Family Friday: Candy Land The World of Sweets Game

My three-year-old son, H, is not really playing board games yet, which is similar to my older son, J, who was around three and a half when he started. I recently downloaded The Orchard by HABA for $3.99 on iTunes, and it’s a very easy game — there’s no setup, which is nice, and he can play it by himself. I think that primed us for Candy Land, which is a great first game, so this app is good if you’re looking for something even easier to get them started. I’d love to hear from you guys about your favorite board games for kiddos, especially first games. Candy Land is $12.99 at Amazon. Candy Land The World of Sweets Game

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  1. Anonanonanon says:

    Hey ladies-
    Found out yesterday that baby is breech and I’m having a C-section tomorrow (since I’m past 39 weeks). This is my second child but I never thought I’d be having a C-Section and am very scared/feel underprepared.
    Please share any tips or advice you have- especially related to recovery!!!

    • avocado says:

      Good luck! You’ve got this!

    • Amelia Bedelia says:

      get moving as QUICKLY as possible. I had two C-sections. It’s hard, but totally doable. And I had one when I had a 16 month at home. It pushed me to move much more quickly and not “coddle” myself. Honestly, it made me heal faster.

      either way, remember you are a successful mother because you grew this baby and now you get to hold it. It doesn’t matter how the delivery is. What matters is that you hold a healthy baby at the end made the right choice to bring it here safely.

      Good luck!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes! Best advice I received was to get up and walk as soon as you feel able. And walk as much as you can. I had an unexpected c-section with #1 and was pleasantly surprised at how easy the recovery was. I stopped taking pain meds when I left the hospital (except for the awesome extra strength ibuprofen they give you) and could drive about a week after delivering. Overall, it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be.

    • CPA Lady says:

      My planned c section at 39 weeks w breech baby was a snap. Here’s a play by play of what you can expect if yours goes like mine:

      You’ll go in, get checked in and brought to your room. You’ll get changed into a hospital gown and they will probably do an ultrasound in your room. This is your last chance to go to the bathroom on your own. I would recommend (sorry if this is TMI) trying to poop because it’s going to be a few days before you do that again. Before going to the OR, a nurse will come in and clean and shave (if necessary) the area where they do the incision. You’ll have an IV put in. Then they’ll wheel you into the OR. Your husband will go put on scrubs and meet you in there. The operating room is brighter than I expected and cold. They gave me a warmed up blanket. They were playing music in mine. You’ll sit up on the table, curl over and a nurse will come hold your hand while the anesthesiologist puts in the spinal block. It hurts but not too badly. More like a jangled nerve. Then you’ll lay down and they’ll wait for you lower half to go numb. Your legs will feel warm and heavy like they’re made of cement. Eventually you wont be able to feel them at all. You’ll have a catheter put in somewhere during this time frame. It felt like a little prick, but didn’t hurt. They strap your upper arms down gently so you don’t freak out and move and hurt yourself. At this point they put up the curtain so you cant see what’s going on down there. My husband was sitting in a chair by my head by then.

      The nurse and anesthesiologist will be there the whole time to make sure you’re okay. Your OB will begin the surgery once you’re all numb. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get the baby out. She’ll tell you what’s going on, and will tell you when the baby is about to be born. There is a lot of pressure. I felt like I was a tube of toothpaste being squeezed. It was much more pressure than I was expecting. Then the baby is born and starts wailing. They take the baby over and dry her off and do the APGAR and all that on a little table on the side of the room. The part where they stitch you up takes longer than the being born part. I freaked out a little bit during this point because there was a lot of pressure on my diaphragm. The anesthesiologist adjusted the medicine in my IV and I felt better almost immediately. After they clean up the baby, they’ll let your husband get the her and bring her over and show her to you. After you get stitched up, you go into a recovery room.

      In recovery, you have these leg massagers that keep you from getting a clot. They kept the blanket on me with a tube of warm air that was piped in. It’s very normal to tremble for a couple of hours after surgery. The morphine in your IV might make you slightly itchy like seasonal allergies. If it does, they can give you some benedryl. I was in no pain whatsoever at this point. After about an hour in recovery, they took me back to my room. My legs were starting to get some feeling back but I couldn’t walk on my own. They leave the catheter in and just put you on a big absorbent pad in your hospital bed. They keep the morphine going for the first day or two.

      Your first day in the hospital they’ll let you have ice chips and popsicles. You can eat the next day once you’ve passed gas (that’s a fun phone call to the nurse— I tooted, can I have a biscuit now?). I’d recommend taking it easy and sticking with bland foods. Take all the pain medicine and all the stool softeners– this is a major surgery. It’s much easier to keep on top of the pain than to try to reduce it once it’s really bad.

      They took my catheter out about 24 hours after the c-section. Walk as much and as soon as possible. Ask for an abdominal binder, which is this big velcro thing you wrap around your midsection. Wearing one of those helped me walk. The thing I wasn’t expecting was how sore my arms would get. Your arms are probably stronger than mine, but since you won’t have any abdominal strength, you’ll have to overcompensate with your arms to sit up in bed, hold your baby, etc.

      Also. This is major surgery. If there is a baby nursery in your hospital, it’s okay to use it so you can rest for a couple of hours.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are a saint for posting this!

        The biggest surprise for me was the shaking afterward – due to the epidural. It doesn’t happen to everyone but if you’re not prepared for it, it can scare you! It’s like being super cold and your teeth are chattering. Just know that it’s normal and ask for more blankets – and it will pass.

