Everyone Thursday: Classic Dress Shrug

A lot of Corporette readers are really excited about this shrug as an affordable option to the MM.LaFleur jardigan. I like that it’s machine wash cold and comes in a zillion colors, and I think it’s worth noting that a dress shrug like this can look great when you’re pregnant and wearing a maxi dress. This is $60 at Talbots, in XS-XL — and the matching ponte dress pictured is cute if you like the monotone look. Classic Dress Shrug

It also comes in plus sizes in 10 colors!

This post contains affiliate links and CorporetteMoms may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!


  1. Clementine says:

    Hi everybody!! For a couple years, I was a pretty regular poster, then I decided to take a sabbatical from thissite to make sure I was focusing fully on work while I was at work.

    Well, now my workload has eased a bit and I’m back! What did I miss? As an update- Baby Clem is now 1 1/2 and the light of my life and my husband and I have actually started the process of being certified as foster parents.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      That is amazing! I was actually wondering what had happened to you.

      As far as updates – kids don’t sleep, potty training is gross and angst-producing, kids are picky eaters, and being a working parent is stressful but rewarding. Navigating marriage while being a working parent of a small child is complicated. Pick a daycare close to home instead of close to work. Sometimes just staying at work on a tough day is enough “leaning in.” There are no great options for nursing or pumping friendly dresses yet.

      That’s what I remember at least….

      • avocado says:

        And everyone needs ideas for getting dinner on the table as quickly as possible.

      • EB0220 says:

        Haha, this update is amazing!

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I’m thinking of writing a book titled, “The Life Changing Magic of Applying WD-40 To Your Door Hinges, and other practical parenting advice.” It would be all bullet points, because who has time for prose? Also, handy pictures of rashes.

          • LegalMomma says:

            I would totally buy that book.

          • I vaguely remember reading about an app that helps you identify your (or your kid’s) rash a few days ago. So, someone may have already beat you to that part of the book.

          • anne-on says:

            I would have totally both bought that book, and given it to all potential parents I knew. 90% of the stuff I used my ‘baby 411’ book for was to ID weird rashes/warts/spots on my small child. Also, small children are pretty gross.

          • Is there a book/product around creaky floors that always seem to wake up the baby ? I

          • Maddie Ross says:

            Um, but sometimes you apply too much and then the door won’t stay open anymore and you have to prop it open with a purse. Ask me how I know.

          • Anonymous says:

            Graphite is better for door hinges than WD 40 (but can’t remove chewing gum, so…whatever).

          • Spirograph says:

            WD40 also removes crayon from painted walls!
            (I’m way late to this party today)

      • Anon in NYC says:

        lol. yes.

      • Clementine says:

        HAHAH! I love every single part of this.

        What I would have responded to every one: ‘Be forgiving to yourself! You’re doing great.’

        ‘Have you tried a wrap dress or faux wrap with a demi-cami underneath? That’s the closest thing to a nursing friendly dress I’ve found.’

        ‘Don’t worry, there are very few 20 year olds who are still using a pacifier/drinking from a bottle/refusing to eat anything brown/in diapers/not sleeping through the night/screaming like they’re being attacked by a killer clown every time you leave the room. It will come with time.’

        Stir fries. Make your own burrito/buddha bowls with frozen veg you can nuke. Breakfast for dinner.

      • ElisaR says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head NewMomAnon!

      • Mrs. Jones says:

        Well said, NewMomAnon!

    • JayJay says:

      Welcome back! I’m so happy for you.

    • Also

      Husbands are useless and/or amazing; outsource everything you can; quit pumping whenever you want (no judgment!); and – often – the only way out is through (credit to Senior Attorney)

  2. EB0220 says:

    Does anyone actually own this? I like it but seems like it could be a bit short (I’m 5’9″). And the colors seem a little pastel for me. Real life reviews?

  3. avocado says:

    I would not use this sweater as a direct substitute for the jardigan. The jardigan is made of a heavy synthetic knit and is as structured as a “sweater” could possibly get. I wear my jardigan with sheath dresses as a substitute for a jacket in all sorts of (non-courtroom) settings, but would never wear it in a non-business setting. This sweater is lighter and less structured, and is suitable for social settings such as church, the country club, brunch, etc. It would probably work on the more casual end of business casual. Notably, it is pictured mostly with print dresses.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I agree. I personally wouldn’t wear a shrug in a business setting.

    • ElisaR says:

      I agree – the “real” jardigan is pretty amazing but this could work for Fridays.

      It pains me to shop at Talbots because I picture lamb sweaters that my mom had from there in the 80’s. But I’m turning 40 this year and I find more more cute stuff that happens to be from Talbots…..

      • Mrs. Jones says:

        “Lamb sweaters” just made me spit my tea out. My mom was a teacher so she had lamb sweaters too, along with sweaters for EVERY HOLIDAY.

      • Frozen Peach says:

        I’m almost a decade younger and almost all of my favorite dresses are from Talbots’!

        • JuniorMinion says:

          I love Talbots. I also like the shrug idea over a dress vs. a traditional cardigan which I think sometimes looks a bit too much material and breaks the line of the dress. Granted I am in Texas but this outfit would qualify as relatively fancy business casual here.

    • I also think a nice ponte blazer is just as comfy and more formal looking than the jardigan.

      I also don’t personally find blazers all THAT constricting that I can’t stand to wear them 2-3 times a week.

  4. Bedbugs? says:

    My mother in law’s supposed to fly in for a week long visit next week – we have two toddlers and we all adore her.
    But, it was discovered on Sunday that their house has bedbugs. They had an exterminator over on Monday, and he said from the looks of it the bedbugs were confined to just two rooms – den and guestroom. I imagine he sprayed/applied his extermination processes throughout the house.
    My question is whether the visit should be delayed. I suggested pushing it off for a few weeks – her birthday’s actually the end of the month – but my husband said she sounded really down when he suggested it to her…she said the tix are nonrefundable, and my impression is that they don’t want to shell out for another ticket, which is understandable. My husband said they asked they exterminator about traveling, and he said they should be fine.
    I feel so bad about this. She’s an awesome grandma (and mother in law) and I know she’s been really looking forward to this, as have all of us. At the same time – bedbugs would be terrible. My husband and I both work outside of the house in somewhat demanding jobs, and with two such small kids we have so little time/energy to spare.
    Anyone here experience bedbugs? What would you do?

