Accessory Tuesday: Ideal Pump

If you’re the type of person who finds flats very uncomfortable, you may want to try a low, sturdy heel like this one. It’s not going to replace your stiletto 3-inch heels, of course, but you may find it more comfortable than a flat. I like the sturdy, comfortable look of this one — but it still seems polished (almost like Ferragamo, honestly). It’s $109 at Nordstrom and comes in a wide size range of 4–13 (as well as four widths) in patent leather: navy, black, and taupe. Ideal Pump

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Comments

  1. CPA Lady says:

    Just wanted to leave a follow up comment to the person yesterday who was talking about solo parenting. I’ve solo parented varying amounts for most of my kid’s life, and I just wanted to say that I went through something around the time my kid was 8 months old. That was when it really sank in for me that my life was Permanently Different and there was nothing I could do about it.

    I had always thought that people whose lives changed after they had kids were just not [fun, adventurous, ambitious, whatever] enough. I thought that nothing would change. I would work at my same job without an issue. I would keep up my social life without an issue. I didn’t realize that having a kid was exhausting. I didn’t realize all the planning that goes into it. I didn’t realize that she would pick a bedtime and that it was going to be 6 p.m. sharp for a very long time. Add a huge amount of solo parenting on top of that, and all my assumptions about how easy it was going to be to make everything work went down the drain once the novelty and adrenaline of the newborn phase wore off.

    Not that it’s all doom and gloom. As kid has gotten older a lot has gotten easier. (Definitely some things have gotten hard too, though). She goes to bed later so we can do more stuff out of the house in the evening. We’ve figured out routines and meals and all that. And sometimes we just chill and eat dinner in front of the tv together (#momoftheyear)… Just wanted to throw this all out in case you’re dealing with this disappointment too. It’s normal. Especially when you’re the one doing almost everything for your kid.

    • Artemis says:

      Thank you for this, I really needed it today. I literally cried myself to sleep last night (OK, it may also be that time of the month . . . that’s another issue) because while I know this phase will pass, and I love my kids and think they’re great, and I do love my great husband, I am so tired of feeling like I exist only for the convenience of everyone else in my household. Sometimes I feel like I’m just being overdramatic and need to get over it. Sometimes I just feel unseen and unappreciated. Sometimes, like last night, it’s the little things that get to me . . . and this is on a night my husband actually came home early! I have always wanted kids and will never regret it. I just wish I had somehow been better emotionally and intellectually prepared (if that’s even possible) for how my life would change, so that I could view it a little more positively when things feel really tough. I’m working on it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hugs. And I don’t think you can ever really be prepared for how your life will change. I was more than ready to have kids but I had the exact same feeling you described this past weekend – “can I just have a moment where SOMEONE in this house doesn’t need me for something??” That included the dog, who was whining that I wasn’t paying him enough attention. It’s truly exhausting. I feel like I’m never going to feel like I did before kids – carefree and relaxed – but I agree with you that it’s all worth it.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I’ve been feeling the same lately. Literally all I wanted for our recent anniversary was to go away and not be a mom for an evening *and* a morning. We got grandparents to watch our daughter, stayed in a hotel, and it was GLORIOUS. Highly recommend it if you can swing it.

        • Artemis says:

          Good for you, Happy Anniversary!
          The sad/happy part is, my husband and I just went away for FOUR days for our anniversary, and it was truly GLORIOUS as well. I actually thought it would de-stress me enough to carry forward . . . . farther than three weeks without losing my cool. Oh well. Maybe four days was too long to be “free”, ha!

      • Hugs.

        Similar to CPA Lady, I have solo parented for much of my kids’ lives. I echo a lot of her comments, especially that it can be so hard when you’re in the thick of it. I reached a point when my second was about nine months where I cried for about a week straight – basically I felt like “Me” had been forgotten, and I was this shell of my former self, a person I didn’t even recognize anymore. Not even really about my body, although that’s completely different too, but my interests, my brain, my patience, my energy were all completely different. I’m getting better at embracing who I am now, and it does help that as the kids get older, they are less of a constant suck on your attention, but I still have moments where I wonder what “Old Me” would have done or would be doing right now.

        I don’t have any advice, just commiseration, but know that you’re not alone in this.

    • I wrote down this quote from a blog when my first was 5 months old: “I thought I could just go on being me. Me with a baby. Turned out, I had to be stripped back and rebuilt from the bottom up.”

      My second is now 8 months and I am feeling this all over again. You are not alone. Hang in there.

    • + 1 million. So important to remember. Not that I was the most fun or spontaneous person before kids, but it takes an incredible amount of planning. I don’t know why there aren’t more mothers in logistics, operations, or the military – if you can wrangle small children and keep your life together, you can run an army…

    • Solo Parenting from yesterday says:

      Thanks for the follow-up — was hoping to hear from you! And thanks to everyone else who commented. I added podcast listening while doing my chores, and it did make huge difference. now for coming to terms with the new normal…

    • anon for this says:

      I agree with all of this. I am struggling with my husband right now because I feel like I’ve come to this sort of realization/acceptance that things are different, and he refuses to. What’s more, his digging in about being able to stay after work and have drinks, go out with the guys, etc. only works because I am there to cover. I feel like I solo parent a fair amount not because of his work, but his choices/refusal to change, and it stinks.

  2. Reading the headline in Feedly, I really thought this was going to be about the Ideal [Breast] Pump. :)

  3. Nanny Hunt says:

    Talk to me about finding a nanny. I’m in the market for the first time (having used daycare in the past), and I’m oddly stressed about it, given that I have plenty of time and a handful of prospects. How did you find your best nanny? Any suggestions on what I should be looking for that may not be obvious, or how best to vet a potential nanny? I’m seeing a big range of cost in my area — do you think the more expensive nannys are usually worth the extra money, or did they just get lucky and fall in with a rich family before? Thanks for any advice!

