Make My Life Easier Thursday: Philips Hue Lights

Philips Hue for NurseryI’ve written before about my love of our nursery light bulb, which emits a soft yellow/orange glow designed to get your little one in the mood for bedtime — but we’re recently getting into smart lights like Philips Hue at Casa Griffin, and I’m in love — especially for a small space like a child’s bedroom, where you may not have the luxury of having space for a dedicated nursery light.  If you get one of these, you can have it as a regular white light during playtime — then turn it to an orangier twilight glow at bedtime that fades away to a nightlight. If your little one has problems waking up, you can turn it on slowly (like over the course of 30 minutes) to an energizing light — and you can amuse your little one with blue lights and more.  There are apparently apps where you can also sync it to work with the music, but I haven’t gotten into those. (Oh, and if you forget to turn it off and don’t want to creep back into baby’s room? You can turn the light off with your phone or iPad.) The dimmable colored light (pictured) is only $50, but note that the smart bridge (necessary to connect the lights to your WiFi) starts at around $65 depending on which kit you get (we started with the lightstrip kit for undercabinet lighting). Philips Hue Dimmable Color Lights

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Did you know that Philips Hue make great nursery lights? Here's how to use smart lights for your nursery.how to use smart lights for your nursery - picture of a man reading with orange light

Comments

  1. CPA Lady says:

    Y’all. I survived! Kid was totally fine all day yesterday after the early morning puke incident.

    We went to the grocery store, where I bought a bunch of produce. I made a salad with homemade lemon dressing. I took a shower. I even shaved my legs.

    Right now I’m sitting in my silent office eating more salad. And watermelon. And salami. And pasta salad. (and an ice cold coca cola). Life is good.

  2. avocado says:

    Hooray!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ugh. I have a milestone birthday coming up, and to celebrate, my husband and I are taking a big vacation without our kids. Objectively, I should be thrilled – it is the trip of a lifetime for us, and a place I’ve always wanted to go. In real life, I’m consumed with anxiety about the trip. I’m not a great flier, and I’m already having nightmares about the long plane flight over the ocean (which I’ve never done before – domestic travel only).

    I’m feeling really selfish about it — if something happens to the flight, my kids will be orphaned because their dad and I wanted a splurge vacation?! I don’t feel this way about work travel, but there’s something about both of us being on a plane together for fun without our kids. I also know some of this is money anxiety – our savings took a big hit last year by adding two daycare bills, and we are on track to replenish and substantially add to it with a year end partnership payout, but the money isn’t in our pockets until Dec. I just feel badly about all of it — the money should go to savings until we get our year end payout, we should take the kids with us because then at least we’d all go down together, we’re really far away if something happens to the kids, etc. etc. anxiety spiral. We will probably never do this type of travel again, as it’s the last year my parents will be able to keep both kids for a week, but I feel like my perspective is totally skewed right now. FWIW, I usually stress on planes when we are without the kids, but this feels like a new level of fear.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Meant very gently – this does not seem like a reasonable level of fear and guilt given the situation. How old is your littlest? Could this be a sign of postpartum anxiety? Or general anxiety? My mother has at times been a bad flier, and unsurprisingly, those times all coincided with big bouts of anxiety. Her GP prescribed her Xanax (or something?) for flights during a particularly bad streak, and you might ask your GP that.

      But also – it sounds like this isn’t actually fear about the trip. You mentioned finances, fear of mortality, uncertainty about care for your children if you died, your parents’ inability to take the kids after this year which suggests a big change in their proximity or health, and “adding two daycare bills” which suggests either big job changes or big size-of-family changes. If you don’t have a therapist, please find one to help you work through all of this – you don’t have to be this worried. Hugs.

      • Anonymous says:

        I so appreciate the gently! And I need to hear that this is irrational anxiety. That actually helps. I have intrusive anxiety, and it makes it extremely difficult to determine whether I should change my behavior bc of a real threat or bc I am spiraling.

        My youngest is 3 so this is not PPD. And yes — all of this has changed! I have a new job, which pays semi-annually, hence the dec. date, husband is a consultant and either going to kill it financially this year or if not, we are going to relocate out of our HCOL city, and we are on the fence about another kid. It feels like a lot changed in the last six months, and we have tons more change in the next six months. I’m trying not to let my situational anxiety deprive me of great life experiences, but this is as hard as it has ever been.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          Hugs, that is so much uncertainty to handle. You should go on the trip (and maybe…put thoughts of another kid on hold until job/move is decided?). It seems like you have some objectively reasonable reasons to be anxious, but the trip isn’t one of those. What I’ve learned is that my anxiety is going to attach to something even if I resolve the thing that seems to be triggering it right now; cancelling the trip won’t bring you relief, but going on the trip might give you a break.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I keep writing and deleting things because I don’t quite know how to say what I want to say. But I have struggled with anxiety my whole life. I’ve taken medicine. I’ve been to therapy. So I totally get how you feel.