    • layered bob says:

      I… would say, no, absolutely not. Bedbugs are terrifying. Horrible. Minimize risk at all costs. Can you pay for the tickets?

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t really understand the widespread bed bug paranoia. Unlike fleas, ticks, roaches and lots of other creepy crawly things, they don’t spread disease, and they’re not that hard to get rid of.

        • They can be hard to get rid of in an apartment building when the landlord isn’t helpful, neighbors are not cooperating, and you can’t just encase and heat treat the whole building. But I think a lot of the horror stories are several years old, before exterminators really knew how to deal with bedbugs in the US. They had largely been eliminated by DDT before it was banned. The bites can be miserable if you react to them, but I agree that they are not dangerous.

        • anon for this says:

          Omg we have fleas, and they are IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of! We treat our cat (who is indoor only) on a precise schedule, and we have tried everything–sprays and bombs, spraying the yard, daily vacuuming of upholstery and rugs, laundering everything (and removing any extra blankets or fabric items), and they just keep. coming. back. It’s a widespread problem in our area, so I don’t think it’s just that we’re gross.

          • empresaria says:

            Try Diatomaceous earth. My father in law swears by it and it got rid of a really (really) bad flea infestation at my sister in law’s – and she has like six pets.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I haven’t, but I freaked out about bedbugs after staying in a hotel and realizing that my room had been infested (the hotel had done a great job with the clean up, I saw no evidence of bedbugs other than the mattress protectors and didn’t have any issues).

      My research that night actually calmed me down; a good extermination effort is very effective, there are a lot of things you can do to contain and protect, and you’ve probably had closer contact with bedbugs than you realize already. You could buy a mattress protector as a prophylactic, either to use while she is visiting or to encase the mattress after she leaves. You could also buy a suitcase porter (one of those folding stands) to keep her suitcase off the floor. Wash the linens after she leaves, and the curtains in her bedroom if you’re feeling nervous.

      I wouldn’t cancel.

    • Postpone! So not worth it. Tickets are way cheaper than dealing with bedbugs.

    • Anonymous says:

      We’ve had bedbugs and my parents made us cancel a planned trip to their house. Our exterminator told us my parents were being crazy paranoid. They live in the bedding and bed frames and come out when people are sleeping to feed on them, and then retreat back into hiding. They don’t just ride around on people the way fleas do on dogs. The only thing that might be a concern is if she picked them up while traveling very recently, there may be larvae in her luggage. If it were me, I’d allow her to come but ask her to use luggage she hasn’t used recently and/or ask her to bring her stuff in a soft side duffel bag that can be thrown into the dryer when she arrives (heat kills them). If you’re really paranoid, you could put all her clothes in the dryer as soon as she arrives and ask her to shower before she starts hanging out in your house. I think that’s really excessive, but less excessive than asking someone to eat the cost of a nonrefundable plane ticket.

      Also, fwiw, we had a heat treatment to kill the bed bugs in our house and aside from the cost ($1000) it was pretty much no big deal – we didn’t have to wash or bag our stuff. Obviously you don’t want to incur that cost, but just saying that in the unlikely event you do get them, you can throw money at the problem and don’t have to spend any time or energy on it.

      • +1, or unpack the clothes and bring them in but leave the physical luggage outside (garage or something). If you’re super paranoid you can wash the clothes she brings in hot water. The bugs definitely won’t be living ON her.

        I travelled back home from a friends’ apartment where they had fleas and I did this because I was so scared of bringing them into the house (unpacked stuff, straight into hot wash, left luggage outside).

        But I get where you’re coming from. Bedbugs are terrifying.

        • I totally get the bedbug paranoia…my teddy bear lived in a plastic box for months after a neighboring room had an infestation.

          Den and guestroom sounds like a fairly minor infestation – maybe make sure her suitcases haven’t been stored there (ours are stored under the guestroom bed) and if so, have her get a cheap-y duffle and pack it just before she goes.

      • +1 to duffle bag and heat treating everything on arrival for peace of mind. We have had bedbugs in our apartment 1.5 times (1 time definitely, 1 time not 100% confirmed but we treated the place anyway), and encountered them in a hotel while traveling. My husband is highly allergic to their bites; I don’t react to bites AT ALL, which is fairly common. We did not bring them home from the hotel. We took all our clothes to a laundromat, ran them through the dryer, and sprayed down the luggage that could not go in the dryer with rubbing alcohol. They really aren’t that hard to kill in clothing – 20 minutes on high in the dryer is fine. You don’t need to wash things first; if you do, make sure they are bone dry and then heat treat for 20 more minutes. Bedbugger.com has good info.

        I get why people are afraid of bedbugs, but you can definitely safely host your MIL, and it would be a real kindness to her. The problems come when people in apartment buildings or hotels DON’T know they have them. As I said, some people do not react at all to the bites, and they are tiny and only come out at night, so easy to never see them. Exterminators are also getting better at dealing with them now that they are more common again.

        • avocado says:

          I have always wondered–if you put clothes in the dryer on high when they aren’t wet to kill bedbugs or lice, will they shrink? We have never had to do this, but I’m afraid that if we do it will ruin all my clothes that have to be dried on low or air-dried.

          • Clementine says:

            It can, it depends on the fabric. A few ideas:

            1. You can also put them in a freezer. I hear deep freezers work nicely for this.
            2. You can also seal them in a plastic bag or tote for a while. That will kill them too.
            3. If you do shrink stuff, believe it or not if you soak them in lukewarm water with a bit of hair conditioner and then physically stretch them, you can un-shrink most items.

          • I didn’t notice any significant shrinkage with clothes that were dry when they went in. I heat treated my sweaters and they were fine. My yarn emerged as one giant tangled ball. But everything else survived okay.

