Maternity Monday: Belly Belt Combo Kit

I haven’t seen these Belly Belts before — I don’t think they were around when I was pregnant in 2011 and 2014. I used to just take a rubber band and wrap it around my pants button and through the buttonhole — and voilà, more room! But that did have an unfortunate tendency for your pants to gape at the top. (We also had the BellaBand, which we’ve featured, and it’s still around.) It’s nice to see that this Belly Belt extender at Target has you covered (literally) — I can see it as being a handy thing for getting a lot of wear out of your non-maternity pants, particularly if you’re comfortable with a black, white, or navy liner there. These are machine washable and are getting really positive reviews. A set of three is $20 at Target. Fertile Mind Belly Belt Combo Kit

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  1. CPA Lady says:

    I need that for all my pants. And no, I’m not pregnant.

    • I can see this being useful for the period where your regular pants are a bit too tight and maternity pants are still too loose, but stuff like this and the bella band, etc., never worked for me. I just wear dresses for the in between time.

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      Me too. Although I don’t really wear pants for this reason.

    • Y’all — Everlane GoWeave Easy Pants! Dress pants! With elastic waist!

      • AwayEmily says:

        $88 for elastic waist pants seems ridiculous. I have these from Old Navy that look pretty much identical and were like $20. Good for days when I just Cannot Deal with constricting waists (I usually wear a longer/drapier top with them and just embrace the flowy look, as I think a shirt tucked into an elastic waist looks weird).

      • ElisaR says:

        just checked out the everlane pants – they look great! i have never ordered pants from them – how do they sizes run? similar to theory (wahhhh i need to go up like a size or 2) or similar to loft (thank you vanity sizing i love you).

        • I’m on border of 6/8 and I sized down to 6 here because of elastic and general “blousiness” of fit . I thought the fabric is nice – not lined, but decent dress pants material. I’m apt to check out the Old Navy version as well but I don’t go in stores anymore and sometimes find their fabric hit or miss.

        • NYCer says:

          Everything I have ever bought from Everlane runs HUGE. Caveat, i have never tried their pants. :)

    • Anonanonanon says:

      haha I have ulcerative colitis, and there’s definitely times it would be helpful to rock these so my pants aren’t pushing on my stomach. Sigh. Glamorous.

  2. Bleh. I would rather just wear maternity pants.

  3. Clementine says:

    TW: Weight discussion/body image

    Ugh. Got on the scale this morning and I’m 10 pounds over my ‘normal’ pre-baby weight (from which I was always trying to lose 10 pounds). We’ve finally weaned and I’m on a diet plan that has worked for me in the past, but lately I’m just feeling not like myself.

    I realized I’ve been hiding my body in pictures (behind a kid or stroller usually) which isn’t great for my kid to see growing up. For me, it’s diet much more than exercise and I know what I need to do, but it’s never ‘fun’.

    • Hugs. I didn’t manage to loose the baby weight until my son was 5.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Solidarity. I lost some weight, then gained it all back, and am now trying to lose it again.

    • Walnut says:

      I could have written this post. I’m starting off by tracking food and increasing water intake. I’m sure at some point in time I will need to have a come to jesus with my portion control problem and love of carbs.

    • Are you me? Same thing, although my youngest is 2. It’s totally diet although it’s exercise too (walking the kids to the park doesn’t count as cardio, even though it takes just as much effort and I’m still exhausted at the end). I don’t want either of my kids to internalize that I’m unhappy with my body, but I don’t know how to motivate myself enough to do the incredibly unfun thing of sticking to a boring diet. (Yes I know #notalldiets but whatever. Cheese and wine taste way better than skinny feels, to me.)

      • Why doesn’t walking the kids in the park count?

        • Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t burn calories or get my heartrate up at the park. I walk at my 2 year old’s pace on the way there, I stand underneath the slide or stand still while I push the swing, I carry my 4 year old’s bike back while walking at my exhausted-2-year-olds-pace. I might get my heart rate up while struggling to get everyone’s socks on, but 5 min is hardly going to make a dent in my weight.

          And I refuse to be that person who jogs and does arm dips in between swing pushes, so no cardio for me.

          • Anonymous says:

            try baby wearing – carry the two year old in a carrier on the way there. or if you are pushing the two year old in the stroller, race the 4 year old on their bike.

      • PregLawyer says:

        Seriously, how do I go to the gym? I’m honestly trying to figure it out. I can’t go in the morning, because I’m already exhausted at the time I get up, so I’m not going to get up an hour and a half earlier (4:30??). I can’t go at lunch because I always have lunch meetings or marketing lunches. I can’t go after work because that’s either the one hour I get with my kids each day or I’m working. And I can’t workout after the kids go to bed because that’s literally my only downtime all day, or I’m doing personal tasks (laundry, correspondence, cleaning, etc.)


        • I usually workout over lunch 2-3 times a week, but if I miss a workout I will do a HIIT workout while watching a mindless TV show at night. They are short (like 15 minutes) but I see good results with them, and being able to watch a show is enough motivation to get me to do it on most nights and still feel like “personal time”. Often I will work in some strength training with dumbbells I have at home to fill the full 30 minute show.

        • I can only do it at home, and I get up 45 min earlier and do 30 min max. FitnessBlender’s series for busy people is great!

          • Legally Brunette says:

            Fitness Blender has transformed my ability to work out now. I’m so happy to have discovered their videos, which are FREE! I do them at night, after the kids are in bed.

        • Anonymous says:

          I work it into smaller pieces. I try to take the stairs too and from meetings on other floors. When I get home, I try to be active with the kids. Put dinner in the oven and do a yoga with kids dvd with them for 20 minutes. Or run around in the backyard while steak/potatoes are on the grill.