    • Park Slope Parents has an extensive guide to hiring a nanny you might find helpful.
      http://www.parkslopeparents.com/Nanny-101/hiring-a-babysitter-part-1-preparation.html

    • Anon for this says:

      I have some thoughts on this that probably aren’t that helpful. We interviewed several nannies before finding ours and I honestly think every one of them would have worked out! We found candidates via a neighborhood facebook group. All of them had previously worked with people who liked them, so that was a good sign. We ended up with the one we have because she had worked for a friend and the timing worked out.

      Things I really love about her: she’s always on time, she hasn’t taken a sick day (!)

      Things I love less: she cannot cook. So my kids basically choose between quesadilla or grilled cheese for lunch every day. This morning she asked if I’d show her how to make french toast…

      She actually told us she was a bad cook going into it and it was something we could live with. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are definitely wrong nannies out there for you but it’s a bit like choosing a college – I believe there are a lot of right nannies too! There may be three right choices.

      Everyone else I talked to kept saying they’d interviewed ten to find the one, etc. and I have no idea how they eliminated nine. Maybe my husband and I just aren’t that picky?

    • Legally Brunette says:

      Figure out what your expectations are and make them ABUNDANTLY CLEAR during the interview. Do you want a nanny who will do housework? Be upfront about that and say exactly what kinds of housework you want her to do (check out yesterday’s coffee break thread on the main page re: the woman who wanted her nanny to do more cleaning). Do you want your nanny to take the kid out at least once or twice a day? Do you want your nanny to think of creative ideas for art projects, or are you fine just deferring to the nanny on daily activities? The more you spell things out in the beginning, the better off everyone will be.

      • Anonymous says:

        All of this. Also have a clear idea of what you expect the relationship to be. You will obviously need some level of intimacy with someone who’s caring for your kid(s) all day, but do you prefer a grandmotherly sort of nanny who will treat your child and your home as her own, or a more transactional relationship with more boundaries? Some ages and cultural backgrounds are more likely to fall into one type or the other, but obviously it’s case-by-case with each candidate. I could definitely feel the difference in my interviews.

        You can find any type of nanny! If you want someone who does a lot of cognitive development work (like the poster on the main board yesterday), look for people with an early childhood education background. I interviewed a couple candidates who’d been Montessori teachers and just relocated to the area. I also interviewed a former executive who just wanted some little kids to love since her own children were childless. Don’t settle, and if it doesn’t seem to be working out, remember there are other fish in the sea.

  4. Nanny Hunt says:

    Also: would you ever let your nanny bring her own kid? Why or why not? I’ve seen a few who sound promising, and are interested in bringing their own kid (only one in each case) with them, in addition to having my kids.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would if the ages matched up well.

      • It could also work out really well if the other kid is older. I know someone who would occasionally bring a ten year old and it was great for all involved: nanny had a helper and the little kids had a lot of fun playing with the older kid.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was super resistant to the idea at first, but I’ve found it a really good fit in two cases (a) the nanny’s child is a little older/can be a helper as discussed above, or (b) the kids are well matched in age. I liked having a nanny who is also a mom (totally projecting, but i feel like it makes the nanny such a more emphatic caregiver), and my nanny seemed more fulfilled b/c she’s working but still had her child close. A lot of caregivers ironically spend a ton of time away from their own kids, and it can be really hard on them.

      A few caveats — I wouldn’t do it if I had older kids, and the nanny was bringing a baby (the older kids have to adhere to a schedule or weather restraints that don’t necessarily apply to them), or if you had a newborn and a toddler and the nanny brought a toddler or a newborn too. Moms of twins with younger kids are rockstars, but two toddlers and an infant or two infants and a toddler is a huge lift to jump into.

      In my case, I had a nanny share (the girls in the share were the same age, and the share went from 15 months to about 4) and my nanny’s child joined the crew after school and when school was closed (5 through 8 years or so). The child was helpful and kind, and used to being around babies (mom was a longtime nanny). Also, our nanny was great about keeping the schedule and activities tuned to the kids in the share, so it’s not like they were not doing age appropriate stuff b/c the nanny’s daughter happened to be there. I have a good friend whose child “shares” her nanny with the nanny’s baby, and the kids are within 2 months of each other. I’d worry slightly that my child would get less attention as a very young baby when the other baby’s mom is the caregiver (biology as destiny), but it’s worked out great for them and the kids are super close.

    • FTMinFL says:

      I have this situation and it is WONDERFUL. I actually specifically searched out a nanny who had a toddler close in age to mine, but more on that in a minute.

      My biggest piece of advice in the nanny search is to sit down and write out a description of the perfect nanny. It would probably help for you to think through your child’s day and base your specifications on exactly what you would want the nanny to do. For example, will you leave before (s)he eats breakfast? Then you want a nanny who will make breakfast. Do you want the nanny to come up with the breakfast on her own (no micromanaging)? Then you want a nanny who is independent and doesn’t want to be micromanaged. Do you want the breakfast to be different every day? Then you want a nanny who is creative and will give you suggestions on ways to accomplish your goals for your child (e.g., variety in breakfast). You get the picture.

      I specifically wanted my headstrong child to have constant interaction with another, preferably older child. My other main criteria were someone who would get him out of the house as much as possible and someone who would independently choose activities/how they spend their days, taking the mental load off of me. That narrowed my options pretty significantly, but we found the perfect nanny. My son has certainly benefitted from the interaction and the nanny expected to receive a lower-than-market salary because she was bringing her toddler with her every day.

  5. Paging girl on fire. says:

    I left a long comment to your original post. We are here for you.

    • Girl on fire says:

      Oh, thank you so much. I posted an updated version here again but it’s stuck in mod again.

      It feels so good to feel less alone. Thank you for this advice– it’s exactly what I need. I think the hardest part is feeling like I somehow should have made better choices to avoid being in this unmanageable of a situation. And yet I’m managing pretty darn well, but definitely one foot in front of the other.

      Would love to talk offline. I’m going to try to find myself a therapist who does phone sessions, because that is so much easier for my schedule. And I’ve decided that this weekend I’m going to announce that I’m taking a few hours for myself. Not asking. But mostly I just feel like it’s hard to focus my eyes and pretend to be normal.

