I blinked and my baby is a toddler. I blinked again and realized all our friends have their toddlers enrolled in a mother's-day-out or preschool program. Since I've been considering homeschooling, I hadn't even contemplated a preschool program, but then my teacher friends told me the material covered in kindergarten is material I learned in first or second grade as a child. Whoa! Then I got overwhelmed and started calling preschools.
After some more consulations with friends and teachers, I'm not as overwhelmed. And even though I probably won't consider any type of program until this fall at the earliest (even though enrollment is in just a couple of short weeks), I've started to change my mindset about life at home. Every moment is a learning moment. I'm not talking about draining the fun from playing, but I am talking about maximizing on teaching moments when I'm spending quality time with my daughter.
And I've started to contemplate how I can incorporate more structure into our daily routine.
Baby step 1: Buy a backpack.
It's a small step, and it will be used for infinite possibilities, but it opens the discussion about school. Plus, it's just so stinkin' cute.
When I found out I had an opportunity to review this product, I was ecstatic. Not only do I love the animal designs Skip Hop offers, but I also am a huge fan of Skip Hop products in general. My Skip Hop diaper bag is my favorite bag by far. It's like a Mary Poppins bag: you can get so much inside, and everything is easy to find and readily accessible. Needless to say, I had great expectations for the backpack.
Skip Hop offers a variety of backpack designs (dog, monkey, owl, mouse, bee and penguin)--all of them are adorable. And, bonus, matching lunchies are available too. When my backpack arrived in the mail, I was just as excited as when I ordered it online--it looks exactly like the picture. (I got the dog for my nephew too).
My daughter opened the backpack for Christmas, and she was excited to use it. Immediately she decided that she needed to pack food in it, so for the first week without fail, a cutie (mandarin orange) could be found in the main compartment.
Since then we've used it for various outings--mostly when she goes out for the day with my mom. After a month of wear, it still looks brand new. Quality construction and excellent material (just like my diaper bag) have proven valuable. The padded straps are a great fit for my toddler, not too big or small--just right to fit on her back or carry at her side. The zippers have large decorations that make it easy for tiny toddler hands to grasp and navigate on their own.
Unlike my diaper bag, it's not as roomy as I had hoped. Granted, it's made for a toddler to carry, so ten pounds of "necessary" clothing changes, snacks, pull-ups, wipes, hand sanitizer, etc., do not all fit. BUT I can easily get a change of clothes, wipes, blankie, and small cuddly toy inside. The front insulated pocket is a safe place for snacks, and the side mesh pocket for a sippy cup is also handy (it's a little small for one of our sippy cups but our Kleen Kanteen fits well). The lining is easy to wipe clean, and a good soak in the sun will keep the outside just as sanitary (but not too much sun--don't want to fade the bright colors).
Not only will this backpack stand out in a pile of bags, but it comes at a reasonable price. Compared to a lot of popular backpacks available online, Skip Hop's $20 price tag undercuts a lot of the competition without sacrificing quality.
And, as a mom who takes great care as to what toxins are present in my children's lives, knowing this bag is BPA, Phthalate and PVC free makes me want to hug this bag just a little tighter.
**Remember, if you haven't "liked" Editor Joy on FB yet, use the button on the righthand margin to "like" it right now--and tell your friends about it too. Thanks.