Product review: Fisher Price Baby Gyms.

The fact that the twins waking time is getting longer and longer scares the hell out of me. That’s right, my babies’ alertness is frightening to me. That’s because it comes with a need to be entertained. I know, I know, babies don’t need a lot of flash and drama to entertain themselves; after all, my parents raised me with a rusty tin can tied to a piece of string as my first toy (not really) (but we lived in Arkansas when I was born so IT’S POSSIBLE), but I’m new to all of this baby stuff. And there are two of them. That, my friends, is a lot of baby. So far, we’ve spent a lot of their awake time staring at each other uneasily, until I say, “How about some more milk? Does that sound good?” Then I look at my watch and realize that they’ve only been up for fifteen minutes.

Then, I discovered these amazing things called BABY GYMS. They are AWESOME.  The first one I bought out of sheer desperation at Target, when Justin was about to go back to work after his six weeks of leave.

This is the Fisher Price Luv U Zoo (awful name, I know. Why are we insisting on teaching our children how to misspell words?). Both babies fell in love with the mat instantly — I thought they would be able to share it but no such luck. They got territorial almost immediately — primarily because both of them loved the same object the most: that bluish-purple hippo up there with the ball hanging off of it. Here’s Emme having a long, loving conversation with her sweetheart:

Jack instantly wanted to go out for some beers with Mr. Hippo and Emmeline started planning her wedding to him (which would feature lady hippos in pink sheer gowns as bridesmaids; reception to be held at village watering hole). Arms and fists went-a-flyin’ and they could only be on it one at a time while the other one stared malevolently from across the room. So of course we had to buy another one.

This is the Rainforest play mat. Now, I thought we would have trouble wrestling one away from what is apparently the baby version of George Clooney, Mr. Hippo, but they just kind of naturally took to one over the other — the Rainforest is Jack’s, while Emmeline continues to coo lovingly at Mr. Hippo on the Luv U Zoo mat. Peace is restored to the household.

One of the things I like the most about the mats is that you can mix and match the toys hanging from the loops (this bugs the crap out of Justin — he’s such a purist — “but, but, that doesn’t go with the Rainforest theme!”) so that the babies don’t get bored. One thing I’ve hung that was a HUGE hit were those plastic rings. We got a ton of them for super-cheap at a yard sale last summer and they’ve turned out to be one of the best toy investments we’ve made. I hang a couple of strings of them from one of the loops directly to the side of the baby and they have done a ton of reaching, grabbing, and bringing them to their mouths. (I know that it’s possible that the babies might get tangled up in the rings so I don’t leave them alone with the rings hooked up.)


The other thing I added was a mirror to the top of Jack’s, so he can look directly up and see his face. He’ll talk to himself for a long time, and it always ends up with him getting really mad at something he says to himself. The boy is a little more than passing strange, I’m telling you.

This photo was taken before things got heated between regular Jack and Mirror Jack.

I give both of these mats two thumbs up. The ONLY thing I don’t like is the timer — the music goes off after a really short amount of time. It makes Emmeline FURIOUS when the birds stop twirling! They were expensive — between $50-60 each — but they have been really worth it so far…neither baby has lost interest and can generally spend anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes under the gym without getting restless. I also like that there’s so much potential to exercise their reaching and grabbing skills.

 

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