Gearapalooza 2013 -and 5 things this seasoned Grandma didn’t know about baby gear

Gearapalooza 2013 -and 5 things this seasoned Grandma didn’t know about baby gear and the 1 thing I do know…

I’m not gonna say out loud that I’m clueless about baby gear, because my 4 adult children will never allow me to come close to my 10, soon-to-be 11, grandkids ever again.

But I’ll whisper it.

I was clueless.

(Don’t scream, for heaven’s sake. I don’t want to spill the *vodka.)

Until I attended the fabulous Gearapalooza – presented by Bump Club and Beyond at Magic Beans in Wellesley, MA – I was merely baby-stepping around baby gear…

And it was Gearapalooza’s featured speaker, the fabulously fun and beyond-imagination knowledgeable Jamie Grayson, better known as TheBabyGuyNYC, who buckled me in and took this Grandma on a bungee jump into the 21st century of baby gear… (OK, as a disclaimer, I will say that I’m self-extending some bungee cord slack here because my oldest 9 grandkids range from 5-12, and a lot has happened in the baby gear world since 2008.)

It’s my 3-month old granddaughter and my new grandson on-the-way who’ll reap the benefits of Gearapalooza, not Grandma-the-loser!

OK. Here we go. 5 Things this Seasoned Grandma Didn’t Know About Baby Gear:

1. A crib mattress is a crib mattress by any other name – Not so. A crib mattress that’s not made with something wonderful (like organic coconut fiber, certified organic cotton & wool, perhaps eucalyptus – without harmful chemicals/allergens/toxins) is a grandparent-gift worse nightmare – worse than a Nightmare in the Closet or monsters under the crib. No, you can’t just grab one of these suckers off the floor of your favorite big box or discount store and toss it into that crib. You need to know what’s in that mattress. Sheesh… your grandchild is sleeping in there.

2. Your “hip” is not a synonym for a “Baby Carrier” – I want to start this little section with the forbidden grandparent phrase – In my day. But I won’t. Well, I already did. But anyway. There are baby carriers for every size and every age baby, created for safety and comfort of both baby and baby-wearer. In my day (oh, snap – I said it again), my hips, my arms, my back, my neck, my skeletal and muscular systems were the baby carriers. At Gearapalooza, I learned neat phrases like reverse backpack, soft-structured, froggy position, buckle sling, sleepy wrap, stretch wrap and what they mean. I learned more about baby carriers than I know about my own aging hips. OK. I’ll just say it. I wish we had baby carriers like these in my day and I’m excited to babywear my grandbabies.

3. Strollers do more than “stroll” – Baby strollers are no longer the gargantuan Army tanks of yesteryear; those beasts that defied turning, folding, storing. No wonder I have no memory of strolling my babes to the park. I didn’t. I couldn’t maneuver those barbarians on wheels. Today’s strollers do everything but brew coffee… and there are so many to chose from to suit your grandkids’ needs. Is the parent a runner? No prob. Get a POD. No, I’m not talking about a storage container. Or a BOB Sports Utility. No, I’m not talking about an automobile. I’m talking about strollers designed precisely for strolling, jogging or trailing with high-tech harness and suspension systems that rival the technology of real Army tanks. Or how about modular stroller systems,, with car-seats and even double stroller systems that allow strolling with siblings. What!? In my day, I didn’t have a stroller usable enough for one infant, never mind one that grows with a family… a fabulously colorful one, no less, that you can push with one hand while drinking your coffee (that the stroller will eventually brew), conduct business on your cell phone and get a 10-mile run in, too. One of the funnest (I love this word) things I learned is that one stroller or other has an aircraft-grade frame that’s lightweight, while durable. Holy strolly. Forget the parents. This Grandma needs one of these! #SeeGrandmaRun!

4. There’s no messing around with Car Seats – I’m just gonna say it. Car Seats were just coming onto the market when my children were babies and kiddos, and each time I think about driving without kids restrained in car seats, I pretty much thank the Lord that we had no serious consequences. I’m not messing around, fooling around, joking around here. I listened to Jamie on this topic until my head began to spin with what-ifs. I already rely on my children to put the best and the safest car seats in their cars and in my car with which to transport my most precious cargo in the entire world – my grandchildren. I rely on my children to stay abreast of car seat safety, but it was very eye-opening and interesting to learn all about car seats – infant seats, rear and forward facing seats, latch vs belt, European belts, convertible, and the multiple car seat brands on the market. I now know what questions to ask and how important it is to keep asking questions and researching car seat safety. Amen.

5. *Vodka – Oh, not to drink while babysitting the grandkids, silly… but to combine 50/50 with water to clean baby vomit from just about anything. (Thanks, Jamie! Cheers!)

Holy Baby Bummy…. you’d think I never had kids. Which leads me to the 1 Thing I Do Know:

1. Babies Poop and Pee and Eat. A lot – I’m very familiar with the high tide of piles of wet diapers, disposable and otherwise, and the low tide of diaper smells. I know that eating and drinking create both the poop and the pee. I also know that cloth diapers, disposable diapers, nursing, formula feeding, making your own baby food or purchasing lots of little jars of food are the parents’ decisions. I don’t go there with advice. This I know how to do.


When my daughter Jane asked me if I wanted to attend Gearapalooza with her, I was intrigued. I knew there were lots of new baby things on the market that I wanted to see and hear about. But what I didn’t expect was to have one-on-one excellent contact and conversation with so many brand representatives, to be entertained by Jamie (and his quick wit and knowledge) and to walk away feeling happy and safe with very important grandbabies’ and grandkids’ gear decisions.

Let’s face it. Grandparents purchase a lot of baby gear for their grandkids.

In a word, Gearapalozza is Geara-pa-WINNER. And now, so am I!

*For a much more detailed re-cap of this fabulous event, please stop by at Jane’s post. Jane and her husband Brian are expecting their first baby, A BOY!, in February so she pays VERY close attention to baby gear… and she doesn’t drink the *vodka! The vendors at Gearapalooza Boston were: UPPAbaby, Stokke, Nuna, Ergobaby, Summer Infant, Skip Hop, Dapple, Baby Jogger and Beco. Wow!

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 10.11.13
    Nicole said:

    Wish I attended something like that when I was having Michael. Very cool info there!

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