        It’s not pleasant laying there awake while you know what’s going on downstairs, but as CPA Lady noted, it’s pretty quick. Think 30-45 minutes of weirdness, and then you get to see your baby!!

      • Anoninny says:

        THANK YOU! From someone who is likely to have a c-section and has been feeling unprepared/scared.

      • I had a planned C too for some medical reasons. Very similar experience to the above. I freaked out once the spinal block kicked in because I couldn’t feel myself breathing. The anesthesiologist assured me I was and even showed me the oxygen monitor (which was reading at 98%) and that calmed me down. We had a lot of pressure (and tilting, rocking and pulling) because my LO was tucked up under my ribs and did not want to come out, so don’t be alarmed if they start tilting the table back and worth when they’re trying to get your LO out. They can give you antinausea with the spinal and I highly recommend asking for it, and every time I started to feel it again the anesthesiologist hit me with something that made it go away. You might have itchiness afterwards (like all over, kinda weird), so if you do tell them and they can give you something for it.

        Right after my LO came out, they put her on my chest to snuggle with my husband holding her to my body and I got to touch her face (I wasn’t comfortable holding her with the angle I was laying at). I think this is all while they were stitching me up. Then he went with her to recovery and I met them there and got to try BFing – the best it went until we got her tongue and lip ties fixed 3 weeks later. Keep up with the pain. I can’t take Percoset, so it took us a while to find something that worked and I was pretty miserable for 2 days until we figured it out. Because of the pain, I did not move around a lot, but had I had better pain meds that probably would have been better. Gallbladder surgery 6 weeks later and I knew exactly what to ask for and was up and moving pretty quick – it does make the recovery easier.

        Make sure you bring something to wear home in that won’t irritate your incision. I think I had maternity yoga pants where the seam hit higher and those worked perfectly.

      • Anonymous says:

        This description is really accurate! I had a planned c-section with my twins and my recovery was a breeze; they took my catheter out really soon, and that was the only difference. BUT– despite having six separate talks with the anesthesiologist about what to expect due to a long hospitalization, I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be able to move my legs. I knew they would be numb, and looking back it makes complete sense that they don’t want you to be able to move on the table, but the paralytic aspect was never mentioned and I freaked out for 10 seconds in the recovery room after I tried to move my foot. So now I mention it to everyone I know who is about to have a c-section. The spinal block is literally a block.

    • I had an emergency c-section and honestly? the recovery is fine. realize different people are different but I was on OTC pain meds by day 2 and not on anything by the time I went home. It was MUCH MUCH less painful than going through unmedicated labor (I was induced but my epidural failed so I experienced both sides!) I’ve heard that recovery from non-emergency c-section is easier.

      Good luck!

    • anne-on says:

      The recover varies from person to person obviously but mine was super easy and uncomplicated. You may want to buy some nightgowns and/or robes as pajama pants could be uncomfortable on your incision. I found high waisted yoga pants a great option but you do you.
      Also – be prepared that you’re not going to be allowed to drive for 2 weeks or so after discharge, so you’ll need a family member or your husband on call for running errands and accompanying you to well baby visits. That one was a surprise, and definitely meant my husband had to take off more time than he was anticipating (ie, more than just the time I was in the hospital. Thanks US lack of paternity leave!). Though have your husband check with his company – taking care of you post c-section might qualify him for FMLA time.

      • Oh and be advised you will have a lifting weight limit – essentially just the baby for at least 2 weeks if not more. You don’t think it will be an issue, and then you realize that baby + infant car seat exceeds your tolerance. So, even if you were off pain meds and feeling up to driving, you still couldn’t lift the car seat into the car by yourself.

    • I had a planned C section and it was fine! They put baby right up on my chest after he was born, so we bonded while they closed the incision. I was in the hospital for three days. I was on Rx pain meds for only about a week, then transitioned to OTC meds. No issues with breastfeeding.

      After returning from the hospital, I was up on my feet immediately (granted, the only places I needed to walk to were the bathroom and bassinet). I had a much easier recovery than some friends I know who had tearing from V births.

    • My two cents, though everyone above seems to have covered almost everything. Do NOT feel bad if it takes you longer to recover than some of these posters. I have friends who got off of pain meds after a couple of days. It took me a full week. I did have two weeks of meds on hand, but the, um, bathroom issues made me get off of them quicker than I otherwise would have.

      • I was on them for 10 days and didn’t feel fully recovered for about 5 weeks (and I was planned, so no laboring). I think I was taking (very) short walks in the neighborhood about 2 weeks later (timed to coincide with my OTC pain meds regimen), and I was driving 2 weeks later. My mom came and stayed for 2 weeks and that was a HUGE help. She could run errands, she would get the baby for me since my husband went back to work, and she slept downstairs with me. I slept in the recliner for 2 weeks because it was easier to get in and out of at night, vs. trying to get out of bed.

      • Anonymous says:

        I felt so much better once I was off pain meds. They gave me vicodin, which turns out does not agree with me at all. OP, if you feel strangely terrible afterwards (I was in a lot of pain and also very nauseous) ask about switching pain meds or tapering off.

        • Anonymous says:

          Adding to my own comment to say that I did much better with Tramadol than Vicodin. I think it’s personal what works for you but just something to keep in mind.

      • CPA Lady says:

        Yes– I should say, I thought my recovery was very smooth and easy. I was not in much pain after the first week or so and I felt like myself.

