Posts tagged with mom:
Could you repost the doc you had created for toddler meals? The link had been broken.. It had lists for a protein, fruit, veggie, etc. Also what are your favorite items for toddlers at Trader Joe's? We finally got one in the neighborhood so I'm excited to see what they have for my 10 month old daughter as she expands her eating these next few months. Thanks!!
"The facts in each case differ a little, but always there is the terrible moment when the parent realizes what he or she has done, often through a phone call from a spouse or caregiver. This is followed by a frantic sprint to the car. What awaits there is the worst thing in the world." - Gene Weingarten
I posted this last year but since the weather is heating up, I think it’s a good time to revisit it.
Leaving a child in a car is easier to do than the rational human brain is willing to comprehend. The people who have done it are shocked that they did. They said that they never thought it would be their mistake to make. It’s a tragic, terrible thing that any one of us could do or will do. 44 children died after being left in vehicles last year, but I’m willing to bet there were thousands upon thousands of close calls. The younger the child, the easier it is to get out of the car without a backwards glance. Infants are quiet and lethargic in the heat. They are probably asleep when you lock the door.
If you read my post last year, you’ll remember a moment when I locked the car door and began to walk away from it with Isobel still inside. That moment scared me more than anything else has ever frightened me in my life. It is the ultimate preventable tragedy and it is lurking so close to every parent. It’s just one distraction away. I don’t want to scare you, but I kind of want to scare you. There are a lot of irrational paranoias that come with parenthood. This is not one of them. This is worth being scared of.
Here are some things that I’ve read can help reduce your risk:
- Put your bag (handbag, diaper bag, whatever) in the backseat.
- If you (or especially dad) doesn’t carry a bag, put your wallet or suit jacket in the backseat.
- Set an alarm on your phone to go off at the approximate time you’ll reach your destination.
- Tape a piece of paper over your inside door handle.
- If your routine changes and your spouse or partner will be handling daycare drop-offs, etc., be sure to alert them before they leave (“Don’t forget to stop at daycare”) and give them a follow-up phone call. This works the other way too, obviously. If you are suddenly responsible for transporting your child and you haven’t been the one doing it often, ask someone to follow up with you.
And last, please read this article. It is one of the most important things I’ve read as a parent.
My diaper comparison spreadsheet must be on Pinterest or something because I’ve gotten several emails and requests over the past few days for the Dropbox link. The link broke somehow (?), so I figured this would be a good opportunity to update the data.
- Diapers have increased in price across the board since I first rounded up all this data. In some cases, a box of diapers went up by at least $10—and had LESS diapers in it! Annoying. This wasn’t limited to one or two brands here or there either. I can’t tell you how many prices I had to increase while the # of diapers per box decreased.
- Except for the Diapers.com brand and Honest.com brand, I pulled all of this data from Amazon. I included Subscribe & Save diapers in the spreadsheet this time too. Amazon is doing some shady, shady work there though. First, I saw prices on Prime items increase by a near universal $5 or so. That’s not a coincidence. I think they’re building their shipping costs into the “low” Prime shipping price. Second, this year’s Subscribe & Save prices are pretty damn close to last year’s lower prices. So it’s not really a savings, though it kind of is, but it…also kind of isn’t. That sucks. Amazon owns everything. The end.
- I was looking at my charts with the estimated # of diapers you may use in a day, but I didn’t factor daycare into this number. If you have to supply your own diapers and wipes at daycare, beware that they will often use a lot more than you may be expecting. At Isobel’s daycare, they will change a child’s diaper when it’s soiled, but they also have regular “diaper checks” throughout the day—and even if the kid hasn’t gone, they’ll change the diaper. We were going through diapers like crazy last year. We sent at least a pack a week (30-40 diapers). This is on top of what we used at home too, obviously. Something to keep in mind.
- Honest has gotten more expensive. Bottom line, end of story. They are obviously more expensive than discount diaper brands, but the savings are just not there against comparable “natural” diapers either. This is primarily because Honest has decreased the # of diapers per bundle while keeping their price (about $85 per month) the same. This isn’t so drastic in the smaller diaper sizes, but once you get up to the Size 5 diapers, they’re a whopping .57 cents per diaper. PER DIAPER GUYS. That’s absurd. One could reasonably justify the added cost when looking at comparable brands through about size 3. After that, the expense skyrockets and unless you feel really strongly about Honest’s diapers, you should probably look elsewhere.
