Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Baby Bump Kick Counter App

So, I’m sort of nuts.  This has been well-established.  I’m a worrier, particularly during the pregnancy stages when there’s almost nothing I can do to control what’s happening.  To try and balance that out a little bit, I track as much as I can.

Kick counts are something that I track pretty religiously.  When I was pregnant with the Pickle, I had an early Android phone, which had no apps available at the time for kick counts.  I purchased and downloaded an app for my iPod Touch, however – the Baby Bump app.  (LINK)  

At the time, it was about $5.  It looks to be free currently – I’m not 100% sure, as I just re-downloaded the already-purchased app onto my iPhone.  The app is currently more robust than it was when I originally had used it – it’s got a kick counter, contraction counter, links to a pregnancy forum and daily updates about your baby’s development, info on names, and more.

I have used the kick counter extensively.  It’s pretty simple – you just go into the application, and you select to do the kick counter.  You start a new session, and this screen comes up:

You simply tap the button at the top whenever you feel a kick.  It will keep that session active until you reach ten kicks – or, I believe, two hours, whichever is first.  We’ve never gone beyond about four minutes, so I’m not 100% sure on that, but I believe that the app explains that you have not hit the expectation of ten kicks in two hours.  

You can then go out to the screen where it has recorded all of your previous kick counts for this pregnancy.

You can then, in this screen, use the pencil icon in the lower right to send all of your recorded kick counts via email.  This is nice if you want to keep track of this info, or if your OB maybe requests it.  

OR, if you’re extra insane, you can create a spreadsheet into which you can copy all of this info, such as the one shown below, and then graph the results.  I will not verify whether or not this is our little dude’s info from last week:

Since we had a scheduled C-section with Pickle, and I had contractions from 16 weeks on,  I didn’t use the contraction counter.  It seems to work similarly, however, you simply click start whenever you’re having one, and then it calculates your frequency.  It seems like it’s about as handy as a stopwatch, but you’re much more likely to have a phone on-hand than a stopwatch (unless you’re a track coach or something).

I really have enjoyed using this application.  It’s an easy way to do kick counts without losing track of how many times he’s kicked, when I started, and so on.  I also love that it keeps the log for additional security.  And, assuming it actually is free, you will definitely get more out of it than you put in.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Multi-Purpose Lap Tray

Pickle loves to draw, color, paint, write, and pretty much anything else you can do with craft products.  We have an easel for her in her playroom, but some of these projects are easier to do upstairs while I am working in the kitchen or something similar.  I wasn't all that wound up about her using markers on the big leather ottoman we have in our living room, since she's still 3 and has her moments when she forgets to put lids back on things when she's done.  Hence, I wanted to get her a little station where she could do all of the crafts that she wants from the comfort of the living room.

First I checked Amazon, and found a decent plastic tray for about $17 (LINK).  That was okay, but it's just plastic and is bound to take some preschooler abuse, so $17 seemed like maybe just a tiny bit more than I wanted to spend for something that would likely end up being almost disposable.

We were in Hobby Lobby shortly after that initial internet search, and found a Multi-Purpose Lap Tray (LINK) for $6.99.  As far as I can tell, these seem to be fairly identical.  It was in the section next to the kids' crafts and toys - so while it would definitely work for an adult, I think it was geared for children.  Perhaps most importantly to Pickle, it came in pink.  Seeing as how she told me just last night that she "just wants everything around to be pink," this was a pretty big bonus.  

This set up is really convenient.  There's the little tabletop part on the top which is the drawing/crafting surface.  Off to the one side, there's a deep pocket that goes the entire length of the table - this is great for spare construction paper, notebooks, anything you might need.  On the other side of the flat surface, there's a cup holder and a separate little pocket.  We store markers, kiddy-safe scissors, glue sticks, and so on in that smaller pocket.  The cup holder is perfect for a sippy cup, but we also have put a glass of water in there so that she can use watercolors before.  It's really convenient and kids love to hide crap all over the place, so it also makes Pickle feel like she has her own little special cubbies that are just hers.  It was definitely worth the $7 we paid for it.

I have read that some people use this tray in bed or in the car (or a child uses it in the carseat).  It's not incredibly durable, so I'm not sure how well it would work for that - Pickle put a crack in one edge of it by putting a lot of her weight on it (keeping in mind that she weighs less than 40 lbs).  We'll likely be replacing this one in the near future, but it's continued to be usable even with that cracked edge.

The only other minute complaint I might have about this would just be that there is a lip around the edge of the flat area.  If, let's say hypothetically, glitter happens to spill into that little area, it's almost impossible to clean out.  Pickle does occasionally eat snacks at her little tray, as well, so it's also a food trap.  I've dug dried paint and such out, so it's definitely possible, but we have since learned to just put down wax paper before doing any crafts where much of anything can spill.

Pickle loves her little table, and it saves our floor and furniture.  All in all, a pretty solid win for $7.