        But I still got fatigued very easily for several more weeks after that. If you overdo it, you can injure yourself and make your recovery longer. If you’re tired, sit down. My first trip to the grocery store around 2 weeks pp, I bought three things and had to come home and sit down. Listen to your body.

  2. avocado says:

    Our first board game was Snail’s Pace Race. It is a cooperative game with six colored snails, each in its own lane on a race course. The die has a different color on each side, and each player takes turn rolling the die and moving the snail whose color comes up. The snails don’t belong to the players, so it’s the snails and not the players who win or lose. It sounds like a great concept, but in practice it took forever because my daughter always wanted to keep playing until every snail had crossed the finished line, and it was a little confusing the first time we played Candy Land where she had to move her own piece instead of the one whose color was on the card.

    The early board game that my kid liked best was Chutes and Ladders. I think the counting in Chutes and Ladders is easier for kids to understand than the colored spaces in Candy Land, and the chutes and ladders make it more exciting. It can take an awfully long time to play, though. We also enjoyed card games at that age–Old Maid, Crazy Eights, and Go Fish.

    • Amelia Bedelia says:

      I have a 3 and 2 year old. are they ready for chutes and ladders?

      • avocado says:

        Depends on the kid’s interest and attention span. I think mine played chutes and ladders at 2.5, but she was really interested in it. 3-year-old should definitely be ready. You could try having the 2-year-old team up with a parent at first. If it doesn’t work out, put the game away and try again in a few weeks.

    • POSITA says:

      Our best first board game (around age 3) was Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. It’s quick, easy and super cute.

      My 4.5 yo now loves to play War (with a deck of cards), Labyrinth and Kerplunk.

      We also really enjoy the Richard Scarry Busytown Eye Found It board game. It was frustrating until about age 4, but now she really likes it. It’s a bit like Where’s Waldo, if your kid likes those books.

      • +1 My 3 year old is obsessed with Sneaky Squirrel and Frankie’s Food Truck (same company, very similar games). She doesn’t have the attention span for Candy Land, but my oldest likes it (6).

    • Tfor22 says:

      One of the first games we loved is Zingo.

    • We’re “playing” Hungry as a Bear by Haba with my toddler (19 months, we started playing around 18 months). He just likes putting the food in the bear’s mouth. Eventually we’ll incorporate the die and more rules. We’re a huge game-playing family so we’re all about the early eurogames.

      My son also loves play with his cards while we play games (some old sets of playing cards and Veggie Tales cards my mom found at a garage sale). It’s pretty adorable.

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      My 3 yr old loves Husker-Du, which is a memory matching game. It’s discontinued and so is upwards of $20-30 used if you can find it.

      Spot-It Jr is great when we’re eating out and waiting for our food.

      Candy land was meh, as was a HABA fishing game.

    • Trouble is a really good game for young kids, too. The fact that the dice is in the bubble and the pieces stick onto pegs makes it much easier to use (and popping the bubble thing is really fun for kids). We started by modifying the rules for my son at 3, but he picked it up really quickly and we didn’t have to do that for long.

  3. Tell me your marriage gets better as baby grows? My husband is a lovely man, an incredibly loving father, and an all around great guy but I’m sleep deprived and so sick of having the same conversation about emotional and actual physical labor and being the keeper of all the knowledge. Baby isn’t sleeping and my husband was away last weekend followed by a visit from his family and I am just so, so done at the moment.

    He snapped at me this am which is super unusual (I’m the snippy one) and I just think we’re just wrung out. Trying to get through the next few weeks before my mom arrives – she’ll take on the household stuff and let us have some time together.

    Sorry, that was a vent as I sit in my office eating chocolate and trying not to cry.

    • Massive hugs! How old is baby again? I remember snapping one morning while trying to wrangle baby for daycare, bottles, find a container for the pureed sweet potatoes, pack for pumping, etc. and saying to husband ‘Why is this MY job?’ (i.e. why is this all defaulting to me?) – and then he finally got it. Kid was maybe 7 or 8 months. Also, it does get better as baby sleeps more – that is an enormous game-changer.

      It’s Friday! Eat the chocolate, have a nap, sleep in this weekend, snuggle the baby.

      • 6 months, so we’re in the thick of it. I’m in the UK so headed home in 2 hours which is good. We’re on strike Mon-Wed so hoping to use the time off to get a bit more equilibrium.

    • Amelia Bedelia says:

      It get’s better. I had a lovely, wonderful marriage for ten years.
      and then I had two children in 3 years.
      The first year of my second’s life was SO hard and snippy and full of tears and unmet expectations and realization that life will never be the same again.

      But now we are in so much better place. It is different, but we have adjusted. We really love each other again and make sure we get stolen moments/minutes/hours together as our schedule allows.

      During the dark year, I just tried to focus on our history and remind myself that this was a hard “winter”, but it would be spring again!

      • Amelia Bedelia says:

        not “get’s”
        c’mon weekend!

      • Thanks, that’s really helpful. We had a few hours the other day where we just laid on the bed with the baby and listened to music and played with toys and it was lovely.

        I think it’s partially an issue of nursing and baby care, it is a really important year for me professionally and I lose part of my days to pumping and my nights to feeding a baby who won’t sleep in his own bed. Meanwhile, my husband’s life hasn’t seemed to change as much. Going to hand him a bottle and a baby tonight and try and get some sleep.

        • Anonymous says:

          Even when you are nursing, you should have nights ‘off’. I nursed exclusively at night but DH got baby, changed if needed, brought me baby, brought baby back and resettled baby when I was done nursing. Sometimes resettling meant pacing back and forth for two hours in the basement if that was needed. I learned to nurse sidelying and I even left in my earplugs, just opened one eye long enough to latch baby.