      1. Go on the trip. The anticipation is the worst part, once you get there it will be great.
      2. You are worth putting first every once in a while. Your children need to see that you value and respect yourself.
      3. You are worth celebrating.
      4. You can and will make more money.
      5. Living in fear doesn’t make the bad things not happen, it just clouds the good times with anxiety and keeps you from enjoying them.

      No shame in going to the doc and getting some short term anxiety medicine. I also use the insight timer app to do guided meditations when I’m freaking out. I’ve also found Brene Brown’s books really helpful when I’m in an anxiety spiral.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you thank you — I don’t know why it feels so validating to have people online tell me it’s okay to GO, but it does.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      My husband is a bad flier. I don’t want to give advice because these particular issues are not my issues, but I will tell you about him. (Please note that I’m not saying you’re a jerk to your partner like he is to me… just using it as an example.)

      He’s a BAD flier. He’s convinced [bad things that are extremely unlikely]. But here’s the twist. The days leading up to a trip, he’s the worst. All the ways I want to describe him will get me moderated. But the truth is that all the other things he can’t deal with and spirals out about (and is extremely unpleasant about) are bothering him *because* he is so anxious about the flight.

      When he takes Xanax (right after boarding), he’s much more pleasant.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m so sorry — I know how I feel inside, and I could see how it could manifest in terribly awful behavior. That said, I think my flavor of anxiety comes out with my husband more as lots of hand wringing, then going overboard on planning and lists. I’ve got the best itemized itinerary out there, baby!! In the days leading up to the trip, I will basically try to control everything I possibly can – by writing detailed kid, house, and dog instructions, and making sure the house is stocked with food/drink for my parents (gives me a sense of power over what I can control, b/c what makes me anxious is that I can’t control the plane).

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          Sounds like I’d rather be married to you! :)

          Honestly, when I can get over being snapped at, I am pretty sympathetic — and if he’s going to be a jerk 2-3 days/year because he’s overwhelmingly anxious, and he’s going to be an awesome husband and father the rest of the time, I can handle it.

    • Anonymous says:

      So, I think this fear is irrational but it’s not unheard of. When I was a kid my parents actually did not fly together without the kids, which meant they never took a real vacation without us until the youngest sibling was out of the house (and they are not scared of flying – they both flew separately for work regularly and we took lots of family vacations that involved flying). I don’t know if they regret this, I haven’t really discussed it with them, but I will say that as a third party observer they seemed much, much more happily married once they became empty-nesters. They didn’t seem to have a horrible marriage when us kids were around but it was…tense… a lot of the time and now they just seem blissfully happy and so in love. I don’t know if the lack of childless vacations contributed to their unhappiness, or perhaps part of why they didn’t want to go away together was BECAUSE they weren’t all that happy. Or maybe it had nothing to do with that, and it was just the day-to-day stress of child-rearing that was straining their marriage. Who knows. But I wouldn’t make the same decision they did, and husband and I plan to go away by ourselves when our daughter is a little older (she’s just 18 months now). We plan to avoid more risky optional activities like helicopter rides, but I wouldn’t think twice about flying, which is statistically safer than riding in a car.

      • Anonymous says:

        We have relatives that would only fly separately when they traveled without the kids. As in, they would each fly on a different flight, so like one on a 10am flight to London on Delta, the other on a 11:15 flight on Virgin Atlantic. They would meet up at the airport at the destination. It’s a little too risk-averse for me, but it’s something to consider if the flying thing specifically is really bogging you down.

        • CPA Lady says:

          Oh my gosh. Have any of y’all watched that really early Johnny Depp movie Crybaby? That’s how Allison becomes an orphan! Her parents took different planes and “both planes crashed!” Ahhhh, such a great movie.

          • Anonymous says:

            Are you even kidding me? This is literally my nightmare. Not OP, but appreciating this discussion.

            I have such anxiety about leaving my kids orphans that DH and I have only ever left them alone overnight TWICE in their 7 & 5 years. And we didn’t fly, only drove, and the entire drive I was about to be sick to my stomach. I would say I have crippling anxiety except that I just avoid it by never leaving my kids alone without one of us, so I very rarely have to think about it and therefore very rarely actually have anxiety. And…when I do travel solo for work, or when DH and I go out for dinner somewhere that requires a drive on a freeway, I have serious anxiety about leaving them motherless.