      • Anonymous says:

        I missed your original post yesterday – just went back and read.

        I used to work in child protection. You should be so proud of yourself for how you deal with the [email protected] situation (trying to avoid mod). It may seem like the worst thing ever has happened but it didn’t. Your child told you, you raised a child who wasn’t afraid to tell you. So many times when the victim knows the offender, it goes on for a long time, even years, before they tell. So many times parents don’t believe or miss the signs. At 2.5 there is a good chance that your child may not remember what happened long term. Lots of love to you in this difficult time. You are doing amazing. Don’t be afraid to ask for more time off at work even if you need it for a self-care day like a massage and spa day. Put on your own oxygen mask first. Big hugs.

      • Anon for this says:

        No, no, no, your choices did not create this situation. You made the best decisions you could and now you are dealing with the situation before you in the best way you can. NONE OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT.

        And you are definitely not alone.

      • None of this is your fault! Of course you might have done things differently if you could predict the future, but you can’t (I assume). You can get through this, one day at a time (or one hour at a time). Just keep doing the next right thing and tomorrow will take care of itself. Sending big hugs.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Holy cow – I just went back and read your post. I’m so, so sorry that you’ve gone through all of that. Big hugs to you.

        You’re a great mom. I have a 2.5 year old daughter as well, and sometimes it’s so hard to figure out what she’s telling us and if it’s the truth or her imagination, so huge props to you (and her) for being so clear and believing her and trusting your gut, and taking all of the necessary steps to protect her.

      • I just went back and read your post, and wow, you are dealing with so much right now. Just managing to keep things going is a really impressive feat, and I hope you see that. I also hope that, as Captain Awkward says, you have activated “Team You.” That is, have you called on any friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc who can lighten your load in some way, and asked them for help. Most people are really, really happy to go out of their way for someone in a situation like this and would want you to ask for a freezer meal, or a couple hours of babysitting, or someone to walk the dog, or just to meet for coffee and a vent session. It can be tough to be vulnerable and ask, but I promise that decent people won’t think less of you for it, and will actually be glad you did.

        • AwayEmily says:

          Echoing this. And don’t forget about calling in long-distance friends to help — I know that I would absolutely use a couple of vacation days and take a long weekend to go visit a friend who was drowning. I would LOVE to spend the weekend babysitting, doing laundry, cooking, commiserating, or just sitting around and watching TV.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I agree about asking your nearby friends and family for help. If my best friend were in your situation, I would literally drop everything and drive 3 hours to bring her dinner, watch her kids, and drink wine on her couch.

      • I second the support and advice everyone has given you. You are doing amazing. The two things I would suggest are (1) don’t make any major decisions during this time. If you decide to leave your husband, you can do that in 6 months, or a year. You don’t have to decide the day he comes home. Your world has been ROCKED. There is a reason people get divorced after losing a child and I would suggest the same reason comes into play after finding out your child was hurt by a family member. Could you be blaming him a bit even if he could not have known? Like if you hadn’t married him you wouldn’t have met this BIL? Explore these things in therapy before you decide you are done. Also, it’s great that your husband is finally getting treatment. You might find that as he heals, he turns back into the person you used to love.

        (2) This might be controversial to some but put your family and your child before justice for the world. These cases can go on for a long long time. Take the advice of your child’s treating providers before deciding how much to involve her. It might be 5 years before someone asks you for a victim statement for a sentencing. You might be happy to provide it and feel like you are getting justice and closure. Or, you may have moved on and that statement would be ripping off a scab on a long healed wound. Do what is best for you and your family.

      • Been there too. says:

        I’ll create an anonymous email address this evening and post it back here.

    • Girl on fire says:

      Just wanted to say thank you for all the hugs and support– I feel them and would love to talk to anyone willing to share their experiences. Work got busy today, which was really nice– one of the silver linings is that I now find my client problems totally less stressful than ever before, because they pale in comparison to my non-day job.

      Taking it one day at a time seems to be working the best right now. That’s excellent advice, to not make any big decisions right now. I’m going to try to find a therapist for me, but right now it seems like one. more. thing. and I’d rather find a body of water to sit by and stare at for an hour.

      I have some good local support– my girlfriends have really stepped it up and come through for me. A lot of it is not really understanding what it looks like to practice self-care. I don’t enjoy massages or facials or really, even pedicures, and I don’t feel great about leaving my kid at home for long stretches with DH. Nor do I want to make DH feel like I don’t trust him. Being around him is kind of exhausting. He needs so much attention and support. I’m just tapped out of both, and my kid gets whatever smidges I can muster. Having just taken my last week of “free” vacation time for the year (other than time at Xmas), I feel like I can’t so much skip off for another day of self-care anyway. I appreciate the space– and I may use it. Right now I’m feeling like my husband needs to just stick a sock in it about all his feelings and consider that other people might also have some, but also that that is not an appropriate way to approach him right now when he’s literally full time working on his feelings. So instead I’m doing a lot of nodding and saying “that’s so great” or “oh wow.”

  6. Stuck in moderation..updated says:

    My comment from yesterday finally came through, so here’s the updated version. Thank you all for your comments yesterday– they honestly carried me last night and made me feel so much less alone.

    Moms, could use a little support. My life has crumbled around my ears in the last few weeks. Last week I ended up taking a week of unplanned vacation because we discovered that my brother-in-law ***** my 2.5 year old during a family vacation (she told us, plain as day– and there are lots of other red flags) and because I had to check my husband into a mental hospital for undiagnosed PTSD. I did the rounds of CPS reporting and law enforcement and pediatrician and getting started with therapy intake for kiddo on my own after getting husband settled.

    Today is my second day back at work. I’m our family’s sole breadwinner and my job is pretty high-stress/fast-paced. So far my team and my clients have been amazingly supportive– but I feel like I survived a nuclear attack and am wandering around giving off radiation.

