Kolcraft knows that our fans are passionate about parenting, health and safety of their kids, having the best baby gear for their children and making a difference in the lives of other families. Over the past 8 months you have partnered with Kolcraft to help countless families in distressed situations. We wanted to take a “time out” on our blog to remind you of the amazing things you have done in these past few months.
You have made a difference by:
- Participating in our first virtual baby shower with My Mommy Manual to raise money for Parents As Teachers.
- Participating in our silent auction for Haiti. You helped raise money for homeless, sick and orphaned children.
- Following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook to send Contours highchairs and Sealy mattress pads to children who lost everything in the Tennessee floods.
- Participating in the Sesame Street silent auction to benefit KIDS.
You may never know the names of the children and parents you have helped in distressed situations, but you have made a difference! Kolcraft is grateful for you and applauds you for reaching out to others.
Summer brings extra time to be outdoors, to play, to picnic and to read! Good reading habits are developed during your child’s early stages of development. By encouraging your child to read, by setting time aside to read to your child or have your child read to you and by taking them to bookstores or the library, you are instilling in them the tools for good reading skills that will carry them through school and their adult years.
One way to make a trip to your local library or bookstore special, is to have your child design his or her own canvas bag for books. We love the inexpensive bags at Oriental Trading.
What you need:
- Canvas bag
- Non toxic fabric markers or paint
- Disposable table cloth to cover the surface where your child is designing his or her bag
- Encouragement and imagination
Ask your child how he or she would like to decorate their special book bag. Perhaps they would like to draw a character from a favorite book or make their own version of modern art and splash different colors on the bag. You can also change things up by decorating with felt or foam cutouts or embellishments that you can buy at any craft store. You can also make your bag decorating into a party by inviting over a few of your child’s friends to decorate bags with you.
Plan a trip to your library or local bookstore so your child can carry their books in their newly decorated bag. By using this bag just for “book trips” you are teaching your child that book time is special.
A few other benefits of having a special book bag:
- Storing library books in bag between trips will help them not get lost.
- Walking to your library or bookstore will add a touch of fitness to your day. You and your child will have the double benefit of exercise and reading time!
- Using a canvas bag instead of plastic will teach your child about being green.
What ways do you make reading time special for your child?
Potty training your child can be exciting and exhausting all at the same time. With a little patience and encouragement, your child will be potty trained in no time. A few tips:
- Pick a potty day. Pick a day to start potty training and circle it on the calendar with a bright marker. Make sure your child knows that their special potty training day is coming up. If they are excited to start potty training, have them pick their potty training start day.
- Think like a coach. Remember that you are teaching your child a new skill so be firm, but also encouraging.
- Know when it’s time to stop. If your child doesn’t urinate or produce a bowel movement in 3-6 minutes, it’s better to stop and try later.
We think our Elmo potty is the perfect training potty. This 3 in 1 potty features Elmo who speaks encouraging phrases in English, Spanish or French!
Other features that we love:
- Potty training chair has a removable seat that fits most adult toilets
- Potty easily converts to a step stool
- Includes a fun sticker book & 20 reward stickers
Don’t just take our word for it, Viewpoints also loved our Elmo potty!
What potty training tips do you have?
Today’s Dad Monday has an international flair as we get a glimpse into the life of a dad from Turkey. Tolga is a new dad who is learning the ups and downs of parenting all with a touch of fun while blending cultures and lots of love.
Tolga, you and your wife come from two very different backgrounds. You grew up in Turkey and she grew up in the Mid-West. How do you blend your cultures and raise your baby with an understanding and an appreciation for both cultures?
To be frank, this is an answer that I am looking forward to finding out myself. So far it hasn’t been that difficult. The only potential problem could be the difference among our religious views. Even though I am Muslim, I don’t practice. And I can’t really say that I am a fan of religion either. My wife is Catholic and she practices her religion which I fully respect. But in the long run, I don’t know how it will affect our son’s religion. We will wait and see.
Do you ever feel like there is a clash of cultures & you have to choose one over the other in a certain situation?
We cherish each other’s cultures. I love Christmas and Thanksgiving and my wife loves our Bayrams (Eid). We take the positives of each culture and enjoy them with our son.
How did you choose your baby’s name & why do you feel it fits him?
Baran is a Turkish name and picking it wasn’t easy. We bought 4 Turkish baby name books and Baran was the only boy name that my wife liked. (Yes she went through 5000+ names and liked only one) We had to pick something that was easy to pronounce for Americans. My first choice was Arda but my wife hated it. I still don’t know why.
Every Turkish name has a meaning or multiple meanings. Baran has multiple meanings like rain, fruitfulness, noble, strength, resilience. In our case we like to use the meaning of “strength, resilience”. So far he lived up to his name.
Are there special Turkish “receiving” ceremonies that you did with your son?