            Oddly (selfishly?) I don’t have the anxiety when I travel WITH my kids because my fear is really about leaving them orphans/motherless.

      • farrleybear says:

        My parents never flew together without the kids, because of fear of orphaning five kids, so I’m familiar with that mindset. My husband and I just flew together without kiddo for the first time for a belated birthday celebration for me (also a milestone year). I had some of the fear and anxiety discussed above–fear of dying and leaving him without parents during a “selfish” vacation involving a concert and lots of beer drinking. Ultimately, I reasoned that the trip was bought and paid for and I may as well enjoy it:) Was super fun but I admit I was really, really happy to land at home city airport unscathed.

    • Spirograph says:

      I get this. I was not an anxious person or a bad flier in the past (and still am not, really, outside my own head), but kids bring out that side of me. My second-worst nightmare is dying and leaving my kids without a mother, especially when they’re so young that they might not really have memories of me (first-worst nightmare is obviously something bad happening to my kids). So one way I deal with this is writing them letters or sporadically keeping a journal. I don’t write my REASON for the letters or journal, but it makes me feel a little better that they’d have a tangible artifact of who I was as a person and how much I loved them if anything were to happen to me.

      But I also agree, gently, that you should not feel this anxious about a fun trip, and it might help you to talk about the bigger things that seem to be going on here with a therapist. But regarding the trip: you should go, and you should have fun, because you can be financially responsible while still making space in your budget for vacations, and you can be a good parent while still making space for your own selfish enjoyment of life.
      Happy Birthday and Bon voyage!

      Also, in case you missed it, someone on the main s1te recently wrote something really beautiful about celebrating another year of your unique life on this little planet hurtling through space in response to an “I’m feeling down about my birthday” comment. I think it might have been at the end of the weekend open thread? I realize that wasn’t your point, but still, it’s worth checking for!

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you all for your incredibly kind replies — they really do make me feel better. And to the point about traveling with your husband without kiddos, my husband and I are the best travel buddies, and solo travel is so restorative for us. I need to remember that.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        A bit of a tangent, but the scrapbooks I make for my daughter are partially because “what if I am gone and she wants to remember me?” — I hope a lovingly (if dorkily) crafted book of pictures will help. #morbid

        • Spirograph says:

          It makes me feel better that other people think along these lines, too. Because I definitely know it’s morbid, and sometimes I wonder if that’s weird.

          • CPA Lady says:

            This is why I make sure to do a lot of videos on my phone– I want my daughter to know my voice. :) We’re all crazy morbid people.

    • Lurker says:

      Do you ride in cars together without your kids? You have a much higher chance of something bad happening that way. Consider hypnosis to help with the anxiety and definitely xanax. Both are a lifesaver for this fearful flyer. Also, my other coping skill isn’t for everyone but I try to do some positive worst case scenario thinking to remind myself that even the absolute worst case scenario would be okay. This is super morbid, but it helps me. I’m breaking this into “WCT” which is worse case thought. And “R” for result.

      WCT: Husband is across the world. What if I die while he’s over there? R: I’m already dead so I wouldn’t even know to miss him. WCT: But how would he feel? R: He’d realize I’m already dead and he couldn’t help me. WCT: But what if I’m just badly sick? R: He’s not a doctor. All he could do is sit by my side and worry. He can worry from overseas and talk to me on the phone. Friend A can come sit by my side to make sure the doctors don’t give me the drug I’m allergic to. WCT: But how would I get to the hospital?? R: 911 dummy. WCT: but what if my dad dies? R: his funeral wouldn’t be for at least 3 days. Plenty of time for husband to get back.

  4. Lonely Evenings says:

    I am having a hard time with my 50/50 split of responsibilities with my husband. Since my industry tends to skew towards early hours I leave the house before anyone is awake and my husband handles mornings (getting everyone ready and out of the house), but then evenings are all on me. I get home between 5-6 and do dinner and bedtime alone. If he gets home before kids are asleep it is only to interrupt bedtime so we start all over again. I have basically made peace with the face that evenings are solely my responsibility, but I am having a hard time with the fact that I never get to do anything after work. No happy hours, no work events, etc. I will sometimes cover the morning shift if my husband has something come up or is traveling, but literally it never works in the other direction. We used to have a standing sitter 2x/week who would do pickup, dinner, and bedtime – but that was with only one kid when we lived closer to daycare. Now evenings involve multiple pickups and complicated logistics. The few times I have managed to arrange something it becomes totally not worth it. I get called every 5 minutes regarding logistics or I come home to kids who haven’t been fed and aren’t asleep. Anyway, I miss my old life of being able to have a life.