            When we were dealing with bedbugs (4 years ago), data on how long you need to freeze things was not really conclusive, and heat treating seemed much faster/easier. Ditto for encasement – the eggs can live a long time I think. Basically I just felt it was worth the risk to heat treat; my clothes are generally not very valuable. Dry cleaning is also an option if the dry cleaner is prepared. But check begbugger.com for the latest recommendations, there may be much better info about freezing now.

          • Anonymous says:

            After getting bed bugs at a hotel, we now immediately put all our clothes in the dryer whenever we return home from a trip (and we travel a fair amount, about once a month on average). I’ve never noticed any shrinking but most of my clothes are machine-washable. In general though I think drying dry clothes is much easier on them than drying them when wet.

            Bed bugs and their eggs can live without food a very long time (more than six months I think) so encasing your clothes in plastic bags is not practical unless you plan to leave them there for a very long time. Our exterminator told me freezing is not effective for the same reason. Basically, a normal freezer is not cold enough to kill them. It will stop reproduction, but unless you freeze them for six months or however long it takes them to die from starvation, then when they are thawed out they will be fine and can start reproducing at that time. There is a temperature at which they die from the cold, but it’s hard to get a freezer that cold under normal conditions, whereas they die from heat at a temperature of about 115 degrees, which a dryer reaches in minutes and a hot car in the sun can easily reach in an hour or two.

          • I would absolutely notice and yes it does shrink clothes. I am almost 5’10” and fairly slender. About half of my clothes I never put in the dryer. I wash all my clothes on cold. I loaned my maternity clothes to two friends who are each 5’2″ and asked them please not to put them in the dryer. When I got them back and started my second pregnancy, I put them on and immediately knew they had ignored me. All of my sleeves were too short. I am never loaning out my clothes again.

            Tl;dr: if your MIL is tall, definitely warn her in advance if you want to put all of her clothes in the dryer so that she knows to only pack ratty t shirts etc :)

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          I agree with a lot of the advice here. I would greet MIL outside, take luggage straight to the laundry room and throw everything into the dryer, then spray down suitcase with rubbing alcohol. I think that’s a good compromise. (Also that’s my policy with thrift store purchases; into the dryer or rubbing alcohol!)

          I’d get one of those zip-around bug-proof protectors for all the beds, because why not?

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      No need to postpone.

    • Bedbugs? says:

      This is all so helpful. Thank you so much, all!

      • Anonymous says:

        Might be purely psychological but I would buy a mattress protector for the guest bed and toss it when she leaves. Wouldn’t even bother telling DH about it. Second the advice to have her suitcase unpacked in the garage just to be on the safe side. Provide a nice tote or basket for her to bring her things upstairs in.

        • If you are going to buy a mattress protector, I would either leave it on permanently after she leaves, or wait and put one on the mattress after she leaves and leave it on there. You can do this and keep your mattress if you have bedbugs. We did it after the mattress was treated by the exterminator, and it worked fine. When our mattress cover got a rip in it we just put another one on top of it. Contain, contain! I now put mattress covers on mattresses whenever they come into our house; it’s easier to remove bedbugs from the cover than from a mattress if you get an infestation.

          • In House Lobbyist says:

            Yes- we have a vacation rental home and the first thing I did was put the mattress and box spring protectors on that fully zip up. You can buy them on Amazon for about $30 each and I liked them so much I ordered them for my house as well.

    • Can you ask her to stay in a hotel and offer to pay for it? That would minimize how much of her stuff (suitcase, linens, etc.) was in your house. And it would be cheaper than buying new flights.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, I think it’s fine to host her but if it really freaks you out, put her up in a hotel. There’s no way you’ll get bed bugs from having her visit your home for a couple of hours in the middle of the day.

  5. How long do hormone issues last after weaning? I exclusively BF for a year and had a significant upswing in migraines when my son dropped a feed around 7 months, which my doctor attributed to the hormone shift from dropping a feed, particularly since this is also when my period returned. I was anticipating more issues when I weaned him at one year, but I actually had zero problems. It has been 5 weeks since I weaned him and I have had 3 very severe migraines this week. I have never had more than one migraine in a week in the 26 years since I’ve had them, so this is really concerning to me (as an aside, I had an MRI of my brain at the beginning of the year, so I’m not particularly concerned that it is a brain tumor). Is it possible that I am just now getting hit with the hormone shift from weaning?

    • ElisaR says:

      I’m guessing its hormones – it seems like too much of coincidence in terms of timing. I think the hormone changes go on for months. I didn’t experience noticeable hormone issues post-weaning but 6 months after the fact I did notice some new spots on my body. My derm attributed to hormones and it took a long time for them to surface…..not the same issue but I think 5 weeks is not very long for hormones to still be evening out.

    • EB0220 says:

      Mine didn’t level out for 6 months. It was incredibly annoying.

      • Frozen Peach says:

        Same. I weaned at the beginning of the year and I’m still experiencing periodic waves of fallout.

        • Marilla says:

          Yep, weaned about 4 months ago and still going through peri0d crazytown. Like two periods in a month, one of which lasted a solid two weeks and was super heavy.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My period is still evolving 2 years after weaning; they say that it can take 3 years postpartum for everything to completely stabilize.

      If you just weaned, did kiddo’s sleep habits change a bit? Sleep deprivation is often a cause of migraines, I think.

      Also – kids are a cause of migraines. I had two migraines in my entire life before having a kid; both were after changing birth control pills. After having a kid, I feel like I’m on the verge of a migraine at least a couple times a month. Stress, sleep deprivation, SO MUCH NOISE, irregular exercise and nutrition….

    • anne-on says:

      It could totally be the hormone shift. I’ve had hormonal migraines my whole life (aside from pregnancy/nursing) and they got SO MUCH WORSE after having a child. Not sure if that’s because my hormones shifted/age/lack of sleep/whatever, but it was definitely more common and intense for me to get them really badly once a month right before my period (for like 3-5 days in a row, fun!).
      I do not react well to hormonal BC, or to most common migraine meds, so I finally got botox for them 2 months ago. Highly recommend, along with drinking tons of water in the time I know I’m likely to get them. Dehyrdration/sleep loss are big triggers for me.