    I’m not sure what I’m asking for, except that I know others of you have survived similar “life burning down all at once” events. I welcome advice about maintaining in the workplace most of all– my manager knows what’s going on, and I have told most of my colleagues about the kid stuff. That said, I have had several other major personal issues (health stuff) this year, and I’m starting to feel like Calamity Jane to my childless, unmarried boss in her late forties. It’s hard not to look over my shoulder a lot.

    My husband came home last night and is starting an outpatient program for a while– can anyone relate? Any advice for supporting a spouse when they come home from a mental facility? This one is new to me. I’m feeling all the feelings– concern, gratitude he’s finally getting the help he needs, fear things will go back to the way they were, wanting to be supportive, anger at a lot of the behavior that got us to this point, and at being left to manage this whole kid situation as a solo parent, and, oddly enough, concern that I may not want to stay with my spouse. This round of events may have been the thing that broke me– having to dig deeper into my well of personal reserves, buck up, and handle ALL THE SHIT alone. I am telling myself those are normal feelings and I shouldn’t worry too much about them. I just want someone to take care of me for a change. Last night was weird– like a first date with someone I was meeting for the first time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, mama, this is so much sh!t. I hope you have local support you can call on.

      I just want to comment on the point about your H. You can trust yourself. You can trust that you made a good decision when you chose to marry him. You can trust that you can ask him to take care of himself, as a full-fledged adult. You ARE ALLOWED to say to him, “No, I can’t help you right this minute.” To the extent you CAN support him, wonderful. But you come first. If that means asking your H to sleep in the guest room, or whatever, that’s allowed too. If your child has a twin bed and you can have your child sleep in your bed with you, and put your H on the child’s bed, that’s fine too. To the extent you can, trust that you made a good decision marrying this man, feel safe in your home, take care of your child, and take care of yourself. You might need couples counseling after this – that would be a good plan. But get through TODAY first.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Oh, so many hugs. I’m so sorry.

      Also – you are objectively rocking this. I know it probably doesn’t feel like it, but you are making the world safe for a lot of people right now. I would really recommend therapy for yourself to create a place where at least one person is taking care of you. Have you explored your company’s Employee Assistance Program to see if they have anything to make your life a little easier?

      And if you’re in my area…I will totally bring groceries/do laundry/babysit so you can get a massage/etc.

    • ElisaR says:

      I don’t have any advice for you beyond what others have said, but I just want to echo the support and internet hugs. You sound like you’re handling this in the best way possible and I’m very impressed…. hang in there, sending you love from NJ!

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. You have my virtual support but please please try to find some local in-person support as well – family, friends, therapy, babysitter to stay with the kid (you don’t have to leave the house, just have someone there with you). This is a lot to handle, especially when you feel like you’re alone.

      All the hugs, you are handling a very difficult situation with so much strength.

    • Legally Brunette says:

      I’m so so sorry and sending you a huge hug and love through the Internet. I’m also so full of rage right now at your BIL that it’s hard for me to even type this. You’re dealing with way more than any one person should right now. As Senior Attorney wisely says, the only way out is through. We’re here for you. Please post as often as you would like to vent, ask advice, etc.

    • I wish there was a quick fix to make this all better for you. Just echoing everything everyone else has said. Lean in hard to your friends, family, etc. to anyone who can help. I’m amazed with everything you’ve been managing on your own.

      I totally get why it is easy to feel embarrassed about the mental health stuff. As someone posted yesterday, hopefully one day having a spouse suffering from mental health issues will be treated the same as someone suffering from cancer. It is totally up to you how much of this you share with friends, family, etc. and while by no means am I suggesting that you should be a martyr for a cause, by sharing you might be surprised to find out how many have gone through something similar and it could help others in the future.

      Though for now your priorities should be you and your daughter and not everyone else. Your daughter will be fine if she eats PB&J every day for lunch and grilled cheese every night for dinner. She will also be fine if she spends some extra time in front of the TV or on an ipad. My husband suffers from anxiety and I’m scared that one day this will happen to us, especially because he is the breadwinner. I literally earn pennies in comparison and could not afford to support us based on my salary. Anyway, this is not about me, but about you and you are a total rockstar!!! Your daughter is so lucky to have such a strong and smart mother. Hang in there!!!

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Hey. I don’t have anything to add, but I am thinking of you and sending you hugs and encouragement over the internet. You’re doing great. You really are.

      • Same. You are incredible.

      • Likewise. You will make it through because you have to. But man, that’s such a hard hand to have been dealt. If you’re in the NY area, give a shout.
        Otherwise, major major internet hugs

  7. Everlong says:

    I solo parent 4 nights a week. We have a newborn and a toddler. I am all nerves about being alone with both and managing bedtimes, toddler meltdowns, etc. Thank you for all the wisdom and commiseration shared between yesterday and today. It’s just nice to know other people are making it work, too.

    • I was home on leave with my second, still recovering from the c section. My Dad was visiting to help out during a longer stretch (6 days) of solo parenting. I turned to him in tears and said “How am I going to DO this?? How am I going to do food and bedtime and daycare and meltdowns, all times TWO, when I’m by myself??” He gave me a huge hug and said “I don’t know, but I do know you’ll do it. You’ll just make it work.”

      He often reminds me of that, because somehow I did survive solo parenting with a toddler and newborn. I’m still solo parenting, now with a 4.5 and 2 year old, and I still have mornings where I wake up and think How am I going to do this???? But then I realize I don’t have to know, I just have to DO. So I get up and make it work somehow and we all survive another day.

      (When I get too many days like that in a row, I talk to my DH and arrange for him to “solo parent” on his days home so I can have some breathing room. I sleep in til 7, let him wrestle with toothbrushes and outfit changes, let him get them ready for the park, and then get to enjoy just the playing part, which is my favorite. That break, even though I’m still there, does so much for my energy levels.)

  8. Rainbow Hair says:

    Hi all — update from the pediatric cardiologist. It was fine. I mean, kiddo hated every second of it and made sure we knew but, importantly, the doctor was not the least bit worried about her heart. And then we had ice cream for lunch. <3

    Thanks for the comforting words yesterday.