    • ThatGirl says:

      First – hugs to you. Solo parenting is hard: even if it’s “just” for part of the day (but especially if it’s during bedtime!) It sounds like you’re dealing with two issues 1) IMHO this isn’t 50/50 parenting. Can you talk to your husband about this? It doesn’t seem fair that sometimes you do the morning routine but he never does the evening one, which is more of a challenge but also great bonding time. 2) I think you miss a different time in your life and that’s understandable! What helps when I’m feeling sad/upset about having essentially no free time rn is remembering that this too is just a stage in life – it won’t last forever. It sounds like you need a break ASAP though. Can you get another sitter or carve out one night a week for HH? Hope you get this sorted.

    • One idea – can your husband help with meal prep, either on the weekends or the night before, so that making dinner is easier? He can chop veggies, marinate meat, make sauce, any of those ahead of time things that would make it easier for your to throw dinner together.

    • rakma says:

      Could you reinstate the standing 2x a week sitter thing, but for the first week or two, still be there? Or somehow split pick ups (you pick up one kid, sitter picks up the other, or sitter picks up both and you get to go home to an empty house for once). Getting over the hurdle of incorporating someone else into the logistics is sometimes more stressful than just doing it yourself, but it becomes less stressful in the long run.

      I’ve found recently, with 2 kids and 2 full time jobs, that we can’t really handle 50/50, we need something more like 35/35/30 with the 30 being outsourced.

      I work late one night a week, and get home after DD1’s bedtime routine is started. Even if DD1 is still awake, or in the middle of bedtime, I do not announce my presence. She knows she’ll see me in the morning, and the interruption of bedtime is way to chaotic. Could you institute a time where DH can come say hi to the kids, but after X time (or after bathtime, or whatever) even if he’s home, he hangs out in the kitchen/downstairs/out of the way until kids are in bed?

    • CPA Lady says:

      My DH travels extensively for work, so a lot of the time I’m alone for pickup, dinner, and bedtime. Have you considered trying to low-key socialize after work with your mom friends? It might sound crazy, but I’m so much happier if I either take my kid and go to a friend’s house after work, or invite someone over to our house. None of us make anything fancy for dinner, so there’s no stress as far as that goes. I’m talking about skillet quesadillas or pasta with sauce from a jar or even ordering a couple of pizzas. This is one of those situations where the perfect is the enemy of the good. Sometimes I even meet some friends out for dinner and bring my kid along. Worse comes to worse I’m one of those evil moms who lets their kid watch videos on their phone at a restaurant.

      I also think you should ask your DH to do the night shift twice a month. If he’s the one calling you every 5 minutes, then don’t answer your phone. He’ll figure it out.

      • CPA Lady says:

        ^ oh and excellent advice from rakma about if it’s the babysitter calling every 5 minutes. Take some time to train someone up front and they’ll be great in the long run.

      • we do this too! I plan weekday dinner playdates. Literally, I prep a casserole, get home, and stick that in the oven before friend comes over with their kid. Kids play, eat, sometimes even get bathed together, adults have dinner and crack open a bottle of wine, and everyone’s done and ready for bed by 8.

        But if the issue is not doing event-type things (work meetings, networking, happy hour etc.) after work, I think you just have to do. it. It doesn’t sound like your husband is even keeping his promises to take the evening shift now and again, because he has you there as a backup. If you’re not there, and incommunicado for an hour or two, he’ll have to figure out how to handle his schedule and kids.

    • Lonely Evenings says:

      So I think my issue is less about me alone in the evenings… I sort of feel bad complaining – we outsource cooking (chef delivered meals), have a housekeeper, and have a nanny at home for our youngest. It sounds ridiculous even typing that out. I think my bigger issue is not being able to do anything after work. Work events, meeting friends, etc. I haven’t attended my group’s staff meetings (4-6pm) or even our holiday party last year. My husband is a “recovering” i-banker who is inhouse now, but still has that mentality. Even if I tell him – you are picking up the kids next wednesday and I will remind him every day, it will get to wednesday and something will come up and it just won’t happen. I absolutely need to rehire the 2x/week sitter for the evenings, but it just seems like such an exorbitant/extravagant cost right now I have been putting it off.

      • Artemis says:

        I totally get this feeling, regardless of the help available. I am always on pick-up duty for my kids unless my in-laws offer to help (which they do, frequently, but I usually wait for them to offer instead of asking because they help us in so many other ways). Since my first was born I’ve had to leave the office between 4:00 and 4:30 every day unless I make prior arrangements, which doesn’t often happen.

