Finally, a Children’s CD Parents can Enjoy

April 2, 2008

I’ve listened to enough Wiggles songs to make my head explode.  I’ve heard every song that Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego have ever recited.  I know all the words to the Sesame Street classics.  But what else can I do?

You see my children like music – I mean really like music.  And in my effort to be a good parent, I try to cultivate that interest by surrounding them with music they enjoy.

Anything is PossibleAnd while they might treasure the sounds of their favorite TV characters, the repetition of that music on a daily basis is enough to test the sanity of even the best parents.

But when I’ve overdosed on children’s music, I can hardly put in Aerosmith or the Rolling Stones.  Not only is the language and references to sex and drugs questionable content for two year olds, but my kids find most of my music choices too loud (I know it’s only a short amount of time before I have the same claim about their music).

That Baby DVDBut I think I’ve finally found a CD that the children and I can enjoy together.  That Baby CD combines music made famous by some of my favorite artists with a nice acoustic sound that my kids can enjoy too.

“We are one of the few out there that have decided to take children’s music into a new direction,” said Rob Wolf, co- founder of OyBaby LLC, company behind That Baby CD.

That Baby CD has pushed children’s music further than ever before by trying to create “something that the entire family can enjoy,” Rob said.

And I think That Baby CD did just that.  The music is danceable.  The children can clap their hands to it.  Parent can – and will want to – sing along with the music, music they know from artists like Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Bob Marley. 

This CD has something for everyone.  It’s perfect for those long car rides when tensions run high and boredom sets in.  Parents can feel comfortable about putting in That Baby CD to liven up those long trips with some snappy music that gets your feet tapping and your voice singing along with the familiar words.

“I think the music has to accessible to [the children].  It has to have melodies that are catchy and words that are appropriate,” Rob said.

Rob combined his hobby video editing with Lisi’s photography skills and the pair’s love of music to produce their third children’s album.

“We struck a chord with a product that fits a need for a lot of families,” Rob said, adding that it’s a labor of love for him and Lisi.

The Wolfs first venture, OyBaby, and its sequel OyBaby 2, focused on Jewish music for babies and kids.  They wanted a way share their Jewish heritage with their children.  Both albums were well received with more than 40,000 copies sold in the U.S. and 15 other countries.

So when non-Jewish friends started asking the Wolfs for a CD that they could enjoy with their children, Rob and Lisi were happy to oblige.

In 2007, the Wolfs decided to take the things that succeeded in OyBaby and turn them into a non-religious product.  And it was only natural for them to turn again to their friend Stephanie Schneiderman, and her sisters Lisa Schneiderman and Kim Palumbis, to record their songs.

Stephanie, who has done the arrangement for all three of the Wolfs’ children’s albums, is an accomplished musician in her own right with five solo albums under her belt.  She and her sisters sing 10 of the 14 songs on the CD.

And the 14 songs came out of a lot of brainstorming on Rob and Lisi’s part.  After weeks of looking for potential songs, they came up with a list of 30 which they eventually pared down to those on the CD.

But don’t ask Rob to pick his favorite:

“That’s like asking me which is my favorite child,” he said.

I, on the other hand, have already selected my top choices – The Pretenders “Brass in Pocket” and 10,000 Maniacs “These are Days.”

The kids and I put the CD in and dance around the living room to those two tunes all the time.  It’s a great chance for them to experiment with their own dancing style.

But if you are afraid that that your little one won’t identify with the words, then you should try out That Baby DVD that comes with a child-friendly video accompaniment for each song (the picture at the top of this article is from video for Jonny Lang’s “Anything is Possible”). 

The DVD gives the children a chance to “visually put their mind to” an image when they are later listening to the CD in the car.

So if you are looking for music for your children that won’t drive you crazy, check out That Baby CD

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Christmas in March

March 12, 2008

On Saturday, my children woke up and scurried downstairs to the living room like it was Christmas morning to find a pile of “new toys” much to their delight. What, you say.  It’s only March.

T-Rex MountainNo, the Easter bunny didn’t make an early stop at our house.  And no, I haven’t joined some weird religion that has moved Christmas to March.  But I am a member of a club (club, not cult) that made my children’s Saturday morning joy possible.

I am a member of a Moms of Multiples club, a club for parents who have had twins, triplets or more.  That fact alone did not bring Christmas to my house in March.  But the club’s bi-annual fundraiser did.

In an effort to raise funds for the club and put a little money back in the pockets of the members, the club started holding a Kid’s Stuff Only Yard Sale twice a year.

Members clean out their closets and attics, bringing out gently used kid’s clothes, toys, nursery items, books and videos to sell.  We each price our own items, but we put them out in like categories (i.e. all the girls clothes that are size 6 go together,  all the toys go together, all the books, etc.).

VanityThe club makes 15% of whatever we sell.  We take home the rest.  Sure it’s not a lot of money, but it’s enough to cover a few extras like a membership at the children’s museum or to cover the cost of the twins’ birthday party.  And when you have twins, every little bit helps.

But selling is only half the fun.  Members also get to pre-buy.  We set up everything on Friday night and the sale is Saturday morning from 8-11.  But after we setup, members get first crack at cruising through the isles to find deals.

