Top 10 things of 2010

December 30, 2010 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, THINGS MY KID DIGS

Since Designer Daddy has only been in existence a couple of months, this inaugural Top 10 list will be a compilation of favorite things of both mine and JJ’s. Maybe next year I’ll create separate lists. But for now enjoy figuring out which favorites belong to whom…

Early on we discovered Sprout, one of the 2 cable channels for preschoolers (and their weary parents). JJ’s not yet a preschooler (okay, he’s technically “pre school”) but what we liked most about the channel is its high percentage of mellow shows. No transforming robots, screaming sponges, or future-rehab Disney Divas. Those will come later — when we have less control — so we want to instill zen and simplicity for as long as we can. Caillou is the best of these, in that its pace and storytelling never get too manic. The animation and color scheme leave something to be desired, but I guess it’s pretty good for Canada.

9. Yo Gabba Gabba!

The CDs, not the show (see #10 — YGG the show definitely falls in the manic category). Any cool parent worth their weight in irony is already a fan. Yo Gabba Gabba stars DJ Lance Rock (think a slightly less gay, African-American Pee-Wee Herman) and his posse of freaky, furry friends. The two CDs (Music is Awesome! Volumes 1 and 2) also feature songs by a dizzying array of hipster bands. Volume 1 is more dance-heavy, with standouts from Chromeo, of Montreal, The Shins and The Roots. My JJ’s favorite tracks include “Party in My Tummy” and “Robo Dancing” by Money Mark. Volume 2 keeps things rocking with Hot Hot Heat, MGMT and Weezer. Faves here are “Smile for the Camera” by The Apples in Stereo and a cover of Altered Images’ “Happy Birthday” by The Ting Tings. Also great is “I Love Bugs” which sounds suspiciously like LL Cool J’s “I Need Love.” We be buggin’!

8. Cheerios

I’ve often wondered if the inventors of this breakfast classic realized they were also creating the best baby snack ever? Or that they would be the inspiration for a concept in fluid mechanics?

Rubber ducky bathtub
When JJ was at his wee-est, bath time was a wonderfully serene experience. Him reclining in his bouncy bath seat in the kitchen sink; me standing upright, staring into his baby blues (dodging the occasional pee stream). That all changed when he got too big for the sink and graduated to the tub. A.K.A. the Slippery Cauldron of Doom. We tried a larger plastic baby tub, but it was insanely easy for him to crawl (or flip) out of it. The next solution was to put down fun fishy anti-slip pads — talk about out-of-control and slippery-as-an-eel. After consulting the all-knowing interwebs, I discovered Munchin’s Duck Bathtub, which has been a godsend. It contains JJ in a tighter space, elevates him so Daddy doesn’t dislocate his spine, and even has a sensor indicating when the water’s too hot. Bonus feature: it quacks when you squeeze the bill! Serene Bath Time is still a distant memory, but at least now it’s a little less Insane Out-of-Control Bath Time.

6. Sozo footy PJs

How can something be so cool and so cozy at the same time? JJ gets a little frustrated not having a sock to pull off, but hopefully appreciates the epic cuteness of these jammers (be they Robot, Raccoon, or Monkey) as well as their zippered-up warmth.

4. Tie: The Foot Book / Hello, Bugs!
These two board books have fast become JJ’s favorites obsessions. I knew I was in trouble when he crawled the length of the room, scooting The Foot Book along as he went, and then proceeded to grunt at me until I’d read the thing 4 times in a row. TFB was his top pick up until Christmas weekend at Gram’s and Granddad’s, when he began calling for Hello, Bugs! by name — BZZZZ! BZZZZ! So… my kid’s into feet and bugs. AWESOME.

3. The remote control
JJ’s favorite non-toy toy. Like Daddy, like son.

2. The Zany Zoo
JJ’s favorite toy toy. Formerly The Busy Zoo (cuz who wants a busy kid?) this is the king of the activity cubes… and it really works! It’s repeatedly JJ’s first destination upon entering the playroom. Before he learned to walk, he would just crawl around it, discovering each of its four distinct sides as if for the first time. Now that he’s upwardly mobile, his favorite thing is to knock it on its side so he can stand and play. And Designer Daddy appreciates not only the cool graphics and elaborate design, but also its cleverness. The alphabet side includes such ABC rarities as Viper, Carp, and Narwhal. Seriously… Narwhal.