          I also bought a treadmill for the basement. So twice a week after the kids are in bed, I’ll throw in a load of laundry and watch an HGTV episode on my Ipad while running for 30-45 minutes. Deathly boring to run on a treadmill without something to watch. I try to do sun salutations (yoga) for like 5-10 minutes every morning. Usually if I can get through one, the stretch feels good and I can make myself keep going.

        • In House Lobbyist says:

          Finding a gym with good childcare and a pool has been a life saver for me. My husband and I go one night a week and drop the kids in the childcare. After we workout, the kids can swim or eat dinner there at the café or both if the weather is nice enough to be in the outdoor pool. Add in two workouts on the weekends and then I know there is at least 3 workouts happening. I’m too tired to go in the morning and too tired at night once I come home so I feel you. I also do one night a week workout classes so my husband is in charge of that night. Could you commit to one night a week? I feel guilty sometimes but it really makes me feel better and much happier when I work out.

          • Pigpen's Mama says:

            I like the pool idea — a my LO is still a little too young to make this an easy solution, but I’m filing this away for the future.

            We have a fancy spin bike (Peloton, has live and on-demand spin classes) and I try to use it a few times a week, but I’m not as committed as I should be. Also, I’m a failure on the eating part, and at my age, the eating is really the critical part to losing weight.

        • Anonymous says:

          You have to accept that “downtime” and “gym” are synonymous.

          I mean, they’re not, but that’s the HOW.

    • octagon says:

      I was you 8 weeks ago (I may have even written a post about it). I joined WW at the beginning of August and made some pretty sensible diet changes, like cutting out mindless carbs and increasing my fruits/veg/protein. As of this morning I’m 10 pounds down and in spitting distance of my pre-baby weight. I’ve done WW before but this time I really focused on increasing protein first because I feel like now I’m just so much quicker to get hungry (hangry!) thank I was pre-baby. It’s made a big difference.

      You can do it!

    • avocado says:

      Right there with you. I recently gained 10 mystery pounds despite the fact that I’ve been eating less and exercising more, and I need to lose at least half of that very soon before it gets cold and I have to squeeze back into my pants. To lose weight on purpose, I have to eat much less than my brain requires for adequate functioning, and then I gain it all right back the instant I start eating adequate amounts of food. I don’t know how people do it.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I’m sorry, that is tough. One thing to consider is that your body’s new “set point” might be a little heavier than it was pre-kids. So, maybe you think you “need” to lose 20 pounds altogether, but your body will be super happy and at its healthiest if you just lose 5 or 10. I’ve been much less stressed about weight since realizing that my body’s “happy” point is about 10 pounds more than it was during my early twenties. I bought my clothes in a size up, started dressing for that size, and it’s been relatively easy to maintain because I think it’s where my body really wants to be.

      • Yes! Because you’re older, and part of it is just your body’s response to time.

        I am also there – 7 lbs over pre baby weight. My youngest is 4. I would really like to lose 4 of that 7, but the amount of focus and discipline I need to get to and stay at that point…I don’t really have it in me.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      Hi, I’m right there with you, except my son is 17 months. I’m about 10 lbs over where I’d ideally like to be and where I was prior to pregnancy. I’m not happy with the number but I’ve been doing the best I can with trying to fit in some exercise and eat moderately well. I need to work on limiting booze, but it’s such a nice stress relief at the end of the week! Sigh, I may also need to just accept this as the new normal.

  4. Edna Mazur says:

    Life is too short for this. Go straight to maternity pants.

  5. Tired Mommy says:

    Looking for your best interview advice/tips. I have an interview tomorrow for a job I feel would be a great next step for me. I’ve interviewed there before so I have an idea of what questions they’re doing to ask (govt position with set interview q’s) I also have a list of questions to ask about the position. I guess I’m just worried I’m going to blow it somehow. They specifically asked me to apply again but of course there’s no guarantee. Uggg… too much anxiety right now.

    • Anonanonanon says: is the best website in the world for this. Go read through her interview advice etc. she has great “scripts” and wording for how to ask questions and get a feel for a workplace culture. Good luck!

    • This is off the beaten track but helped in recent interviews. I did some prep and then I just re-read my Brene Brown book and the Subtle Art of Not Giving an F about being authentic and getting out of my head. If you have a similar self-soothing or confidence boosting ritual, that might be more helpful that more “trying to get the interview right” prep.

      • Myna Minkoff says:

        Which Brene Brown book do you recommend? The Subtle Art one looks great, too!

        • I’ve enjoyed The Gifts of Imperfection and Braving the Wilderness. “Self-help” or personal development books are totally my guilty pleasure. I tell myself there are worse things:)

          • Myrna Minkoff says:

            That is an excellent guilty pleasure! I might be right there with you. Thank you!

  6. Fun halloween costume ideas for 2.5 year old girl and 1 year old brother? She loves coordinating or matching but so far her ideas have maybe not sounded so great for the boy…

  7. I’m being asked by the grandparents for Christmas ideas for my kids. Both of our parents are divorced, so there are 4 sets of grandparents. They all want to do something “big” every year so our house is overrun with toys and games and scooters already, and the kids are only 4 and 2.

    I tried last year to ask each set to get some dress up clothes. But we ended up with easily 30 outfits, which I culled down to 15, and the kids are still too overwhelmed to play with any of it. The year before, I asked for play food. We got two play kitchens and enough food/pots/sets to fill our real pantry. We already have a membership to the museum near to us, and they all live hours away so other experience gifts are not practical. We do have a 529, but they don’t think that counts as a regular gift so won’t give to it.

    What can I ask for? Or how can I redirect this? Any bright ideas? DH and I have tried both outright and subtle statements, which are either ignored or met with tears. One set will cut back slightly, but then get upset when they see they were the “least generous” grandparents and go overboard for birthdays. We will donate so much stuff, but it just doesn’t seem to phase them – they pout, but then go overboard the next time just the same. And I never seem to donate enough, because our house STILL feels overflowing.


