Graco Symbio b: the toddler’s review

We’re half-way into the Symbio b testing and so far its a huge hit with the baby and I. I must add that other mums at school have also been admiring our wheels and one mum-to-be has just ordered one for herself, which just goes to prove how valuable personal recommendations really are.  Anyway, I decided it was time to convert the Symbio b and let the toddler have a turn…

symbio b toddler seat

Before I start, I have to point out that I am terrible at following instruction guides. I find the diagrams tricky to interpret and I have to read the written instructions several times before I can actually do the task. I am a kinaesthetic/ visual learner so I need to see something being done, whilst at the same time actually doing it myself. I think this is why it took me 20 minutes to convert the Symbio from newborn to toddler mode. Subsequent practises have been much faster and once you have the process under your belt its really quite easy.

The best thing about the fitting of the seat is that it is all secured with poppers. This means that it is all snug and secure and that there is little chance of getting things in the wrong place. Yes, first time you do it will take  a little longer than normal, but once its converted, the majority of us won’t need to do it again.

The baby nest is removed quite easily and the zips need to be done up again. Then its just a case of following the instructions to construct the seat. The seat cover is well padded and soft and as it is easily removed with the poppers, it can be easily washed if needed. This is a huge bonus for me as my last pram seat fabric was fitted to the seat unit and never really got clean again once the toddler had been let loose with a sausage roll!

symbio b toddler hood

There are three different height options for the harness so the seat really grows with your child and will last right up until they are ready to walk more. Another great point is the hood- its massive! The toddler doesn’t like having the hood up at all but if he was to fall asleep, I would be happy that the hood would provide more than ample shade for him- great in the summer, and it eliminates the need for an extra sun shade or parasol.

The seat can be reclined easily by pulling the handle at the back of the seat and again, you can swap the direction of travel with one easy motion.

Another important point- looks. As a buggy, the Symbio b is just as lovely to look at as it is in pram mode. It’s stylish and compact and moving it is just as easy. The only drawback, once more, is the size of the basket. It’s easier to access with the seat unit in toddler mode, but its still rather small, especially once the raincover is in the basket. Also, the foot rest at the bottom of the toddler seat seems to be a little short. The toddler’s feet already reach the end but I suppose he can always rest his feet over it when his legs get longer.

symbio b toddler side view

I can’t wait to use the Symbio b in toddler mode. Once the baby is 6 months, she is ready for the conversion, but until then we are perfectly happy using the newborn mode. Which brings me nicely to my last point. Converting the Symbio b from toddler back to newborn is so easy. Simply lie the seat unit flat, un-popper the seat fabric, unzip the zips at the back and insert the baby nest. You also need to re-attach the hood. That’s it!

And the toddler’s review? He told me that he likes his ‘fire engine’ pram (its bright red, like an engine) but on this particular day he was more interested in digging up the soil from my Yucca plant in the hallway- hence the grumpy face!

 

Graco Symbio b: the shopping centre challenge

Last week, I took the baby to register her birth. It was about time we made her all official. It was also about time the Symbio b took part in another challenge- the shopping centre challenge.

You all know this one. Can the pram make it through the door ways? Can the pram manoeuvre between cars parked close together when all the parent and baby spaces are taken? Can the pram take the pace? This is what happened…

Getting ready for the shopping challenge

Firstly, no we didn’t get a parent and child parking space. I like to think they were all taken by parents and children but I am a dreamer. Secondly, yes the pram did manage to manoeuvre between the sardine-like cars. Not a problem. Score 1.

Into the shopping centre and into the lift. We fit perfectly in with two other buggies and two other adults. Again, score 1 for the Symbio as it is a fairly compact pram so I didn’t feel we were taking too much of the allocated lift space.

Time for the doorway challenge. I bumped a couple to be honest. They were wide enough, but perhaps I am out of practise? I did  accidentally knock the pram a couple of times trying to get the wheels to swivel in the direction I wanted. This has never happened before so I think it was more human error than anything else. Score half a point here.

The floor: my old pram used to slide on shopping centre floors. What I mean is, the wheels didn’t turn, it was more of a skating motion if you see what I mean. To rectify it, I had to lock the wheels inside shopping centres and supermarkets. The Symbio coped fine. Score 1 more point.

The shopping basket. This is really the only thing I would, so far, change on the Symbio. No pram can be perfect, eh? After registering the baby, I nipped to Boots and stocked up on supplies for her and the toddler. I ended up with a huge bag which just would not fit in the basket underneath, despite the rain cover being on the pram rather than inside the basket. Luckily, I have a buggy clip which works really well and distributes the weight of the bag evenly so that there is no chance of it tipping up. BUT it would be nice to have a larger basket as sometimes you want to put more than the raincover inside.

That brings me to the raincover. I’ve had prams that have been a nightmare during shopping trips. You’re outside in the rain one minute, then inside in the artificial warm the next. How to make sure the raincover doesn’t become a chore? Practise, practise, practise! The Symbio’s raincover has clear indications as to which way round it goes and it fits over quickly and snugly, fastening with velcro at the sides. It can also be folded back onto the hood when you go inside, ready to pop back over when needed. Score 1 point.

Back to the car: Ok, so I have a big car with a big boot. I can only be fair and give a half point here. But I will say that the pram folds very compactly and the carry cot can be placed on its side so there is still room for shopping.