1. Cheese!
Since the dawn of time, individually-wrapped cheese slices have been the highlight of every young child’s meal. Is it the shiny yellow color not found in nature? The crinkly excitement of opening a fresh slice? Or the way it can be squooshed into any shape by dexterous toddler finger? (It also makes a nice hair pomade) Who cares? It’s cheese!

So as you reflect on 2010, what were the toys, shows, food, or thingamajigs that made your child’s (and your) life more fun and fabulous?

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9 responses to “Top 10 things of 2010”

  1. Lisa says:

    10) The swing~ I would still smell bad if it were not for this GOD send of a device where I knew Stone was safe and happy if not passed out asleep! Very sad that he recently outgrew it 🙁

    9) The Bouncy Seat~ He loved that thing and it continued to grow with him offering him hands-on activities and many moving parts to watch.

    8) Baby Einstein~ This kid has a love for music that you would never believe and I think I owe it all to those little tykes!

    7) Polo by Ralph Lauren baby clothes and the Hagerstown and Leesburg outlets~ I will raise a preppy baby who tucks his shirt in and knows that it is not appropriate for his diaper (or boxers) to show if it kills me!

    6) His cousin Lily~ Lily and Stone are 5 weeks apart and already the best of buds (possibly because they are together 5 days a week and don’t really have a choice) and it is so much fun to see them develop together!

    5) Also the remote control and the baby monitor receiver~ Loves the lights and buttons more than me sometimes!

    4) His bouncer~ Which is now the only way mommy can shower and get ready and know he is safe and happy!

    3) DRUMS, DRUMS, and more DRUMS~ I have a baby drummer on my hands and he loves nothing more than to beat the crap out of these fun things and make all sorts of different sounds.

    2) Egg shaped shakers~ OMG these things are the best melt down solving things EVER! He is in love and he can put them in his mouth and shake them at the same time which is just the coolest!

    1) The giggles he makes when daddy is playing with him~ What more can I say they are both mine and his number one things!

    Have a great New Year guys and we look forward to seeing you at Stone’s 1st birthday in March! (if not sooner!)

    • Brent M. Almond says:

      Great list! #7 is AWESOME! I hope Stone has some gay uncles to help keep him in check (and it will save you some money).

      #3: Do you have the B. Toys drum? We have it, and JJ loves it as well. I ask because it also comes with #2. 🙂

      Happy New Year to you all as well, and hopefully we can get a playdate before too long!

      • Lisa says:


        We do have the B. Drum (I got it for him at xmas and the car keys from the same company are great!! And I highly recommend them!) and he loves it! The egg shakers he plays with in the tub are from it! I wish he had some gay uncles but my sisters fiance is as metro as they come so he will have to do! Unless, that is, you and Nick are willing to adopt a nephew?!? I can’t wait to see you guys!

  2. Laurie says:

    Sorry, but Caillou sucks. As JJ gets older, you’ll realize this. He whines all the time and the kiddos figure it out and mimic. Move to Toot and Puddle. Also chill but no whining.

    • Brent M. Almond says:

      LOL. Good to know Laurie! Yeah, Cailllou’s not one of *my* favorites (I can’t stand the primary colors, and someone SERIOUSLY needs to give the teacher a makeover) but I never noticed the whining. Now I probably won’t be able to NOT notice it. 🙂

  3. Stephanie says:

    Must agree about Caillou. The adults wear the lamest clothes and shoes!

    Here’s my top ten:
    10. Blue’s Clues – for the laid backness of it all.
    09. Jazz for Kids – one of our favorite albums ever
    08. Three way audio splitter – three kids, three headphones, a few minutes of silence
    07. Frozen veggies – a magic snack, little cup of frozen corn or peas gives me time to finish dinner
    06. Target brand pull ups
    05. Crayola toothbrushes with the little suction cup on the end. Clean and neat.
    04. Goodnight Gorilla
    03. Tom and Jerry – when you’re not watching the violence, the music in the background is really entertaining
    02. Pasta Plus Pizza – the only pizza my kids will absolutely ravage
    01. The Bissell Auto Care Pro Heat Multipurpose Deep Cleaner – this thing is magical. It has even completely removed ice pack goo from carpet and couch.

    Happy new year you guys!

    • Brent M. Almond says:

      Stephanie – thanks for sharing your list. Sounds like some things that will be helpful down the road!

      Happy New Year to you and whole crew!

    • Lisa says:

      LOVE LOVE LOVE Goodnight Gorilla.. It was one of the first bed time stories I read to Stone and he loves it! Great choice!

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