        So, sometimes it really gets to me that my husband 1) can stay late whenever he wants if he has a pressing project, while I have to leave no matter what and figure out what to do when I’m behind by skipping lunch, or going in earlier (which I personally hate, not a morning person); 2) can accept almost any last-minute social or work invitation because I’m always on pickup duty (last-minute corporate tickets to a sports game? Sure! Happy hour with some old friends in town? Sure! Etc. etc.).

        This is what works for our family overall, it just does, or I would have figured a way around it, I suppose, as otherwise our division of labor is pretty good and cooperative work in progress. But sometimes I really, really, really hate that feeling that I can’t just do whatever I want after work every once in awhile.

        • rakma says:

          With this added info, and your response below that your husband’s work day basically ends at 7, I’m doubling down on my previous response. Put in the few weeks to get an after work sitter scheduled and that routine running well. You have to leave before the morning routine, he gets home after the nighttime routine. It might not be ideal, but it’s what works (for the most part) right now.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        What if, instead of insisting that husband be home one evening, you just request that he cover one or two nights a week? Meaning, he either has to be the one providing the childcare, or the one coordinating the sitter, or finding backup care if he has to bail last minute. It’s how kiddo’s dad and I organize our parenting time evenings; if he needs to bail last minute on his evening, he calls his mom or sister, not me.

        Because even with help, it’s really, really hard to be the only parent “on” every bedtime and dinner with small children.

        • This was what I was going to suggest. Can he take every Mon, or every Thurs? That doesn’t mean he rushes home, but he’s the one who coordinates the logistics and he’s the backup if something falls through. You say “Hey DH, I need to stay late tonight. I’ll be home around 8.” and he takes it from there. Just like, presumably, he says “Hey DW, I’m traveling next week” or “Hey DW, I need to go in early tomorrow” and you take it from there.

          Being always on for evenings plus being auto-backup for mornings would get really tiring for me, and I know I’d struggle with resentment in that situation. I would start with the proposal that he’s auto-backup for at least a few nights a week.

        • Sarabeth says:

          I agree with this – and the first few times, I would plan something that legitimizes your need to be out of the house that night. Take a friend out for her birthday to a restaurant that’s hard to get in to, go to an expensive show (I’d go to the ballet!), or have an Important Work Event (it’s ok if you have to exaggerate how important it is). The point is to have a commitment device that forces him to actually step up and deal with it. Then after a few times, hopefully he’ll be more used to coordinating with the sitter or actually leaving work, and it’ll be easier from there.

        • Lonely Evenings says:

          So honestly, he just doesn’t leave work early and he doesn’t coordinate child care. I could try to force him to, but it would result in some fights that probably won’t go anywhere. I’ve accepted that this is price of admission. He has no issue with me spending money on more care, but it is up to me to coordinate. I can make plans for later at night – he will commit to being home by like 8pm, but never for after work. His workday isn’t really over until 7ish at the earliest. Right or wrong, he has the “lean in” career and I have the “lean out” career, but my “lean out” career is still 50 hrs/week which I think is where the issue is.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m married to a similar mentality, and I get the best traction out of looking at my calendar and sending him a calendar invite for the days/times I want to go out. YMMV, but my husband lives and dies by his calendar. If it’s on there, he’ll respect it. If I tell him about something, it doesn’t register in his brain.

  5. Kick Counts says:

    I really strongly disliked kick counts when I was pregnant with my first child. The idea that I could take time three times a day to count movement seemed absurd and I always had a hard time determining whether in fact I did feel movement. There were of course time periods where he was active and noticing movement was easy, but only when I was laying down or reclined in someway, not in the office.

    I’m now 8 months pregnant with my second and decided I wasn’t going to stress about movement this time. I mostly did OK with this so far, but not today! I missed the window last night where I normally take time to notice movement because I was wrapped up in a project, but I was particularly anxious about feeling movement because it was a night filled with wrestling with my toddler. I also normally make time in the morning to feel movement while I’m sitting having quiet time before the day starts, but I slept in and now I’m at the office!

    Does anyone else struggle with this? I feel like this has been a pattern with both kids. I’ll learn to anticipate their movements and schedule, then it’ll change for a few days and I’ll worry. Right before I’m ready to give in and call the doctor, I’m back to feeling pretty good movement. I really think I cause myself undue stress with this because I let my brain go down spirals where then I question why I’ve actually lost a pound over the last week, or if I’m not thirsty enough and then I turn into a nut.

