Today I received a remarkable message. It is possible to get your child potty trained before the age of nine months. But how? Just with a simple trick: whistling! Swedish researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy monitored 47 Vietnamese babies and their mothers for two years. In Vietnam people start potty training their babies a lot earlier; directly after birth. From nine months old, diapers aren’t needed anymore. How different that is from the West where our children are only potty trained at an age of three or four. Our children are used to super absorbing diapers in which they do not feel it when they wet themselves and therefore do not feel the need to go potty. Score for the disposable diapers producers! Actually I visited two ladies of Kaatje Katoen for an interview, earlier today. They have been doing the promotion for trendy and washable diaper systems for years in The Netherlands. Children are potty trained faster with these, which saves a lot of money and it is better for the environment too, as research proves. They told me that sometimes parents do not even know how to get their children potty trained. It used to be more natural and easier to get your child potty trained… The consequences are evident in education; instead of teaching, teachers are walking up and down the toilets continuously to change toddlers. Absolutely ridiculous, right? In England and Belgium these washable diapers by Tots Bots are very trendy! So where are The Netherlands in this trend?
There is white snow and I see clear blue skies when I look outside. Yes, this is how winters are supposed to be! Then the snow ploughing, slippery walks and cold hands do not really matter anymore. And we can dress for the cold, right? For small children however, it is a different case. While we are on the move, they are idle in the freezing air, while sitting in a carrier, stroller or buggy. There are known cases of parents who went for a walk with their child in a carrier in the cold and found their babies limbs frozen once they returned. Not a very pleasant thought. So: no long strolls in the freezing air while your baby is idle and make sure your baby is dressed nicely and warm. For example in this beautiful Silver Collection by Red Castle, which has silver coloured ski suits, feet bags with a useful attachable extension, Combizip with shared leg compartments (useful in cars or on bikes!). For moms and dads, there are even matching hand warmers in silver for the stroller.
The hallway of our office is full of boxes filled with the 18 nominated baby products for the BabyStuf Baby Innovation Award selection, which have just been delivered by the courier sent by Ouders van Nu (‘Today’s Parents’). Immediately an essential question pops up as we had just cleaned out the office: where do we put all this? Merely a small logistical problem. Much more fun is to look back on the Ouders van Nu Jury Day. It was a successful day where a group of Ouders van Nu-readers gathered at the head office to take a critical look at all the new products. After a short introduction with coffee and tea, the moms started their task, armed with a pen and an evaluation form. And so they did very well! Every time again I notice that real moms call on their duty so seriously, whether it is about giving product reviews or the judging of the new baby must-haves like today. Critical questions were asked, strollers were folded in and out, carriers were tried out, toys were carefully looked at and baby bottles were tested with water. Nothing got through the judges without careful reviewing and that made it an interesting day! Also it made it an important day for us as we take into account the mom’s reviews, the votes of the jury and the online voters for one third each of the final assessment. Online voting is still possible at www.babyinnovationaward.nl. When you participate you can also win one of these beautiful products!
The morning ended with a lunch and all moms received a well filled goodie bag and a ticket to for the Negenmaandenbeurs (‘Nine Months Fair’). On this exhibition you can admire the winners of the BabyStuf Baby Innovation Award and see live demonstrations of these extraordinary innovations. So if you decide to visit, do stop by!
Another creative cooperation between Bugaboo and an artist! This time the Italian artist Alessandra Royeda fired her creative ideas at our Dutch design stroller. Allessandra has a passion for knitted and crochet objects and brings knitted colourful patterns to everyday designs. Woollen blankets and the distinctive design of the four-wheeler inspired her for the Bugaboo Cameleon3 Sahara. The winter proof packaging is of good use in this frost period.
Philomijn Eijssen studied fashion designs at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (Arts College) in Arnhem and worked for several fashion brands. In 2006 she launched her own fashion label. Philomijn’s style is feminine and tough; the designs are presented in a classic and timeless manner. All the products are hand made. The collection of bags, cushions and accessories are extended with the Philomijntje. This new line of baby accessories consists of a baby change mat, a caring- or diaper bag, diaper baskets and baby shoes. All products are made of very special, beautiful and firm leather!
I have two boys who have made me the most amazing creations with Lego. They’d rather not do that with their bony knees on the hard wooden floor in the living room, so often I put the coffee table aside so the container with Lego, which grew bigger and bigger after every birthday, could be overturn on the soft carpet in our sitting area. From the big pile of Lego blocks, wheels and figures they would make beautiful creations, from space ships to drag racers to pea fabrics! I find it great toys, good for their motor skills and their spatial awareness. In my opinion it is a shame that there are more and more pre-made packages on the market; fun to build with the step1 to step 20, 50 and even 100 steps, but it leaves no space for the children’s imagination. In my opinion you can never start too early with encouraging their imagination, and that also counts for girls! And now Lego come with a new series for toddlers: Duplo on wheels! It is a combination of building and rolling, so especially fun if your toddler starts walking.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to keep your baby calm in a packed waiting room or if you’re in line for the bakery. I always had my keys ready or a toy, but you have to find it in your bag and on a moment like that, you often can’t find it. Especially for these moments, Dushi designed the Mama & Kind necklace. The necklace is soft and safe, looks nice with bright colours, big figures, soft fabrics and sounds; enough to entertain your baby if necessary. They have done a lot of research about the safety of the product: there is no danger of loose beads, sharp edges or rough points. Because of the special clasp the necklace will be cut loose if it gets stuck somewhere. The necklace is nice enough to wear as a fashionable accessory with a single coloured dress or top, but my guess is that a small toddler also would love to wear this.
I thought that there were only two types of toy stores in the Netherlands: the one of Blokker (Bart Smit, Intertoys) and the similar Toys2Play, which are well-known for their profuse collection of vulgar plastic toys in similar packages, and besides these stores, a couple of beautiful stores which sell wooden, educative and durable toys and children’s books. But now there is a third player in our country: Imaginarium! The original Spanish chain, which exists for 20 years already, has opened its first establishment in Amstelveen and many will follow. This store wants to differentiate with toys that emphasize education and development and focuses on children from 0 till 9 years old. It mainly sells its own brands. I was in Düsseldorf recently and accidentally I came across an Imaginarium store. Actually you cannot miss it: the windows are so beautiful and inviting for parents and children that you have to stop and take a look…and then the entrances: a big one for the adults and a small one for the children. In the shop there are a lot of original toys for the smallest, like a crawling tunnel, a baby fitness place where the baby can practice its first steps on a mat. But I also found maternity baskets, bed textile and a first set of tableware. I think it is a relief in the world of toys!