    • Thanks everyone! Lest anyone think I’m using the interwebs in lieu of medical advice, I have a follow up appointment with my doctor tomorrow. I thought I would see if anyone had experience with this before I went in and proposed hormones as a possible cause.

      • Anonymous says:

        Try increasing your water intake as well. I was very conscious of drinking enough when nursing but didn’t do it enough after I weaned. Being a bit dehydrated is a migraine trigger for me.

      • Hugs. I get hormonal migraines too as I’ve mentioned. It is a special kind of torture.

        I will just plug the mini pill (progesterone only) one more time. It worked amazingly for me in leveling the hormones (there are no placebo pills) and controlling migraines pre-preg. I would absolutely suggest to the doctor that you think hormones might be causing your migraines and see what they think.

        • Really?? I went on it when baby was 8 weeks but I could not for the life of me take it at the same time everyday (or like even within 12 hours of the same time). Now that I am back at work and in a good routine I could probably swing it though. I will ask my doctor about it tomorrow!

          • Yep! I think the timing is probably very important. I did take it at the same time every day and never experienced breakthrough bleeding or a period of any kind for over a year (went off it to get pregnant).

  6. This isn’t imminent, but we’re likely to start trying for #2 later this year. I had Baby HSAL at 34 and I’ll be 36 when we start trying again. Is there any difference in prenatal appointments for “geriatric” pregnancies? (ohmygod that’s the worst). Frequency, testing, etc? #1 was pretty standard. Monthly from 8 weeks to 24 or so, then biweekly until 36 weeks, then weekly. We were offered but declined genetic testing at the initial appointment, had the 18 week ultrasound, and then one more peek at 38 weeks to check positioning.

    • Hello, I was a geriatric pregnant person. Fortunately it seems like people are moving to “AMA” as the term (Advanced Maternal Age) but I still really enjoyed complaining about being geriatric.

      I saw no difference in appointments from a friend who, a few years younger at 33, is not geriatric. One benefit was that our genetic testing (the blood test) was completely covered by my insurance. My insurance was also going to cover frequent monitoring starting in week 38 – which was optional, but as it was covered and I am an insane worrywart and it was my first pregnancy, I took them up on it. Then I had baby lsw 9 days early so I didn’t get too far into the monitoring.

      I had several early ultrasounds due to bleeding and an ECV due to the little bugger hanging around head up, but otherwise sounds like my appointments were very similar to yours.

      Good luck! (I was 35 when we conceived, 36 when I delivered)

    • ElisaR says:

      I’d say there is very little difference other than the fact that you do get those genetic tests covered. I was 38 and all the medical professionals I saw totally glossed over age and gave me the impression that my age was really not a factor or concern at all.

    • Biggest difference was that insurance automatically covered the cell free DNA testing so I knew gender for sure much earlier and had more specific info about genetic risks. Other difference wasn’t until the end when there are decisions about how soon to start non stress tests but not sure how much of that was age and how much was me attempting a VBAC.

    • trying for second! says:

      No knowledge on this since my first was at 33, but will also be “geriatric” when trying for #2. Gotta love that term….

    • I had mine at 34 and 36. I skipped genetic testing both times, so the appt schedule and routines were exactly the same for both my geriatric and regular appt. (My dr office called it AMA, so imagine my surprise when the bill came that called it “geriatric pregnancy”. I thought they had gotten my records mixed up with someone else! The medical industry is so misogynistic.)

    • Work travel? says:

      I would say it might depend on your region. Just had my 3rd kid at 39 in a smaller city in a part of the country where teenage pregnancies are MUCH more common than geriatric pregnancies and I had to go in for weekly monitoring/nonstress tests on top of my weekly appointments the last month. And I wouldn’t have been allowed to go >1 week past due even though I had had 2 easy v deliveries before and this pregnancy was uneventful and low risk other than my age. I really think given my risk level I would have been just another easy patient in a big coastal city but here I was just seen and treated w extra special care (that annoyed me). Also, when you are old enough to have been a young mom of the junior residents who do rounds in the middle of the night…it’s an interesting feeling!

    • Just curious (and suppose I could google/ask my OB) – is the geriatric thing because your eggs were ancient when you conceived and thus you’re more likely to have genetic issues, or because you are such a fragile old person your body won’t be able to handle pregnancy?

      • (being super facetious obviously)

      • Ha – hadn’t thought about it, but now I’m curious. I’ll be geriatric, too, if we decide to go for a third.

      • Thisperson1 says:

        LOL. Pretty sure I was considered a geriatric pregnancy because I was pregnant… and had a 22 yo and an 18 yo already. Drs decided I was just plain tired.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      I had one at 32 and my second at 36. Both were with the same doctor. I did do the quad screen with the first and the harmony NPT with the second, but both times they were optional with my doc. The only reason for the difference in testing actually was just that the harmony was just in its infant stages when I had my first, but has become more prevalent now. My doctor specifically said that I would not be treated any differently the second time since my first was smooth. I’d say chances are good that if you are at the same practice you may have the same experience. I did not have to do any extra testing or NSTs or anything.

    • I was 37 when my youngest was born, and there was no difference in frequency or type of appointments. I did not do any genetic screenings.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the definition of “geriatric” varies based on where you live…I became pregnant at 33 and delivered at 34, and I was considered geriatric by my OB. :/ I live in a red state where many people have had a first baby by 25, fwiw.

      • Oh, that’s interesting. I’m in a blue city in a red state but I thought 35 was kind of “the standard.” Man, I’d have found a new OB!

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I live in a blue city in a blue state, and a pregnancy is considered “advanced maternal age” if mom will be at least 34 years old when baby is born.