    Thank you!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Yep. I was surprisingly anxious during my pregnancy for various reasons. Early on it was miscarriage fears, and then towards the end it was movement (and other more horrible fears). I thought my anxiety would wind down as I got closer to my due date, but it didn’t. I felt like the tenor of it changed – like, we’re so close to the end, what if something goes wrong now? During the last week of my pregnancy I wound up having to take allergy meds and didn’t really feel the baby move afterwards and I remember chugging OJ and waiting until she kicked. I mentioned my anxiety to my doctor and she offered to refer me to a therapist, but I generally felt like I wasn’t going to be able to manage it any better by talking to someone and didn’t really want to start meds (maybe that was silly) so opted not to pursue it further. All that to say, you’re not alone, and talk to your doctor if you feel like some extra help would be useful!

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Sorry, maybe you were asking the more narrow question of kick counts/movement and I just answered more broadly about anxiety and pregnancy…

    • I was also super anxious about kick counts, and they were insanely elusive due to an anterior placenta. I ended up in tears in L&D a couple of times (OB’s office was super busy and was right across the breezeway from the main hospital and couldn’t always fit in urgent NSTs, but the L&D nurses were happy to accommodate). You’ve probably already heard this, but what I learned from those visits is that calling/getting reassured is generally not a bad idea. Remember that they’re used to dealing with anxious pregnant women, and that even if you feel like a bother, you’re probably not. No real advice for how to not worry, though – just commiseration and a reminder that if you’re truly worried, go ahead and call. You got this – you’re almost done!

      • ElisaR says:

        yes yes – I had the anterior placenta issue and barely felt a thing ever. I resented being told to count kicks when I barely felt any. It seemed irresponsible of them to freak me out when I couldn’t feel much anyway. It doesn’t help answer your question, but I feel you on the anxiety surrounding kick counts!

    • shortperson says:

      both of my pregnancies have involved crazy work in the third trimester and ive just totally ignored kick counts. it’s not happening.

    • I was really anxious and worried during pregnancy (to the point where I’m not sure if I could handle another one and I’m not generally a super anxious person). I frequently texted my husband saying I hadn’t felt the baby. And usually within 10 minutes of texting, I would feel the baby. No advice, but you’re not alone!

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I felt this way. It was so stressful to love my baby so much and not be able to see her to make sure she was OK! No advice, but tons of commiseration. Oh actually, when cold drinks didn’t wake her up, playing Tom Waits up against my belly often did :)

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m just at the end of my first trimester now, but the idea of counting kicks is already stressing me out. To me it just seems like another way to shift blame/guilt to women, like your choices are basically call the doctor every other minute and be a crazy paranoid person or bare some blame if the baby dies. Awful.

    • Kick Counts says:

      Thank you all for the replies! I appreciate just hearing that other people struggled with this, too. I feel like I hear so many comments about people feeling their babies move frequently and I wonder who these people are and what they do for work that they even notice.

      My next appointment is Monday and then I’ll be into weekly visits. I had a lot more ultrasounds and things with my first due to some minor things that could have been complications. This time around has been “easy”. I think maybe asking to just schedule an ultrasound or something to check in might help my mental health. It seems insane to see baby around the midpoint and then just trust that things are going well for the entire second half of pregnancy.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think it’s the aspect that you are responsible if something goes wrong. I had to step away from pregnancy blogs while pregnant because they all seemed to say: “If mom — and ONLY MOM — doesn’t stress, doesn’t eat the wrong thing, faithfully counts kicks, exercises, but not to much, stays away from mosquitoes and pollution, and gets enough sleep, she will deliver a full term, happy, healthy baby who turns into a healthy, hetero-normative, not depressed or autistic, and will win at life.” So, yeah, no pressure there.

    • Katarina says:

      I never did kick counts, and was never told to do them, although I did have some non-stress tests in my first pregnancy. I found poking my belly a good way to generate kicks if I felt like I hadn’t felt enough motion recently.

  6. ThatGirl says:

    My 5 month old often has cold hands/feet when I pick him up for his night feeding. Any tips? We keep it 74 degress F in our bedroom at night (he sleeps in our room in his own crib with no blankets because SIDS). He has eczema and wearing fleece seems to make it worse – so I dress him in cotton footie pjs. More layers? Try wool? Stop worrying? His hands and feet aren’t cold during the day. I’m not majorly worried, just curious if you’ve encountered this and have a solution. TIA!

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a super eczema prone kiddo, and his allergist told me to avoid fleece against his skin (apparently it is a really corrosive material). I am pretty grinchy about buying name brand kids clothing, but I caved when he woke up with blue hands and feet. We bought Hanna Andersson and Hatley b/c they were thicker cotton and didn’t aggravate his eczema. We put socks on, and then put him in a wearable fleece blanket. As long as it didn’t touch his skin, he did fine (and often wore his blanket for like a half hour after he woke up).

      • Anonymous says:

        That was a little unclear — we layered with Hanna Andersson or Hatley cotton PJs, socks, and a Halo wearable fleece blanket.