- You probably already know this, but buy diapers in bulk (boxes of 100 or more). I don’t care what brand you go with, but you HAVE to buy them in bulk. Buying a single pack here or there is good in a pinch, but if you do that all the time, you are losing so much money.
- Size matters. There can be big price differences within the SAME DIAPER BRAND depending on what size you’re looking at. It is worth shopping around when your child moves up a size.
In the end, once you factor in wipes and your monthly diaper supply needs, Honest and its natural brand competitors can come out pretty damn close in price. But, unfortunately for Honest, there are no savings to be found. And, once you get into the bigger sizes, Honest’s prices are mind-bogglingly high per diaper.
If you don’t mind paying this premium, I can vouch for the effectiveness of the actual diapers. We’ve still never had a blowout and I wrote the original spreadsheet post almost exactly two years ago. The quality is there. The eco-friendly credentials are there. But the savings are not. They are not an affordable alternative. They are just an alternative.
I hope this helps you make purchasing decisions for your family and I hope you find a great diaper brand that works for you and your baby.
(ETA: The link was still broken when I posted this, but should be fixed now. Reply and let me know if it’s not. Technology is so hard.)
- We made the transition to Honest Training Pants ($12.95 per pack or available in your diaper bundle) several months ago. We still put Isobel in diapers at night, but these are fantastic for day. They fit well, are very absorbent and they feel almost cloth-like to the touch. If you’re interested in checking out Honest, please consider using my referral link here.
- Isobel loves dips so I found these containers that hold a snack AND a dip. I try to include one in her lunch every day. They’re $4.99.
- Isobel seems to enjoy coloring in her wipe-clean books more than in a coloring book (they’re very fun and bright, not surprising). The tracing and pen control one (about $8) is a good beginner one. The ABC one is getting a lot of use lately too (about $8).
- Melissa & Doug’s reusable sticker pads are amazing, but sweet lord, I’m sick of them. Isobel can play with these things for hours—I’m not exaggerating—and she insists on me holding the book in my lap so I can assist her if she needs it. It’s…so fun. We have every sticker pad they make (
so fun), but don’t bother getting all of them: just get the Vehicles and Habitats bundle for $12.
- I recently discovered Iz can fit fairly well into the XS size in the Girls section of Target. This is exciting news because this section usually has a more varied selection and large clearance racks. They also have…activewear! I got her a few things, like this tank top ($15).
- The Endless Reader app is a transformative app experience. It’s so well-done and I can’t explain just how thrilling it was to watch Iz start to sightread words after just a few sessions with the app. She thinks it’s a game, so we haul it out at restaurants if she’s getting wild and she’ll sit there and READ basically. Here’s some more information about the app and you can download it for iPhone or iPad. The app is free, though you have to pay $4.99 to unlock additional packs within the game. (It’s well worth the money.)
Speaking of toddler-friendly apps, it’s way too hard to find good ones. Do you have any suggestions?
My back was hurting so I took a bath. I hardly ever take baths. I don’t find them relaxing. They’re reserved for times of desperation. Mid-winter, for example. When I’m wearing two sweaters, leggings, socks AND slippers? Okay, a bath before bed might work.
Isobel came in the bathroom and was chatty with me for a few minutes. She unscrewed the bottle of bubbles and poured some into the tub. “There y’are,” she said. She took her fish loofah from the edge of the tub. She held it out to me for some soap. I squirted some on. Then she started scrubbing my shoulders. “All clean,” she said. I said thank you and got out of the bath.
I brushed my hair, curled it a little bit. Iz took my other brush. Started brushing her own hair. “Hair!” she said. We watched each other in the mirror.
I put some aloe vera on my legs where I got a bit of heat rash at the beach. I had a bad bout of it years ago (damn you lifeguarding!) and it’s prone to pop back up if I’m not religious about keeping myself covered in SPF. (I was religious about Iz’s SPF coverage, not my own. Sigh.) She whined a bit until I put some aloe on her hands. She rubbed it onto her legs, just like me. “All done,” she said.