  9. I’ve been thinking about a thread on the main s!te from the other day. People were talking about whether they felt like they made enough money. I used to feel like we were ok, but a move, a second kid, and a pay cut for me have me feeling like we are cutting it really close.

    What I really want to know is whether or not we will feel positively rich once we are no longer paying $3k/month in childcare or will that money be eaten up by other expenses (camps, aftercare, activities, etc.)? Do I just make it work another couple of lean years?

    • EB0220 says:

      It’s cheaper but not as much as you’d think. I estimate that afterschool + covering breaks will cost us about 5k. That’s cheaper than full-time daycare but not as much as you might hope. With one kid, these options are cheaper but when both kids are in school and the cost doubles, we may look at a nanny/babysitter option instead of the camps.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Uuuugh I have been putting my eggs in the “once we aren’t at daycare any more” basket, like eventually we’ll have some breathing room, but also my daycare is obscenely cheap, so how much difference will it make?… though I do get small annual COL increases, which maybe will help?

      • avocado says:

        I keep thinking it will get cheaper, but it never does. Did you know that 10-year-olds need $120 graphing calculators? And iPods/iPads/cell phones for instructional use during school hours? And that apparently all children over the age of 8 (except mine) have cell phones?

    • avocado says:

      Not to be discouraging, but as soon as our kid entered public school we were paying more for after-school care + summer day camp + extracurriculars than we ever paid for day care. When they hit middle school the summer and after-school options are even more limited and often more costly.

      • Yep. Hit public school this year. We have before and after school care, drop-in care for non-school days, tons of “fundraisers” and other things for school (like sending in a bag of candy for the Halloween parade), and I’m still going to have to pay for summer care as well. Plus now she’s getting into extracurriculars, so we’re alternating a sports activity with a music/arts activity through our local YMCA.

        Maybe once they graduate college I’ll have some breathing room in my budget again?

        • Ugh. Oh, well. We are at about $30k/year in daycare costs right now and we will probably do a year of private kindergarten next year. My husband has a lot of job flexibility so I am hoping summer/after school issues can be managed that way. We’ll see. Why didn’t I go into a higher paying field?!

          • avocado says:

            What type of private K? We did private K at a day care/preschool and it did not cost any more than day care. The educational value was negligible, but it got her ticket punched for first grade and that was all we cared about.

          • We somehow chose to live in one of the very few places left in the US that does not have full-day public kindergarten. We could make it work and do a wrap program, but it just seems like a lot of time on a bus for a five-year-old and we have limited wrap options. Unfortunately our current daycare doesn’t offer K.

            I need to take tours of the private places I have contacted. I have narrowed it down to two. One is a very pricey, out of the way and doesn’t include food. The other is religious (we are secular) but buses, includes food, is affordable and attracts many different people for that reason.

    • FWIW our costs went way down starting with free preK (the one cheap thing about NYC!) This is partially because my husband is a teacher and can pick my son up from afterschool at 4 pm. And our afterschool is more no frills than the preschool was. Camps or nanny shares for random days school is closed when my husband is not off are about $100-125/day. We will probably do some summer camp too, but no way are we going to pay the roughly 15K we spent on preschool/aftercare this year.

  10. I think I need a pregnancy pillow. Didn’t with my first but I am waking up miserable and willing to try anything. My specific pain areas are my legs and lower back. Any recommendations?

    • AwayEmily says:

      Maybe a dumb question but have you tried a big regular pillow already? I got a hand-me-down pregnancy pillow and couldn’t deal with it because it was just so OMNIPRESENT. If I wanted to change positions in the middle of the night it required a lot of effort/moving things around and then I would have trouble going back to sleep. So I ended up using a fairly firm king-size pillow that we had lying around the house and it worked much better.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1

        My physiotherapist is a big proponent of every woman who is a side sleeper, sleeping with a regular size pillow between her knees and ankles – apparently it’s really helpful in avoiding low back pain because it keeps the hips/knees/ankles aligned.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I’ve started sleeping with kiddo’s old “toddler pillow” between my knees at night. It is helpful.

        • Hmm. This is what I do now but the problem is that sometime after I fall asleep the pillow ends up on the floor somehow.

          • Anonymous says:

            So I would never admit this anywhere other than anon on internet but to prevent losing the pillow. I hotglued a fabric headband to a pillow case (stuck my leg through the headband). I had a summer pregnancy and I was way to warm to use the larger pregnancy pillows.

          • I may need to get a hot glue gun!

      • avocado says:

        +1. I used a king-sized pillow and then a longer “body pillow” instead of a fancy pregnancy pillow.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I used a body pillow and a wedge pillow that I ordered from Amazon; I’m a side sleeper, so I stuck the body pillow between my legs and then stuck the wedge under my tummy to prop it up.

      • PregLawyer says:

        The wedge pillow is a good idea. I like the pregnancy pillows that are basically a big “U” because then I have support on either side. I’m normally a stomach sleeper, so I really need a pillow to lean against to give me that same feeling, but still keep me propped up on my side.

    • Newbie Momma says:

      Snoogle. I loved it during pregnancy and am still using it postpartum to deal with back pain. My husband HATES it.

      • ElisaR says:

        yes yes yes. i LOVE my snoogle. it was the first thought i had when i got a positive pregnancy test with my 2nd. YES I GET TO BREAK OUT THE SNOOGLE!!!! it pretty much gives me a hug while I sleep and i love it and never want to give it up (34 wks pregnant now so maybe i’m a little extra obsessed at the moment).

      • Anonymous says:

        Love mine, my husband also hates it (refers to it as my boyfriend). It does take up a lot of room but makes sleep during pregnancy so much more comfortable!

  11. NewMomAnon says:

    Thought puzzle, brought to you by a 3.5 year old: kiddo has declared that all of her jeans-pants (pants with a fly and waistband) are “too itchy,” and her leggings are “too cold.” She wears almost exclusively dresses, and the skirts tend to bunch up over the bulkier sweat pants waistband….but what other leg-coverings are available if we exclude jeans, leggings and sweatpants?

