Dear Mama Likes – Eardrop’s Journeys, Baby Banz, Bubbly Bubs Leg Warmers and a big red Bumbo

My inbox is often filled with random offers of things. I get asked a lot if I will review nail polish. This is strange to me – as my blog is not a beauty blog (if you like beauty blogs I recommend Lena Talks Beauty) and I bite my nails something fierce and if I have a spare moment in the evenings it’s spent writing, drinking wine, or watching Total Divas (I have bad taste in TV).

But – I was actually sent something really great out of the blue a few weeks ago and I thought – hey, maybe I could share some things on here and see if you like them too. I mean why not right? So here are a few things. I haven’t been paid to write about these things. They’re just things I’ve been sent to try that I felt like writing about.

So here’s the first iteration of Dear Mama Likes. I figured I’d do it monthly – and we’ll see how we go. And I’m keen to hear what you think, and if there’s anything you want me to review let me know. It’s called Dear Mama Likes because my Eddie calls me Dear Mama (I have no idea why but I’ll probably cry forever when one day he just calls me mum!) and also because it’s stuff I like. Wow, I’m a genius.

First up – Eardrop’s Journeys

Liz Donnelly created her small business The Eardrops Company in 2005 after her son had suffered from glue ear and she wanted to help him with listening. I think she’s awesome for showing initiative and creating products that not only help her own children – but other children too. Liz’s background is in media for children and she knows her stuff. She knew her little boy needed to listen to real world sounds and re-learn some of the words he had previously mastered. She developed Eardrop’s Journeys – they’re CDs of sounds for children to identify. They’re almost half an hour long and have around 30 sounds on each “journey” – the three CDs I sampled were Sounds of the Home, Sounds of the City, and Sounds of the Farm.

And Eddie freakin loved them. And so did I! And here are three reasons why:
1) He sat there for 28 minutes listening to one of them! 28 freakin minutes! I could honestly marry Liz for giving me 28 minutes to do housework (I didn’t do housework – I went on Facebook). Eddie, like most almost three-year-old’s, doesn’t have much of an attention span but he was really into the CD. He closed his eyes to imagine the sounds and yelled out the noises that he recognised. “DAT A DIGGER DEAR MAMA! A DIGGER RIGHT DERE!”

2) I didn’t feel guilty when he listened to two CDs in a day because it’s not “screen time”. I try not to but some times I feel shit about putting on episodes of some crappy TV show because I need to focus on The Ham or I need to do something other than pretending to be a “unicoin” like clean the toilet once a week (month). It’s stupid to feel guilty about it but when huge corporations are crapping on about “turn off your devices turn on your families” (or some weird message like that) it’s hard to just ignore the FEEL GUILTY NOW messages. Anyway, I didn’t feel guilty about him listening to the Eardrop’s Journey CD because he was learning and he was focused. I could tell his little brain was ticking over. After listening to the “at home” sounds he asked me if we could “do them sounds”. So we made a cup of tea and he listened to the kettle. Then we played the kettle sound. Then he listened to the spoons tinkering and made the same sound with a spoon. I could see him making connections which was pretty cool.

3) Like many kids he is freakin terrified of certain sounds – three are on the “at home” CD and there’s a pig sound on the “at the farm” CD *cue Jaws music*. I had no idea how he would react and wasn’t quite sure what to do to prepare him for the first scary sound – The Hair Dryer – but thankfully Eardrop the Rabbit (the narrator of Eardrop’s Journeys) said “Loud noise coming!” which put the wee one on alert. He sat on my lap and we listened to the noise. “Das a leddle bit scary” Eddie said. Then he asked to listen to it again. And again. And after we listened to it 2876 times in a row he said he wasn’t scared anymore.
So there you go.

The other thing I liked was that the voices are all Kiwi voices (the postie on Sounds of the City is Simon McKinney). In short – I recommend it. I’m hoping to use it for our next road trip – I think it’ll definitely keep him entertained on the road. And I think it’s really cool that Liz (who now has three children) created such a lovely little product for children.

Download Eardrop’s Journeys from iTunes
Download Eardrop’s Journeys at Google Play
Purchase Eardrop’s Journeys CDs on Trade Me
Or email Liz to order direct: liz@eardrops.co.nz

Next up – Baby Banz ear muffs

I’d been eyeing up Baby Banz ear muffs since before I even had a kid. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know I’m a huge bogan (NZ bogan – Black jeans wearing gentle creature that drinks bourbon and loves metal) and my husband is a huge bogan and we were destined to produce baby bogans. When I was pregnant with Eddie my husband said “we need to get some ear muffs so we can take him to gigs”. In our never-had-a-baby heads we thought we would just take the baby wherever we went. Oh how we were stupid. BUT – the first born bogan will be three soon and he will be going to his first concert. AC/DC. Because AC/DC is to my family what Jesus is to Christians. Eddie’s jam is Thunderstruck and even though we have heard it eleventy billion times in the last year we are so excited about taking him to see the real thing. And IRON MAIDEN – Hello! He is named after Iron Maiden (my youngest is named after Dio Bless His Soul). So when some Baby Banz ear muffs arrived in my letterbox, the timing couldn’t be better. I want to take the boys to gigs if they’re old enough and I deem them safe (and I’ve seen AC/DC twice and Iron Maiden once and I saw heaps of kids at both). So I needed ear muffs.