    • Anonanonanon says:

      Magnatiles have been a godsend for this. They get used for years, require minimal storage, and they’re more expensive that I’m willing to spend. Additional Magna Tiles are the go-to grandparent gift for my parents for this reason.

      It really stinks that they won’t be mature adults and respect your wishes regarding not having giant toys overflowing your home. My ex inlaws used to do that and it drove me insane.

      Would they be offended if you set up a registry for Christmas gifts?

      • avocado says:

        How about setting up a registry to redecorate a bedroom or furnish a really awesome playroom including storage, play table and chairs, etc., if either of those things is needed?

        If they don’t already have them, bike for the 4-year-old and balance bike for the 2-year-old? Collapsible play tent and tunnel?

        I can think of lots of smaller-but-splurgy gifts for slightly older kids–robots, American Girl (but the furniture is enormous), LittleBits, Snap Circuits, expensive Lego kits, iPad, Kindle…

    • anonnymommy says:

      If you have 2 cars and each kid is ready for a convertible car seat, could they each get a $300 car seat?

    • CPA Lady says:

      Could you ask each set for a different membership? Like to the zoo, aquarium, museum, whatever you have in your town? Lessons? Experiences? Clothes? If you’re good with letting them spend their money on clothes that are to their tastes, you might not have to shop for any clothes for years!

      • Anonymous says:

        Lessons and the equipment is my vote too! (So they buy the swim suits/ goggles, towel, bag for swim lessons. They buy shoes, leotards, bag hair things for dance /gymnastic class. They buy soccer ball, cleats, socks.) The lesson is the “big gift” and the equipment is the “unwrap” gift.

    • We’ve really tried to get our parents away from “stuff” at all and instead get us things like museum or zoo memberships, gymnastics classes, etc. And they gift to open on Christmas is something related– a critter catcher for the zoo, a leotard for the gym, etc. They don’t LOVE it, but they’ve mostly stuck with it. It helps that we take a video of the kids doing the things and always ask the kids to say “thanks for the great gift!” in the video. I think the gparents want the kids to know that the thing is from them, and that’s part of the struggle with doing away with tangible gifts.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Agreed that the grandparents want to give a fun, tangible gift. So my vote would be to tell them to take the total amount of money that they want to spend and divide it up between the 529 and one tangible gift. If you can narrow it down even further, give each set of grandparents 1-3 different “fun” gifts to choose from – specific to each set of grandparents so that there’s no overlap or chance of getting two of something.

    • AwayEmily says:

      Could you ask for a “special day” for each kid? So, say something like “The kids love you so much and talk about you all the time. The best gift would be if you came to visit and planned a special day with each of them, where you took them somewhere fun and had an adventure. They’d both love to look forward to this — we’ll mark it on the calendar and talk about what a great day you guys will have together.”

      Maybe also offer to come along for part of it if they’re not comfortable watching the kids on their own. You could pass along some ideas (zoo, apple-picking, etc).

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Subscription to a craft crate or kid magazine? New bedding, new winter coats/boots/snowpants. The idea of a special day alone with each kid is amazing.

    • octagon says:

      Does Amtrak (or other commuter rail) run anywhere close to you? Ask for tickets to/from the nearest city. Do a one-day train trip with the kids.

      Are there any theme parks in your area? Ask for one-day or season passes. (If there is a Great Wolf Lodge or similar, you wouldn’t even have to wait until summer!)

      Does it snow where you are? Ask for sleds or other fun outside winter gear.

      Do your kids need Christmas outfits?

      I love the idea above for contributing for something for a bedroom. Personalized chairs (like in PBK) or beanbags? Look at Land of Nod – they have fun tents/teepees for bedrooms, if you have the space for it.

    • I understand it being difficult to control or redirect grandparents. At some point, grandparents are going to do what they’re going to do. If you can’t redirect to 529s or experience gifts, the best approach is to probably ask for smaller but spendy gifts like American Girl, character merchandise, MagnaTiles, etc.

      If you allow screen time, digital versions of movies would be good. You could also ask for digital copies of audio books. It’s “stuff,” but only takes up digital space.

      Good luck! We have similar issues. My parents go overboard and are uncontrollable–they’ll buy experience gifts and contribute to the college fund if I ask, but still not dial back on stuff. And DH has a huge family where everyone buys 1-2 items for Kiddo. There’s no way to pare it down without going “no gifts,” and his family doesn’t want to do that.

    • I don’t know if I can help, but I can commiserate. My MIL cut back for holidays, but now brings large gifts just because (there is a Barbie dreamhouse at my house as of this weekend. We don’t even have Barbies)

      We’re asking for contributions towards dance classes this year. But there’s only so much I’ll schedule for a 4 year old, so that’s only going to get us so far.

      We are also donating huge amount of things, and I don’t buy birthday gifts, I put some of the extraneous gifts in a closet and we ‘shop’ out of there for birthday parties.

      Both girls have birthdays within a month of Christmas. I’m taking off a few days in January to deal with the present excess, this is how much it’s taking over my life.

    • Really nice winter gear? Snow pants, boots, coat, hat, mittens adds up to big $$ and at this age they need a new set every year.

      • Oh yes, this worked out well for my parents this year. I couched it as something she’d wear all the time and think of them (pulling at the heartstrings)

    • Anonymous says:

      Admittedly this is not going to satisfy the big spending urge by itself, but one gift I really like for my kids is nice bubble bath. The pricier kind that smells great and doesn’t have bad stuff in it. My kids love it, it makes bath time more fun, and — bonus — once it’s used up, it’s gone!

