Saturday, February 20, 2010

baby goes high-tech...iPhone apps for mommies

After resisting the iPhone for years and then getting it as a Christmas gift this year, I have to reluctantly admit that it is, in fact, a most amazing gadget. If you happen to have one, here are some of my favorite baby-related apps:

1. Baby Piano (lite: free; full: $1.99)
This is so stinkin' cute I can hardly stand it (especially when you hit the button that makes the animal sounds for the keys) and Ruby loves to bang away at the "piano." I just have to hold on tight while she plays, because she really wants to chew on my phone! We only have the free lite version right now, but may upgrade soon.

2. Baby Monitor ($4.99)
No point in getting this for home--a real baby monitor is more practical than having your iPhone out of circulation while your baby is sleeping. But, this is so brilliant for traveling! I wish I would have known about it when we were staying at my parents' house at Christmas, because the room where Ruby slept was so cut off from the rest of us that we couldn't hear her wake up and we didn't think to bring our baby monitor on the trip. Just put the phone near the baby and when she wakes up, it will call the phone number that you program in to let you know.
3. White Noise Baby ($0.99)
Another great one for traveling. Ruby likes the "car ride" sound the best, which is funny since she has ridden in very few actual cars in her life so far (though lots of buses and subway trains).
4. Bubbles ($0.99)
This is about as simple of an app as they come. You create bubbles and then pop them by touching them, at which point each one gives a satisfying popping sound. The person who created it did it for a plane trip to Korea to occupy a baby. Ruby loves to pop the bubbles and I think we'll be using this on our train ride to D.C. in a couple of months.
5. ShakeItPhoto ($0.99)
It's not exactly meant specifically for parents, but I tend to forward lots of pictures of Ruby to family and friends from my iPhone to theirs these days. Photos on the iPhone aren't that great, but this app does a good job masking their fuzziness with a funky old-school Polaroid look. Plus, Ruby loves to watch the photo appear after it's been taken.

6. Peekaboo Barn ($1.99)
This is ridiculously adorable and Ruby is mesmerized by it. I love that it is a little kid's voice that labels each of the animals. Too darn cute!
7. Voice Cards ($0.99)
There are lots of flash card apps out there for babies and toddlers, including various ones that have voices label the pictures. What makes this one stand out is that you can easily re-record the voiceover if you want to make it have a familiar voice, or if you don't like the way that they say it. Ruby loves to stare at the flash cards, though she's too young at this point to really "get it." Below I quickly re-record the voice for the word "chocolate" (which I pronounce differently than the pre-recorded lady).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

my funny valentine

Wishing you a tutu-and-paper-hearts kind of day...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

cultural events for little citizens...gong xi fa cai!

I believe that it's never too young to start exposing babies to different cultures and traditions in a meaningful way. Jude and I are committed to making this a part of our family life so that Ruby can grow up embracing--and not being intimidated by--different ways of living. In the City, it's easy to find kid-friendly cultural events if you keep your eyes peeled, ears open, and check local listings regularly.

The latest cultural event we attended with Ruby was a family festival for the Chinese Lunar New Year. This, of course, was near and dear to my heart since I grew up partially in Hong Kong and have seen my share of traditional lion dances (not to mention one where my little brother was the head of the lion!).

We were amazed at how naturally Ruby seemed to take it all in. She was particularly interested in the drummers and the beat they carried. When the "lions" came close, she leaned forward in awe. Our Little Citizen of the World is really growing into herself these days.