I brush my teeth. I hand Isobel her toothbrush. “Teeth,” she said. We brush together and rinse out our mouths together.
I started doing my makeup. I put on mascara. “Eyes,” she said. I put on some blush and bronzer. “Face,” she said, and took another one of my brushes and wiped it all over her forehead.
I went back into the room and got dressed. Shorts and a shirt. She went to her room, opened her drawer and took out a pair of shorts. She tried to get them on, but both her legs went into one side of the shorts leg. “Let me help you,” I said and I did. I put her shirt on too.
I picked her up and we looked in the mirror together. She smiled at her reflection.
I am exceedingly aware that she is watching my every move more closely and thoughtfully the older she goes. As I go through my morning routine, I can feel her eyes follow me as I move from hair, to makeup, to clothes, and I find myself questioning every step I take. Am I putting too much emphasis on this? Is her interest just harmless mimicry that I am looking into with over-sensitive adult context?
We encourage her to copy us most of the time. When I am blow drying her hair before bed, she’ll often pick up Brandon’s electric razor and try to put it to her cheeks. (“Try” being the optimal word here. She is fascinated by razors, scissors and knives. Of course she is—she’s not allowed to touch them! Ugh.) When Brandon is building things, she is eager to assist with the tools. She helps both of us load and unload the dishwasher. When we clean the kitchen or the bathrooms, she will take a rag and help us wipe. She tries on my shoes. She tries on Brandon’s shoes. I played my flute the other day. I gave her my piccolo and she pretended to play with me for quite a long time. “A fooot!” She likes to sit at my desk, clack the keys on my keyboard. She picks up the phone. “Hello! How are you! Bye!”
She copies the good and the bad. She has copied the cursing a few times. She knew to use the words properly, to my dismay and shameful amusement (but mostly dismay, I promise). I am on high alert, Defcon 1. I am careful about what I say.
It is a solemn responsibility to live with a sponge. What am I teaching her or not teaching her? What should I be doing that I’m not? What should I stop doing? I think about this a lot now. I think the best we can do is encourage her curiosity and let her explore new ways of thinking and learning and doing. I love watching her grow up and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years have in store.
(Trigger warning: this post might contain some scenarios or experiences that could upset you.)
I remember the first time my mom taught me to hold my keys properly in my hand to walk to my car if I was alone.
When I left for college, she presented me with a keychain pepper spray. I scoffed and laughed. So over-protective! I won’t need that. “You might,” she said. On nearly every phone call for the next few years: “Did you take your pepper spray on the metro/for your run/while you got groceries?” Yes, mom. It’s on my key ring. I always have it.
I almost forgot about it and I certainly never uncapped it until one night I arrived home late at my apartment building and had to park far away from my door. It was a big complex. I probably had a quarter mile to walk. I got out of my car, felt weird and saw a guy standing nearby. I walked quickly and he walked quicker. I started jog-walking and he sped up too. I scrambled for my keys, uncapped the pepper spray and started to run. I held my keys out to the side, hoping that the dim light from the parking lot lamps might reveal what was in my hand. A car suddenly pulled into a spot near me and a couple people got out. The guy turned around abruptly and walked the other direction. I ran into the building, locked my door and turned out the lights.
That wasn’t the first time I was frightened but there were other things yet to come. I got fondled on the Metro. Several times. Rush hour, full cars, jostling commuters. They grab a boob here, an ass cheek there. One of the worst was when I went to Brandon’s apartment, parked my car and several guys approached me and started talking to me. I think I’d had a late class. I don’t remember. It was dark and quiet, anyway. I walked past them, kept my head down, didn’t respond and moved in a beeline for the door. They followed until I was buzzed in. The next morning I had “BITCH” carved across the hood of my car. I told Brandon he had to come meet me in the parking lot from then on.
A man followed Isobel and I around the grocery store last year. I noticed him right away. His cart was empty. He stared luridly, smiled grotesquely. He ended up in every aisle I was in. I skirted the outside of the aisles. I saw him at the opposite end of the aisles, passing each one in sync with me. He cut down towards me and I grabbed Iz, abandoned the cart and went for the car. You have to turn your back to put a child in a carseat, so I unlocked the car, jumped in the backseat, relocked the car and buckled her in from there. I saw him come out the front of the store and look around. He went back inside.
