Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Sept. 3rd: A Toddler’s Treat

On Monday, September 3rd,  a new generation of preschoolers will get the chance to experience Make-Believe as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood premieres on PBS Kids  with a special one hour block of two back to back episodes. (check local listings for exact time).

Produced by The Fred Rogers Company, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood follows the adventures of a 4 year old tiger named Daniel Tiger, who is the son of Daniel Striped Tiger from the classic show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Daniel Tiger uses the show to invite children into sharing his experiences in his peaceful yet lively neighborhood. Targeted toward preschoolers aged 2 to 4 and their parents, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood teaches kids fun and practical strategies and skills needed for growing and learning.

“No one knew better than Fred Rogers how to connect with children,” said Bill Isler, President of The Fred Rogers Company. “And, like Fred, Daniel Tiger will visit preschoolers every day. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is an exciting new series with all the right elements to appeal to today’s children and families. It’s well-poised to become a much-loved classic for years to come.”

Daniel starts his day by donning his red sweater, tying his sneakers and inviting his preschool pals at home into the bright and lively Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood features the next generation of the original characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Daniel’s best friend is O the Owl, who lives with his Uncle X in the tree next door to Katerina Kittycat, daughter of Henrietta Pussycat. Daniel also loves to visit Prince Wednesday, the youngest member of the royal family headed by King Friday, in his castle; and Miss Elaina, who lives with her parents, Lady Elaine Fairchilde and Music Man Stan, in the Museum-Go-Round. The familiar red trolley “ding dings” its way all around the Neighborhood.

And guess what?  We’re hosting a giveaway! One lucky aMomKnowsBest reader will win a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood gift pack, complete with a Daniel Tiger luggage tag, crayons, Daniel Tiger printables, backpack and crayons, pencils, stickers, and more…and it’s all courtesy of PBS Kids!  Just leave a comment below telling me why you want to win or what you thought of the show.  We’ll pick a winner by September 6th.  Also, don’t forget to go to the PBS site for more Daniel Tiger interactive fun.

HappiTaps, for the Tech-loving toddler!

HappiTapsBear

Warning!! Introducing your child to HappiTaps may mean you’ll be seeing a lot less of your Iphone. On the flip side, it’s sure to provide lots of giggles, heartwarming moments, and some uninterrupted “mommy time.”  HappiTapps pairs up technology with teddy for a winning combo!

Like most toddlers, my daughter loves to play on my Iphone.  Her favorite thing to do is watch YouTube videos and listen to music.  Recently, she’s been waking up saying, “Bear,” and before bed she says, “Night Night, Bear.”  I’ve never before reviewed an app, but the new Infantino HappiTaps Beary Happi app had so many neat toddler friendly features, I was excited to test it out.  Clearly, it’s a hit with my daughter!

Features:

  • 3D computer animation in conjunction with the iPhone/iPod Touch cutting technology to create a toy that reacts to a child’s life moments
  • Over 150 different expressions to keep kids engaged and learning
    • Tell jokes, share fun facts, tell stories, sing songs, teach educational tidbits
    • Beary Happi also loves to laugh, wink, make faces and of course he eats and sleeps
  • Full of games and activities for engaging play
  • 2 Play modes
    • Toddler Mode – Hides the navigation so toddlers cruise carefree from 1 activity to the next
    • Manual Mode – Let’s kids choose between the 7 games and activities
  • The cover features a lock for the home button to ensure kids stay within the app
  • Age: 18+ months

What exactly are HappiTaps?

HappiTaps are a toy/app hybrid. Infantino/Step 2  created a winning combination, merging kids  fascination with technology and an adorable snuggle buddy to create an interactive companion.  Brilliant, I say!

Beary Happi is the very first HappiTap. Put your Iphone or Ipod inside and download the free app to make him “come to life”.

I’ve already downloaded the HappiTap app and am eager to get my bear case that will wrap around my Iphone.  I know my daughter will go crazy over it!  We are just beginning to learn about all the features as we navigate through the app.  I’m torn because I think this would make the perfect stocking stuffer for her–once the bear arrives–but I’m so excited to see her reaction that I don’t think I can wait until Christmas!  😆  At a retail price of just $19.99 plus free shipping, this makes a great gift for nieces and nephews too!

 

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Infantino HappiTaps and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.  All opinions  are my own.

 

 

VIDEO Diary Day 5: Bloopers & Reuniting With Old Friends

I have been so excited for this day.  We drove from DC to Richmond, where  we are staying  for a bit with a very good friend of mine that I met at my first television station in Sherman, TX.  Back then, it was the only station in the country to be three affiliates; ABC, NBC & FOX.  I’m not even sure how that’s possible, but that was the case.  Now, it’s simply the NBC affiliate.  Tracy and I had so many good times together.  I saw her through several boyfriends, was in her wedding  five years land several moves later, and now we both have families.  In 1998, when Tracy and I met, I was the only one of my friends married, so my husband and I would often “host” the holidays at our house. Rather, it was an apartment that my husband and I shared with a roommate because we were so broke.  She, too, has become a life-long friend and the memories of those days in the sweltering Texas heat, I will forever cherish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOj21ulLPo8

Milestones…and moving on

I stood staring at the teddy bear mobile hanging from the ceiling. It hung over our spare kitchen sink. Yes, spare. Our 111 year old house has a pantry on the second floor, complete with …you guessed it…a kitchen sink. The sink comes in handy. I soak white baseball pants in it. I clean up craft projects in it. And I bathe babies in it. It is the perfect size for that task. When I was pregnant with my first child I did what any respectable, first-time pregnant mommy did. I registered for baby ‘stuff’. I registered for sheets, onesies, a buggy…and a tub. Which we used. Once. From that point on, every tubby that my kids took, until they were big enough to bathe in the big tub, was in the sink. So when my ten year-old was just a baby, we hung this mobile over the sink to hold their attention. It was a crank kind and it played a rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. We used it for all four babies. Now that our youngest has used the big tub for over a year now, I thought it was probably time to take down the mobile. No one needed it anymore. At least none of the kids did.