Overall points for the shopping challenge: 5/7

Fast asleep- she is in there, honest!

I’m going to be sneaky and add an extra point for the fact that the baby slept soundly the whole time- she clearly likes her Graco Symbio b!

What to expect when you’re no longer expecting

Ok, so without wanting to preach to those of you who already know all of this, here goes. By the way, why did nobody tell me any of this stuff anyway? I’m even talking to myself here- it’s only two years since my last postnatal period and yet I still forgot! So here is a little guide: What to expect when you’re no longer expecting- the postnatal period.

  • Firstly, it’s no longer about you any more. Those phone calls where friends and relatives ask after you? They’re really just  a formality now. What they really want to know is, how is the baby? Nobody really wants to know whether you are tired or what you had for dinner any more. They want the low down on the tiny bundle of joy you kept warm for the last nine months. You are no longer centre of anybody’s attention (aside from the baby, that is) and you better get used to it.
  • Babies take your grey cells.
  • It won’t be just the baby keeping you awake at night. Oh no. Did anybody tell you about the night sweats? This is one of Mother Nature’s final v-flicks in the whole baby-making scheme of things. Those first few weeks will see you shedding all that excess fluid in the most efficient of ways- sweating. You will wake up drenched in the stuff. Your head will itch, behind your knees will itch and your pyjamas will stick to you like lycra. If you decide to sleep with no covers, you will then wake up freezing. Oh, and then (if you’re breastfeeding) each time you feed the baby, your temperature will rise once more and the whole sweaty mess just gets worse. You now need to add an extra thirty minutes onto your morning routine (on top of the extra thirty you already added to accommodate the extra child) because your hair will need washing every morning. Unless you brave the school run looking like the wild man of borneo. I did it once.
  • Babies take your grey cells.
  • Giving birth is the best diet you can go on. It’s true. Within hours, you will notice that suddenly you can lean forward without grunting and without obstruction. It’s amazing. Your stomach will feel so flat! It may not look it, but that doesn’t matter. You instantly lose at least 5lb and then you get to sweat the rest off. If you’re breastfeeding, you’re allowed to eat an extra 500 calories and still the weight comes off! I like this one.
  • Babies take your grey cells.
  • It’s not time to ditch the big knickers just yet. Ok, so big knickers do not look so good. That’s a known fact. BUT towards the end of the pregnancy and in that immediate postnatal period, they are likely to be the only knickers you want to wear. For c-section ladies, they are quite possibly sanity savers. Yes, you may look longingly at your pretty little knickers each time you open your underwear drawers, but these bad boys serve a purpose in the long run. They really make you appreciate your normal clothes.
  • Babies take your grey cells.
  • Each time you look through your wardrobe is like going shopping. I keep re-discovering clothes I haven’t worn in, like, a year! It’s like going shopping. Honestly. Or at least the next best thing. Because, um, there really is no point in going shopping just yet. Unless you are ultra lucky and blessed with fantastic genes, it’s going to take a few more weeks to get back into your normal jeans again. Again, c-section ladies might find it takes even longer than they hoped, since all normal clothes now painfully rub against your scar. This is where the big knickers save the day once more. But there are still tops in there that you’ve forgotten about. If you’re breastfeeding, just make sure that the front can be easily adjusted… oh, ok then. Each time you open your wardrobe is like window shopping, then. So many clothes you forgot about and so many outfits you just can’t wear yet. Ho hum.

I wish someone had told me/ reminded me of all of these things. Of course, there are many more pieces of postnatal advice I could give. It’s just that I think I was supposed to be doing something else right now… did I mention babies take your grey cells?

Big Game Hunters: sand box review

I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Big Game Hunters, and I instantly fell in love with most of the stuff on their site. If, like mine, your kids love to be outside then I sincerely recommend this you take a look at this site. Highlights include the superb climbing frame collection, the simply gorgeous play houses and, of course, the fabulous garden games. We often get stuff like this around this time of year, as by the time you dig them out again in the spring time, the kids feel as though they are getting presents all over again!

The ghostwritermummy household has been very lucky indeed. We received a gorgeous wooden sand box to review and I have to admit that this is something I have wanted to get for a long time now. We finished the garden this year but the weather hasn’t exactly been favourable for playing outside ever since. However, the autumn and winter months, so far, have been lovely and the kids have been loving being outside, so the sand box has certainly been very well received!

Our sand box arrived really quickly and we were kept informed of our order each step of the way, which I think is a really important factor when you buy online. We assembled the box quickly and easily and all we need now is sand! Ever creative, we decided to make the most of all that our garden has to offer (as the toy shop had run out of play sand…) and we’ve so far filled the box with fallen leaves and twigs. The kids have loved this. They’ve spent ages playing in the box, sorting the leaves for pictures and rubbings and pretending to be explorers. Once the sand has arrived, no doubt they will continue to have fun.

The sand box itself is a good size, sturdy and fits well into our garden. It’s also a classic staple that I believe all family gardens should include. I have my own happy memories of sand play as a child and I know as a teacher the sand tray is always popular. My kids both love the sand pit at the local park too, and I’m hoping that this summer we will perfect the art of sand castles once and for all!

Overall, we love our sand box and there are loads of other products on the Big Game Hunters website that we have our eye on too. Pop over and see for yourself!

*I received a sand box for the purposes of this review. I did not receive any payment. These views are totally my own!