My criteria was that they had to actually work. And the kids had to want to keep them on. So first off – the kids can still hear you when they’re on. Which is what I wanted. They just dull the noise enough that they’re not going to get injured by Back in Black at full volume. They meet the safety requirements for the American National Standards Institute and the European Standard for hearing protection and hearing protectors. They also meet the Aussie standards. So that covers that.

But will they wear them?

Eddie tried the “mini muffs” designed for kids up to two-years-old and the Banz ear muffs that are adjustable and designed for kids aged two to ten+. He wore both and said they were both comfortable – but he preferred the mini muffs. They were easier for him to put on by himself – he needed help with the larger muffs. I could actually fit the larger muffs – so could potentially put them on in the evenings when I want some quiet time. Eddie took both to his kindy for pānui and felt very proud that he could show off his ear muffs “FOR EDDIE BIFDAY AT ACDC”. Ronnie was more of a test – but I was amazed when I put them on and he wasn’t bothered by them at all. Here’s proof – because a six month old tolerating wearing ear muffs must be seen to be believed.

You can buy Baby Banz straight from their website or from stockists around New Zealand. They’re around $44.50. They’re sturdy too – so should last quite a while even if your kids are into wrestling.

Finally – I thought I’d plug Mighty Ape because they saved my bacon the other week.

Have you ever had a leg warmers emergency? Because I have. I told Eddie I would get him some leg warmers because he’d been especially kind and gentle with his brother and helped me clean up and was just a patient sweet little being while we were all sick. But I totally forgot that I had offered up this prize until he came to me asking where his leg warmers were. He doesn’t often ask for things so I thought I really should get them for him (and keep my promise, and learn my lesson about keeping promises by not offering things that are hard to  procure). He’d seen bits of Footloose – I know, I don’t know how to parent anymore, the kid just loves 80s dance moves – and he wanted leg warmers. So I googled leg warmers and landed on the Mighty Ape site and found Bubbly Bubs Leg Warmers. They were reasonably priced at $10 (and actually really great for that price – but I’m skipping ahead) the main thing was – I bought them and they delivered ON THE SAME DAY. THE SAME DAY.

He barely ever stops moving long enough for me to get a good photo!

He barely ever stops moving long enough for me to get a good photo!

So I was basically freakin’ Santa Claus in August OK. A Kevin Bacon-inspired Father Christmas. And Eddie ate all of his afternoon tea without any protest because he was so happy with his leg warmers and he wore them every day for a week.

The whole process was so super easy that I decided to contact Mighty Ape and be like – Hey, do you know how great it is that you post on the same day because sometimes you really need leg warmers LIKE RIGHT NOW. And then I talked about this blog and they sent me a Bumbo to review.

Now I didn’t know much about Bumbos so I Googled them and did you know that Bumbos are like dummies and there is this secret hilarious war raging online where people feel super passionate about them like OMG I LOVE MY BUMBO MORE THAN I LOVE MY CHILD and OMG PARENTS WHO USE BUMBOS ARE SATAN.

I am in the middle.

A bumbo is a floor seat. It’s hard to get worked up about a floor seat. I tried. But I couldn’t.

My bumbo is red. I like red. It’s not as huge as I thought it would be. When I saw it I was a bit nervous about putting the Christmas Ham into it because I was worried he’d get stuck because he’s so fat. I had a sudden terrifying thought that I’d have to grease him up with butter to get him out or call the fire department and we’d end up in the paper like BUTTER COVERED BABY STUCK IN BUMBO, WORST MOTHER ARRESTED.

But he fit in there. And he seemed to like it. He was a bit confused, his internal monologue seemed to be: hold on, I can’t sit up, so how am I sitting up? But he didn’t cry or anything. And he seemed to like his new view. It’s quite hard to do up the belt – because he’s too fat. But I have put him in it quite a bit – just for short periods because I have to watch him quite closely in it. The base is really solid but I still worry he will flip it. Which doesn’t at all seem possible to be honest. My husband was quite impressed with it as a piece of engineering and I Googled and it has won awards.

He likes sitting up and watching his brother. He’s always hated tummy time – I mean what kid likes tummy time? No kids. No kids at all. So he’s on a constant rotation of – tummy time until he screams (usually 30 seconds after being laid on his back and rolling over), bouncer (usually for 30 seconds until he arches his back and tries to flip it), then the exersaucer or as I like to call it “The Circle of Neglect”. It’s great to be able to add another thing to this circuit to give me a combined time of about 15 minutes to shower, brush my teeth, put clothes on, make lunch, clean up, and just do every single thing I need to do in a day.

Here’s what the makers of Bumbo say about it:

“The floor seat stabilises the child into slight hip flexion, placing the pelvis in a slight anterior pelvic tilt which facilitates lumbar extension. This action, combined with the gentle curve of the seat back that matches the natural curve of the rib cage, facilitates the baby around the lower ribs and trunk for stabilisation. The Seat allows for active practice of the head and postural trunk control. It also allows a child the pelvic stability needed to get the hands into the mid line for play. Upright positioning facilitates an improved visual field of the environment, improved respirations and breath control, assists a baby who needs to be upright after feeding due to reflux and many other benefits.”