      Williams Sonoma hot chocolate is another little “luxury” that I usually wouldn’t buy myself, but is a nice treat and goes away when you drink it all.

      Another idea — a tent and sleeping bags, if you don’t have one and you have a backyard. My husband and boys, 3 and 5, like to camp in the backyard. At least we can store these items in the garage or attic when not in use.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve got a 5 year old and a 2 year old, and these Foamnasium blocks are hands-down the most-used, most-loved toys in our house (by both them and friends of various ages):

      We have several different sets purchased by grandparents and they are excellent for those long winter weekends indoors if you have the space for them. We also received a large foldable gymnastics mat and indoor slide that are used in conjunction with these, but fold up for relatively easy storage.

      • Second these as an awesome investment. Those have played so many different roles in my house. Drums, slides, tower, etc.

    • I think you have some good ideas on how to redirect but I’m guessing your parents also want something “big” to unwrap, so maybe Legos? My daughter loves them and some sets are pretty pricey.

    • Thanks everyone for the ideas and commiseration! Experience gifts have been a no-go (because it doesn’t count as a gift to open, apparently) but I love some of these others. I wonder if digital would count as a gift – I bet I could convince at least one set to help us build the entire Disney library on iTunes. And consumable or smaller-but-spendy might be the ticket for the others…

      I’m so burnt out on stuff that I read the bike idea and immediately thought “Oh yuck, MORE stuff to store in the garage” so clearly I need to work on this.

      • In House Lobbyist says:

        I have tried to push them towards experiences too with some success -memberships, swim lessons, ballet, gift cards to indoor play places. We love Magnatiles and we usually get a new set every year. My kids love art supplies and can go through some tape/glue/paper so that might be something that goes away quickly. Mine are 4 and 7 and each has their own CD player and CDs. My older one loves classical books on CD but the younger one likes the Frozen/Little Mermaid stories and music CD. My kids love new blankets and Mermaid pillows. New shoes? I feel like mine always need shoes. Backyard play area? My parents bought the slide for one kid’s birthday.

      • For “opening” digital gifts, they/you could print a copy of the cover, and possible add a small tie-in like a plush or plastic character or even a larger tie-in gift (character pajamas or even Duplo Legos).

    • If you typically buy toys for the kids as well, why not flip it around? Have one or two gifts from Santa, then count on grandparents to furnish the rest while YOU fund the 529 or experience gifts with the rest of your budget.

      Everyone wants to be the adult to provide the kids with toys that will elicit screams of joy. No one wants to fund the 529 or present a zoo coupon. (Admit it–even you don’t want the kids to open a card with zoo passes for the distant summer.) After 12 years of parenting, I’m over wanting my name to be attached to the Most Treasured Present. I know the grandparents are going to buy a lot, so I steer them in the right direction and trim back what I give the kids.

      Last year each girl had 4 presents under the tree (each) from Mom and Dad, and in all honesty I felt like a crap parent because it was so skimpy. Then 4 hours later the grandparents arrived and my house exploded with everything the toy store has to offer and I was glad I didn’t splurge on more! Grandparents were thrilled, kids were thrilled, my budget was thrilled. Everyone won.

      • +1. This is what we do. Last year, “Santa” only brings 1-2 toys and some books. The toy explosion starts Christmas Eve and goes on for days.

  8. Newbie says:

    Best brands for maternity tights and/or stockings? I’m 5’7 and a size 8, but even at 8 weeks I can tell that I won’t be able to wear my current stockings much longer (they roll down below the belly). I’m hoping to get through the next month (before I announce) with wrap and a-line dresses, but in my office that means I need leg coverings – probably another week or two of stockings before it’s cold enough to justify tights + boots. Or should I be getting light leggings and wearing those instead? (And I saw the older tip to cut up a regular pair, which I’m willing to try on tights, but can’t imagine that will work for long.) Thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think I ended up buying spanx maternity stockings because the store was out of the motherhood maternity brand in my size. They were great, but I got a run in them after the 2nd wear so the cost per wear was HIGH. If you wear stockings all the time and can get away with not ruining them, I do recommend the spanx kind. But they’re probably going to be big on your belly until later in pregnancy. Can you just size up and get the high-waisted stockings for now? I didn’t need maternity tights until like 20 weeks or so, and I think I showed pretty early. For winter I just bought black maternity tights off of amazon. They were like $10 and worked well.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I had maternity tights from Target that held up throughout my pregnancy. I do think leggings can be a bit more comfortable (I had both Target and Old Navy ones that were fine).

      With tights you definitely want over-the-belly, not under.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I found Spanx and Commando had good maternity tights (can’t remember which one I preferred, but liked both brands).

    • Katala says:

      I got a pair of Assets tights (spanx brand sold at Target) and loved them. But – they have a kind of pouch for your belly, so they would look strange until you have a bit of bellow to fill them out. Before that, cutting the waistband worked well for me. It did not affect their longevity for me, but these were tights and I did not wear every day. I would maybe try sizing up in a few cheaper pairs and see if that will hold you over for a month.

      Many also recommend thigh highs instead of pregnancy tights – might be worth a shot!

    • Katarina says:

      I liked Berkshire brand.

      • Katarina says:

        I buy them on Amazon. They are not the fanciest, but they are very comfortable, and would work fine early in pregnancy. They have stretchy lace in the belly area.

    • For right now, stockings – Hanes in the drugstore (the kind in the little container) has a ” no waistband” kind that is great for this time period.

      For actual “maternity” I got through my last pregnancy with two pairs of spanx tights, which I intend to wear this time around too. I also bought two inexpensive pairs of Old Navy maternity tights to try out but it hasn’t been cold enough so can’t report back but I think it’s a good possible option for around $5-8.

