It's getting to the point where my children's tastes and mine are seriously diverging. No matter how much I try to explain the sophisticated merits of gray, my pink-loving daughter is not having it. And my son? Why settle for Chuck Tailors when you can have neon green flashy alien sneaks!
But one thing I think we might agree on is the Spiketus Rex backpack. The kids would obviously love the dramatic spines. While Mom likes the bold colors and funky design, AND the fact that they encourage a little use of the imagination. Not so literal in their design, they could be anything: an ankylosaurus, hedgehog, durian fruit...
Ah, remember when the only thing you were interested in wearing on a lanyard was an 'access all areas' pass? Might as well face it, those days are gone: for me, lanyards are all about holding my ID for the office job.
Well, your festival-going younger self would probably wrinkle up her nose at that - and equally much at this. The spoon on a lanyard is as exciting as round-the-neck action gets for the new mum, and a darn sight more useful than that backstage pass. It comes in a range of pretty colours, too.
This folding wagon wasn't designed for those with kids, but it looks like it could come in very handy for parents - whether you're bringing a million toys to the park, taking back library books, schlepping home with the groceries or going on a picnic.
It comes with a canopy, and the great thing is its capacity to fold up, making it very useful for those with limited space. It carries up to 120 pounds, and while I'm certain it'll advise you not to put your kids in it, well, when they're really extra tired, it would be tempting, no?
$159.00, with $5.00 shipping.
Boring but practical, I guess this is - the seat cover from Baby Compact (inventors of the clever Bib Easy, and Sit and Carry, both of which we covered here) allows you to indulge in the kind of seating one wouldn't normally dare to mix with food and a toddler. Just slip it over practically any sized chair.
Teflon-treated and washable, I guess these could usefully be taken on holiday and even on visits to other people's houses. And, if you're thinking you could make them yourself, well, you're right, you probably could. I suspect, however, that this is one product capitalising on the phenomenon whereby parents have no time to do anything at all for at least a couple of years post partum. Sometimes it's just easier to shrug, and buy.
The Wet/dry umbrella shows pictures only when it starts to rain.
My own kid is fascinated with umbrellas, full stop - but I think any kid would be captivated by this one. The only thing is, I'm rather disappointed that it doesn't feature nicer design aesthetics. Surely there's a chance here for a true artist to do something gorgeous with this technology?
The changing mat is one essential bit of kit that is easy to overlook - until you're the proud owners of a newborn baby, when you soon realise it's indispensible. Yes, we were those parents, pretty clueless until we had a real live eating and pooing machine in our arms. I sent my husband out to buy one just hours after we returned home from the hospital.
And if you thought all changing mats were born equal, well, think again. This offering from Küster, constructed out of memory foam, is warm to the touch and ergonomically shaped. So if you're better-prepared parents-to-be than we were, now's your chance to buy something truly useful, and top-of-the-range. It comes in blue, pink or cream - none beautiful, but for my money the blue's the nicest.
While you're on the Küster site, check out their appealing bath toy stores. OK, not a day-one requirement like a nappy mat is, but it'll come into its own, believe me - and I love the subtle colour choices.
The pictures say it all, don't they? When I see that intelligence has gone into small details like this, it gives me the confidence to make a larger purchase from the company in question.
First, and most impressive in my book, the folded-up pushchair that stands up on its own, aka the G-Luxe stroller. How many times have you perched your umbrella-folded buggy against a wall, only to have it roll away? Not any more.
Then, the cup holder with a difference. It may not be pretty, but those chains make sure your drink stays flat.
Finally, the Piggyback buggyboard. Word is, it's one of the toughest, smartest out there.
Uppababy do entire travel systems as well as pushchairs and little accessories. If they've scaled up this sort of thinking, then I'm thinking, it's worth the investment.
Gosh, where does the time go? I don't know, you close your eyes for a moment and before you know it Boon have come out with a ton of new products. What do you mean, 2006 isn't a moment ago? OK, our bad - 'cos that's when we last featured them.
Well, in the meantime, out has come all this totally inspired... stuff. Which I will now attempt to rattle through, for those who have taken their eye off the ball just like we have.
And, talking of balls, the Snack ball is a very handy out-and-about container that your baby will also love to play with once it's emptied. This is the first thing that struck my eye, because - unlike a lot of the items in this post - it's available in the UK as well as the States. Looks like Boon have brought it out in a few new colours Stateside, too.
Snackballs are small. Highchairs are kind of... big. Good thing we gave them all that time to be getting on with stuff, eh? This exceptionally cool one has a pneumatic lift, is moulded in a single piece so there's nowhere for crumbs to go, and comes in 4 exceedingly funky colourways, at $280.
Clever minds at work, here: a stretchy cover fits over almost any bowl and helps make it less prone to break when dropped.
This teething tether apparently uses the same fundamental idea as the old Chinese finger trap in order to keep it fixed in place: presumably the trap goes over the teething toy, and not your baby's finger!
Now THIS I would have called perfect, if it was, as I thought when I first saw it out of context on their website, five foot wide. It's actually quite a bit smaller, so operates more like a desk tidy. It can be used for bottles, spoons, your snackball (see above) and things of that size, and it's called the Stash.
Not convinced by any of the above? Well, this piece has stopped me calling Boon clever, and upgraded my description to genius. By the time your kid reaches the age of three, unless you keep an incredibly tight ship, you can be sure that there'll be an absolute proliferation of soft toys littering the place. The animal bag turns the problem into the solution - just stuff it with soft toys and there you have a beanbag to sit on - and a nice tidy room to put it in.
Its name is a kind of French portmanteau word, combining 'poop' and 'cabin', so you can perhaps guess the purpose of the latest assemble-it-yourself cardboard construction.
Yes, for those kids who would rather be left alone to the rather delicate business of potty training, comes this rather spiffy privy. All the benefits of the brick outhouse, *in* the house.
Inside, cute cartoon animals will keep your kid company while he treads the lonely path towards nappy liberation. And, although he will feel unwatched, the walls contain little windows just so that you can make sure everything's going the way it should.
Is it necessary? Absolutely not. Will it make your kid feel like you've bought him his own walk-in litter tray, just like the cats have? Yes, but that need not be a bad thing. Try to think of it from your kid's point of view.
Will it be used the way it was intended? Quite possibly not, but then you've also gained a playhouse, so who's complaining.
The Cacabine is available from Pirouette Cacahouete at 46 €. Apologies to the blog where I first saw this; my system has failed me. Shout if you think it was you!
Storage is the holy grail for the baby years, what with the tsunami of equipment that comes with every newborn and into the toddler years. No matter how restrained you try to be, it's just inevitable that there will be MOAR stuff.
The multi basket from Muuto would be a great defence against clutter. And it stands out against its competitors on two fronts.
One, it's soft: no anguished wails as baby knocks his uncoordinated head against a sharp corner. And two, it's gently sophisticated: you might even have bought this to store your own things in, pre-parenthood, right?
The multi basket comes in a variety of colours, but - and call us conservative if you will - we're drawn to the light grey and the dark grey.