Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tag! You're it!

Unless you live under a rock, if you are pregnant or have a child under the age of 2, you have heard of Taggies. They have flooded department stores and boutiques alike, and the name-brand item is all the rage in nurseries and mommy-and-me circles. Although Taggies are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, they have just now really hit the scene in the States, and you may be wondering what your child is missing if you haven't already bought one.
If you have been living under a rock, your first question may be, one what? What is a Taggie?

The answer: Something with tags sewn onto it. That's it.Taggies sells blankets, clothes, toys, games, stuffed animals, and basically anything else that's soft and possible to buy for a small child. Marketed as 'security blankets', rubbing the tags is supposedly soothing to infants. According to their website, Taggies give baby "not only warmth and comfort, but enjoyment when playing with the tags. This is great as baby begins to unwind for nap or bed time. They will now lull themself to sleep, while clenching, twisting, and feeling the tags that are so much fun."

That's a large claim for some bits of ribbon sewn onto a piece of fleece.

While I'm a little sceptical of their sleep-harnessing powers, the Taggies generally conform to developmental specialists' suggestions that infants be given a variety of textures to feel in order to learn about the world around them.

Although Taggies claim that the bits of ribbon sewn onto their toys are 'intellectual property' that they spent a boatload of time and effort to develop, mothers have been putting textured fringes and borders on blankets for years. I was born in 1991 and as an infant, I had one such multi-textured blanket-- well before the founding of Taggies in 1999.

In conclusion, the name-brand product is all the rage right now, but any multi-textured fringed or bordered blanket will soothe your child and help him learn to appreciate the world around him. Or, you can sew your own tagged blanket. Simply cut wide ribbon into 3- to 6- inch pieces, fold in half, and sew to the inside of a seam around the edge of the blanket, shirt, or other product you are embellishing. I recommend using a sewing machine for this, not only for the sake of time, but for durability. Go over each tag several times and make sure your thread is knotted well. Never sew something on that could come off and pose as a choking hazard, such as a button.

When selecting your ribbon, look for a variety of textures-- ribbed horizontally or vertically, ricrac, corduroy, silky, velvety, etc. Also keep in mind that infants can see black and white first, followed by red, then bright colors such as deep yellow and green. Patterns should be in stark contrast, and while baby pastels look pretty to us grown folk, they are practically invisible to infants and do nothing whatsoever to stimulate their visual growth.

Or, if you have already subscribed to the Taggies craze, enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win even more tagged gear.

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