    • bluefield says:

      I got Preggers maternity tights and they were sooooo comfortable. They were compression & really supportive. And they come in fun colors.

  9. Sleep help please? says:

    Y’all, I need some help. Our normally a great sleeper (we totally jinxed ourselves) one year old has been waking up ~ every other night at about 12:30 – and he won’t go back to sleep. We put him to sleep at 8-8:30, after a full dinner and bottle. Some nights he sleeps through until 7-8 a.m. but about every other night, he wakes up around 12:30 and wants to play. Milk and/or rocking him don’t help – he just doesn’t want to sleep – or if he does, it’s only in our bed. And it’s DRIVING US CRAZY. We tried to let him CIO last night but DH gave up after 40 minutes of wailing. Is there something we can do besides just let him cry? Put him to bed later? I’m really trying to avoid him sleeping in our bed because we have another one on the way, and also, I like my alone time with DH.

    • Anonymous says:

      Put him to bed earlier, not later. 8:30 is kind of late for his age. He could just be working through something developmentally. How long has this been going on? And if you are going to do CIO, you have to commit to it. Giving after 40 mins is kind of like “what’s the point”.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I’m sure you’ve already considered this, but…teething? Maybe try giving him a dose of baby aspirin or ibuprofen right before bed one night, and if that eliminates the issue you’ll know it’s teething-related.

      Otherwise, I think you do just need to let him cry. A few nights of crying sucks but is way better than potentially establishing a bad habit that will be really hard to break (and you definitely don’t want to break it after the new baby is here). Warn him in advance that if he wakes up, he needs to go back to sleep, and it’s okay to cry but you won’t come in. Babies understand a startling amount even at that age.

      If it’s any consolation, our great-sleeping daughter went through something similar at around 16 months. It was a combination of teething and just testing us, I think. It lasted about three weeks. We used a combination of ibuprofen and letting her cry, and eventually she got it out of her system.

      Re: bedtime — if anything I would move it slightly earlier, not later.

    • Anonymous says:

      is he teething? my LOs often had a hard time settling at that age when they were teething. Maybe try advil at bedtime?

      Lean into the physical contact as much as you can when he is awake so he won’t crave it as much at night. Even if you haven’t told him about baby #2 yet, little ones are sensitive to changes and may have picked up on that something is going on.

      How much does he nap and when does his last nap end? Mine went to one nap at that age.

      Any new foods? My youngest wasn’t allergic to green peas or quinoa but got horrible gas from both and woke up a bunch if he ate it for lunch or dinner.

  10. Anon for This says:

    I really need advice, please help. My daughter goes to a preschool that is combined with an elementary school. Last week, she was going to the potty while I prepared bath and I turned around and noticed she was trying to get a good look at her privates and that she was using her fingers to manipulate herself. I told her that she should really have clean hands if she wanted to touch herself, to be gentle, and that she should be in private. Anyway, she gets in the bath and then wants out and says it hurts down there. She usually loves baths. I thought it was odd, but thought maybe she had irritated herself (she had been really going to town), and I reminded her that she was the boss of her body and that no one should touch her down there. (We have a book on this and have talked on and off about her private areas being hers and that no one should touch them except Mom or Dad might help her take a bath, or the Doctor may look at her if Mom or Dad is in the room, or her teachers may help her on the potty.) She told me someone had touched her down there, but she was really evasive with me. First she said that it was one of her teachers, then the other teacher, then a kid, then another kid, and she could not tell me where it happened (kept changing the location). I should note that I 100% trust her teachers, but of course I don’t know all the teachers in the school very well (there aren’t many, but I have no reason to interact with the teachers of the older kids). My husband spoke to our daughter and got the same run around that I did, both of us seemed to conclude that maybe the kids were playing doctor or something, and I planned to ask her teachers about it.

    Fast forward, I don’t get a chance to ask her teachers at a chaotic drop-off, but during pickup my daughter tells me that she hurts and points to her crotch and says E (another kid) hurt her there. I immediately bring her to her teachers and tell them about it and she also explains where she hurts. One of the teachers explains to me that E had been on a swing that day and my daughter walked up too close and got kicked in her crotch. She told me that she couldn’t really look at the injury given where it was, but that my daughter calmed down quickly and seemed OK. Then, yesterday my daughter was scratching herself down there and when we talked about being the boss of our body at bath time, still claims that someone touched her down there (but keeps changing who it was or where it happened). I asked her if it was a “yucky” touch and she said yes. At one point she told me that I had touched her and that her father had touched her. Another note: I 100% trust my husband and for many reasons that are too detailed to go into here, I am fully confident that he would not hurt her. I’m sure that sounds like a cliche and that many mothers have been wrong about who they can trust in these situations, but it is where I confidently am at this point and I wanted to put that out here. Obviously I know that I have never touched her inappropriately, so I don’t know why she was naming me as someone who touched her.

    Since this started, my daughter has not been in the care of anyone but me, her father or her preschool, so no other relatives or babysitters involved unless this is something that has been repressed for awhile.

    I really don’t know what to do here. Do I take her to her doctor? Is there some type of therapist that could help uncover what is going on here? Do I call a meeting at the school? I really feel the need to escalate this to make sure my daughter is safe (and possibly another kid, because if a kid is doing this I know the odds are that they are in an abusive situation). But I’m sensitive to the fact that if my daughter falsely names her father or me or a teacher, that this could lead to a very bad situation. I’m 100% OK with dealing with any situation if the truth comes out and I need to protect my daughter, but at this point I don’t know why I keep getting different stories from my daughter. The thoughts swirling in my head range from the best case (such as, my daughter was just playing with herself and my response freaked her out somehow so she felt the need to make up a story, or maybe there was just an isolated incident of the preschool kids playing doctor at school and the teachers need to keep a better eye on the kids, who range from age 2.5 to 4) to worst case (i.e., that someone in my child’s life is hurting her and she feels like she can’t be wholly truthful with me about it).