          • anne-on says:

            +1 – I pumped enough breastmilk to make my husband give that as the late night/dreamfeed bottle and put myself to bed from 8-1am or so before having to nurse again. Having a SOLID uninterrupted chunk of sleep was a huge gamechanger.

          • Anonymous says:

            I get up with M/W/F nights, DH gets up T/TH/S nights and we alternate Sundays. It’s been this way since our oldest was born and she’s six now. The baby monitor goes on the side of the bed of whoever’s night ‘on’ it is and the other person sleeps with airplugs. House rule is that you must have been up with baby for at least 3 hours before you can ask the other parent to jump in.

        • PS, your mileage may vary on this – I *hated* pumping and love baby snuggles, and (comparative advantage) thrive on far less sleep than my husband does, plus he is a grouchy mess if he gets too little sleep for too many weeks. We eventually settled on a division of labour that worked well for us, in which I made all the food (for the whole family, but including milk) and he washed all the eating implements (dishes, pots and pans, bottles)!

          Basically, just a couple of rules of thumb:
          1. Figure out a division of labour that you are both happy with, regardless of whatever works for other people. This may shift as things change, e.g. baby sleeps more, you wean, et.c.
          2. Do the thing that enables the greatest number of family members to get the most hours of sleep…whether that’s cosleeping, taking shifts, putting baby in his own room early on so you don’t have to listen to the noisy grunting all night, or something else.

      • mascot says:

        Co-sign this. Being a parent is really hard and it brings out the worst tendencies to score-keep in marriage. Don’t give in to them. It gets easier with time (at least physically).

        • I’m a terrible scorekeeper and need to figure out how to let go of this. It isn’t fair that I spend my time nursing and pumping while my husband swoops in for snuggles but it is the way it is.

          • CPA Lady says:

            I’m a scorekeeper too, and it has only led to my own unhappiness. Sometimes when I get mad in situations like this, it helps me to re-frame things into “this is what I WANT”. Because you don’t HAVE to spend all your time nursing and pumping. You could quit tomorrow if you wanted to. You could supplement with formula to take some pressure off yourself. If you want to EBF, that’s great, but it is a decision you have made because it is something you feel strongly about and are doing for a reason.

            Like I get mad at my husband for never making the bed. But he doesn’t care if the bed is made or not. I make it because I like how the room looks when the bed is made, and it makes me feel calmer and happier. So when I’m feeling resentful about how he never makes the bed, it helps me to re-frame it as “I’m doing this because I want to”.

            Also, this time period is hard. There are lots of things to adjust to. There are ups and downs. I just want to shake my head when I read the main s i t e and people talk about how if you’re not rapturously happy 24/7 that means you need to get divorced. That’s just not realistic. Things will get better eventually. Score-keeping will not help.

          • Can you assign more duties to him? Baby or household?

            DH has been in charge of dishes, cooking and groceries pretty much since I went back to work. He also does bath and bedtime most nights, and the morning diaper change/getting dressed.

            And when he’s travelling for work, I eat whatever I can microwave. Give yourself permission to let any and all standards for cooking and cleanliness slip when you’re solo parenting!

    • we struggle with this too – we have endless conversations about what DH says he will take on as his stuff, but then he doesn’t follow through and it is driving me INSANE. it starts to make me feel like i’m his mother instead of his spouse bc i don’t want to be nagging him to do stuff. not that you necessarily have time for this right now, but read the book How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids and have your husband read it too.

    • Thanks for posting this. We have a 10 week old and it has been the biggest challenge to my pretty solid marriage. I feel confident that it will get better; I just don’t know when that’s going to happen.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      I think it gets a lot better when the baby starts sleeping through the night and when you stop nursing. You then both get more sleep, which is essential for your own health, and you start to feel more like equals taking care of your child. Also, I feel like the transition from no kids to a kid (especially a tiny, non-sleeping, non-interactive blob) is just so hard – it would be odd if it didn’t change your relationship! It’s totally normal to snap at each other and get frustrated – I think the key is to talk about each of your concerns when you’re a little less in the moment, and try to work through them.

      Hopefully you can use some of that time when your mom is here to get away for a date night, away from the baby. We try to have my parents babysit every other week or so just so we can be together, a little like our old selves again.

  4. Poopmom says:

    my 3.5 year old will NOT sh*t in the can. She holds it and only does it in the diaper during nap-time or at night. We keep talking with her about going (and have offered her every reward incentive known to man), but she will not do it.

    I don’t want to “discipline” or “scold” or “shame” her. So, how do I make this work?


    • Anonymous says:

      Have you read “oh Cr*p potty training”? It has an entire chapter on poop. We dealt with poop drama for months and the thing that finally worked for us (other than chocolate after successes) was the “play doh” trick they mention in the book. If you google “oh Cr*p” plus playdoh I think there is a youtube video about it. The chapter has a whole bunch of other tips which unfortunately I can’t remember right now.

      How long has she been otherwise trained? Can you get rid of the diaper for naptime at least?

    • OK, I know this isn’t a funny time for you, but I’m legit LOLing at your first sentence. My 3.5-year-old goes through phases like this — will sh*t in the can for a few weeks, then go on a sh*tting strike and only go in her nighttime Pull-up. She does have some occasional issues with constipation, which make her hold onto things even longer … any chance that’s happening with your kid, too? If not, I would patiently back off and just let her do her thing. At some point she won’t like the sensation of having cr*p in her diaper/will get more comfortable with the idea of the stool.