There are other stories I could tell and won’t. I’m not ready to say them out loud.
The thing is: Every woman has her own stories. It doesn’t matter where we live, where we work or where we went to college. It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant or if you have a kid with you. It probably doesn’t matter if you’re in a group or with a male friend or boyfriend or whatever.
I’ve read your experiences, I’ve read the #yesallwomen thread on Twitter, I’ve thought about my own experiences and then I look at Elliot Rodger and I am disgusted and angry. I am heartbroken for the families of his victims. I feel a general sense of helplessness, hopelessness. I think about my daughter, all that it means to be the parent and protector of a young female, and I become enraged.
One day I know I’ll have to give her pepper spray too. She’ll probably laugh at me. Mom, you’re being over-protective! But what else can I do? I’ll tell her stories, I’ll tell her about the time I got off the elevator and took the stairs in the parking garage to see if the guy was really following me. I ducked down behind a car, watched, saw him look around. I’ll tell her this shit isn’t just in the movies. This is real life. Bad guys are everywhere and sometimes they win. She won’t really understand until that first time she walks through a parking lot or down a street, heart pounding, listening for the footsteps matching her own—just a little bit behind her.
The most sad part of it all is that I’ll also tell her it becomes a way of life. A state of living. These protective instincts and the little alarm bells become the background to your entire life. You will never stop looking over your shoulder, but you’ll stop realizing you even do it.
For all the daughters out there, I hope Jessica Valenti is proven right: that misogyny and violence against women does not have to be inevitable.
Isobel calls me “mommy” and the thrill has not waned.
There are other labels that feel good too. For example, a person calls you “spouse” or “partner” because they chose you and vise versa. Or, you are called “employee” because you have earned the title. But when a child calls you “mommy,” it’s because they know instinctively that they belong where you are.
In the beginning when Isobel was so, so small, there was intense love, but it was a one-way, encompassing, responsibility-driven, smothering kind of love. A protecting, caring love from mother to baby. I was content with your sweet-smelling cheeks and your long eyelashes resting upon them as you ate and slept beside me.
And then you grew. So fast! You are learning how to love now. You call me mommy and I smile. I look at you and think, yes, I am your protector. I carried you physically, emotionally, the weight of you and all that it means. I will carry you until the day when the world turns upside down and you carry me instead. But, even then Isobel, even then—I will always be mommy to you. I will remember the day I first heard it and I will thrill, for the rest of my life, when I hear it again. Even when it’s said in anger and especially when it’s said in sadness.
I gather you into my arms at the beginning and the close of each day because that is my life. Those are my days. You expect me and I anticipate you. Will you remember how I sometimes wake you early? You won’t, but I’ll remind you. I’ll tell you about how I wanted to see your smile when you realize it’s me coming through your door. I’ll tell you about your messy hair, your warm hands and cheeks—fresh from sleep. When I sneak in, sometimes you are tucked into a ball on your bed, or splayed sideways, hands and feet everywhere. I will say, “Hi, honey, good morning,” and you never, ever startle. You always know it’s me, even when you’re in the deepest of sleeps. You remember somewhere that it’s okay. I am mommy and I am safety. And you wake up and lift your arms. I pull you up to me and you rest your head on my shoulder. I say, “I missed you!” And then, as you cling to me in the early morning hours, I know for sure you missed me too.
Isobel, I’m so happy I get to be your mommy.
I'm in need of help from one slug to another! I'm having my first baby in early July and am at a bit of a loss as to what I should wear as my going home outfit. I know it's not a big deal, but I want to look good and feel good, while also feeling comfortable. Any tips on what to pack? It's going to be hot and sticky where I'm from too.
I got this question today:
Could you post this anon? I am writing because I’m curious (if you’re willing to talk about it) if you knew from the beginning that Iz would be your only child. If so, how did you come to that? Most days I feel like that will likely be the choice we make too, but I’m always curious how other people get to that place. I always thought we’d have two. Or more. But time. Money. Emotional fortitude. It’s a lot. I’d love your insight. xo
I have no insight.