    -signed, a mom would would give anything to wear dresses with leggings every day

    • avocado says:

      Soft jeggings or those thick cotton knit tights from Hanna, both warmer than leggings. Or athletic leggings made from a heavier synthetic fabric–try Old Navy.

    • EB0220 says:

      Maybe thicker leggings? Hanna has some french terry leggings that still have a flat waistband.

    • avocado says:

      Oh, and last year Old Navy had some fleece leggings in the athletic section.

    • We do the warmer fleece-lined leggings, and sweater tights. I think I found packs of the leggings at Costco, and the sweater tights are everywhere, but we buy from Target. You can also look for those “jeggings” that are really thick pants. We use the George brand at Walmart – look for their uniform jeggings or skinny pants.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I was going to say footless, thick tights. She can still wear socks + sneakers. I think you can find them a lot of places.

    • Anonymous says:

      Gap last year had leggings for cold weather for toddlers. I’m not seeing them on the Canadian website yet, but they have “sweater knit” options. Also, h and m has jeggings that are pull-on and are substantially thicker than my kiddo’s leggings.

    • Anonymous says:

      Carters has leggings that are lightly lined with fleece.

    • Rainbow Hair says:
    • AwayEmily says:

      Target just came out with some Cat & Jack toddler “cozy leggings” for winter — they are basically fleece-lined leggings. They are SUPER soft and I want some for myself.

      The H&M “sweatpant leggings” are similar though not quite as thick. Still much warmer than regular leggings though.

    • Momata says:

      Gap has “sweater leggings” and Costco right now has two-packs of thicker leggings. I guess this is the mom s!te’s version of FLEECE TIGHTS!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Guess I’ve got some shopping to do! Thank you!

  12. PregLawyer says:

    Has anyone gotten the flu while pregnant? I think I’m coming down with it, even though I already got my flu shot. I’ve heard enough BIG WARNINGS that it’s bad for pregnant women to be exposed to the flu, but I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do if I get it. Is it just the fever that’s the concern? When do I call the doc? (So far no fever, but lots of aches and absolutely NO energy. And I’m solidly in my golden days of the second trimester, where typically I feel like I am a superhero–not like death.)

    Also, do I just push fluids and rest? And yes – I know that the answer to all of this is probably to call my doc if I’m genuinely concerned, but I also thought I’d post here. :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Get seen by your doctor. If you’ve been vaccinated it is quite unlikely that you have the flu and not just a cold. Main issue is that pregnancy lowers your immune system, so you are more at risk for complications. Rest and take care of yourself.

      https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm – this isn’t just about the vaccine – it explains risks/treatment recommendations for pregnant women who get the flu.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Agreed. Call your ob first, but s/he will probably tell you to go to your PCP. I hope you feel better soon!

      • PregLawyer says:

        Thanks for the link and the suggestions!

      • Really? I’ve definitely gotten the flu before (doctor did a test and everything) even when I was vaccinated; the efficacy can vary.

        • Anonymous says:

          Right – you can still get the flu if you get the shot – that’s why I said ‘quite unlikely’ not ‘impossible’ and she should definitely get checked out. Vaccine efficacy for flu shot varies every year but is generally around 60% approx. Per CDC peak flu season is December to March, usually people are just starting to get vaccinated at end of October, so it would be unusual to both come across the flu so early and catch it even though vaccinated (vs. it just being a cold).

  13. I’m in a kid dinner rut. What are your ideas for extremely quick dinners for a very picky three year old? She almost never eats new things I try to give her, so I fall out of the habit of even trying. I’ll post some of our current rotation, in case anyone else needs ideas. * items are things I’ve tried that she hasn’t liked, but maybe your kid would like them.

    Entrees/sides:
    Pasta (cooked on the weekend) with frozen meatballs and jarred sauce
    Mac and cheese (cooked on the weekend)
    PB&J
    Baked beans from a can
    Frozen mini pizzas
    Yogurt
    Tortilla chips with guacamole
    cheese and crackers
    *quesadilla
    *grilled cheese
    *tomato soup
    *leftover rice
    *hummus
    *frozen chicken nuggets
    *leftover potatoes
    *lunch meat

    Vegetables:
    frozen corn
    frozen peas
    cucumber slices
    avocado
    *frozen edamame
    *frozen vegetable medley
    *baby carrots
    *grape tomatoes
    *frozen vegetable patties or nuggets
    *butternut squash puree
    *jicama sticks

    Fruits:
    berries (no cutting or peeling!)
    bananas
    apple or pear slices
    clementines
    grapes
    applesauce
    seasonal fruits (peaches, cherries, watermelon, etc)

    • AwayEmily says:

      I know EXACTLY the feeling — it’s so much easier to just give them what you know they’ll eat instead of doing what we are “supposed” to do (ie, new food all the time, family dinners). We also rotate through the same fifteen things or so. I comfort myself with the fact that at least it is a relatively healthy selection of fifteen items?

      some other things that have worked with our similarly picky child…semi-pureed black beans with caramelized onions (I think she likes these because they are sweet), split pea soup, almond meal pancakes (I like the Hodgson Mills recipe — very googleable — and they freeze well), takeout pizza, broccoli with a TON of lemon juice on it, edamame works if I slather it in a lot of butter, roasted sweet potatoes. And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

    • We are pretty lucky and our four year old eats well but standbys for quick dinners include:

      Entrees:
      Balsamic chicken from Trader Joe’s (near the sushi/sandwiches/hummes/etc.) – we eat this at least 1x/week
      Lemon-rosemary spatch**** chicken from TJs
      Chicken thighs of some kind (instant pot)
      Pot roast (instant pot)
      Chicken sausage
      Turkey burgers (frozen)
      Black beans and rice
      Snack dinner – hummus, carrots, rice crackers, cheese, apple

      Sides:
      Salad
      Bell pepper
      Roasted carrots
      Roasted sweet potato
      marinated veg salad
      Peas
      green beans
      Soycatash
      frozen mixed veg
      Farro
      Brown rice

      • One thing I will add is that I think it really helps to have family dinners. Once we all sat down together, my son was much more willing to eat the things we were eating. There are some he still won’t try, of course, but he eats salad most nights.