    • Momata says:

      My older kid only p00ped in her diaper for months. Is she confined in a crib or in her room at naptime or at night? It took us giving our daughter enough freedom to go use the bathroom to actually go use it, if that makes sense. she still only p00ps when she lies down for a nap or at bdtime — like she finally stops running for long enough to realize she has to p00p. She still wears a pullup for sleeping but now she will go use the potty if she’s awake. TLDR: it may be situational.

  5. My daughter is two and she got Go Away Monsters for Christmas. It’s a nice easy game – everyone has a board with a unfinished bedroom, and you pick pieces (lamp, bed, etc) out of a bag along with monsters. If you get a monster you say “go away, monster” and have a designated place to put it. It sounds pretty lame but I was impressed that she “got” it at 2.

  6. talk to me about bikes says:

    My kids are a bit over two and very interested in other kids’ bikes and scooters. I’m thinking ahead to spring, and would love to get them the next step up from the little cars they sit on and push around with their feet (whcih they love). Do kids do tricycles anymore or just balance bikes? Should we do one of those first or a scooter?

    I’m thinking of introducing late spring, so they’ll be close to 2.5. Thoughts on what to do first and when?


    • Are big wheels still a thing? When I was three, we moved to a cul-de-sac and all the kids had big wheels. I had a tricycle and was so much slower. My parents were broke but one day my dad came home with a big wheel because it was too heartbreaking to watch me pedal my little heart out and still not be able to keep up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Balance bikes for sure at age 2.5-3 depending on the kid. We did Plasma bikes (different from plasma cars) from ages 2-3 and then balance bikes at age 3.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are in NYC, and most little kids here have scooters. We got my son a Micro Mini Kick at 2, and he could use it right away. He’s really not very coordinated but was very accomplished by 3. Learning to use the brake takes longer, so be careful on hills. I have a friend with a physically gifted 1.5 year old that cruises around on his. You can also get the version with a seat on it if you want, but we didn’t find it necessary. He’s 5.5 now and can still use it. I love them because they are really light and easy to carry around by hand or in your stroller. (We used the scooter for commuting to daycare and preschool, by subway and bus and on foot, to help kick the stroller habit. It was easy to leave the scooter at school during the day. My son walks soooooo slowly – scooter is a huge help). We never tried a balance bike, and my son is definitely not about to learn to ride his regular bike without training wheels. So if getting them on a two-wheeler early is important to you and you have the room to store it, you might try a balance bike. I see no real advantage to a tricycle. I did love my big wheel as a kid.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I’m in NYC as well and got my daughter a micro mini when she turned 2 (now 2.5). She’s very cautious, so she’s still not great with the scooter. She seems dramatically more coordinated now than she was 6 months ago, so I’m hopeful that we can start to have outings/school commutes with the scooter soon. She’s SUCH a slow walker! It took about 30 minutes to walk .5 mile today.

        • Anonymous says:

          My son is really cautious too. I may be mis-remembering when the scooter clicked, but i swear that 1 year old is real. Do you ever tow her on the scooter? We attached a little strap that made it easier. One time i let my son walk home from daycare when he was 1.5 – it took us a solid hour to walk the 0.5 miles (or less). I got so impatient I put him in the stroller for the last block. Even now, when we walk to kindergarten everyone passes us, sigh. I’ve introduced the concept of “power walking” with limited success.

    • We tried balance bikes, my neither of my kids seemed to get them. 3 year old likes our wheeled scooter the plasma car.

      • *three* wheeled scooter *and* plasma car.

        Wow, you can tell I got up early for a flight after a bad night of hotel sleep. That earlier comment made zero sense!

    • Plasma cars and balance bikes have been a big hit in our household. We have a Radio Flyer big wheel, but I wouldn’t recommend that particular model. Kids need crazy long legs to be in the right position to even pedal the thing. We got one as a gift, and my son wasn’t even able to use the dang thing until he was 4.

    • My parents got my son a balance bike for his 2nd birthday. Took until 2.5 to get it enough to not get frustrated fast, but now at nearly 3 he is IN LOVE WITH IT and rides it constantly, and is getting good at picking up his feet and gliding. It’s great because it’s a real bike like the big kids have. I think we’ll get him a scooter for his birthday. Note though that we live in a more spread out city than NYC and have a huge driveway to ride in.

    • Amelia Bedelia says:

      I bought scooters for my kids at 2.5 years old and 14 months. we only bought the 1 year one because she would need one eventually and they were no MAJOR sale. We bought the micro minis. they are awesome. I am not kidding when I told you the 1 year old learned it faster — and that encouraged the 2 year old to try harder! now they both scoot EVERYWHERE.

    • Anonynous says:

      We’re skipping the scooter because a physical therapist I work with suggests they create a lot of unbalanced kids who over rely on one leg/foot.

      So even though our two year old can’t ride a balance bike at all, that’s what she’s got!

    • Anonymous says:

      No experience with scooters or trikes, but my almost-two-year-old is totally obsessed with other people’s bikes and scooters, so he got a balance bike for Christmas when he was about 20 months old. He certainly doesn’t know how to glide on it, but he loves it. At this point, he likes to take it on walks — like holding the handlebars and walking next to it down the street — and just recently has started straddling it to walk the bike. Based on this, I don’t think 2 1/2 will be too young to start with a balance bike, and if they love bikes, they might just pick it up quickly!