      • ThatGirl says:

        He has a huge fleece sleep sack – so I could just put an outfit on him and put socks on his hands and cover him in that – great tip! I’ll definitely look into Hanna Andersson and Hatley. Thank you!

    • Anonymous says:

      My pediatrician said cold hands and feet were normal. Not to be concerned unless arms and legs were cold. (As it turns out, LO runs hot and now that she can talk all she ever does is ask for ice so I was probably making her miserable trying to keep her warm!)

    • Definitely another layer. We love the Little Lotus sleep sacks – they are pricey but they temperature regulate to avoid over/under heating and are incredibly soft even after multiple washer/dryer cycles. We keep our house at 68* at night (though I suspect the bedroom only cools to about 70*) and baby girl sleeps soundly in a just a long sleeve top, pants, and that sleepsack, also in our room in her own crib.

    • Marilla says:

      At that age I layered a cotton short sleeve onesie under the sleeper. Costco cotton sleepers (Pekkell) are thick and soft – warmer than Carters or Children’s Place. Cotton sleepsack on top.

    • Cornellian says:

      I have a thin cotton sleep sack I like. They don’t only come in fleece.

      • farrleybear says:

        We used the Aden and Anais ones, which came in both thinner and thicker cotton depending on season. Fleece was the worst for my kiddo’s eczema at that age, though he is a bit less sensitive now at 2.5 years.

  7. 19 Weeks says:

    ISO pregnancy shell tops. I found one I like here: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/loyal-hana-amanda-print-maternity-nursing-tank/4391097, which seems a tad expensive (but fine, it “should” also work for nursing), and I LOVE this one, which is currently out of all sizes but XS: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/pietro-brunelli-fialka-graphic-maternity-top/4338145

    Anyone recommend other places to get shell-like tops? I might be too picky here, but I have a strong aversion to most floral/pink things and prefer neutral/black/blue/green colors.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I was always anxious while pregnant and there’s a legitimate reason for that anxiety! A lot CAN go wrong and you hear a lot of horror stories. I did find that my DDs movement patterns would change throughout my pregnancy. My doctor never had me do daily kick counts but said I could do them if I suddenly didn’t think she was moving as much. My advice is to drink some orange juice and spend an hour focusing. And if you EVER just get a bad horrible feeling the baby isn’t moving enough, call your doctor and go in within the hour. Intuition is one thing that really can be trusted in this case.

  9. Young Toddler Backpack Recs? says:

    Looking for a small size toddler backpack (wearing 18 mos clothes). Looking for something relatively plain (simple patterns/colorblock would be fine). Most little backpacks I’m finding are character bags (I’m totally okay with character clothes/toys, but a backpack is an every day thing). Suggestions?

    • Anonymous says:

      try REI or Land’s End or Vaude

    • Marilla says:

      What about the Skip Hop backpacks (on Amazon)? Animal patterns, not a branded character.

    • 19 Weeks says:

      We got our 2 YO a backpack from REI and he loves it. It was the Sprig 12 (no longer sold), but the Tarn 12 looks pretty similar. The product says its designed for kids 5-8, but reviews indicate it fits toddlers (2 YO) well — which was our experience with the Sprig.

    • Try the animal ones from Skip Hop on Amazon. They’re not licensed characters, just generic ladybugs and bees. The material is pretty sturdy and has held up to 2+ years of daily daycare use from my toddler.

      If that’s not character-free enough, search “toddler backpack” on Amazon and you’ll find a “Cute Mini Kids Backpack” that is solely colorblock. I don’t have it so can’t speak to quality of material, but looks fine for toddler purposes.

    • shortperson says:

      land of nod

    • Sabba says:

      If you want to go really durable, the Fjallraven Kanken Mini is an option.

      • Anonymous says:

        I always see that on adults — can the straps be adjusted down enough for a toddler? Or would they be a giant tangle?

        • Sabba says:

          We don’t have one, but several 3 and 4 year olds in my daughter’s daycare have them, and they seem to work well. A child in 18 months clothes might needs a few months to grow into it, but it looks like it should work for age 2 or so and up.

    • EP-er says:

      We got a little one at Pottery Barn Kids:
      https://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/mackenzie-navy-and-orange-gingham-backpack/?pkey=cshop-all-backpacks&isx=0.0.6900

      It was perfect for my tiny preschooler — we could fit a change of clothes & blankie or toys and blankie in it. And the straps on the outside were perfect for the stuffy of the day.

    • avocado says:

      We had a preschool-sized backpack from LL Bean that lasted the entire time kiddo was in day care and was in still in perfect shape when we retired it at the start of first grade. The tiny REI daypack was perfect for hiking, but it was not big enough for day care/preschool. In elementary school we got at least two years of heavy abuse out of the Garnet Hill backpacks, which are available in a preschool size.

