Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Philips Sonicare For Kids

(This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Sonicare for Kids. )

Take a look at our family's toothbrush situation:

No, really, take a good long look, because I'd thought I could just go in and do a quick snapshot of our toothbrushes, but then I realized the countertop was pretty dirty and so I ended up washing it with a wad of wettened toilet paper, and now I'm not even two sentences into this review and I have already had to DO CHORES. So please appreciate the shiny whiteness before moving on to the next paragraph.

As a reminder, there are seven people in my family: Paul, me, and our five children. There are seven toothbrushes on the counter. As you can see, I'm a fan of electric toothbrushes for children, if not for myself (they TICKLE). Children's teeth are about as easy to brush as cats' teeth, so I like that I can get in the general vicinity of the teeth and know the toothbrush will be moving around on the teeth even if the child's lips have clamped down around it.

The quicker among you will have guessed that this is going to be a review of an electric toothbrush. The toothbrush is the Philips Sonicare For Kids.

Normally I would have Paul set up something like this for me, because he likes to and I don't, but for a review I like want to do it myself so I can review how easy/difficult it is to do. It was pretty easy. I took it out of the wrappings and I put it together. I couldn't get the decorative faceplate on (there are three to choose from, or the toothbrush looks nice as-is, too), but my 10-year-old figured it out immediately (the solution: peel wrapper off decorative faceplate first).

You're supposed to let it charge 24 hours before you use it, but pfffff, I was ready to TRY this puppy. The toothbrush comes with two brush heads, one for age 4+ and one for age 7+, so I could choose TWO children to experiment on. I summoned a child.

I brush my kids' teeth for them at bedtime, and I have them lie down because it's way easier to keep drool from flopping everywhere to keep their heads still and to get to the backs of the teefies. So Elizabeth, age 4, lay down on the bed as usual, and I took out the brush.

The first thing I noticed was the sound, which was like a metal mosquito. I got unpleasant chills between my shoulder blades and some dentist-office flashbacks. Elizabeth, who has never felt the "DZZZT" vibration of a drill bonking into her dental nerves, was unfazed.

The toothbrush comes with the option to build up slowly to the full 2-minute brushing session, but I was on a deadline so I started with it already at a full-length session. We both liked the way the toothbrush made a little musical sound to let us know when to change quadrants (30 seconds each on upper outer, upper inner, lower outer, lower inner). Elizabeth gagged and flinched after a few seconds of the inner quadrants, and I suspect it was because I don't usually get those as thoroughly---and that's probably the reason for the "build up slowly" feature.

Otherwise, it was very similar to our usual brushing session except that I felt like I was Doing It Right. I think it's good to have the timer, rather than basing the brushing time on the imagined passage of time, which of course is hard to gauge when every minute feels like half an hour of GO TO BED GO TO BED OMG WHEN IS IT TIME FOR BED??

When I'd finished Elizabeth's teeth, I rinsed the brush head, put on the brush head for ages 7+, and summoned a second child. You might think a 10-year-old would be brushing his own teeth, but his orthodontist gently suggested he might need "help," and showed me what looked like BEESWAX on his back teeth. So. Rob, age 10, reported for toothbrush testing. Again, we both liked the quadrant timer, and he didn't think it felt too tickly or have trouble with gagging. "It felt kind of like when my foot falls asleep, only in a good way. It also feels SOFT, kind of, but not fuzzy like HAIRS in your mouth---NICE soft." Also: "I really like the interchangeable plates, because they're kind of like robot panels." If you're looking for more, um, OFFICIAL information than that, you can find it at the official site.

I rinsed the second brush head and set everything up on the little charging station: the handle goes on one little stump and the two brushes fit on two other little stumps. Tidy.

Now. May we get down to brass tacks? This is a SEVENTY DOLLAR toothbrush. The replacement brush heads cost $11 each, and you're supposed to change the head every 3 months---$44 of brush heads per year. Per child.