  7. Board games says:

    My older daughter started with candy land at 2.5. It took her until almost 3 to really get it. By 3.5 she could do Chutes and Ladders, She’s not quite 4.5 now and a master of games: Chess, all kids of card games (old maid, go fish, Uno etc), tic tack toe, connect 4, Zingo, 20 questions, basically anything that doesn’t involve reading unless it’s super easy and she can do sight words).

    FWIW $12.99 for candyland is a crime. You often see it for $5.

    • anne-on says:

      Or you can ask another parent who is ready to toss the game out the window. We literally hid it in the attic and then donated it. Our favorite games now are Uno, Sorry, Ticket to ride first journey, and Labryinth.

    • KateMiddletown says:

      I will say we bought a $5 Candy Land from target and it’s garbage. The board is teeny and strange, not the same as the one above.

  8. I just had an unplanned c-section a few months ago. Take the stool softeners on a schedule like its your job!! I didn’t take narcotics (was offered them SO MANY times, but I know from other surgeries that I don’t like them), and found the pain manageable with Ibuprofen/Tylenol combo. I stopped taking even those after maybe 7-10 days though. Take all the mesh underwear from the hospital you can, or order some on Amazon. You can wash these. I wore them for the first 6 weeks. Buy a pair of larger pajama pants, if you don’t already have some. I borrowed a few from my husband. If you aren’t already a leggings person, order a pair of black ones! These were lifesavers for those first few times I had to leave the house and look moderately respectable. I wore them all the time at home — they helped me feel a little more put together. If you can have someone stay with you for the first three weeks (to let you sleep), DO IT. My MIL stayed with me when my husband went back to work after 2 weeks — so helpful to let me rest. This is surgery–you have to recover. Also, try to get up and get moving when you can, but rest a ton too. Good luck!

  9. I could use some school food help for my 1 year old. He is a good eater, but I basically send the same two varieties of food to school for him because that is what is easy. Here’s what he eats:

    breakfast: 1/2 a waffle and a banana
    lunch: mix vegetables (from frozen bag), sweet potato tots, some kind of meat
    snack: berries, cottage cheese

    He literally has this every day. AND, he’s one of those kids that only eats food at school – he is on strike for dinner, but his teachers say he eats everything I sent him. So unless we go out for dinner/on the weekends – these are all the foods I feed him, which I feel bad about. I think he needs more variety, right? Any suggestions on super easy alternatives for his meals?

    • I just posted earlier this week about my fears for lack of variety for my 19mo. First, I’m impressed your son eats all that, and that’s awesome! Have you tried something simple, like switching yogurt out for cottage cheese? Frozen mangoes for berries? Other frozen veggies? I send peas and green beans straight from the bag (separately, not together) – I don’t cook them.

      Sounds like you have better luck with whole foods than us, but here are some we’ve done – clementines/mandarin oranges, pear slices, veggie pouches, applesauce pouches, veggie cakes with quinoa from Costco, animal crackers, string cheese/other cheese, goldfish crackers, raisins.

      • I think maybe he just has not reached the picky phase yet. And he eats NONE of it at home. Like maybe a bite here or there and throws the rest of it on the ground.

        I wouldn’t believe daycare that he eats that much, if I hadn’t seen it happen occasionally, like at a restaurant. I wonder sometimes if he doesn’t like his high chair, but I have heard of other babies that don’t eat well at home so I am just running with it.

        I will go look for your post! Thank you!

    • Anonymous says:

      Here are my easy foods for my 11-month old

      Breakfast: Toast and PB (but is this a no-no for daycare?), eggs (You could make a quiche on Sunday), Oatmeal. Pediatrician recommended grating some walnut in it and adding a few blueberries to give it antioxidents/omega 3s
      Lunch: Homemade chicken soup without the broth. She loves the noodles/chicken/vegetables. Same with vegetable soup with added noodles. Lentil soup. Basically any strained soup. DD’s daycare provider (she cooks for the kids) gives her mashed chickpeas a lot.
      Snack: How about cut up clementines? My DD LOVES them. Small cheese cubes or yogurt could switch things up for him. I’m the worst at snack though – I usually throw her some puffs or crunchies and call it a day.

      • Thank you! I’ll give the soups a try – I love soup, so it will work for us too. I need to do eggs more too.

    • Breakfast: All varieties of baked oatmeal: Seriously, these are incredibly easy to throw together on Sunday or even a weeknight and have them for 6-7 breakfasts.
      Lunch: Tofu cubes (you can stir-fry them in soy sauce to give them a little more flavor); baked mac n cheese (; mini-quiches (like these:
      Snack: Steamed carrots & hummus; avocado

    • Not sure if you’re ok with some processed food, but my 14 MO loves the little spinach raviolis you get in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. He also refuses to let us feed him right now (so independent!), so it’s good finger food.

      He also likes quesadillas, so I microwave a whole wheat tortilla with some cheese and smush up some black beans in there too. Then let it cool off and cut into bite sized pieces.

    • Try different flavors on the vegetables. Mine won’t eat vegetables these days without soy sauce, but he’s been through phases of olive oil/garlic and red sauce too.

