By Nancy Tannler
When Don Hudson first became a stay at home dad, he found there were very little resources for a dad as a child caregiver. His hunt for a large, functional diaper bag that didn’t look like fashion statements by Gucci or Coach clued him in to the fact that not many baby stores are male-oriented.
This incident was the inspiration for Seahorses, at 4029 SE Hawthorne Blvd., a store that features a selection of innovative, durable, functional and fun dad/baby gear.
For the modern man involved in raising children, this shop is especially interesting. Seahorses offers a safe toddler environment with a handsome “corral” Hudson built where your child can be safely deposited with soft flooring, toys and no escape.
The Thule jogging strollers, bike trailers, bike seats, backpacks and Doona stroller to car seat innovations are some of the most advanced on the market. Instead of kicking tires in a car lot, you can decide the best way to transport your munchkin around the city.
About those diaper bags –there’s a selection of good-looking, utilitarian bags to choose from with enough room to make it through any sojourn of the day.
The kids’ stuff covers the latest in cool, safe toys, traveling games, clothes, cloth diapers, and baby carriers. A personal favorite of Hudson’s is the locally-made growth chart that can be moved from home to home.
The shop features Leatherman for gentlemen; multi-pupose pocket tools ranging in size from a mini key chain tool to the heavy duty sheath you can wear on the belt. These handy all-in one tools include scissors, pocket knife, screwdriver, fingernail file, tweezers and even more accessories in the larger tools.
A ritual Hudson has come to relish in his few hours of time-out from parenting is to shave. “I like to take the time and give myself a close shave, using hot towels and the works,” he said.
So, Seahorses carries a line of shaving soaps, straight razors, safety razors and badger bristle brushes. It’s Hudson’s thought that if you take care of yourself, you take better care of everyone else.
Clothes for men include t- shirts and a carefully-chosen line of jeans called Draggin’ Jeans; Hudson’s choice for riding motorcyles since they were designed to withstand a fast-moving slide on a bike or even crawling around on the floor with your toddler.
The store has been completely renovated allowing space for workshops, a carport car seat installation and will carry a line of unfinished furniture with Safe Paint made from powdered milk for dad/kid projects. There will be space to work on these at Seahorses too.
Before moving to Portland Hudson was an elevator mechanic in Baltimore; a dangerous job that he and his wife Colleen McCormick decided wasn’t worth the risk while they were raising their family, especially after she procured a good job here.
Once Hudson’s sons became pre-school age, he decided to open Seahorses – an apt name because the male seahorse is equipped with a pouch on the front-side of the tail. When mating, the female seahorse deposits up to 1,500 eggs in the male’s pouch. The male carries the eggs for 9 to 45 days until the young seahorses emerge fully developed.
Hudson’s sons, Dechan and Camden are pre-schoolers but “help out” at the shop sometimes along with Hudson’s oldest daughter Angel. Eventually his youngest daughter Aela, currently ten weeks young, who will join the rest of the family there on occasion.
“I wanted Seahorses to be a place my kids could be while I work,” Hudson said.
Seahorses is a kid-friendly place that offers something for every budget and child/parent need or want. Whether you are looking for your own child or on some errand for a baby accessory for a friend, this new kid on the block can help.
Watch for upcoming classes and events at seahorsespdx.com or call 971.352.6130.