up a Shen Jingdong, but we can still have a beer together afterwards, right?

All of this is a rather long prelude to saying that Joyce and I won’t be wall mounting a cast of her (increasingly) pregnant belly once NKOTB arrives. If this is your kind of thing, great! You won’t get any competition from us for either the professional or the do it yourself option. Or for the artist embellished ones.

Having thought about this since the Baby Expo, I think our aversion to belly casts extends towards most of the commoditised baby memorabilia out there. It’s not that we’re unsentimental, it’s that we’re seeking sentiment in things that are unique to our experience of parenthood. While I expect that we’ll experience joy in  many of the same things as other parents, we don’t feel the need to buy something in order to remember these universal experiences.

For instance, baby feet are cute, but I don’t think I need to see them on my stubby cooler.

My Alfie Langer, Brisbane Broncos stubbie cooler has far greater personal significance…

NOTE: We haven’t included a link to the company in question as we’re not trying to have a go at them. If you’re interested, belly-casting companies are pretty easy to find online…

HOT: Coco Baby Lounger

More HOT stuff from the Melbourne Pregnancy Babies and Childrens Expo and more love to sleek kids Scandinavian furniture.

This time, it’s a self rocker from Bloom Baby called the Coco Baby Lounger. You already know that I have an aversion to fluffy ducks and bright padded quilting so I really didn’t fancy getting a baby rocker that clashed with our potential purchase of a replica leather Eames armchair and ottoman for our new sitting room (yes! vain I know).

When I first saw the Coco Baby Lounger I simply couldn’t resist running my hands along its elegant curves and smooth wood grains. It was, dare I say it, a sexy piece of baby furniture. It was going for 20% off at the expo at $215 (normally retails for $269) but it still didn’t quite seal the deal for us. It wasn’t really a purchase we’d been planning to make on the day and we hadn’t done any research at all about how much a fluffy duck-padded quilted version would cost in comparison.

Tim and I dithered, discussed, walked around a bit more, checked eBay for second-hand listings on the iPhone and tried to negotiate a cheaper price by paying cash. In the end, desire outwon budget and so NKOTB will be rocking away in the one pictured on the left – cappuccino with a coconut-white pleather (easy wipe apparently) seat. Hopefully (as the salesguy and father of three said) she’ll be able to rock in it from newborn well into 3-4 years old.

HOT: Danish by Design

So what made enduring the craziness of the Melbourne Pregnancy, Babies and Children Expo worthwhile?

For us, the highlight of the Expo was the Danish By Design stand. Of course it was also the most expensive stand at the Expo. Typical. Woe; the financial burdens of hipster taste.

Joyce and I have always loved Danish furniture design. High quality workmanship, gorgeous form and clever functionality; it’s the total package. If only it came with the price tag of Swedish design.

There were three stand-outs for us at Danish by Design:

1. The Leander Chair

The Leander Chair is a stylish timber high chair with adjustable straps, seat and footrests designed into it. This enables the chair to be adjusted and expand as the baby grows. Once your tot is six years old you can pull out the footrests and straps altogether and it functions as a ‘normal’ chair that can hold the weight of an adult up to 130kg.

2. Nathi Change Table

Ah the Nathi Change Table. I was especially enamoured with this piece of design. Basically it’s a wall mounted timber change table with mattress and shelves that folds away to hide all of the nappy-related crap. It would be a big saver of floor space in the kids room (important for our relatively cramped inner city life) and would hide the less glamorous side of parenthood from visitors behind a stylish Danish façade (important to our hipster parent cred).

I really wanted it, but at about $800, it was just too rich for Joyce and I :(.

3. Leander Bed

Last but not least, Joyce and I both fell in love with the Leander Bed on sight.

As the Leander website says, it’s  “five furniture in one overall design”.  A crib that converts into a cot and then into a junior bed (with two hybrid stages in between). Plus it’s gorgeous and has a similar colour scheme to the bed that Joyce and I use (which, by the way is by the aforementioned Swedish design company).

That being said, at $1800 our taste was too rich for our wallet again. So, reluctantly, we left the expo with our souls un-lifted and our wallets un-burdened by Danish furniture.

However, there’s a happy ending to this consumption driven story. Upon arriving home we thought we’d give eBay a go to see whether we could pick up any of the items we had our eye on on the cheap. Serendipitously, we found a sole Leander Bed on eBay, in an auction ending in a few hours time and based a few minutes drive from the area of Melbourne that  we would be visiting the next day. Thanks to some deft auction sniping from Joyce we were able to pick up the Leander Bedfor around half the asking price at the expo – we were practically saving money by buying it! Score!

On a serious note, while still reasonably expensive, we think the Leander Bed is a pretty good investment. The benefit of high quality workmanship and timeless design over a cheaper and lesser quality option is that we think there’s going to be a reasonable shot of achieving some re-sale value for the bed once we’re finished with it.

Who knows, maybe a young couple will be in the market for a Leander Bed after going to a Melbourne Pregnancy, Babies and Children Expo in 2015….

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.

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