Our biggest ceremony for a boy would be the circumcision ceremony. It is a ceremony that is usually done after you are circumcised. Usually this takes place when the boy is 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 years of age (only odd years of age). I had mine when I was 7 years old. As you can imagine, it was a traumatic experience. I made sure his was done right after birth. This way he won’t remember any of it. We will still have a mini ceremony when he grows up to be 7 years old.
Will Baran grow up bi-lingual?
Definitely. I only speak Turkish to him. I need someone in my household to talk Turkish to! It is kind of selfish, but I need another translator besides me between my parents and my wife’s family.
What has been your biggest surprise about fatherhood?
I never imagined the intense love I would feel for my child. It is unconditional love and sacrifice. I also feel a lot more protective towards my family.
What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is not being able to spend enough time with my son. I feel like I need to be home with him every day and spend every minute with him. Being away from him is difficult. I miss him within 2 hours.
If you could receive ‘expert advice” on one aspect of parenting, what would it be?
I think I will need that advice when he becomes a teenager.
Random fun facts about Tolga
- Soccer, soccer and more soccer—although I’m warming up to golf too.
- If I like you, I pick on you. If I don’t like you, I won’t. My wife hates this habit of mine.
- I’d love to take acting lessons.
What was your favorite pastime pre-baby? Watching movies and playing soccer or computer games.
What is your favorite pastime post-baby? Playing with my son and making him laugh. He is almost 6 months old and he can’t do a whole lot yet, but he is a lot of fun.
What would be the perfect day for you? A day with good health and family with good health is a good day for me.
Will you teach Baran how to play soccer? Of course!!! That is why we had Baran in the first place.
If someone was going to put your life to music, what genre would they use and what would the title of the song be? This is a tough one. Turkish song lyrics are all about drama and pain. I think it is hilarious. Actually, “my song” would be a song that reaches out to all cultures.
What you will need:
- celery sticks
- peanut butter (we are fans of natural peanut butter)
- Wash the celery and have an adult cut it into pieces (about 5 inches long).
- Spread peanut butter across the u-shaped part of celery.
- Press raisins into peanut butter. We think 3 is a good amount.
You can also use cream cheese instead of peanut butter and nuts instead of raisins if you want variety.
What fun recipes do you like to make with your children?
In case you didn’t hear, our Chicago Blackhawks won the ultimate hockey prize last night. Here at Kolcraft we couldn’t be happier for our Blackhawks. Being so close to the Madhouse on Madison, we feel a special connection to the Blackhawks and have learned a lot from them.
- Hard Work – Winning a Stanley Cup isn’t about luck. It’s a long grueling battle that begins pre-season and continues until the last winning goal. It takes discipline, patience, laser focus and hard work.
- Team Spirit - No player wins the Stanley Cup in solitude. It’s a team effort of knowing each teammate’s strengths and weaknesses and working together to achieve one goal.
- Fun – Achieving a goal is hard work, but if you don’t have fun along the way it doesn’t make much sense. Having fun and a positive attitude fuels creativity and allows you to achieve your goals.
At Kolcraft we try to live these “Blackhawk lessons” as we bring moms, dads, grandparents and caregivers innovative, must have baby products. We couldn’t be more proud of our Chicago Blackhawks and to celebrate we are giving away a Jeep Renegade Walker which has the Blackhawk black and red colors.
To win, all you have to do is leave a comment on our blog of why you love our “Blackhawk color” walker. Add an extra note of who your favorite Blackhawk player is and we will count that as an extra entry.
Thank you Blackhawks for being a great example of what a winning team is all about!
The devastating floods that destroyed thousands of homes, businesses and property may not be in the top news stories anymore, but the destruction the floods have left behind is very much a reality for the people of Tennessee. Many are still without the necessities of transportation, housing and essentials.
Kolcraft is partnering with KIDS to deliver some much needed baby gear to the victims in Tennessee and you can help! For every new fan of Kolcraft on Facebook or Twitter, we will donate an extra Contours high chair and Sealy mattress pad to a needy child.
Be part of the movement to help a family in need and make a difference!
- Darker eyes, brown or dark green, most likely will stay dark especially if the mother or father are of a darker complexion.
- Lighter eyes, blue or gray, often go through several color changes in the first three months. They will usually darken to the final color in six to twelve months.
- If both parents have brown eyes there is a 75% chance that baby’s eyes will remain brown.
- If one has brown eyes there is a 50% chance baby will have brown eyes.
- If both parents have blue eyes baby will have blue, but there still is a chance that a great grandma who had brown eyes may leave her mark on your baby’s eyes.
Our suggestion? Take as many photos as you can so you can have a lasting memory of your baby’s first eye color.
Did your baby’s eye color change?