    I know this is not the place to get legal or medical advice, but the stakes seem very high here and I am having trouble getting a clear head on how I proceed. What would you do? Call the school? Call a therapist? Go straight to the doctor? We have a wonderful pediatrician. I don’t know any therapists. Her school has been really great, but this situation is totally new territory so I don’t know what to expect if I go into a meeting talking about this subject. Am I stupid or way too paranoid to be concerned that if she names her father who touched her, that CPS will just take her that day and it could be a long, messy legal battle to get her back? Does anyone know if there is an advocacy or victim’s rights organization that would help me talk through a situation like this?

    Thanks in advance. Sorry for the weighty situation, but you are my people here and I don’t know where else to turn.

    • Anonymous says:

      It sounds like you are asking questions that she’s not developmentally ready to answer. She may not distinguish between getting kicked by a kid on accident, or having a parent or teacher help her wipe her bottom. Is there any other reason you think something might have happened? Otherwise she’s probably a bit sore where she was kicked.

      If she is having irritation, it’s likely a result of preschooler level bottom wiping abilities. As my daughter got more independent with toileting, I found that her wiping wasn’t always reliable especially if she was anxious to hurry back to playing with her friends. Sometimes she forgot to wipe after peeing. Her skin was getting irritated so we switched away from bubble baths to daily shower with a fragrance free soap and just used warm water to rinse her bottom with the shower sprayer. No issues since.

      • Anonymous says:

        also – if you’ve asked her about it more than 2-3 times, she’s probably giving different answers because she’s trying to find the ‘right answer’ that you want to hear. Or she’s thinking of different incidents – getting kicked on the playground, having a teacher wipe a messy #2 with rough toilet paper etc.

      • Sarabeth says:

        I agree with this. I would talk to her pediatrician and keep talking to her school as well, but it seems pretty clear that your daughter won’t, and probably can’t, give you firm answers. No amount of asking by you or anyone else will change that. You might consider a few sessions with a play therapist just to see if that elicits anything, but otherwise I would take this as a reminder to be particularly vigilant, and make sure that her teachers are doing the same. Keep the conversation open, but don’t constantly ask her “did anyone touch you down there today” or she may start saying yes just because that’s what she thinks you want to hear.

        FWIW, I have a pre-school aged daughter, and I can 100% imagine those responses coming from her if a kid kicked her in the crotch.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I’m so sorry – I can only imagine how stressful this situation is. I think my first call would be to the pediatrician. Your pediatrician might be able to conduct a physical exam as well and determine if there is any abrasion/irritation. He or she may also be able to provide some recommendations for next steps.

      You don’t mention how old your daughter is but my daughter is not yet 2.5 and a lot of the time she tells me things that seem like half-truths. Last week I posted last week about how she was telling me that her teachers told her that she was not a “good listener,” and then she also told me that her teacher wouldn’t let her have her blanket (and her other teacher informed me that she wasn’t allowed to have her blanket after nap time was over). Those are very minor examples compared to what you’re describing, but I think that at that age, it’s also developmentally normal to not provide a complete story.

    • Anon for this says:

      I’m sure this isn’t what you want to hear, but I think you need to take this seriously. I was in an abusive situation and several red flags were prsent that my parents dismissed. As hard as it is I think you need as open and understanding as possible – one reason I never persisted in telling an adult was precisely because they always acted so upset about the issue. I was 1000% sure I had done something wrong and that it was A Very Bad Thing (obviously I did not understand the abuse), because everyone got so serious and mean when the topic came up.

      The issue of CPS is one I had not thought of. I think a lawyer may be the best person to consult on this – even if the issue is as mild as kids playing doctor and the school not policing well, it’s not a bad idea to have a lawyer involved.

      I’m so sorry you’re going though this.

      • I am very sorry that you were in an abusive situation. I do think though it is a bad idea to have a lawyer involved before you even know whether the OP’s daughter was inappropriately touched – not only would the lawyer be pretty useless at that point, but having a stranger ask the OP’s daughter questions may contribute to the “you did a Very Bad Thing” feeling. I think the first stop needs to be to the pediatrician to check for signs of possible abuse and to get a better understanding of how to communicate with her in an age-appropriate, effective way. Sorry to OP as well – this is a very tough situation.

      • Anon for this says:

        Sorry, I meant for OP and her husband to have a lawyer to consult in case the school conducts an investigation or involves law enforcement as mandatory reporters. Not to talk to the kiddo!

        I realize my post was really alarmist and I apologize. But whenever people dismiss abuse allegations all I can think is, but I KNOW it happened to me, so maybe it happened to some other little girl too. I’m really sorry I brought my issues into this, but I do think this is an area where it’s better to at least slightly err on the side of caution. If abuse survivors don’t speak up, it’s way too easy for everyone to dismiss.

        • I don’t think this is an issue of *dismissing,* but rather trying to gain clarity. Ignoring warning signs is bad, obviously, and I’m so sorry that happened to you. But starting the OP down the path of mandatory reporting, CPS involvement, lawyers, etc. may be equally problematic if there’s nothing to investigate but the kids involved all try to hard to please the people asking that a everyone starts to adopt a narrative and confirm one another without any actual bad acts ever being confirmed.

        • Redux says:

          Anon for this, thank you for sharing your truth. You don’t ever have to apologize for that.

    • I would bring it up with the school again, and also talk with the pediatrician. Schools have an obligation to investigate and report incidents, and have more information than you do about personnel present, other children, etc. Apparently I once came home from preschool with green permanent marker outlining all my private parts, and the school immediately identified the child who had done it based on some other issues. (FWIW, I have no memory of any of this).