        (And I’ve requested to have the phrase, “My kid ate salad,” on my tombstone. It might be my single biggest achievement as a human being.)

        • Anonymous says:

          This. We do family dinners because the kids eat better when they see us eat the same thing. Including salad. I might sound like the mean mom but with three kids including multiple food allergies – I do one meal. I pick something that at least 2/3 kids really like. If they don’t want the meal offered, they can have a piece of toast and a glass of milk. There was some initial grumpiness when we switched to this, but I was losing my mind trying to please everyone otherwise.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I’ve fallen into the pattern of offering the same things as well!

      In terms of entrees, here are a few that I’ve recently given her:
      – Amy’s frozen mac and cheese
      – Amy’s frozen bean and cheese burritos (I actually think my kid likes the gluten free one more because it’s not really a tortilla and is softer).
      – Frittata (made in advance, frozen in wedges, and defrosted). I put spinach, potato, and cheese in it.
      – Black beans (I make the Smitten Kitchen black bean ragout and freeze it in batches)
      – 1 can chickpeas + 1 bag frozen mixed veggies + 1 jar tikka masala sauce (can be on the table in less than 10 minutes, or made on the weekend)
      – PB&J
      – veggie burgers (need to reintroduce those – she used to like them and then stopped!)
      – Dr. Prager’s Fishies (the fish sticks that are in fish shapes) with ketchup (they take 15 minutes to cook)

      Vegetables
      – avocado
      – red bell pepper with hummus
      – peas and carrots
      – tomatoes
      – she’s ‘meh’ about most other vegetables unless we’re eating them.

      Fruit:
      She loves fruit, so I never worry about her fruit intake. She likes figs, which I found surprising.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I’ve finally hit a point of saying, “I don’t care what kiddo will eat; I’m making regular food and she can starve if she chooses.” I made beef stew the other night; she wouldn’t eat the potatoes (really?) but would eat the meat and carrots. Last night I made a frozen pasta florentine thing that was objectively Not Good (it was watery?), but I added heavy cream to make it creamy and then put jarred tomato sauce in kiddo’s and she ate it.

      Also – kiddo really likes steak and pork chops. I don’t know why. Plus, they make great leftovers to add to nachos, pastas, soup, etc. Baked potatoes are a hit (you can make these in the crock pot!). I also make homemade chicken fingers by slicing chicken breast into strips, dipping it in egg and then tempura breadcrumbs, and frying in some oil.

      This week I’m making chili with black beans, which I’ll serve over whole-grain spaghetti with cheese and scallions on top. I don’t care if she hates it.

      Other thoughts that may gross you out;
      Hotdogs wrapped in crescent rolls and baked in the oven
      “Make your own sandwiches” with deli meat, cheese, mustard, ranch dressing, veggies, etc
      Make your own tacos – put everything on the table, kiddo can prep her own

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      What do you do if your toddler/pre-schooler refuses to eat what’s offered at home, but willingly eats almost everything at daycare?

      We’re in a pasta-based rut with my three-year-old, and I’m torn between not wanting her to go hungry, not wanting to give her food issues, and not wanting to make the only real time I spend with her during the week completely unpleasant. And I’m annoyed I’m the only one dealing with this because my husband works late, but also complains about her diet while providing absolutely no help about it.

      Do I just need to do a few nights “this is what you get or you go hungry” and give her something new and vegetable I know she’ll eat?

      • I think our daycare’s secret was ketchup, so you might explore whether they have some magical condiment.

        • Pigpen's Mama says:

          Hah, she does like her ketchup — that worked to get her to eat veggie sausages, but we’ve stalled there.
          Perhaps I need to try again!

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Is your kiddo getting nutritious food at school? If so, who cares about dinner? Often if kiddo eats her entire lunch at school, she won’t eat much dinner. If she eats a ton of dinner, she won’t eat breakfast. Often if she skips dinner, she’ll eat a big breakfast. *shrug* She seems to self-regulate and everything she is offered is generally nutritious.

        BUT – there are no snacks if she skips dinner. I keep her plate in the kitchen, and if she is hungry after dinner, I set it back on the table. That is the only food she will get; there isn’t something better.

        • Pigpen's Mama says:

          Yea, school lunch is healthy – -at least compared to whatever else she would get. I think what’s adding to my mostly unnecessary anxiety is that we used to get a report on what she ate, but in her new room I don’t get that anymore — even though she is still eating well whenever I check with her teachers.

          And related to the first post about how parenthood changes you — I never thought that this much of my mental energy would be taken up by the dining habits of someone else…

      • Anonymous says:

        I posted above about offering a set meal with toast + milk as an alternative. Sometimes if they eat well at daycare, they just aren’t hungry at supper time. My youngest will eat like 4 chicken wraps at lunchtime at daycare – he eats like nothing for supper on those days. They’ll eat if they are hungry enough. Though I definitely pick meals the kids like (pasta. pad thai, homemade burgers, soups, tacos etc)

      • I posted below, but with our 2.5 year old, we’ve had success with giving him a new food with a food we know he’ll eat. Sometimes it takes a few exposures before he says he likes something. Also, it helps if we talk it up–I’ll pick a vegetable right out of the pan and say something like, “Mmmmm, that’s delicious, thank you for cooking that, DH.”

        Also, I think it’s important to stay calm about whether Kiddo actually eats any particular thing. If he tries something and doesn’t like it, we say, “That’s ok, you did a good job trying it. It’s important to try new foods because you might like them.” If he doesn’t want something, we might encourage him to try it once, but if he refuses, we just tell him, “That’s ok, you don’t have to eat it.” If he likes it, we’ll say, “I’m so glad, I like it too.” We usually offer several options at dinner, and like NewMomAnon said, he’s pretty good at self-regulating what he needs and how much.