    • Land of Nod is having a friends and family sale, and has some really cute backpacks. I’ve also seen some cute ones from the brand Olive Kids on Amazon.

  10. Breast Milk Thief says:
    • I saw that! What is wrong with people???

    • I’d be curious to read Ask A Manager’s take on this. This would be one thing I would go nuclear over.

      This is different than someone eating your yogurt, but you’ll never know who took it. This is someone contaminating your child’s food and touching personal fluids that your baby then ingests. I think I’d liken it more to licking your sandwich and putting it back, or taking some of your antibiotic medicine. I can’t imagine the level of betrayal I’d feel if I found out someone was TOUCHING the milk I was feeding my baby, let alone if he was drinking it from the bottle or whatever other way those extra ounces went missing.

      I would be 100% not okay with this, and raising it as a major red flag issue to anyone in HR who would listen to me. I can’t believe how cavalier the company is, and how relatively cavalier Dear Prudence is in her answer.

  11. avocado says:

    I just had some work done on my house. The installer seems to have done a good job, but the salesperson actively misrepresented the nature of the product and how it would/could be installed and it looks terrible. To fix it, I am either going to have to have the job redone by another contractor at twice the price or spend three times the cost of the original installation on additional work to cover it up (which we would like to do eventually but did not want to spend the $$$ on at this time).

    When the job was complete, I did not pay the balance due or sign off; instead, I called the company’s office and asked to have a different salesperson out to look at it and see what could be done before I sign off and pay. The company’s argument is that they installed the product that I contracted to purchase and that no one could have made it look the way I want it to. My argument is that I signed the contract based on the salesman’s false assurances about how it would look (slightly different from the original but not the way actually looks). I am guessing that the new salesman is going to say they can’t do anything to make it look better without performing additional work at my cost, which will just make things worse and which I don’t want to do. I am usually a good negotiator but I’m having a hard time here. I am not even sure exactly what to ask for. Suggestions?

    • I’m a little confused on what happened. It was installed correctly, but you don’t like the way it looks? And this is because the salesperson said it would look better. Did you ask for examples of how it would look at the end? It sounds like you already knew that it would cost significantly more to make it look how you ultimately want it to look.

      So if I paraphrase, you bought cheap, hoped it would look rich, believed the salesperson who said it would look rich (which is likely subjective – Ford is going to tell you their cars look almost as nice as a Maserati), and you’re upset it does indeed look cheap?

      Maybe I’m missing something, but without different facts, I side with the contractor. Presumably you knew the level of what you were buying, and that’s exactly what you got. You’re not going to get Maseratis at Ford prices, and it’s kind of disingenuous to pretend you thought you could.

      • avocado says:

        It was a replacement window. The company said it would look similar to the original but would be made of vinyl, which I could paint to match the existing wooden trim so I thought it would be fine. It was to be installed from the inside and the original wooden stops replaced. When the installer arrived, he said, “Oh, the salespeople tell everyone we can install from inside but it’s not actually possible. These windows have to be installed from the outside, which means I have to chisel off some of the existing exterior trim.” Plus that, the window is not flush with the other windows and sticks out of the back of the house. Salesperson said it would be installed at the same depth as the other windows, but installer said not possible. I am not upset that it looks cheap–it doesn’t really. What I am upset about is that it is obviously different from the rest of the windows, which it wasn’t supposed to be.

        The only example the salesperson had was of a complete replacement window including trim wrap, which was not what we did.

        The other quote I got was for a wooden window for twice as much. The salesperson assured me that this would be the same except vinyl, which was not true.

        • rakma says:

          I’m confused about asking for another sales person to come look it it, because I’m not sure they’d have any more information than the installer. Did the installer have a suggestion of something that could be installed differently? (DH always chats with the people doing work on the house and has learned a lot this way)

          Do you want a different (vinyl) window installed that can be installed from inside? Or to the correct depth? Do you want the exterior trim repaired? Do you want a discount on the work because it was presented to you differently? Do you want to return the window and replace it with a wood window knowing what you know now?

          • avocado says:

            What I really want is a different vinyl window that can be installed at the correct depth, as the original salesperson promised. The installer explained that the company only sells one type of window and this is the only way to install it, and I believe him. So I guess I want a refund and the exterior trim repaired so I can have the wooden window installed by the other company, but there is no way I am going to get that. The office would not do anything without sending a salesperson out. They wanted to send the original one, so I asked for a different one.

  12. Coach Laura says:

    Don’t get another salesperson out – get the company owner/president/area manager.

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