      But also – wiping is apparently much harder than I realized. I make it a point to let kiddo soak in a bath with epsom salts (no bubbles) every few days, and don’t use soap to wash her body until the bath is done. You might also consider diaper cream or aquaphor at night, if she still wears a diaper to bed.

    • Super Anon says:

      This is tough – I’m sorry you’re going through this.

      I don’t have advice but I can tell a personal story. When I was 4, there was an incident with my older half-brother, who was then 11. He was visiting (our shared) dad, who he had never met (result of an unplanned teen pregnancy right before Dad shipped off to Vietnam). I don’t recall feeling particularly frightened or traumatized at the time – sort of a, playing doctor scenario – but when I told my mom she completely freaked out, the 11-year old kid was shipped back to his mom and never talked to Dad again. I was sent to months of therapy and as an intuitive kid I remember trying really hard to figure out what the therapist was trying to get me to say and feel about something that hadn’t actually frightened or hurt me.

      All that’s to say – looking back, I believe my mother’s response may have ruined the young man’s life (certainly any chance of a relationship with his father) and the actions she took to ‘help’ me cemented an incident in my mind that I would likely have otherwise forgotten and been no worse off for.

      • This is remarkably sensitive of you, and kind and brave to have shared this important perspective. Thank you.

    • PregLawyer says:

      I would also take her to the pediatrician and explain that she has had some irritation lately, she was kicked in the crotch, and see if the doctor diagnoses anything. Maybe she has a UTI and that’s what bringing this all on.

    • Mama Llama says:

      I am so sorry you are dealing with this. What a terrifying position to be in where you don’t want to over or under-react. I think if it were me, my first call would be to the pediatrician for an urgent appointment without your daughter present. My second call might be to the RAINN hotline to see if they could direct me to other resources 800.656.HOPE (4673) In all your conversations make sure you are clear about who is a mandatory reporter and what that entails. Also, I would probably stop asking my daughter about it for now to avoid putting any additional pressure on her to discuss it.

    • Momata says:

      This sounds awful and I am so sorry you are going through this. My daughter is 3.5. I think if she was sore down there from being kicked and I asked insistent questions with a scared/serious/urgent tone, I would also get very inconsistent and vague answers. She also has just recently started investigating her privates. So while I understand the need for vigilance, I think the most likely scenario is she was kicked in the crotch and then wasn’t sure what it was you were asking / how to respond. I would call your pediatrician nurse line just to be sure and to start a record. I would ask the school to keep an eye out. And I would stop asking questions about it to the child.

    • Anon for This says:

      Thanks all. I am really trying to strike the right balance and not over or under react here as I am aware of the issues present in Anon for This and Super Anon’s posts.

      To be clear, there are two incidents. The first bath incident happened, and then the next day the swingset to the crotch incident happened, then the weekend. So the swingset incident doesn’t explain the bath incident, or else I would be less concerned. I’ve also been really careful to keep things light and not question her seriously because I know that kids can look for your approval if they are questioned on things they don’t understand. So I have not used a scared, serious or urgent tone with her at all, to the best of my ability.. Since the bath, I’ve been saying stuff like “Did you feel safe at school?” which is a question I have asked her for awhile even before this. And I say “Oh, tell me about that?” when she talks about it. The only time I have switched to a serious tone is that I have made a point to tell her at bedtime (separated from other conversations so that it does not seem related) that I love her very much, and that it is my job to protect her, that I am always on her side, and that she would never get in trouble for telling a secret to me even if someone else makes her feel that way, and that I am always here if she wants to talk about anything that made her feel bad or confused or hurt. I think the main issue is that, as Sarabeth says, it is not possible to get firm answers at this age. I’m really trying my best here to do what is right for my daughter without causing further harm.

      Thanks for all the thoughts. I will try to post a follow up in the next few weeks.

  11. Ding ding ding. At a certain point, asking very young children questions like these is setting yourself up for spiraling anxiety and insanity. Source: my daughter’s daycare was shut down this summer due to allegations of sexual assault. My daughter’s 3 and very verbal, but that doesn’t mean she’s a good reporter. Does she occasionally say things that make me exceedingly nervous (e.g. starts crying while walking to the pediatrician because “the doctor is a guy and I don’t want a guy, I only want a girl”, uy, cringe)? Yep. Is there anything I can do about it? Not really (according to the psychologist the city brought in to speak with parents, who told us specifically that it’s not a good idea to try and “get to the truth” by asking very young kids these questions; we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we may not ever find out if or what happened, or it may surface in time).

    • The thing is, OP’s daughter is potentially in a situation where could still be being abused – the danger is not demonstrably past. So she has a different level of urgency to find out what is happening.

      The fact that this happened in the bath before the child was kicked is alarming, although I can absolutely see how it could a coincidence leading to terrible optics. I think if it were me, I would think about the worst case scenario and the best way to prevent that. For me, the worst case would be that my daughter had been and would continue to be abused. So I guess I would call the pediatrician and explain the situation and ask for advice/next steps. I would assume that this may trigger a CPS investigation. Be aware that may mean an investigator interviews your child at school before you are even notified they are investigating (this happened to a friend with a school age child).

      A compromise might be to stop asking questions, wait a week to see if she brings anything up again or shows any more symptoms, and only act if she does.

      I’m sorry you are dealing with this – what a tough situation.

      • Anonymous says:

        It didn’t happen in the bath before she was kicked. Child was sore in the bath. Mom asked her about it and mentioned it to the teachers the next day. Teacher advises that the day before (same day child reported being sore), the child had been kicked by another child. There is no indication that the child has been abused.

        • I still read the timeline differently, but if you are correct I agree the situation is very different. I hope you are right!