I have nothing except questions and what-ifs and thoughts that creep up in the night as I’m lying in bed. I think about it at the grocery store when I see siblings fighting and I think about it at the park when I see siblings playing together. I think and I do more thinking. I think I know how I feel and I know that I’m unlikely to change my mind, but still. The thought is there.
I actually almost wrote a post about this last week but I changed my mind about posting it at the last second because I was getting frustrated about my ability to verbalize my very complex, very uncertain feelings about a topic that I know a lot of people feel strongly about. I hardly ever shy away from posting things that I know people will feel strongly about, but this is so personal and real to me, to Brandon, to Isobel. And although having or not having another child is a family decision, I can’t ignore how strongly this falls at my feet and my feet alone. This complex, nuanced, larger-than-life decision falls to me and my uterus—and this isn’t even taking into account whether we might have difficulty conceiving.
Yet, even though I’ve just said that I’m having a hard time finding clarity on this, I do know deep down what is right for right now. That’s hard to admit, since so much of child-rearing and parenting means sacrificing all for the sake of the child(ren). We are in a place culturally that requires parents to weigh so many potential decisions by the impact they could or will have on their children. We move to different cities so they can go to better schools. We change our budgets so they can go to summer camp. We alter our work hours so they can attend the best extracurricular activities. Even pregnancy (and childbirth) are overwhelmingly outcome-oriented with relatively little attention or honest discussion paid to the mental, physical and emotional health of the mother. (Well, except for when she is watched carefully to see that she passes her glucose test and is within the weight guidelines her doctor specifies.) In this prism, having one child is confusing. As someone with a sibling, even I am unsure how to navigate it. (I used to say, “I don’t really want kids, but if I do, I want at least two. Maybe four.” Maybe four! That came out of the mouth of someone that didn’t know anything.) Anyway, I get why having one child is still somewhat uncommon and why people have strong feelings about it. Having multiple children implies companionship, camaraderie, success, completion. I think that’s what I must have thought back when I believed having four children might be a good idea for me.
You mentioned time, money and emotional fortitude as concerns for having another child. These are very important factors. Money especially. I have been told many times that “you always find the money.” And yes, perhaps. Maybe you do. But the thought of spending over $3,000 a month on daycare makes me ill. Staying home and choosing not to work? That’s not even on the table. Work is, for me, a non-negotiable. I will work. I will always work.
So—emotional fortitude. That’s a concern too. I view the first year (or so) of Isobel’s life through as realistic a lens as I can, seeing as there is such a veil of nostalgia and contentment that has grown over the more difficult and frustrating memories. The further I get away from them, the less clear they are. And it is vital that I do not forget. It is vital to my emotional and mental health, to my marriage, and to my ability to parent Isobel the best I can. I have struggled with mental health issues—depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder—on and off for years. I have been medicated, though I am not currently. I freely admit that I am unsure whether I have the strength to do it again. If you have ever taken medication for depression, you will know that (most of the time) it does help. But, for me, it also numbs. It numbs everything, including the way I feel about the people I love. On medication, I am not sleeping 18 hours a day, but when I am hugged, I feel nothing. So I am scared to wake the sleeping giant. I am frightened of the unknown about myself. How far can I go? How far would I go? I’m not sure. But the risk is there and it is real. I am not alone in a vacuum with this, either. I have a daughter that depends on me. I have a child. And we are so happy right now. So very happy. She hugs me and says she loves me and I feel a warmth, a deep, painful love that I have never before experienced. It is a beautiful thing that I have to cherish and keep safe. And so, you see why I must think about these things.
But I still don’t know the answer. I don’t know the final answer, anyway. I think I probably know, but I am young and there are unknowns.
For now, as we walk to the park as a family, the three of us, I feel that we may be complete. My daughter! She is so independent, so feisty, so funny. When I look at her, I do not see the hazy outline of another standing beside her. I can’t fathom it. It doesn’t make sense. It may not ever make sense. For now, I see only her. Friends who were pregnant around the same time as me are having second children. I think, “How nice,” but I know that I do not yearn or desire or need that yet.
Isobel is so many wonderful, frustrating, indescribably beautiful things to me, but mostly she is enough. I think about all the things I want to do for her and do with her. I can give her those. We can give her those. That is enough for now.