We love our Mom Mondays, but we are interrupting them for the month of June to celebrate Father’s Day. That’s right – it’s Dad Monday! Our dad who kicks off our month celebration is Mat Thompson. We met Mat through his company, Bazaarvoice and were eagerly awaiting his arrival in Chicago for a meeting (he lives in Texas), only to get a phone call that Mat could not make the meeting because his little bundle of joy decided to make her debut early! Mat glows with daddy pride so we had to interview him.
As a first-time dad, how did you approach getting ready for your baby?
We had a hard time containing our excitement. We were amazed at the amount of planning required to have a baby. We had literally hundreds of decisions to make over 9 months. We had to research the best products to buy, the proper tests to have, facilities, plans…it was pretty overwhelming. Fortunately, we were able to rely on the experience of others to help us make informed decisions.
Your baby arrived early. What was it like going through the roller-coaster of emotions of having a preemie?
My wife, Christina’s pregnancy was going perfectly. I was returning from a late evening mountain bike ride when my wife went into emergency early labor. We were pretty shocked and scared. That night the doctor on call looked at me and said “you guys are having a baby tonight”. I looked back and told her – “no we aren’t.” But, the doctor was right, Maggie was on her way. It was honestly both the worst and best night of my life. I was terrified at the thought of losing both girls in my life. Thankfully, both Mom and daughter were happy and healthy. Maggie was just over 5lbs, and did so well, that she did not have to go into the NICU.
Also, that night I had to utter the dreaded, “I’m sorry, you were right” words to my wife. As I was standing in the hospital, sweaty and still in cycling attire, Christina reminded me that just a few days ago I was teasing her about packing for the hospital six weeks in advance.
What has been your biggest surprise about fatherhood?
I remember sitting in the hospital the first night, holding my tiny baby. I told my wife, “I’m amazed how you can love something so much, so quickly”.
What is your biggest challenge?
So far, parenting has been a team effort, but make no mistake, my wife is the Quarterback and I’m the Punter. Christina is breastfeeding, so she carries the majority of the workload. I think my biggest challenge is letting her know how much I appreciate what a great Mom she is.
If you could receive ‘expert advice” on one aspect of parenting, what would it be?
Christina and I were talking about this just last night. It seems like all of the books prepare parents mostly for the delivery and the experience in the hospital. We really wish that we had been better prepared for the first eight weeks at home. It’s tough, and there are so many things that would have made the process easier for us. For example, get a swaddling blanket, in fact get three.
Random fun with Mat
What is your must have baby care product?
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. It works. Plus, I really enjoy speaking with a ridiculous Cajun accent when I change Maggie’s diapers.
Favorite pastime pre-baby?
Cycling. I love to ride both Mountain and Road Bikes.
Favorite pastime post-baby?
It remains Cycling. My wife and I try to do our best to share responsibilities and allow each other to pursue personal interests.
I-phone or Droid?
I-phone. It is my favorite device ever, I mean, aside from Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.
If someone was going to put your life to music, what genre would they use and what would the title of the song be?
I live in Austin, Texas – The Live Music Capital of the World, so music is a big part of my life. I even play a bit. Genre wise, I tend to gravitate towards Americana. I’ve given up on lullabies and just sing great songs to Maggie at night. She seems to prefer Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones, so it appears she inherited her Dad’s great taste in music.
A song that matches my life would be one of my favorites, “Just Us Kids” by James McMurtry. It lays out the different stages we go though in life and how at the end of the day, young or old, we are still a bunch of kids hanging out in the parking lot.
Here at Kolcraft we love this video mat sent us of when they were learning the gender of their baby. Mat was spot on, so we are thinking maybe he can pick the winning lottery numbers for us! And we know you won’t have a dry eye after seeing this video montage of Maggie’s first moments.
If you have any questions or comments for Mat, feel free to leave them in our comments section.
We love Dads here at Kolcraft and we are ready to celebrate all those amazing dads out there who coach your child’s (name your sport) team, who work hard to pay the bills, who change diapers, assemble your baby gear and who never skimp on hugs and kisses. We know there are a lot of unsung heroes out there so now is your chance to tell the world what a great dad your husband, significant other, dad, grandpa, uncle, brother or friend is and win him a $100.00 gift certificate!
This contest is super easy:
- On our Facebook wall, just put a photo of the dad you are nominating along with a 100 word or less explanation of why he is the world’s greatest dad.
- Our judges will be looking for originality and creativity among entries.
- Contest ends at midnight CST on June 20, 2009.
- The winner of the contest will receive a $100.00 gift certificate to his choice of Cabelas, Home Depot or MLB.com, NFL.com, NBA.com or NHL.com.*
- Dads cannot nominate themselves
*Editors note. We strongly suggest if the winner picks the NHL.com gift certificate, that he uses it on Blackhawk items. What can we say, we love our team here in Chicago.