          • Anonymous says:

            “I immediately bring her to her teachers and tell them about it and she also explains where she hurts. One of the teachers explains to me that E had been on a swing that day and my daughter walked up too close and got kicked in her crotch. She told me that she couldn’t really look at the injury given where it was, but that my daughter calmed down quickly and seemed OK.”

            It’s the “had been on a swing that day” that leads me to read it as the swing/kick happened at daycare, teachers don’t mention it to mom because kid seems fine, and later at bathtime the child is sore and complains to mom. Next day, mom asks teacher who tells about swing incidence.

      • Given A) that child is likely too young to be an accurate reporter, B) the pediatricians of my acquaintance who are literally currently dealing with this seem to just sort of reiterate to these very young kids that private parts are private etc., and C) child has already named mom & dad as people who have touched child, I would run from anything that could get CPS involved. I understand that child could potentially still be in a dangerous situation, but the potential harms of acting on these sorts of vague statements–harms to the child, harms to the family–are really salient here.

  12. NewMomAnon says:

    Ok, advice requested: a recruiter just sent me a position listing that sounds really neat. It would be a bit of a stretch, but not much, and the listing is specific enough that I know the substance would be fun (obviously would require more research into the coworkers, atmosphere, hours expectations, salary/benefits, etc).

    Here’s the catch; it’s a position at one of my firm’s biggest clients. There is no way I could apply without someone at my firm knowing. And I could get some good intel from folks at my firm about the role if I inquired. But the people who work with that client aren’t people who generally work with me, so it would be weird for me to reach out to them.

    So…what would you do? If you would reach out to someone at the firm, how would you do it? I would much rather apply with my firm’s backing and good will, and not sneak out of here. I’m also not really looking for a new job, but I always have my eyes open for cool positions.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Do you have a partner that you’re close enough to that you can ask him or her about the opportunity first? That partner could coordinate with the lead partner for that client.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I decided to talk with the recruiter before going to anyone in my firm, and let her know that this is super confidential. I also know someone in-house at the company and have reached out to her. I’ve been burned by recruiters a few times lately.

  13. Wooo I got an offer! More $, better aligned with my skills, dipping toe into global world after many years of domestic, and boss I know well from previous job. Woo!

  14. Betty says:

    Rant (with more than a touch of panic): I am in house at a medium-sized company. My boss’s last day is this week. Thus far, there is no word on a new GC, or an interim plan. We know they interviewed folks a month or so ago, but there has been absolute silence and a lack of communication from the leadership. My boss has been kept out of the process, and she is equally frustrated. And no, this was not a surprise retirement. My boss announced her retirement in April. Our department would be overwhelmed with work on a “normal” month, but down an attorney and with no leader, ugh. I am panicked about the workload, new boss and lack of communication. Any thoughts on how to handle myself through this uncertainty?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Figure out your boundaries, communicate those, and stick with them – for instance, you will work 8-5, M-F and no more than 2 hours on a weekend. Your company can either have the legal tasks done right now, to the detriment of everything else in your pipeline, or they can have your pipeline done in a timely fashion. They cannot have 60+ hours of your time every week to cover two people’s jobs.

      And document your communications regarding boundaries. When someone asks you to jump on something immediately, respond in writing, “My pipeline of X, Y and Z will be pushed [number] of days to accommodate this request. I wanted to confirm that this is a higher priority than everything else on my list. I also wanted to remind you that I’m taking PTO next Thursday,” and then keep that e-mail in a file.

      • Yeah, I agree with this. I’ve been in this position recently, and it’s been really rough. Being very clear about my own personal boundaries is one of the few things I can control in a tumultuous time full of uncertainty.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        And if they accuse you of not being a “team player” because you are setting boundaries, read that as manipulative behavior and act accordingly. Reasonable employers should understand that their hiring failures have repercussions.

  15. Turtle says:

    Saying this here because I can’t say it in real life….I’m 10 weeks pregnant and d-y-i-n-g. Time is moving at a glacial pace today. I’m not nauseous really, but I’m exhausted beyond all reason. I’m pretty sure they turned the AC off in the building, or at least way down. It’s a freak 90 degree day in my northeast city, and this office feels the same. Too hot to go for a walk and try to wake myself up. Lordy, give me strength.

    • ElisaR says:

      that was the stage where i walked in the door and went to bed for the night – hopefully this is a first pregnancy and you have that luxury!

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Oh man, I remember being that tired in the first trimester. It sucks. It was all I could do to stay upright at my desk. It will pass. Good luck!

    • Katala says:

      Congrats!! And yes, the first tri exhaustion is unlike anything I’ve felt before or since. For running hot (happened my whole pregnancy, and it hasn’t really gone away), try running cold water over the inside of your wrists. Also ice water – to perk up and to cool down, and just to start getting used to drinking all the water. If it helps, at 10 weeks you’re probably very close to getting your energy back and then some!

    • Newbie says:

      Oh, I’m so with you and only at 8 weeks! If my husband wasn’t doing everything at home, I shudder to think what a mess it would be at this point. I wish I could figure out a way to nap while sitting up straight …

  16. Toddler shoes! says:

    Looking for everyday daycare shoe recommendations for a two year old. Daycare has an outdoor area, so ideally something with a bit of a sole. My daughter has spent all summer in Keens, but the weather is turning colder…

  17. @toddler shoes says:

    Plae shoes are great. My kid got her first pair around 2. They’re expensive but they last-they were pretty much her only shoes for a year!

    They are machine washable, which we utilized since she started potty training at 2. If / when you wash make sure to take the liners out first.

    My kids right now are rocking Plaes (again- she’s 5 now and this is our 3rd pair…) and bright red pumas (my current 2 y/o whose feet are hilariously narrow).

    You might also like keen or see kai run sneakers, though both of those seemed too tight across the top for my high arched kid. Super cute though.

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