Mar
07
2014

Photographing Precious Toddler Moments

EVEN THE MELTDOWNS AND TANTRUMS (YOU'LL LAUGH ABOUT THEM ONE DAY)

Photographing Precious Toddler Moments

I am not laughing at you. OK, maybe I am.

But it’s funny. One day I think you will find it funny, too.

Sure, most moms and dads take photographs of their children at their happiest — big, toothy grins illuminated by the summer sun or leaning over to smell fresh spring flowers  — but I want to remember it all. 

I want to capture you, this tiny creature whose moods can switch in mere seconds, like an errant autumn leaf getting snapped up in a sudden gust of wind before gently fluttering to the ground or skipping just slightly above it, as though dancing to a happy song.

This is you, my darling boy, in all your grit and glory, an adorable face transforming from beaming apple cheeks and the most delightful laugh I’ve ever heard to a crinkly, angry mess, your smattering of smiling dimples receding from sight.

As hard as you giggle, you can scream.

As richly as you laugh, you can cry.

As proud as you feel when you’ve mastered a skill, you're just as easily overtaken by frustration when you haven’t.

And you can transport me — someone who loves you with such intensity it seems impossible that my heart hasn’t burst — from feeling on top of the world to the brink of despair in the time it takes to grab a quick snapshot.

So I try to find the humour in the darker moments, when the stormy toddler tantrums hit. 

OK, yes, I was giggling when I took this photograph of you having a meltdown while getting a haircut, sitting in a rocket ship chair with a huge bin of toys beside you. You acted like you were being set on fire, or that the rocket ship was lined with chicken wire. Oh the trauma. The haircut took about six minutes; a very long six minutes.

It was a Saturday morning, and if anyone in the neighbourhood had plans for a lazy sleep in, you had something else in mind.

Yes, I understand that a stranger coming at you with scissors probably doesn’t seem like a good idea. Under any other circumstance, I’d agree that your instinct of releasing glass-shattering screams was justified.

Who could blame you?

It’s hard to explain why a person wielding a sharp object can sometimes be a good thing (especially after the crazy number of times dad and I have said ‘no, that’s sharp. It’s dangerous. It’s not for you,’ using our stern parent voices).

Life is confusing.

And it’s bloody hilarious.

This picture of you still brings me to tears; that’s how hard it makes me laugh.

So thank-you.

Even in the most trying moments, I see you: a beautiful, unpredictable and complicated evolution happening before my eyes.

One day, my sweet boy, we will laugh at this together (and if not, I do apologize in advance).

 

Mar
05
2014

How to Eat, Drink, and Be Spill-free

Yes, even with a toddler in the mix!

How to Eat, Drink, and Be Spill-free

How to Eat, Drink, and Be Spill-free

I probably spend too much time debating the merits of children’s products—snack cups, bowls and sippy cups...especially sippy cups.

Recently, I was asked to test out some of these products for Playtex (with my son’s help, of course) giving me a great excuse to wade through a few cool finds available to toddlers.

See, I am a research junkie and a Google nut. I Google just about everything and always have an extensive ‘Google’ list on the go. Before I buy something, you can bet I’ve done my homework first.

Like you, I am extremely busy, so when buying items such as snack bowls and sippy cups for my 21-month-old, I am looking for functionality, toughness, and whip-smart designs.

In other words, this cat has no desire to spend her free time mopping up milk spills and dusting off cheese bunnies.

Spouting Off About Sippy Cups

We began our test trying out the AnyTime and PlayTime cups with straws, followed by spouts.

Both of these styles are part of the new Playtex Occasion-based Cups line, offering various bottles for different stages and lifestyles, while promising durability and a spill-proof experience. This last bit is a must for us (ahem, my son occasionally has a rather unfortunate habit of throwing his sippy cup on the floor when he’s done with it instead of gingerly placing it on the table). 

The redesigned Twist 'n Click technology ensures the lids stays securely on. Many rolls and throws later, both cups showcased impressive strength while preventing messy, time-consuming leaks.

These big-boy cups don’t have handles so they fit smoothly in his lunch box and any average-sized cup holder.

While my son likes the idea of using bottles with spouts, he hasn’t mastered drinking from them and always returns to his trusty straw cups.

One of the great features about the Occasion-based Cups (the line also includes the TravelTime and TrainingTime Cups, which we didn’t review) is that the lids are interchangeable. This means you can switch between straw and spout tops, depending upon personal preference at any given time.

The AnyTime Cup is my top choice because it travels well between classes, play dates, and the dinner table. The BPA-free plastic is transparent so I know when it’s time for a refill without having to remove the lid to check.

My son, however, doesn’t give a hoot about such pragmatic things and gets a huge kick out of the entertaining images (think colourful trucks and animals, for instance) featured on the PlayTime Cups, which are also insulated to keep beverages cooler for longer periods of time.

Dinner’s Ready!

Next up, we busted out the Mealtime set, which includes a colourful matching bowl, plate, cup, spoon, and fork. Having an appreciation for the small things in life, my toddler lit up and giggled when he saw this collection of dinnerware, featuring truck images.

Our son definitely emulates us at mealtime. He wants to eat what we’re eating and loves feeding himself. The curved edges of the bowl and plate (which also have non-slip bottoms), along with the rounded tines on the fork, definitely assist with that.

As a food lover, he always looks forward to sitting down as a family, clinking glasses, and eating together. Having the right tools (read: ones that won’t shatter) are essential. This fits the bill.

Must-have, On-the-Go Goodies

My son and I never leave the house without these two things: the Twist n’ Click Snacker and Twist n’ Click Bowls. Oh, and fresh diapers, obviously.

I discovered both of these smart products after some trial and error as a new mom. The Twist n’ Click Bowls are the perfect way to store leftovers or lunch on the go. As the lid is securely sealed, you won’t find your child’s food remains in the bottom of your bag or stroller.

Meanwhile the Twist n’ Click Snacker cup has been an absolute game changer for us.

Our son has never been a fan of even short rides in the stroller, which means getting him in there even for the quickest jaunts involves a mild form of bribery, known as a delicious snack offering.

Yes, I know, this is probably parenting mistake number 807, but whatever. It works.

If you have ever had to navigate a back-arching, red-faced, stroller-resistant child, then you understand the power of the snack cup.

I love this snacker cup for so many reasons, but the main one is that the bendable lid allows access to snacks easily while also preventing spills. Another clever feature is the rotating storage cap that covers the opening  when not in use, keeping food fresh.

We use these portable cups daily on our outings and they are invaluable. Also noteworthy: They also frequently get tossed on the floor and pavement and have always survived.

Much like my toddler, I too appreciate the small things in life (and if those small things help make our hectic time-strapped days go a little smoother and whole lot cleaner, it's an added bonus).

Little ones are always on the go and when you add liquid into the mix, small sips can turn into big spills. Thankfully, Playtex has a new line of Occasion-based cups uniquely designed with your child in mind.

But with so many sippy cups on the market–each with its own set of features and functionality–how do you know which one to choose? Watch this video to find out what features you should look for when purchasing the perfect sippy cup for your busy toddler.

Don’t forget to visit Playtex Mommyville.ca for more helpful tips and advice on being a mom.