    • yogurt (I use plain yogurt and put some pureed fruit to add some flavor)
      other fruits – oranges, mangos, apples, pears – depends on how many teeth he has
      pasta – use rotini or shells, not the long strings. My son loved pesto at that age (and still does)
      my son loved peas at that age so he could work on his pincer grab. Of course he won’t eat them now…
      plain cheerios
      muffins – home made if you can. Store bought muffins are usually akin to cake

  10. clingy toddler says:

    15 month old wants to be held constantly. He wants to be held from the time I get home from work until he goes to bed. And by me, not by my husband. Of course, this isn’t possible, so we get horrible crying, just wretched sobs. If we are playing, he will drag toys over to sit on my lap and play with them. This is new for us – normally he’s happy to play with me near by or hang out watching me put dinner together, but doesn’t need to be in physical contact with me. Has anyone dealt with this? Solved it? The only plus is that my arms are getting mad strong.

    • This happened to me too and the advice I got on here was to baby-carry while making dinner. This has helped A TON. We are able to use our lillebaby as a backpack carry and it has made a huge difference. Someone here explained that it could be that he wants to be physically close to me after a day at daycare and that was definitely the case for us. I can’t always do this but when I can, it really works!

      • +1 to babywearing. I do this when my kids get super clingy (even with my 6 year old very occasionally).

      • Anonymous says:

        This is what solved it for us. I used to park kiddo on my back in the ergo with a sippy cup and he’d hang out while I made dinner. I still keep a tula toddler sized on the dining room chair for when my three year old needs occasional ‘ups’ – although they last usually like 15 minutes max because he’s always on the go.

        Something about the carrier seemed to relax him – it was like he didn’t have to worry about holding on or that I was going to put him down. Often less than a half hour of being on my back and he was ready to get down and play.

      • Momata says:

        I third this. This stage lasted for months with us. Babywearing was the only way through.

  11. Moms Solo says:

    I’m in the same boat with my 12.5 month old. I’ve been making stuff every other weekend or so and sending to day care. Lunch is always a meat, veggie, fruit and cheese. Snacks are usually some version of toddler muffin/cookie (sweetened with fruit only) and cheese or crackers and cheese/peanut butter.

    Dr. Prager’s spinach/kale/broccoli littles
    various frozen veggies
    chicken meatloaf
    egg/sweet potato or banana “pancakes” – sometime as sandwich with cream cheese and date paste
    toddler muffins, breads, cookies — (search for example, sweet potato banana bites, pumpkin breakfast cookies, strawberry mango and banana bread)
    peanut butter or cream cheese crackers
    cut up cheese with dates or some fruit
    quinoa cheesy veggie bites

  12. I need to vent here so I don’t vent my concern and worry all over a family member, but …

    My sister is pregnant with kiddo #3. This also is her 3rd pregnancy with hypermesis gravidarum. She’s 9 weeks along and is already on IV fluids at home because she can’t keep up nutritionally. She literally lost 10 pounds in less than two weeks. If her previous pregnancies are any indication, she will struggle to not lose weight her entire pregnancy. Frightening stuff. She has had health issues after her first two pregnancies, some of which are related to the hypermesis, and I am scared for her. The baby is OK so far, but at what point is her body just going to say, enough already? She quit her full-time nursing job this week because physically she cannot do it without further endangering her health.

    I don’t know how to best support her right now. I’ve offered to watch her kids (ages 2 and 4) so she can rest, and she brushes it off. Bringing food over is more for her family’s benefit than hers because her health issues require a very limited diet that I am not very equipped to accommodate without causing more harm than good. I’m there for her to vent and share her problems with, but there’s nothing I can actually help her *solve.*

    I would never, ever, ever say this to her, but I’m somewhat angry that she and her DH decided to try for a third knowing full well what it does to her health. She and her DH were on the verge of separation last summer partly because of the stress of dealing with her health issues and their son’s. I love her dearly, and she’s a great mom, but my gosh this seems reckless. We calculate risk very differently.

    • This is why I scream at my TV when I watch Steel Magnolias. YOU SHOULDNT HAVE GOTTEN PREGNANT, SHELBY.

    • You sound like a very good sister and I think your feelings are reasonable. You’re not there to solve anything. Repeat that to yourself. I say continue offering to bring food. Even if she can’t eat, dad can focus on kids rather than cooking so she can rest. Offering to watch the kids is great too. Since she’s brushing it off, maybe be more specific? “I’d like to take them to the park this week. What day is best?” Open ended offers still mean people have to ask and some people aren’t comfortable with that.

  13. Do you guys have recommendations for books on what to teach your young children at home? I have a 2 and 3 year old, and outside of potty training, I don’t know even the basic things I should be teaching them, like colors, etc, and when. Thank you!

    • avocado says:

      Talk to them about everything you are doing. Ask them questions–what color is the cup? Count with them–one, two, three, four, five apples go in the bag! Read with them and ask them questions about the pictures, letters, and words on the page.

      For life skills like drinking from a cup, putting on their own jackets, etc., you can take your cues from what they do at day care or preschool. My kid’s day care had them all washing their hands, throwing away their own trash, etc. much younger than I realized kids were capable of doing these things. In general, always be looking for small ways in which they are ready to be more independent and encourage them to do these things (clearing their own dishes, picking up toys, etc.). “Scaffold” more difficult skills by breaking them down into parts, doing them together, etc.

    • This is why I am SO glad my son is in daycare. He is constantly learning stuff there that I had no idea he was ready to learn and never would have thought to teach him. It takes the pressure off me so I can just talk about what color his bath toy is, telling him the names of the vegetables he is eating, and count as we go down the stairs. I agree with taking their cues. My son will often do something he learned at daycare (throw away trash, put on his shoes, etc.) so as he does them, we just incorporate them into our routine to practice.