    • My 5 year old has a limited repetoire. We all eat together but this has not made him more willing to try new things. (Learning to like pizza was our big victory last year. I was just as bad, if not worse, as a kid and still find trying new foods somewhat traumatic, so I have a lot of empathy for him.) Anyway, we try to make things he will eat once or twice a week, but most nights he gets peanut butter sandwiches if he doesn’t want what we are eating. Things he likes include meatloaf, meatballs (sometimes fished out of soup), grilled cheese, plain pasta with butter and cheese, fish sticks, and chicken nuggets.

    • One of our stand-by foods is the Aidell’s chicken and apple sausage. Kiddo, who is 2.5, eats that probably once a week. If we’re not having a family meal, Kiddo often eats leftover chicken or pork, and we usually keep some vegetables that cook quickly on hand–sugar snap peas, green beans, and broccoli all cook in under 10 minutes.

      One thing that has helped introduce Kiddo to new foods is to introduce them with things we know he does like, and have DH and I eat it in front of him, sometimes even off his plate, even if we aren’t eating dinner the same time. So, if we want him to try brusselsprouts, we make a pan, serve them with foods he does like, and then “try” them and talk about how good it is. (This is probably a good place to mention that Kiddo didn’t actually like brusselsprouts, but we’ll keep trying because he’s come around to a few things this way.) DH is also starting to allow Kiddo to “help” cook with him, even though it’s a huge PITA, and Kiddo gets much more excited about what he’s eating. (The other week, Kiddo insisted he wanted the salt, then picked up a pinch and threw it in the pan exactly the way DH does it. That may have been the cutest thing ever, but I digress.)

      Weirdly, Kiddo doesn’t like much fruit–just cantaloupe, apples but not green ones, and sometimes bananas (sort of). He doesn’t like anything even a little bit sour, and I think the texture of some fruits is weird for him. Maybe he’ll grow out of that eventually.

    • if your kid likes corn and peas, what about some kind of fried rice. you could try with quinoa if your kid doesn’t like leftover rice or a different kind of rice. maybe with added chicken or tofu for protein (if they’ll eat that)

      will your kid eat any meat? shredded chicken in the crockpot is super easy to add to different things.

      idk what you are giving your kid for breakfast, but maybe some kind of oatmeal bake with peanut butter and bananas?

      you said your kid likes pizza and cucumbers, what about mini pizza on zucchini slices. skinny taste has a recipe
      frozen dumplings
      nachos with beans + cheese + guac and maybe don’t melt the cheese if your kid doesn’t like grilled cheese?

      while this is still in the pasta family, what about some kind of ravioli, baked ziti, manicotti, stuffed shells, etc. Maybe if you can get your kid to try varieties of foods they already like that is a good way to start. You could even try hiding some spaghetti squash in with the spaghetti. on that note, try mixing different things into your mac and cheese.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Kiddo likes frozen dumplings! Sometimes! And she asks for “dumpling sauce” which is Braggs Aminos (#dirtyhippiemother)

    • 12345 says:

      Thank you everyone for all these awesome ideas! I’m feeling inspired to at least put some new things in front of her.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      My kid (a little younger than yours) is super particular about the temperature of her food. I get it, because I am too (and, super conveniently, we are picky in different directions)! She likes a lot of things *cold* — including mac n cheese and spaghetti. It’s a little gross, but hey, it gets her eating.

  14. Pregnancy vent. Our Blue Apron this week includes barramundi and I belatedly decided to look up whether it’s high in mercury. Apparently this is impossible to find from a reliable source. One Australian kid s*te says to avoid it and everything else is either conflicting or inconclusive. F7ck – why does this have to be so hard?

    • I hear you! I’m in my first trimester with my first and was at a wedding and ate half a piece of swordfish and then freaked out three days later. I had known I was pregnant for less than a week and forgot the rule in a moment/didn’t realize i am not supposed to eat ANY swordfish, i just thought it was one of the fish to eat a lot less of. I of course freaked out and mentioned it at my next doctor’s appointment and the doctor told me that eating half a piece of swordfish once will not do anything to the baby.

      I find all of this eating stuff SO stressful. I was showing my husband articles on some of the things we aren’t supposed to eat/need to be careful about and his response was “well what are you allowed to eat.” This week I’m nauseous so I’ve been eating mostly crackers, so while my baby isn’t getting any nutritional value at least i’m not eating any of the wrong things :-)

      • I was posting thinking you’ve already eaten it. If you haven’t eaten it yet, I’d just send some extra with your husband for lunch and find something else to eat for dinner.

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      Although I agree with Anon ~ 3:31 — one time won’t hurt — could you contact Blue Apron to find out where it was sourced from?

      Since the warnings all seem to be from Australia, it may be regional, with the fish in some parts of the world having a high mercury content and in other areas no/low mercury. Which would also explain the conflicting information

    • OP, I did some googling as well. It seems like most of the barramundi in the U.S. is farm-raised, which makes me think the mercury content would be lower (shorter life spans and probably cheaper and lower-on-the-food-chain diet). While I agree with the advice that one time probably won’t hurt, I remember that being harder to internalize during pregnancy. If it makes you nervous and you’re just not going to enjoy it, I’d suggest picking up (or asking your husband to pick up) a substitute for you that one night. The internet suggests striped bass, red snapper, and grouper–the best choice among those will probably depend a lot on where you live.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I did earlier this year! I can down with a fairly mild flu at 34 weeks pregnant despite being vaccinated. I called my OB as soon as I was diagnosed and she was not concerned as long as I was able to breathe and to stay hydrated. I think that was because I was at the end of my pregnancy anyways- I think it’s more worrisome if you are earlier.

    If you really feel off, it’s worth the time to go to PCP or urgent care just to get tested. And then either you know you are in the clear or you know you have the flu, in which case I would call your OB for info specific to your pregnancy.

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