Wednesday, July 27, 2011

From Left to Write: Costume Trunk

In The Costume Trunk, Courtney and her friends discover the magical world of Paddywhack Lane where all they need is their imagination to have fun. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own. You can read other members' posts inspired by The Costume Trunk by Bob Fuller on book club day, July 28 at From Left to Write.

After I read The Costume Trunk, I began to think about pretend play and how it differs in my children's lives from my own childhood. Growing up in those early days after my family immigrated to the US we didn't have a lot of toys. So when we engaged in pretend play, my sisters and I had to use whatever we had. Sometimes we would take library books, open them up, and stand them end to end and pretend they were our princess castles. Many nights at bedtime we would play "window" with our pillows where one person lived across the street from the other. One person would be the outgoing neighbor who would say hello while the other person would be shy and shut the window quickly after hearing the greeting. We played this countless times over a two year period, although now I can't figure out why it was so fun at the time.

Now that I'm a mom with far greater financial resources than my parents had while I was a child (it also didn't hurt that Stewart worked for a toy company for the first two years of R's life), I want to be able to give my children the toys with which they can unleash their imaginations. But these boys will not cooperate. They have two different doctor's sets. They have capes for superheroes ranging from Superman to Super Why. They have a stick horse that always reminds me of the scene from The Godfather because of the disembodied head. But the only times these toys get played with are when other children come to play. Why? Because whenever my boys "pretend," they are superheroes (no capes required) that are killing space aliens. We have no guns other than water guns in our house so they just go around shooting things with their fingers. How did this happen? They've never watched a single episode of Ben 10 or Super Hero Squad or any program that isn't on PBS or Nick Jr., yet they know Iron Man, Hulk, Transformers, and other heroes that I don't even know.

So for me, I think the answer to the question, "nature v. nurture?" is definitely nature. For some reason they'd rather shoot aliens with their fingers than put on a stethoscope and examine stuffed animal patients. Sometimes they will play with their stuffed animals when we do puppet show, but it is always the same, one animal is falling and another has to "rescue" it. So I think they must have been born with the savior complex and our plan to send them to a service academy for college is right on track. Perhaps having a great-grandfather who served in WWII, a grandfather who served in Vietnam, and a West Point graduate father who served in Kosovo and Iraq is a legacy that is part and parcel of their genetic makeup.

Now with a new baby daughter I have a way of seeing if this superhero nature is innate to all the Random Mommy children. Even before she was born Baby E already had a play tea party set and an American Girl doll. Hopefully she won't leave me in the dust while she goes and shoots the aliens with her brothers.

Monday, July 25, 2011

World of Pink and Hello Kitty CD Clock Radio from Sparkle Bee Review

When I found out I was having a girl, I was so excited because I was finally going to be able to do all the mother-daughter things for which I would envy my friends with daughters whenever I heard about them. The mother-daughter teas, watching princess movies, shopping at the mall just to shop, and getting excited about cute pink things. I had let R indulge his pink fascination because I thought he was my only outlet. So R has a pink bedding set, pink drinking cups and sand buckets, pink bouncy balls and numerous other pink toys. Little did I know that there is a Korean custom that if you want to have a daughter, you give your son lots of girl toys and dress him in girl clothes. I have to admit, I did the latter once, when R threw a fit about not having a pink shirt. I took one of the size 2T shirts that Baby E had received as a hand-me-down (before she was born) and let R wear it. I had almost gotten him pink shoes but refrained after a quick facebook poll put the kibosh on it. Anyway, my mom said so much pink is why I finally was able to have a daughter!

So now that Baby E has made her appearance in the world and pink is everywhere, I'm at a loss as to what to do about R. Do I continue to let him have everything in pink or transition him to a different favorite color so he won't be ridiculed by his peers as he gets older? Well, I'll have to see what happens over the next year as Baby E gets older. When she starts reaching for all the pink products, will R fight for them or pick something else? For now, I'm happy to let R have them. He was so excited when he saw the Hello Kitty CD clock radio that I received to review from Sparkle Bee.

If you love Hello Kitty like I do then you should definitely check out Sparkle Bee from Marino Andriani on Facebook and Twitter. The company has great giveaways every week of their hottest Hello Kitty products and even does surveys to get direct input from consumers on what styles should go into production. I really like the fact that Marino Andriani, the President of Sparkle Bee, takes a personal interest in every product and responds to comments personally. He makes sure that consumers know the person behind Sparkle Bee.

These are the features of the Hello Kitty CD clock radio we reviewed:
* Top Loading CD Player
* CD-R/RW Compatible
* Skip/Search Forward and Back
* Repeat and Random Play
* Programmable Memory
* AM/FM Stereo Radio
* FM Stereo Indicator
* Multi-function 0.6" Red LED Display with Dimmer
* Wake to CD, Radio or Alarm
* Power, Repeat, Program and Random Indicators
* Sleep Function
* Snooze Function
* Power: Unit - AC 120V 60Hz
* Battery Back-up (1 x 9V/not included)

So far R has figured out how to play CDs without breaking the machine so it definitely passes the kid-friendly test. The buttons are large enough and spaced out widely enough for kids can memorize what they are for if they, like R, aren't readers yet. Someone told me that kids wake up early until they need to get up in time for school so we're looking forward to testing out that theory once H has to go to kindergarten in September. If it turns out to be true, Hello Kitty will definitely be waking up the boys! As for me, I found out on the Sparkle Bee website that there is a Hello Kitty bluetooth device. I think Stewart will be getting me yet another push present. Here's to more pink and more Hello Kitty!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I did receive a product sample to facilitate my review.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Baby is Here!

I was hoping for a June baby but Princess E decided she wanted to enter the world on a day befitting her excellency, with fireworks and everything. My Fourth of July baby girl will always be assured of a party on her birthday, somewhere in the U.S.A.!

Still can't write much because of ongoing back spasms; it's actually hurting me to write this much but wanted to let Random Mommy readers know we are all alive, if not well. Stewart picked up pink eye at the Kaiser hospital and looks like the reincarnation of Dracula. H's tooth saga writes another chapter with yet another infection. Princess E has been on the bili blanket for four days and narrowly escaped hospitalization. But we're alive and together and looking forward to being pain free soon!

More to come...