Friday, December 17, 2010

Product Hits & Misses: "Just Like the Other Kids" Edition

In general, as a parent, I tend to look askance at the argument "But Mo-o-o-o-m! All the other kids have one!" My poor, deprived children have neither Nintendo DS nor Playstation nor X-Box nor even Wii. Rose will tell you that on such scores, particularly with the expensive stuff, Mama has a cold Grinchy heart.

And yet. As with so many things, Joy leads me to new perspectives. For Joy, the opportunities to be like other kids are fewer and farther between than for her sister. I find myself actively seeking out opportunities to emphasize the "just like the other kids" aspects of her life. In some cases, like the two below, that includes products -- products that don't break the bank, even!

When we sent Joy off to school this fall, eating and drinking were a special consideration. I can pretty easily send a bag lunch that will keep her well-nourished. Drink, however, was a bit of a question. Joy doesn't "do" milk or juiceboxes these days. Fortunately she still likes water (and soda, though we don't send that to school!) She gets an open cup with supervision at meals at home, and was still using sippy-ish cups at daycare.

But Mama can't send a toddler-ish sippy to kindergarten with her big girl! So I went looking for a spillproof cup that:
  • fits in a lunch box
  • holds a decent-size drink of water
  • doesn't leak
  • is easy to open and close
  • is easy to drink from
  • is not particularly susceptible to chewing damage (no soft-straws)
  • has gradeschool appeal

I found it at Target, at the appealing price of $3.99!

Target Embark Water Bottle
Target's Embark water bottle is BPA free, comes in bright colors (but without commercial character images), and has held up for a number of months so far. Joy has a pink one, Rose has a purple one, both are happy with them. We know of at least one friend whose mom got her one too after seeing my girls using theirs at the park after school! The only downside of these I can see is that they're in-stores only. Which is where Santa went to buy some stocking stuffers lately -- it will be good for each girl to have a back-up bottle...

Well, we got the original bottles back in the summer when the weather was still hot and the hydration need was more evident. But now we've got 10 inches of snow on the ground and temperatures in the deep freeze. Growing girls need winter gear, and that includes snow boots. Fortunately Joy does not have any particular foot issues / need for orthotics or any such. What I do require in Joy-boots is rugged construction and ease in getting the things on and off. What we've used over the past several years for both Rose and Joy, just like many of their classmates use, is the Snow Flurry boot from Land's End:

Snow Flurry Boot
The big draw of these boots ($29.50, and you can order them online) is the velcro side-closures. You can't entirely tell from the picture, but each of the sides pulls open into a big wide gusset that makes lots of room for a little foot to go in, and then clings tightly closed to keep the boot on.

They've been improving these boots since we first tried them a few years ago. My only complaint with last year's pairs was that they got pretty stinky after a long season. This year's version claims "Antimicrobial finish helps fight odor" so we'll see if it helps! They've also made last year's little pull-tabs at the top of the closure into actual loops that a little finger can fit through to pull.

Joy's got the purple ones, and a couple of days ago as we were walking home we fell in with one of her classmates, a little guy who always greets her with a "hi, Joy!" even though he usually doesn't pay much attention to her other than that. This time, however, he noticed and took care to point out that Joy had the exact same boots as his younger sister -- and the same style as his own. Just like the other kids.... ahhhhh.

I've been lax about "disclaimer-ing" these product posts, but I do want to make clear -- I receive no compensation nor consideration from the companies whose products I write about. If I ever get a review sample of anything, I will disclose that fact and would point out both positive and negative features forthrightly.


Anonymous said...

I would love to have both of those for myself!

All that being like everyone else is over-rated. Well, except if it is your classmate's sister!


Liz Ditz said...

De-stinkifying boots:

Per boot, take a worn-out sock that will fit inside. Partially fill said sock with baking soda. Close sock with a knot or a series of rubber bands (1) close (2) fold over (3) second rubber band.

When the boots are off, insert baking soda sock.

Another trick if you have room:

Take empty wine bottles (or soda bottles) similar made of glass. Fill mostly with baking soda. Insert boots over wine bottles to allow to dry/drain, then put the baking soda socks in later.

JoyMama said...

Barbara -- well, if you've been a *very* good girl this year, who knows what you'll find in your stocking!? (Though I'm not sure they make those boots adult-size, or I'd've gotten some for myself by now.)

Liz -- excellent tips! I'll have to squirrel away a couple of empty glass bottles when I get a chance -- wine is a very occasional treat around here. :-)

jess said...

Katie and I JUST got back from buying this year's snow boots. She had her pick of uber stylish to those that more obviously valued function over form. What did she pick? THE EXACT SAME BOOTS!! She got them in a sherbet-y pink. Best part? They are 40% off. $19. Better best part? This year, Mama actually got her a mixed pair, rather than the two right feet she wore all last winter. Yes, really.

Great choices, JoyMama!