I started doing the math: $70 times 5 children is an initial $350 outlay, plus $44 times 5 children per year in replacement brush heads---$220 per year. PER YEAR. In CHILDREN'S TOOTHBRUSHES. Paul pointed out that we could get just one $70 toothbrush and then each child could have his/her own toothbrush head---but presumably the handle would then wear out proportionately more quickly, and also there wouldn't be a storage post for all five brush heads. Besides, even using one-handle figures, it's still $220 per year.

For comparison, I've been paying less than $5 each for children's electric toothbrushes, so that would be a big financial jump for me to make. In replacement brush head costs alone, I could buy 44 new $5 electric toothbrushes a year.

Well, but most of you don't have five children, right? If you have, say, TWO children, the little charging station is perfect: each child can have his/her own brush head stump, and you only need one handle. The cost is still $88 per year in brush head replacement. And perhaps you are not exactly writing Brush Head Replacement Day on the calendar, so it could be even less than that in actual practice. This starts to sound more and more reasonable.

Now, there is a PRIZE involved here, and if you were to win it, you could use it to buy the toothbrush plus two refills. OR you could buy a new battery for your car, or 25 coffee-and-two-doughnuts breakfasts, or 30 tubes of toothpaste, or Halloween costumes, or whatevs. This is the beauty and glory of the Visa gift card. You have a total of 10 chances to win a $100 Visa gift card from BlogHer Reviewers, plus the chance to win a Sonicare prize pack on the BlogHer.com special offers page.

To enter, leave me a comment below and tell me: How do you handle your kids' dental hygiene? Kissing up to Sonicare ("Well, Swistle, I and my children have always relied on the fine products of Sonicare for all our dental needs!") will not improve your chances of winning. The contest will begin at 5:00 p.m. (PST) 10/26/2009 and will end 5:00 p.m. (PST) 11/15/2009. Make sure you leave an email address I can use to contact you if you are teh winnah.

  1. No duplicate comments (except in the situations described below in items 2 and 3) or you are a Cheater McCheatypants and no one will want to play with you.
  2. You may receive an additional entry by linking on Twitter and leaving a link in the comments saying you did so.
  3. You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments saying you did so.
  4. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents 18 years of age or older.
  5. Winners will be selected via random number generator, and will notified by e-mail.
  6. You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected and you will cry and cry.

You can go visit the Official Rules for more information.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Marshalls $25 Shopping Trip

Marshalls sent me a $25 gift card to spend however I wanted and then post what I bought. Mwah, Marshalls! We can do this whenever you want, Marshalls!

Do you remember long, long ago, when I was wondering if I should have bought this handbag? I'm so glad I didn't, because here is what I used my gift card to buy:

Do you LOVVVVVVVE them?? I love them. The purse was $19.99 and the wallet was $9.99. I've been licking admiring them ever since I bought them.

I also found two bras, the $32.00 store price tags still on them, for $5.99 each. I think I won't post a photo of those.

Marshalls is the kind of store where sometimes I go and I find nothing I would ever be interested in owning, and the combination of "picked-over miscellany" inventory and "popular music from my high school years playing over the loudspeakers in such a context" gives the store a "shopping at the department store of depression" feel.

And other times I go and I find tons! of! awesome! stuff! Like super-cute Carter's baby clothes. And pretty dishes. And cloth napkins. And stationery. And a purse, when I thought I'd never find a purse I could commit to. And bras!

I'm not saying she's smarter than you...but in a way, she is smarter than you. In that one way.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Other Kinds of Reviews: What I Get

My mother-in-law is visiting. She doesn't know I blog, so all my blogging has to be done secretly. I am going crazy: a Milk and Cookies post due tomorrow, the baby name questions keep pouring in (seriously, I got caught up through October 19th due dates, and since then TEN MORE QUESTIONS have come in for due dates before October 19th), wanting to tell you how the mother-in-law visit is going. And what am I doing? Writing a totally unnecessary disclosure post. Well, you know, THE MUSE.

So! Will ALL of the writing here be paid with checks for the work itself, as the BlogHer Ad Reviews will be? Sadly (for me), no. But! Generally I'll still get a sample of the product to review and keep, so that's happy (for me). And what I like to do is also negotiate a second sample as a giveaway for you guys. Your happiness is payment enough for me. *bluebirds sing*