Cue up the (travel) Cribs

07.08.10 Week 34

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Thanks for all your book recommendations last week! I’ve got a list going and will gradually pick up a bunch of them. Before I’d even seen any of your comments, I was at a random HomeGoods store in Connecticut and got a pile of books from the children’s section—Olivia, a Sandra Boynton, and some other fun picks, all for even cheaper than Amazon. (I was also blown away by the prices on baby clothes--$5 to $8 for a lot of cute stuff on clearance!)

I’m in love with Olivia, by the way.

When we got back from the long weekend there were a couple exciting boxes waiting for me. One of the huge perks of writing this blog is that as I consider what I want for the baby, I can email a couple different companies and ask if I can try out a sample in my home before I make my decision. I’m a fan of online reviews, but nothing beats trying something out for yourself, right? The current face-off was between lightweight travel cribs.

Now. I know the lightweight versions (the Kidco PeaPod, Phil & Ted’s, BabyBjorn) tend to be much more expensive than a good old Pack ‘n Play, but practicality had to take center stage here. All of our friends have and love Pack n’ Plays, but they also all live in houses or elevator buildings. We live in a fourth floor walk-up with street parking, and when we get back from a trip we’re already carting way too much heavy stuff upstairs to even consider a 30-pound travel crib. In fact, we’re pretty puzzled about the logistics once we add in an eight-pound baby, not to mention all his accessories! (I’ve been trying to make Ben understand that his insistence on only making one trip, no matter how much stuff we are bringing, is going to have to end.)

Anyway. I called in a couple cribs, and for my purposes the search ended as soon as I tried the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light. As I tried it out, I imagined myself at our annual ski weekend in Vermont with the same friends we went to the lake with. Everyone seems to get in around dinner time Thursday night, with babies that desperately need to get to bed pronto. Would one of us be able to set up the crib with a whimpering child in Countdown to Chaos mode?

Not to sound like an ad, but yes. I didn’t even look at the instructions until afterwards. The crib is in two pieces inside the travel bag: The mattress and the structure itself. Nothing to put together, no pieces to snap into place. I took the legs/shell out of the beg and turned it so the legs pointed down, and click! Pop in the mattress and it’s ready to go. It literally took ten seconds. (You can watch a video of the set-up here.) Breaking it down is only slightly harder--you pull the legs out a bit (they are in tight elastic bands) and fold them diagonally against the fabric, then fold in half and pop back in the bag.

The whole thing weighs 11 pounds, and I have it on good authority from a friend that she was able to pack it into her (large) suitcase to take on a trip overseas. It’s definitely not a tiny travel case (24” x 19” x 3”), but it’s manageable. I do wish the price were lower, but overall I was really impressed. Now I just need to buy a big suitcase; we are carry-on-only people and this whole checking luggage thing is an unwelcome lifestyle change!

I’m waiting out this unending heat wave sequestered in the living room, where we installed the giant window air conditioner. The humidity is definitely wearing; I walked to the library early yesterday morning and was exhausted by the time I got home. It figures--last summer was so cool we used the AC twice; this summer when I’m pregnant? Non-stop heat and humidity, starting in June. But we’re headed to our favorite lake in NH this weekend, thank goodness! I plan to spend about 8 hours a day seeing how wrinkled my fingers can get if I remain submerged.

Kate Flaim is a freelance journalist and food blogger based in Cambridge, Mass. When she's not cooking or writing, she is gearing up for the arrival of her first child this summer.