I am able to find a lot of good deals on clothes this way – and trust me it’s important to get deals when you are buying for two at a time.  Most of the clothes are gently used, but some are brand new (kids outgrew them before they got a chance to wear them).

But for my kids, it’s what else I bring home that tickles their fancy.  By the time I get home Friday night, they are asleep.  But they know Saturday morning some new-to-them toys will be waiting for them.

Last fall I spent $3 and the twins thanked me for an hour.  I kid you not.  I know you are thinking what did she buy?  I bought a box a legos. 

But they were just so thrilled at having something new (at least to them) to play with that they would play with them for a few minutes then one of them would come by and thank me.  Then they’d go play again and then the other would come by to thank me again.  This routine went on for an hour – over a box of legos.

The yard sale lets us rotate toys so the kids don’t get bored with them.  They get to try out a lot more toys that if I had to buy them new.

This year when I was tagging things to sale the twins noticed for the first time I was taking some of their toys away.  I kept hearing “That’s mine Mommy.”  But I explained that they were too big for those toys any more. 

But any grumblings disappeared when they saw there bounty Saturday morning.  My son got T-Rex Mountain, the ImagiNext dinosaur set.  He has been roaring all week.  And my daughter is still primping in front of the Princess vanity she got.  I paid a fourth of what these items retail for and they are both in great condition.

And when the twins aren’t playing with these toys, they are toting around the Look and Find books I got them.  They love to “read” and the only way I can keep them in books (without going broke) is to buy them at the yard sale.  We even had to take the new books to dinner with us Saturday night.

VehicleAnd don’t tell the twins (luckily they are two young to read mommy’s articles), but I even picked them up a surprise for their third birthday – something their grandfather wanted to buy them but they were still too young for when he past away last year – a two-passenger motorized jeep.  We’ll be giving this gift to them in Grandpa’s memory.

So now you see Christmas doesn’t really come three times a year at our house.  We just celebrate one Christmas and two yard sales.

Photos courtesy of Toys R Us.


Is it okay for children to sleep in their parents’ bed?

October 25, 2007

Do your children sometimes sleep in your bed with you?  Did they when they were smaller?  Would you admit it if they did?  According to the New York Times, an increasing number of parents are letting their infants and small children sleep with them.  But the really interesting fact is that most of these parents won’t admit it.

Co-sleepingWhy?  Because in the West, co-sleeping is not widely accepted by family or friends, or even the medical community.  Then why are parents letting their kids crawl into their beds?

Countless children start the night in their own beds, only to wake up a few hours later and pad into their parents’ bedrooms, crawling into the bed or curling up nearby on the floor.

That’s my kids. My son is so quiet about it that sometimes I don’t even realize he’s crawled into bed with us. My daughter is a bit louder, crying out for daddy or mommy.

Sure, I know that its better for the twins to sleep in their own beds, but I’d be up all night trying to coax them back to sleep in their own bed while trying not to wake their sibling.

Letting them sleep in our bed is not only easier, it’s a necessity if my husband and I want to keep our sanity and get some sleep at night.

We never intended for a co-sleeping arrangement.  In fact as infants, the twins slept in their cribs just fine. 

They shared a crib.  But by the time they were 10 months old though, there just wasn’t enough room in one crib for both of them and they were waking each other up with they tossed and turned.  So we put them in separate cribs, and eventually, separate beds. 

Herein lies where our problems started.  Apparently, waking up alone in the middle of the night is pretty traumatic for a toddler.  My daughter particularly suffers from night-time separation anxiety.

We spent many sleepless nights trying to coax one child or the other back to sleep in his/her own bed only to end up with two crying children (when they share a room, one wakes up the other) that were too upset to go back to sleep at all.

Out of desperation, we finally just let the woken child come to our bed where they instantly fall back to sleep.  And later that night, either my husband or I would take them back to their beds.

A year and half after we separated them at bedtime, I am happy to say that the nightly visits to mommy and daddy’s bed are becoming less and less frequent and are often limited to early morning hours.

But still I’m hesitate to admit that my children sleep with us, even if they do only occasionally. Why?  Because most often if the fact is disclosed, I’m greeted with a “you really need a bedtime routine.” 

We have a bedtime routine.  And it works for us.  My children go down at night with relatively little fuss.  My problem has never been getting them to sleep.  It’s getting them back to sleep when they wake in the middle of the night.  And letting them cry it out is just not an option for us.

Sure I know it’s better for my children to sleep in their own beds.  And that is the goal we are striving for.  But when you are sleep deprived, you will do whatever needs to be done so that everyone can get a good night’s sleep.

And to me, that’s the most important thing — a good night’s sleep.


Bidding farewell to the Fisher-Price IncrediBlock

April 17, 2007

Last month the twins said goodbye to their first big toy — the Fisher-Price IncrediBlock.  Not not really a tragedy, but an end to an era as my children move from babies to toddlers.

My nostalgia aside, I’d thought I’d write a little review about the IncrediBlock for any other parents of babies looking for a excellent toy to aid their child’s development into toddlerhood.

For my complete review, click here.

The twins have now passed their IncrediBlock on to their cousin who is already using it to pull herself up.  Hope your child enjoys this toy as much as mine did!