    • Katarina says:

      I was 33 when I had my first and 36 when I had my second (but 35 for most of the pregnancy). My OB did not do anything different, although my record did list “geriatric pregnancy” as the diagnosis. I actually had a lot more monitoring with my first pregnancy, because I had some blood pressure issues (oddly my blood pressure was fine for all of my second pregnancy). I am in a red state, but a major metropolitan area. I did not do genetic testing either time.

    • Geriatric pregnancy is conception over age 40. Advanced Maternal Age is conception over 35. I was over 35 at delivery for my first and over 35 for conception of my second. When you are AMA insurance will cover genetic testing, so you can find out the sex and presence of genetic disorders at 10 weeks. You can also qualify for monitoring by Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists.

      I got both with my second pregnancy and was very happy. I loved knowing so soon that I was going to have a healthy boy and was happy to have the extra monitoring and sonograms. My second pregnancy went much more smoothly than my first, BTW. With my first I had gestational hypertension and got induced at 39 weeks. With my second I didn’t get the hypertension, gained less weight, went into natural labor at 41 weeks and had a baby over 3 pounds bigger.

  7. Anon this time says:

    Hi all, a few months ago, I asked for some advice on gaining some perspective regarding my emotional reactions when I see kids with special needs, especially one little boy the same age as my son at our church who has severe cerebral palsy with intellectual delays as well. This community gave such great advice including reaching out to the mom. Well I did just that while sharing space in the cry room at church and we are now facebook friends. She reached out to me recently about setting up a playdate.
    I’m all about this and want to instill compassion and the importance of inclusion to my children. So now I’m looking to see if anyone has any advice regarding playdates with a special needs child and a neuro-typical one like my son?

    This little boy is non-verbal and is beginning to use a walker. My son is 25 months, very talkative and is one busy guy. I just really want this to be successful and want to avoid any mistakes I could make. I am also afraid my son might not react well to a possible new friend who is different from him.

    Also, one of you recommend Erin Raffety’s blog and she is amazing, thank you for that.

    • mascot says:

      Can you ask the mom what works best for her and follow her lead for location, time, activity, etc? I find that simple answers work pretty well for questions. We say things like people’s bodies all work differently and sometimes people use extra tools for their bodies (glasses, wheelchairs, walkers, whatever). Then help him find similar ground like some things that he and his friend both like – bubbles, graham crackers, dogs being funny.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Second the advice to ask the other mom about the types of activities/location/time that would work. Also, if you do screen time, there are a few Daniel Tiger episodes with Prince Wednesday’s cousin (Chrissie) who has leg braces and uses crutches, which could prompt conversation about the walker.

        As far as your son reacting poorly, I think the mom will probably get it and not blame you / you shouldn’t feel embarrassed at your son’s reaction. He’s a toddler and doesn’t have impulse control. At 22 months my daughter notices when people are obviously different or out of the norm (thinking of the drunk angry man on the subway) but she still looks to me for answers or an explanation of what’s happening. So I think something like what mascot suggests is a good way to explain it.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Yes, I was going to recommend those Tiger episodes too! (They’re on Amazon Prime.)

        Not exactly on point but I get so much out of Daniel Tiger in terms of giving me phrases to use with my kid; and it helps that she already knows them in singalong form.

        • EB0220 says:

          My 2.5 year old can often be heard telling her older sister: “Stomp three times to help yourself feel better.”

          • G*d, I wish my toddler would take an interest in Daniel Tiger. But every time he sees a screen, he just screams “Elmo Elmo Elmo.”

  8. I’m soooooo over pumping! I had to go from SF to Sacramento for work yesterday. Today I have to go attend a complicated project I helped put together at a different campus. Schlepping my pump around and always watching the clock for best opportunities is wearing me off. My baby is 8 months old, breastfeeding itself is going great and I’d like to keep going until a year. I know I can do this, plus I have a 3-week vacation coming up so no pumping there! I just needed to let this out, commiseration or encouragements are appreciated.

    • Anonymous says:

      So hard! How often are you pumping? You can definitely drop to twice or even once a day when baby is that old. Much easier to pump only once a day vs. three times since you have to eat lunch anyway. It’s great and really valuable that you have been working hard to make this work (go you!) but also okay if you need to stop. Happy mommy = happy baby.

    • Work travel? says:

      Are you me?!

      This is going to sound crazy but…have you tried a manual pump? I have a medela harmony (I think, it’s about $25 and basically just a 5-oz bottle w a little pump thing and a flange). It weighs almost nothing and the whole thing plus 2 extra bottles, ice pack, wipes, and a nursing cover fit into a skip hop bottle bag. I’m able to pump 3-4 oz from one side in about 15 mins and still read something on my computer. Just throwing that out there in case you have another quick but annoying trip or just traveling between campuses and don’t want to schlep the bigger pump. Or if you decide to stop pumping but still feel uncomfortable.

      And for sure go down to 2 or even 1 sessions per day. You are awesome and you can absolutely make it to a year of that is your goal! I’ve done this twice before and by about 9-10 months I was barely pumping but kept nursing for 2 years, so it can be done!

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Tell yourself you’ll keep going until the vacation so you can just BF on that, and then reevaluate. I stopped pumping at 8 months, but kept nursing morning and night until 14 months. Maybe after the vacation would be a good moment to cut back?

    • Lilliet says:

      I’m there with you, except that my kiddo is 4 months old and I’m having to schlep around a medical grade pump. I test drove a smaller pump but it was ineffective at best and would kill my supply too early. I’m over here giving you the District 12 three finger salute.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you’re renting a medical grade pump, you might want to think about renting a second pump to leave at the office. It was worth the money to me because it was less hassle in the morning.

  9. On Turning 29 says:

    (This will totally out me but oh well.) I’m turning 29 in 3 weeks. I had my only daughter when I was 25. I live with my incredible partner who has a 5-year-old son. I thought I was going to have 3 kids and be done having kids by the time I turned 30 (the plan was: 3 kids, birthed when I’m 25, 27, and 29). However, I got divorced at 27 and partner and I can’t afford more kids for at least 5 years (at which time, we will consider more kids).