    • LOFT maternity pants? says:

      Just talk to them, all the time, about everything. Count objects, stairs, etc. Sing songs. Read books; point out the letters. And then follow their interests –ours is obsessed with the alphabet right now, but had he not been, I’m not sure I’d be pushing it. He’s really interested in cars and not at all interested in drawing/writing, so… guess who knows every make/model.color of car but will not be writing his name at age 2 like his mom did? I pretty much figure for academic skills like writing, we can suggest from time to time, but if he’s not interested, he’ll learn at preschool or kindergarten. Other things we just discuss and then follow his interests. Daycare is also great for things like knowing when he’s ready to start taking off his own shoes, etc., but sometimes we just see if he’s interested in learning. I tend to have him start doing things as soon as he’s capable, so has been clearing his dishes since about 24 mo, etc — just trial and error.

    • My apologies for the very late reply – thank you everyone for your help!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m pretty empathetic to your sister here. I loved carrying my babies even though I had health challenges each time. I’m sad that the pregnancy phase of my life is over. DH and I went through a significant rough patch last year but we worked through it and our marriage is now better than it ever was, including pre-kids. You also don’t know if this was a planned pregnancy or not. It is planned in the sense that she is continuing it but no birth control is 100% and I know that unless my life was at risk, I would not chose to terminate a pregnancy that DH and I had conceived no matter how unplanned. I also would not likely tell anyone that it was ‘unplanned’ because it would be planned in the sense that I chose not to terminate and I would not want to risk a child overhearing something like that in the future.

    You can’t ‘solve’ anything. If you want to support, ask what she would like you to do. If you don’t want to do anything additional, that’s okay too. It doesn’t make you a bad person. And I can see turning down babysitting offers as sometimes my kids do best when we stick to routine as much as possible and special days out can lead to tough behavior for days afterwards. Don’t take it personally if she doesn’t accept offers of help.

  15. LOFT maternity pants? says:

    Any recent experience with LOFT maternity pants? I had a pair my last pregnancy that had such a tight panel that they were unbearable, but I’d love to get some maternity skinny pants and usually wear LOFT skinny ankle pants. Are the panels still so tight? (That said, they have like three pair of pants in my size currently, none of which are the skinny ankle pants, so … we’ll see if they’re just end of season low stock or what.)

    • I basically lived in LOFT maternity pants, both cropped (side panels) and trousers (full panel). This was from 2016 though.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t blame you for being angry. I’d probably feel the same way. Maybe #3 was an accident? Anyway, since she is pregnant, it sounds like you are doing all the right things by being someone she can vent to. As mentioned above, maybe be more specific about the plans with the kids so she can rest. And keep bringing food. I hope she makes it through the pregnancy healthy

    • Wearing Loft maternity pants right now! I’ve been living in their Seamed Ponte Leggings, which are much much thicker that they are like a pants as opposed to leggings and are so comfortable. I have two pairs! I also have a pair of maternity jeans from Loft, which I don’t love but mostly because I really should’ve bought a smaller size, but they didn’t have it so I kept them anyway figuring I’d grow into them.

    • KateMiddletown says:

      Thank you for reminding me that Loft has maternity! J Crew doesn’t any more and I’m stalking Poshmark and Ebay for old ones.

    • I had one pair of trousers in 2015 with a tightish panel. I’ve gotten three pairs since November (I’m now 22 weeks with twins) and I would say the panels are still snugger than other brands, but better than the 2015. I don’t normally wear skinny pants but I got a maternity pair and would recommend sizing up – the panel is fine but the legs drive me crazy.

      • LOFT maternity pants? says:

        Very helpful, thanks! My previous ones were 2014. The size selection is currently so limited that I’m wondering if they’re even going to keep selling them — but maybe it’s just a seasonal thing? In any case I will have to wait and see if they restock – doesn’t help my immediate situation!

    • AwayEmily says:

      I had a pair of LOF maternity pants that were my absolute favorite and lasted me two pregnancies (also purchased in 2016).

  16. Toddler Game says:

    The BEST toddler game by far (and I mean for little ones — 18 months or so) is “Roll and Play.” It’s a big stuffed die (maybe 6 inches a side) and six sets of cards. You roll a color on the die and pick a matching color card. There’s an action on the card (“find something blue,” “moo like a cow,” “do a silly dance,”). No scoring, no winning, just slightly organized play time.

    Considering making my own expansion pack cards for it.

  17. Anonanonanon says:

    Can’t nest comments from phone but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the csection tips. They were all very helpful and I’m feeling a bit better

  18. @ Ella says:

    I started working with my kids on manners at like…15 months. Please, thank you, No thank you, etc. started teaching shapes and the letters of their names during coloring time; your kids will learn this in school but my older one could write her first name alone when she started pre school 3s, and she was the only one. shes 4 now and desperately wants to read (like, gets emotional about how she can’t read words) so we’re working on really basic sight words so she can have small wins (she can read/write everyone’s name in our family and maybe 10 other words now).
    My younger kid (19 months) is being “taught” an insane amount of stuff by my older one. she knows *so many* words/shapes/colors and it’s all thanks to big sister. I just sit and observe their brains at work.

    Both of mine are fiercely independent and my younger one can put on her own shoes and unzip/take off/put away her own coat which she has not gotten from daycare (yet). To be fair, I buy outerwear that’s super easy for kids because o don’t have time to dress an entire family every day. Younger one wants to do everything “my own self” so sometimes getting dressed takes 500 years and her pants are backwards and her clothes don’t match.

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