favorite toys

Toy Bear Breaks Down Sleep Barriers for the Baby

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You ... Complete me!

Many of the sleep issues we have struggled with in the past month have been severely agitated by the development of Maddie’s hand-eye coordination and her subsequent struggles with the pacifier. Once the baby learned that you could grab what you see – the pacifier became a real sleep liability.

Since Maddie has initiated the practice of taking the pacifier in and out of her mouth, it’s gone from a useful tool to a toy. (NOT GOOD) She is most proficient at taking the blasted thing out of her mouth, but putting it in properly is still a work in progress. Now when she sticks the pacifier into her mouth backwards or at the wrong angle, her mood breaks down in a big hurry.

If this sounds like it’s not a big deal, think again. These poor pacifier practices rob the family of approximately 6 hours of sleep per WEEK!!

Just when all hope seemed lost and we were ready to concede defeat, a nameless hero appeared from the ashes. It was a bear, no more than 18 inches long with a smart bow affixed to his collar. He doesn’t speak much, but he offered his paw in friendship to Maddie.

Maddie was reluctant at first, but quickly realized that this bear was someone who was also looking for a friend to comfort. Suddenly, the nasty pacifier lost its hypnotic hold over the baby. She was free to spit it out and take out any sleep-deprived frustrations on the bear with no name.

I don’t know how long this bear will be in Maddie’s good graces, but I hope he’s in for the long haul. I’ve offered him a 10-month contract with bonus potential for each additional hour of sleep we get each week. His agent has assured that we are good to go, now it’s all up to Maddie.

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Empty Water Bottle Tops Baby’s Favorite Toy List

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Double the trouble!

We aren’t really the type of parents that pack the house full of toys for our six-month-old daughter Maddie. However, we did go on a little shopping trip this weekend looking for toys that would hold Maddie’s interest and maybe even help her sit up.

Besides Maddie’s tummy time mats, we have the bouncy chair with a full compliment of flashing lights, exotic birds and monkeys. We have a juicy little car dashboard that sports some over-exuberant domesticated animals. It also has a full compliment of sounds including a revving engine, a car horn that speaks Spanish and a gearshift that lets you fry the transmission by screeching your tires.

We even have a “Wonders of the Sea” boom box called the Tote-a-Tune Fishbowl! What’s not to love about this bad boy with its light-up bubbles, dirty little invertebrates, clicking clownfish and ten show-stopping tunes?

My personal favorite is our Mozart Cube that plays a variety of tunes, but you get to choose the instruments. Maddie is just fine with that one. Heck, to one degree or another, she likes them all.

But only one of them really does the trick for her. It’s actually pretty high on her Dad’s list as well. It’s the old washed up and empty water bottle. For anyone who has ever crunched a water bottle, you know what a satisfying crinkling and crunching noise it produces.

The very first time I crunched one in front of Maddie, she was hooked. Forget the fishbowl and let the monkeys wait, crushing and re-crushing a water bottle is an interesting process that you really have to take your time with.

Like Will Ferrell said in the movie Stepbrothers, “SO MANY ACTIVITIES!”

You can whack the counter with the empty bottle, fire it off the kitchen counter and even hit yourself in the headband with it. Just yesterday, Maddie helped me with the dishes by smacking a cup right into the sink with it. (GOAL!)

And the fun doesn’t stop there, the bottle makes a terrific snack, is great for teething and can even be used to inflict blunt force trauma against her father. It’s been almost two months now and the bottle is still Maddie’s top banana!

Some baby’s get hooked on blankets and cute little stuffed toys, but Maddie never stops thinking about the environment. She is cleaning up the planet by keeping plastic bottles out of the landfills and littered around our kitchen instead. Way to go Maddie!