When the older three kids reached their ‘milestones,’ I was always excited. I looked forward to what was next. Never rushed, mind you. Just excitement. With my forth, things are different. Maybe because I am pretty sure there will not be anymore. Each stage we finish means a stage I will never experience again. And it almost seems like Cait knows. She cruises through the milestones with an ease that bites my heart. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get her to hold on to being a baby. Every day she figures out another way to be a ‘big girl’. What is her rush??? Slow down. With each proclamation from her that ‘I am a big girl’ comes the end of an era in our house. She potty-trained fairly quickly, so we returned an entire case of diapers to BJ’s. The changing station that had been set up on the first floor (because we all know that new mommies shouldn’t climb the stairs) ten years ago was dismantled. Each time I walk into our first-floor bathroom it is another heartbreaker. I thought I would ease her into her big-girl bed. In true Cait style she informed me that the crib was no longer needed. And another heartbreak. She feeds herself. She dresses herself. She makes choices for herself.  She is more than ready to let go…and I am more determined to hang on.
I know I should be happy that she is ready to move on. My mommy friends are amazed at how at ease she is with separating from me. As we dropped one of my sons off at kindergarten the other day, she turned to me and said “It’s OK Mommy. Cait stay here at school now. You go home.” She is not yet three. I know I will appreciate this. Some day. That day is not now.
So I have a decision to make. What do I do with the mobile? Do I leave it up as a reminder of the milestones that have passed? Or do I take it down and move on? You know, it really isn’t in the way…yet.

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Potty Training; The Dirty (Diaper) Truth

My personal potty training method was honed early on with the oldest of my four children. It was a gorgeous day at the zoo. I had my newborn in the babybjorn, as my two year old hopped happily in and out of the stroller, to explore. My feeling of accomplishment at having gotten myself, and two tiny children dressed, fed, and out of the house, unraveled the moment my daughter announced “I have to go potty!” I can’t remember who the reckless individual was who had told me that at two years old I had to start potty training my daughter, but there I was, smack in the middle of the vast zoo, the nearest bathroom a ½ mile away. I already knew at this point that when a toddler tells you they have to go potty, you are moments away from being too late. I was never much of an athlete growing up, but if they had a category for sprinting mother with stroller and Bjorn, I would have won a medal on that day!

World's Greatest Mom Medal

I earned THIS baby!

I ignored the stares as I ran and shouted in my motherese, “Just hold on sweetie, we’re almost there. Hold it in. Hold it in!” Trying to look cool and collected is one of the first things to go when you become a mother, so I didn’t care what anyone thought of my maniacal dash, as long as we made it to the bathroom in time. The smell of the public bathroom hit me as we squeezed through the door. I hastily tried to put toilet paper over the crusty seat with one hand, while I helped my daughter pull down her pants with the other, newborn baby dangling perilously above the toilet in the meantime. As I hoisted her onto the seat one of the strips of protective paper slipped in, her bare bottom resting on the filthy seat, but we had no time. When you are potty training they stress that you are not to rush the child, or raise your voice, lest you traumatize them, and destroy all progress, possibly ruining potty training for life. They never mention how traumatized you will be as you are crammed in a dirty toilet stall, newborn hanging upside-down in the babybjorn like a trapeze artist, as you lean over to hold your toddler from falling into a germ ridden, gaping grown up toilet. The fact that the baby is now screaming, and the toddler touches the toilet seat with her hands while you hold her in place, heightens the drama. Then you wait, because, sometimes you just have to patiently wait for them to go. It was there in that smelly germ infested bathroom, that I made my decision. The potty training ended. As traumatized as I was by that episode, six months later, I decided to try again. All of my friends were potty training their children by two and a half, and there seemed an urgent need by society that I should be too. My method was sealed by that second try, when my now crawling baby made his way over to the tiny full plastic potty on the floor. The one that I was helping my daughter get up from. He grabbed the lip of the bowl and splashed it over the rim, all over himself. In my apoplectic fit that followed, I decided then and there, that I would rather change a dirty diaper any day, on my own terms, in a clean, calm & safe environment, than suffer through the tribulations of potty training. From that moment on I never had to deal with mad sprints, wet spots on my new couch, a miniature toilet in the back of my car, or the multitude of daily clothing changes that I watched other mother’s go through. Although each of my kids had different time frames, in the end they never seemed to be too far behind their peers. When they did get out of diapers, emotionally and physically ready, they made the switch instantly, trauma free for all of us.

What do you think is the right age for potty training?  Do you think there even is a “right” age, or do you think your child will let you know when he/she is ready?  I’d love to hear your stories, tips, tricks and questions in our comment section below!

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