    I LOVE my post-divorce family (and I’m so relieved to be divorced from my ex) but I’m having a hard time letting go of the idea that I would have had 3 babies by the time I turned 30. I know it’s silly and I know there’s nothing I can do about it. Any advice?

    • ElisaR says:

      I thought I’d be married by 30. I wasn’t. Not even close. It’s ok, things don’t always happen the way we plan but the result can be so much better than we planned. You have plenty of time to get to 3 kids – don’t mourn over a plan just be excited over what you’re building!

    • Anonymous says:

      When I was a kid I thought you get married and then have the number of kids you want. As an adult, I learned that is not how it works for most people. You do not have much control of how or when pregnancies and healthy births happen. Accepting that the path we plan in life is rarely the path we end up on may bring you some peace. That’s not to minimize the sadness you may currently feel but just to point out that your original expectations were not at all realistic. By way of example, my sister, my cousins, and myself all married within 2 years of each other and all wanted two kids. Our journeys have been varied:

      Me: tried three times total, two pregnancies = three kids
      My sister: four pregnancies = 2 miscarriages, 1 stillbirth, 1 kid
      cousin 1: tried 3 years before baby #1, accidentally pregnant with baby #2 within 2 months of first child’s birth
      cousin 2 (sister of cousin 1): trying for 5 years including IVF without success.

      Forest Gump wasn’t wrong when he said that life was like a box of chocolates because you never know what you will get.

    • Anonymous says:

      When I was a kid I thought you get married and then have the number of kids you want. As an adult, I learned that is not how it works for most people. You do not have much control of how or when pregnancies and healthy births happen. Accepting that the path we plan in life is rarely the path we end up on may bring you some peace. That’s not to minimize the sadness you may currently feel but just to point out that your original expectations were not at all realistic. By way of example, my sister, my cousins, and myself all married within 2 years of each other and all wanted two kids. Our journeys have been varied:

      Me: tried three cycles total, two pregnancies = three kids
      My sister: four pregnancies = 2 miscarriages, 1 stillbirth, 1 kid
      cousin 1: tried 3 years before baby #1, accidentally pregnant with baby #2 within 2 months of first child’s birth
      cousin 2 (sister of cousin 1): trying for 5 years including IVF without success.

      Forest Gump wasn’t wrong when he said that life was like a box of chocolates because you never know what you will get.

  10. Okay, to add to the chronic topics above, “Should I have one more?!”

    My husband and I have never quite had a meeting of the minds on having 3. My husband never wanted 3 pre-kid, and I wanted 3 after I had my first. My husband would still be fine without 3, but does get wistful about another child. He went through a phase right when my second was just about to turn 2, and wanted to GO FOR IT b/c if we were going to have 3, he wanted them all pretty close in age. We stopped preventing for a few months, but it didn’t happen. I was actually relieved b/c I honestly wasn’t physically ready to be pregnant again and didn’t love having a 2.5 year old and newborn (but was willing to go for it then as a compromise – my preferred number of kids, his preferred timing). When it didn’t happen after a few months, we went back to actively preventing, and life went on.

    Now, we have a big milestone trip coming up in May, and I’d like to go for it again during and after the trip. My husband thinks we’ve waited too long, and is worried that the age spread will trip us up indefinitely. It’s a valid point, and I’d love stories from either side. My youngest would be at least 4 when the newborn arrives (possibly older, depending on the timing, which is clearly variable — my first was conceived with intervention, second was an OOPS!, and most recently, a few months of “trying” yielded no results). My oldest would be 6 or older. I think it will be easier to handle a newborn with a 4 and 6 year old, and we’d only ever have two childcare payments at a time b/c public school.

    But my husband isn’t wrong that the age spread impacts activities — on family trips, and just every day sports, etc. We are active and outdoor oriented. We’ve always brought our babies with us, but we are definitely crossing a barrier where the kids can do their own thing (old enough for ski school, no cribs in tents, etc.). Does the third in this case just tag along? Or are we going to be perpetually annoyed that the two older are off and running while we still have a baby in tow?

    • avocado says:

      You might enjoy reading the blog Lag Liv, about an active family with three kids and an age spread similar to what you’re contemplating. The blogger even wrote a feature on “should I have a third baby?”

    • I’m pregnant with our third, and our kids will be 5 1/2 (in kdg) and 3 when the baby is born. The first two will be two years apart in school, and this baby will be four (FOUR!) years behind the second child. That was really hard to wrap my head around because the age gap isn’t super different (2 1/2 years vs. a little over 3), but it is what it is. If you talk to moms with a similar age gap, they’ll tell you why they love it (so many extra helping hands! older children are more self-sufficient!), and if you talk to moms with smaller age gaps they’ll tell you why THEY love THAT.

      If you want another, go for it! Pre-kids, my husband said he wanted five. (OMG.) I am totally on board with three, and could maybe even be talked into four… Babies are just the best!

    • Work travel? says:

      Second the lag liv blog.

      We had a surprise 3rd born when our first 2 were 5 and 7. We were in the clear, life was getting so easy (seriously I think ages 4-7 are the unsung honeymoon ages for kids…they are sweet and funny and they still adore you but don’t yet have attitude and they can be fairly independent. Sigh). And now here we go again back to the sleepless nights and not being able to shower and having to think about packing up a bag with toys and diapers and wipes and snacks and burp cloths and a blanket and a sweater and now we’re bound by nap times. And all of that does suck for sure. But…oh my god are we in love w our new baby. We KNOW our family is complete now (when I was pregnant w #2 we weren’t sure about having a 3rd so I didn’t really savor the time). And what’s great about having big kids who are so independent is that they can help w the baby. The big ones ADORE their baby sibling and when they are home they play or distract while I cook or shower or whatever. And the baby adores them even more.

      We are trying not to let this baby slow us down too much – we decided we’d just drag baby around and to some extent that has worked out. On a day to day basis less so – sticking to naps and bedtime has been important, but to be honest routine is important for our big kids too so it hasn’t been a huge issue. And we are still doing weekend adventures and overnight trips as well as longer vacations and even camping.