I don’t know what any of that means. But it’s red. And I think it’s quite useful for a fatty like Hamburger given he can hold his head up well but seems hampered by his huge belly. I think it’s early days to give a strong opinion but at the moment I would say – Yes, I’d Bumbo again. You can buy it on MIghty Ape and they will deliver it ON THE SAME DAY.

Hambo

Hambo

Oh and he looks super cute in it and that is worth something. I have definitely bought products before just for the cute factor. I mean I partly buy swaddles based on how much like a burrito they make my babies look. “Does it make them look like a burrito?” is actually on my “things I look for in a baby product”.

Maybe don’t trust me with product reviews after all.

21 Comments on “Dear Mama Likes – Eardrop’s Journeys, Baby Banz, Bubbly Bubs Leg Warmers and a big red Bumbo

  1. Thanks for linking to me! I love the Ham in the bumbo! My friend loved hers, her daughter sat it in it and would actually sit in one place for once. I can’t believe I just read a post about baby products when I have zero babies, but I did!

  2. This is all I ever want in a product review! “BUTTER COVERED BABY STUCK IN BUMBO, WORST MOTHER ARRESTED” is going on your tombstone Emily. You are one hilarious woman!!

  3. Well it turns out you could review the White Pages and be hilarious. Thank you for a VERY entertaining post – what a fabulous reviewer you are!

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  5. I’m out of the stage of parenting where I need any of these products but I read the reviews anyway because your writing makes me smile. PS I don’t eat ham but your baby is delicious. PPS Your post has inspired me to find a copy of Footloose to show my kids.

    • I don’t know when Footloose becomes age appropriate – I don’t think I’ve seen the whole movie in full for years and years (maybe ever?) but I just put the dance scenes on for him and now he only wants to dress like Kevin Bacon ?

    • Oh my gosh!! ?? I’m trying not to laugh too much (3.56am and baby is on the boob). I need them!! ?? and thank you – I think my babies are lovely too ❤️

  6. Love your reviews! We loved our Bumbo until the youngest started to put his feet on the floor and push himself out of it despite being wedged in because he’s so fat! His older (and much skinnier) brother didn’t mind though- apparently it’s the most comfortable thing to sit in when you’re gazing at the TV!

    • That is the best image! Eddie has tried to fit in it a few times! I think he sees it as a challenge. So good to know it lasts longer than a few months – that’s something I wasn’t sure about.

      • I think we’ve bettered the use of the Bumbo today. Apparently, if you’re 3 and you turn it upside down, put it on your head and walk around the house crashing into things, it becomes the world’s best crash helmet. If you’re 3 this is also the funniest thing you’ve ever done and the Bumbo helmet comes in particularly useful when you fall over from laughing so much! Bless him!

  7. I have been thinking about getting a bumbo – seeing how cute the Ham looks makes me want to get one!

  8. Love your reviews! Hilarious and fun to read and made me go searching through the products although I have no kid to buy for 🙂 Eddie & Hamburger are gorgeous in the photo/videos as always!

  9. Love that you have reviewed some useful stuff and as always love your writing. I got Baby Banz earmuffs for a concert and also ended up buying their sunglasses and a camouflage bandana, not necessary for the concert but adorable nonetheless! Love the sound of Eardrop’s Journeys for when my boy is a bit bigger.

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  11. I love your husband. It started when I read the previous blog ‘getting my life back’. You were in a bad way and your husband ‘asked if we could call the midwife together’. I went home and told my wife (who put me onto your website), I’d have said “you should call the midwife”, this guy has absolutely nailed it. I wish I could achieve that perspective, it’s so effortlessly caring.
    On this blog “we need to get some ear muffs so we can take him (Eddie) to gigs”. Anyone who knows to put music central in their kids life has got it right.
    Then this morning my wife sent me your blog ‘Day three’ from March 2. I couldn’t help but admire the calm way he edged towards the coffee machine and saved your marriage with a flick of the switch. If only it was all that easy.
    Please tell me he’s human! Please tell me he sulks or whines once in a while!!!!!! (actually don’t, he’s a partial pseudo role model)
    I love you more of course. It’s not just that you make me laugh even when you’re talking about awful stuff, it’s the number of times you make my wife and me feel a little less weird. This is priceless. I know its easy to sound cool in soundbites, and you conjure up those soundbites (great press for your husband!).

    By the way, great options for first gigs. This stuff is vitally important, and I tell everyone this. When our kids are around 14, sitting around with mates, trying to act cooler than they are, someone will inevitably ask ‘what was your first gig?’. It’s your responsibility on that front. If Eddie gets to say Iron Maiden or AC/DC he is gonna be pure ice.

  12. What a lovely comment Owen! I read it out loud to my husband and he was really chuffed! I think he’s pretty wonderful. I’m a lucky woman 🙂 thanks for reading and thank you for your comment, it really made our day! X