With our firstborn, we hemorrhaged money as
we sought out the “best” and most complicated baby accoutrement
available. Being inexperienced with kids in general, I was totally
unaware that, given a choice between a piece of Tupperware and a lights and
bells-make-your-baby-brilliant-machine, most babes would happily have the
Tupperware any day of the week.
I’d like to think experience has made me
wiser with baby number two, but apparently that’s not entirely true. Case
and point: since discovering that my Gymini mat, used for Boy Wonder No. 1 was
lost in our move, I’ve had my eye on the Kushies Baby Shangrila play mat
($125.99). It’s been described as the Rolls Royce of baby play gyms.
I loved the look of the mat itself and the fact that it’s reversible from
one colorful side to a black and white graphic. Alas, the Shangrila mat
was not in production for much of 2009 as the company worked out some design
kinks, so I couldn’t get my hands on one (making me want it more, Shangri-La
indeed!). As a stop-gap, I purchased the Infantino Vintage Twist and Fold
activity gym ($36.99) and ended up loving it.
The Infantino is a straight forward play gym,
but it doesn’t skimp on the extras. It comes with a tummy time bolster,
cute toys, fun, vintage colors and an absolutely brilliant folding mechanism
that allows you to just twist and close the gym like an umbrella, making it
infinitely easier to store than other gyms and great for people who really like
to put all the toys away at the end of the day. All this at the rock
bottom price of $36.99! Why would I bother purchasing anything else when
all our play gym needs were already being met? Parental guilt, that’s
As a second child myself, I’m hyper sensitive
to short-shifting the tiniest man in my house in any way. So, struggling for a
Christmas gift for my then 3 month old (who has everything since he’s a second),
I received an email update alerting me that the Shangrila was now in stock and
ready for purchase. Perfect! What delightful and beyond-perfection,
already-sleeping-through-the-night infant couldn’t use the Rolls Royce of play
Well, it’s here. And I feel dumb dumb
dumb for wasting over $100 on a cute play mat that doesn’t even serve its
purpose as well as the bargain basement Infantino version already had.
The double-sided mat is really nice, but the arches are too high, and the three
(yes, only THREE!) hanging toys are incredibly boring and don't even dangle low
enough to be batted at, which is the whole point of a play gym. The toys that
attach to the mat are intriguing, but more suited to a 6-9 month old, by which
time I’ll have introduced a whole bunch of other toys. Furthermore, the
toy rings are over-engineered and hang on velcro, which makes them adjustable,
but due to the high pitch of the gym arches, they don't hang within a baby’s
arm’s reach (unless you have a really giant baby with super long arms or you
place your baby all the way to one corner of the gym ), and it only comes with
two Velcro straps, yet another disappointment for
the price tag.
Guess we’ll have to go for babe number three
to make all this mess more cost-effective : )! I hear my dear hubby in
the background: GULP.