      Another benefit is that there is just no sibling rivalry between the big kids and the baby – they just get that the baby is a baby and they aren’t threatened or annoyed- they either ignore the baby or help/play. That just makes life easier. And it has been much easier than we thought to divide and conquer getting stuff done for fun or duty.

      So we’re only 8 months in but so far I would say do it!

    • A friend at work has three spaced similarly. She’s at the teenage end, and has one out of the house (college), middle kid is old enough to drive, and youngest is still in middle school. Which yes, is a big spread and was probably crazy in the younger years but now it’s really nice. The middle kid will drive younger one to sports practice, and oldest is of course pretty self-sufficient. They’re actually all really close and will send group texts to each other which among teenage siblings seems really cute to me (again, considering one is in college and one is just in middle school!).

      I think that in some ways the spread is probably preferable to having all three stacked on top of each other where kids are all competing for the same literal resources (cars, computers, tvs) and parent emotional resources.

    • I have 9 year old twins and a 3 1/2 year old. There are pros and cons to the age spread. Pros: my twins were 5 1/2 when the baby was born; they were in kindergarten, so childcare costs for them were already reduced and became further reduced the next year; they were (and are) able to help their younger sister and help out with their younger sister; they play with her and she adores them; she learns a lot from them; there aren’t real sharing issues because they usually aren’t vying for the same things; we won’t have 3 in college at the same time; etc. Cons: A longer time until all kids are out of the house; a longer time of dealing with separate daycare drop off/pick up and school bus schedules; the little has less in common with the bigs (although this doesn’t really end up being much of an issue in our house yet, I know it will hit when my older kids are teenagers). The biggest “con” for me is that just when the older two are ready for more interesting activities (we can go to the ballet, we can do plays, movies are no issue, I could taken them on European vacations, etc.), there’s a little one for whom those activities are either not suitable or harder or just different. So, it limits “family” activities. My older daughter and I still go to the ballet, and we’ve started to bring the youngest, but we aren’t taking everyone to the symphony or something. And we’ve held off on vacations beyond the beach or Disney until the youngest is at least 4.

      • I should add that having a third was the best decision ever. There’s something about how you can enjoy the third–particularly with the age gap–that is just magical.

  11. dc mom anon says:

    What should my toddler wear to take your kid to work day? She’s going to DH’s gov office, mostly so that he can show her off to colleagues (she won’t stay the whole day). Seems like a no brainers, just wear clothes, but she wears mostly bright animal or planet tees and leggings. Should I get her something a little more appropriate? Older kids show up in suits and more formal attire.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would do a princess awesome dress but that’s mostly because I’ll use any excuse to order more dresses from there.

    • avocado says:

      I would put mine in the nerdiest STEM-girl outfit I could find–planets, an atom, the periodic table, equations… But that’s just me. Princess Awesome sounds great, or a cute dress and leggings set from Tea Collection, or pretty much anything without boogers and food all over it.

      • avocado says:

        Oh, and when you said “older kids mostly show up in suits” I was imagining little girls in miniature skirt suits and wondering where on earth they would get them. ;)

    • Lilliet says:

      Your daughter’s regular clothes are just fine. No need for a special outfit (unless you want it)!

    • I’d dress her up a little only so you can get a cute dad/kid pic. If you don’t have time/energy then regular wear is of course fine.

  12. CPA Lady says:

    I’m kind of throwing around an idea and was wondering if I could get y’all’s take on it.

    My husband worked nights the first 15 months of our kids life. Then he had a fairly normal schedule for about a year. And now he’s switching to a job with 50% travel. Each of these jobs has been with the same company and each has been a promotion. He’s really excited about the job he just got as it’s definitely a step towards what he ultimately wants to be doing.

    During this time, I switched from public accounting to a sort of hybrid accounting job, where I still do taxes, but am in a much more relaxed environment with no room for upward mobility. So I definitely leaned out to save my sanity. Well, now that my husband is taking this 50% travel job, I’m considering leaning out further. A couple of my coworkers work 80% schedules, where they work 4 days a week when it’s not tax season.

    I’m thinking of pitching this idea to my husband. But I feel weirdly selfish about it. I wouldn’t take my kid out of daycare that day off. I would leave her in and run errands and tidy up the house and just chill and recuperate from solo parenting. Selfish? Genius? Secretly has pitfalls I’m not thinking about?

    • Anonymous says:

      Genius. Would do it in a second if I could.

      Might do a shorter daycare day (like 9:30 to 4). If he has a 50% travel job, this would be a huge help in maintaining your sanity. Think of all the meal prep and house/life organization you can get done! And I suspect any pay reduction would be less than you would pay to deal with other costs of him traveling like extra meal delivery or extra household help.

    • Genius! You’ll be shouldering so much of the responsibility if he’s gone 50% of the time, you NEED that day for errands and whatnot. Go for it!

    • Absolutely genius. Do it.

      I know a lot of the advice on here is that it means a pay reduction but you’re still doing the same amount of work, – with coworkers already doing it, do you have a good sense of whether that’s the case?

    • Not selfish, genius if you can financially swing it.

    • avocado says:

      Genius and not at all selfish. The whole family will benefit. If working 80% truly means working 80% (not 99% for 80% pay) and you can afford it, go for it! You will be able to get so much done with the kid in day care on your errand/housework/whatever day, and weekends and evenings will be so much easier.

    • Two Cents says:

      If you’re ok with the paycut, do it! I worked 4 days a week and almost always put my son in daycare on that fifth day. I used that day to cook, go to doctor’s appointments, shop, organize clutter at home, and sometimes just sit in a sunny park and read a book! Heaven….

    • Agree – sounds genius to me. For me, much of the challenge of solo parenting is that you never get a break, so I think having 1 day/wk for yourself (even if it’s just running errands and laundry day) would make the 50% travel thing much more manageable.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Another vote for “go for it” here – when your husband is gone you’ll have to do dropoff and pickup, make all the meals, do bedtime solo, etc. You’ll need that extra day to catch up on all the household stuff.

