NOTE: THIS POST WAS WRITTEN 6/13/10, ALSO IT IS WRITTEN IN CHUNKS WRITTEN ON DIFFERENT DATES – BOLD IS THE SECOND SET OF THOUGHTS, BOLD BLUE IS MY MOST RECENT THOUGHTS. AND FINALLY, SINCE I’VE MORE OR LESS COME TO A CONCLUSION, UNLESS YOUR OPINION SHOWS ME SOMETHING OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE (AS IN, THIS ITEM RANDOMLY BURSTS INTO FLAMES), PLEASE DON’T KNOCK MY CHOICE TOO HARD. IT WAS A DIFFICULT DECISION PROCESS FOR ME AND ANOTHER DIFFERENT OPINION MAY VERY WELL CAUSE ME TO SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST. OK, ENOUGH WITH THE CAPS LOCK DISCLAIMER…
Cribs. This choice seems a bit easier. If I stopped researching now and just kept my search to Babies R Us, I think I’d have 2 pretty good choices. Our budget choice would be the Graco Lauren Crib (not the dropside model that was recalled, this is a new model with stationary sides) and our other choice is the Da Vinci Kalani (in the highest rated section on the website). They’re both convertible cribs that turn into toddler beds and then full beds (you just have to get the bed frame separately for the full – the Da Vinci has custom wood rails you can buy, but for the Graco, you just have to go out and find your own metal frame), but I’m leaning much more heavily towards the Da Vinci one. I suppose the fact that any Graco has been recalled recently has something to do with it, even though this model doesn’t have the problematic feature at all, but mostly I just think the Da Vinci looks higher quality. The only negative I’ve read about is that the wood is soft and therefore dents easily and will show toothmarks if you kid teethes on it, but they make fabric rail guards to protect it, so I think I can deal with that. I also kind of like that the Da Vinci’s full size bed has both a head and foot board, whearas the Graco only has a headboard. On the other hand, I wasn’t able to see the Da Vinci in the store, since it’s online only and the website says the Da Vinci is currently out of stock. Obviously I don’t need the crib right now and didn’t plan to purchase it now, but I don’t know if the out of stock thing is common with that model. Will I have trouble getting it when I actually need it? Amazon has it though, so I guess it doesn’t matter where I get it. So I guess this choice is kinda a no brainer – the only benefit to the Graco is that it’s cheaper, but only by $75, so why not just go with the one I like better? Now then, ebony or espresso (I’m just a bit concerned that the espresso looks a bit lighter than I like when you look at the accompanying dressers. I really like rich, dark wood. But is ebony too dark?)? Or is this too easy – should I keep looking around? Is there a brand at a non-Babies R Us store that’s wonderful that I don’t know of? It must be dark wood.
EDIT: So, I’ve gone and complicated things by looking at the cribs at Buy Buy Baby. There were quite a few that I really liked. They were so much nicer than the Da Vinci. Really nice detailing and thick, hefty wood. As we intend to fully take advantage of the convertible feature, eventually turning the crib into a full size bed, I kind of want to splurge and get the great looking piece that looks like it will really last a lifetime…but they were also at least twice the price. Is that ok since it’s a lifetime piece of furniture or should we try to save? (Not to mention the accompanying furniture, which is also quite pricey). I’m also having trouble finding any reviews online. The Buy Buy Baby site just lists the styles and shows pictures – you have to call or order in stores, so there’s no place for reviews there. Amazon just plain doesn’t have them listed at all.
EDIT # 2: Ok, so thanks to the advice of a fellow pregnant friend (thanks Mia!), I picked up the book, Baby Bargains, which was quite helpful since it has tons of info and ratings on baby stuff. Though it seems I’ve again shaken things up, lol. The problem remains for the Buy Buy Baby cribs that I just can’t find the ratings. I’m sure they’re there, but the store’s website doesn’t specify the brand for all of the models, so I can’t look it up in the book that separates ratings by brand. For those that were specified, some were good and some were only ok. So, I just don’t know what to do about those cribs. I really liked some of them, so it’s hard to just put them out of my mind, but I seem to put a lot of faith in reviews, so it really bugs me that I can’t check them.
Oddly, despite seeing high recommendations on Babies R Us, Amazon, and Consumersearch.com, the Da Vinci brand only got a B-, so I don’t know what to make of that. 3/4 sources giving good recommendations is still good though. But! Babi Italia, another Babies R Us brand, got an A- and the store has 2 models I really like. I’m not sure how I didn’t see them the first visit, but I’m throwing them into the mix now. The Pinehurst even gets a full 5 stars based on over 250 reviews! Though, I think I like the Eastside style better. They’re both really nice, but I think I like the extra details in the Eastside model. And it still gets 4.5/5 stars, so that’s still pretty good. I couldn’t really tell why one was rated better though. They’re made from the same wood (which again, apparently scratches easily) and you have to buy the conversion rails separately for both models (those seem to be the 2 biggest complaints about both models), and I really wasn’t sure what, other than the details, could be different…so I figure the slight rating difference isn’t important.
Also, do I buy the accompanying furniture? There’s 3 choices there for the Kalani set – a dresser with rails that comes with a changing pad (but it’s also described as being partially made with particle board…) which I guess is meant to be the safest dedicated changing table with drawers, a lower dresser that you can place a changing pad on top of which has a low part and a higher part, and a tall dresser. I’m not sure how I feel about the dressers with the attached rails to make it a changer – what do you do with it after potty training? Can you make it look like anything other than a changing table? If you could take the rails off and make it a normal dresser, ok, but I just think it would look weird otherwise – like a changing table in your teenager’s room. Or if not, and I really need a changing table with rails, and not just a U shaped changing pad on top of the lower dresser (is that not safe? Can I make it stick somehow or tie it on?), Graco has a pretty cheap one that matches either crib. And then I guess I could just get a normal dresser in addition. Though do I really need that either? The room we’re using as a nursery in our house has a huge closet that I can easily fit toys and hanging clothing into, and with some customization, I could put all folded clothing in there, too. I guess I just don’t want the room to look bare. It’s a good sized room and all we have in there now is a recliner and a really small bookshelf. Add a crib and it’s still pretty empty!
EDIT: The matching furniture of the Babi Italia cribs throws me a bit more. I think we’d probably stick with just the lower, longer dresser, but the 2 styles have 2 different matching dressers, and the difference isn’t just the aesthetic styling. The Pinehurst has a removable changing rail while the Eastside doesn’t. Again, I still like the added aesthetic detail on the Eastside (though I have heard a complaint about the positioning of the knob on the one cabinet door on it – but after seeing it in-store, I think it’s only a minor inconvenience), but again, I’m still wondering how necessary that changing rail is. Chris thinks we can just use a grippy pad or tie the changing pad onto the dresser somehow and it isn’t an issue, but who knows. My main complaint with the rail is that based on the reviews and the floor model in the store, once you take the rail off, the top of your dresser is butchered because of the stupid soft wood! I saw one person recommend using felt between the rail and the dresser – would that work well enough or would the felt somehow end up coming off often or scratching anyway? I also saw a few people mention that their rail wasn’t perfectly fixed, but I’m hoping that’s just a user flaw; otherwise, why bother? So I don’t know. I’m heavily leaning towards getting this brand, probably the style I like better…why am I not sure? I think I’m overthinking it.I do tend to do that.