      My only caveats:
      -Do you want to go 80% and commit to doing the household stuff yourself? Or would you rather stay closer to equal footing with your husband career-wise and instead use that extra 20% income to pay for outsourcing? Financially and career-wise you’d probably get more bang for your buck for 8 hours of outsourced labor a week (house cleaning, meal service, laundry service or whatever). But I know it’s a lot harder to put a price on your ability to have some breathing time for yourself. Personally, I would go for it.
      -If you do go down to 80% and something changes again with your husband’s job and you wanted/needed to go back up to full time, could you do that, or would you have pretty much permanently mommy-tracked yourself?
      -If you think you’d go back to 100% someday, will you find yourself slotted into the “default parent” role where you wind up keeping all the household stuff you took on in addition to the full time job, or would your husband step back in? It might not be so severe with you only stepping back 20% (or you might wind up doing it anyway if your husband is traveling 50%), but I am constantly vigilant not to end up like my MIL who was a SAHP for 5 years, and then when she went back to work full time her husband didn’t really take on any of her household tasks and now she was effectively doing all the household/childcare stuff while holding down a full time job.

    • I say genius. My mother had one afternoon a week off, and she used it primarily for her own errands. She never once picked me up early from school (and it never occurred to me that she would). She was a bada*s, but I think that afternoon off helped her maintain her sanity.

      Also, last Friday my boss gave me a random day off, and I ran 12(!) errands and had lunch with my MIL and SIL between daycare drop-off and pick-up.

    • My husband did this, and I was 100% on board. Anything that makes our life run easier is a good thing. Nothing selfish at all about taking that day to get things organized (and he would go to the gym and occasionally do fun things too). Now, he’s 80% so he can do bus stop duty with the older kids, so he’s back to 5 days a week but shorter days. That has it’s own benefits (dinner is much easier), but I loved when he had the day off!

  13. Work travel? says:

    I think making time for you counts as taking care of your mental health and that’s a family value. And if you manage to get family/household stuff done on top of that that is also a benefit to the family. If kid is happy in daycare I wouldn’t change it up, but if kid is regularly grumpy and overtired then a slightly earlier pickup facilitated by your reduced schedule could be a good thing for all. Or if you’re taking a whole day off once a week then every few weeks you surprise kid w a super early pickup and surprise adventure. But have no guilt about not doing that – you deserve some time off!

    Caveat: do this only if getting less pay means you will actually work less. Laura Vanderkram had a good blog post about this about a month ago – basically if you have a very defined set of responsibilities that are done in the office and you won’t be in the office then you can’t do them. But if you regularly work from home and outside of normal work hours it will be really hard to actually work less.

  14. Going rate for babysitters? says:

    Never hired a babysitter yet! A high-school aged student is going to be watching my 15 month old this Sunday afternoon (until right before bedtime). What is the going rate? MCOL area (medium-sized California city). TIA!

    • Work travel? says:

      Ugh – was supposed to be be in reply to CPA Lady

    • Work travel? says:

      Sorry am internet challenged today!

      Also in MCOL CA but small CA city. For high school kid and only 1 child $10 is fine. $10-12 is standard rate for 2 kids for high school grad/college student.

      If you don’t have friends w kids to ask for comparison you can also ask sitter “What is your normal rate?” But if they are like the high school kids I know they will just defer to you so then say: “Our standard rate is $10/hour does that work for you?”

      Start them lower bc then it’s easier to give raises and tips for which they will be appreciative – then you get reputation for being great employer and they will be available when you need them.

    • In the DC area, babysitters that age were $10-15. West coast now and we have some that are $6 for sleeping child, $8-$10 for awake.

  15. Newbie Momma says:

    Does the insatiable hunger while nursing taper off at all? I’m 2.5 months in and on lunch number 3 today…

    • Anonymous says:

      For me, not till bebe lowers his intake, when he starts with solids. It’s a hassle, but I do miss being able to eat with impunity! So, enjoy those extra snickers bars on my behalf?

    • rakma says:

      I ate my lunch today before my second cup of coffee, so I feel your pain. Protein, some fat and lots of water seems to help me. (I use this as an excuse to eat so much cheese)

      Ditto what Anonymous said, it got better after DD1 started eating solids. I’m so looking forward to that point with DD2, when my work days are less defined by pumping breaks and getting enough food in me to keep from lashing out at people.

  16. I am so so so stressed out by the Supreme Court. Watching the Anne of Green Gables trailer for the new netflix series to cheer myself up. Any other ideas? The Court actually stresses me out as a parent and thinking of my kids’ future, so I don’t find them the release I usually do!

    I’ve been trying to avoid news sites but it’s hard to avoid all news.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe you can take some comfort from the fact that justices often surprise the presidents who appoint them. By all accounts Gorsuch is pretty conservative but there are a lot of issues that he doesn’t have an explicit record on so who knows what he will do, and people do sometimes change their minds about certain things.

      • Good points. I also take comfort from the fact that, at this point, the balance of the Court is not changing. Gorsuch also appears to be a capable, thoughtful, principled judge, even if I disagree with some of his principles. I predict he will be willing to limit presidential abuses of power if (when) a case requiring it comes before the Supreme Court.

        I’m actually much more concerned about the Senate repealing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations than I am about Gorsuch himself.

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s Episcopalian with two daughters. One of the more liberal Protestant branches plus daughters tend to make men less conservative (NY Times had an article about it recently). So I figure he’s about a good a Republican nominee as we could hope for in this climate.

      • Yes. I mean, the Republicans stole the Supreme Court nomination, and Clinton lost the election. But, given that, any Republican president would have nominated someone like Gorsuch, and there’s really no good reason not to confirm him. I’m definitely more concerned about the next Trump nomination (if there is one), especially with the ability to confirm with a simple majority vote.

        • Anonymous says:

          Same. Gorsuch is definitely not who I (or Hillary) would have picked, but he’s no worse than the nominee we’d have had with a President Pence or Cruz or probably even McCain. There are so many things that are terrifying about the Trump administration and Gorsuch is pretty low on the list.

Speak Your Mind