Accessory Tuesday: Cobble Hill Wallet

I am in the market for a new wallet, and this one at Shopbop is so tempting! I love the bright color (which is so necessary when looking for it in the deep, dark recesses of my bag), the asymmetric front flap, and the textured leather. My current wallet is the zip-around type, and I’ve been noticing that the fabric part of the zipper is getting grimy. I’d like to try this snap flap instead, though I am worried about the snap getting caught on something in my bag and opening up. I like that this has a removable wristlet, because I am often just grabbing my wallet and phone and going out of my office to grab lunch or a snack. The price, which is $128, seems reasonable for something I use every day and don’t replace often. Botkier Cobble Hill Wallet

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  1. Summer Bucket List, Low-key edition says:

    We’re in a phase of slowing down the pace of our family life pretty aggressively. The more we do it, the more I want. Sticking close to home, doing things in our neighborhood or backyard instead of lots of Family! Fun! Activities! So I’m looking for your summer activity ideas that are local/at home and low-key. Not expensive doesn’t hurt either! I will give you my list below– summer things we haven’t done yet that I want to try to make happen before pumpkin spice everything descends upon us.

    My fledgling list:
    – rig up a car wash for trikes/little tykes cars in the backyard
    – go on a picnic
    – spend a day at our local lake beach
    – make a meal that’s totally local from farmers market veggies

    Things we have done recently that were a big hit:
    – made our own playdough
    – painted a chalkboard wall with water
    – yeah that’s it I have no creative mom ideas left, that’s why I’m posting this :)

    • What I mean by Family! Fun! Activities! are things like birthday parties, trips to loud playplaces or attractions, educational outings like museums, playdates with new potential friends. I’m over it. Give me some lemonade and a way to entertain my child in my backyard while I sit in the shade.

    • Anonymous says:

      Water balloons! Star gazing! Making ice cream in plastic baggies!

    • Anonymous says:

      In the summers We try to take neighborhood walks every evening. Half the time we end up at our local ice cream shop :) “Camping” in the backyard is a big hit too.

    • Spirograph says:

      backyard camping!
      running through the sprinkler
      let the kids wash your car (my kids have been asking to wash the cars every day this summer. unfortunately we don’t have a driveway, so this is not a set-and-forget activity, unless they wash only the curb side.)

      Not necessarily summer-specific, but easier cleanup if you do it outside: papier mache baking soda volcano (use a soda bottle). Paint it like a volcano before you set it off.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Fun summer things we’ve done lately:
      – New bubble toys. We recently picked up this one and it’s been a hit ( It could be a little too gun-like for some, though.
      – Playgrounds with water features (corollary would be setting up a sprinkler in your yard)
      — Water table

      What about some sort of backyard obstacle course? Set up cones, hula hoops, etc., and a wading pool/sprinkler at the end for that cool down reward.

      • Yes to this and lala below. I just had to teach my kids the concept of an obstacle course once, and now they make different permutations for hours all by themselves. I sit in the shade with a lemonade and suggest additions like “why don’t you stop at the bucket and wiggle” and “what if you hop on one foot between the balls?” to add to the physical exertion and tire them out more.

        We also use lawn chairs and picnic blankets to make outdoor forts. Sometimes I’ll pop some popcorn to let them eat inside their fort, which is a huge bonus according to them.

        • Anonymous says:

          My 5 year old misheard “obstacle course” as “popsicle course” the other day and was REALLY excited. He still likes actual obstacle courses, too, now that he knows what they are.

    • We have a really large backyard, so that makes this a bit easier for us, but as a part of simplifying our lives I have stopped generally having activities for the kids, even at home. Give them the tools (bikes, scooters, bug nets, buckets, and a hose) and they play in nature for hours. Sometimes I join in (especially if the critter they are catching is a jumpy one), but other times DH and I just sit in our chairs and let them be. They are 2.5 and 4.5 for reference.

      So I guess I would say, ditch the bucket list. But if you decide to keep it add: catch a critter, make a fort out of sticks, make a stream with the hose.

    • Lana Del Raygun says:

      Go to the libraryyyyyyyyyyyy :D

    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t really do Family! Fun! Activities! Ymmv depending on your geographic area, but in the summer we do a lot of neighborhood walks to the various blackberry patches (pnw so they are an invasive weed and are everywhere), random roadside plum/fig/mulberry trees, etc. Also a lot of gardening. Washing the car is also great.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Man, I wish I had some random blackberry weeds or fig trees.

        • I wish I had a backyard…! #apartmentlife But we do have a community garden for our apartment complex, and last year and this year we drew the plot that has the massive Concord grape vine just growing right there over it. It shades the back half of the plot, but last year I got six jars of grape jelly out of it.

          • Anon in NYC says:

            I wish we had a backyard too! Principal benefit of the burbs, I think. I thought about trying to find a community garden, but all of the ones close to me are just far enough away to make it unrealistic. We do try to occasionally take trips to an orchard or farm, but it’s a haul from where we are.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hopscotch. I drew some for my 2.5 year old over the weekend, and she totally loved it. Of course, she just ran through it bouncier than usual rather than getting the right foot in the right box, but it was seriously adorable. And not a bad workout for Mom and Dad either ;)

    • This is what we like to do:
      -My 3.5 year old loves “helping” in the yard. He has a rake, broom, trowel, and bubble lawnmower.
      -Ride bikes around the neighborhood. He also loves running through sprinklers.
      -visit various playgrounds in our part of town.
      -We love having friends with similarly aged children over for dinner. The kiddos are old enough now that they can pretty much entertain themselves and we adults can hang out.
      -Chalk on the driveway
      -baking. I measure the ingredients and my son loves putting them into the mixing bowl.

    • Anonymous says:

      tag or hide and seek
      -hopscotch in the driveway
      – ‘painting’ with water on house/deck
      – this is particularly popular if you let them use grown up painting supplies like rollers and big brushes
      – scavenger hunt (green leaf, brown leaf, teaspoon of dirt, 3 sticks etc).
      – tree climbing if your trees or nearby park trees are big enough – this is DH’s favorite.

    • This might not be what you want but we are enjoying driving to a nearby suburb (<30 mins) playing at a new-to-us playground, lunch or ice cream from local counter service place. We don't have a yard (townhouse) so this gets us out of the house but is nothing strenuous for me and husband.

    • Love this idea. My kids like: chalk drawing of any sort. Digging in the dirt with buckets and pails. Spraying each other with hoses. Helping “wash the car”. Running through sprinklers. Eating popsicles. Riding bikes/scooters back and forth on the sidewalk. Walking to the playground. Taking the long way back from the playground. Exploring the creek near our house. Looking for honeysuckle. Hiking and then going to the pool after. Finding rocks and then painting them. Painting inside or out. Painting nails. Go to the library.

      I will say, though, my idea of simple is: give kids some stuff to play with outside and step away. The stuff they come up with is so much more interesting than the stuff I would think of! I just try to say yes when they ask and leave enough space to allow creativity.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      We had a Bubble Festival in our front yard. I bought a bubble machine, and gathered all the bubble solution from our garage, a friend brought over a kiddie pool that we filled with water and soap and used a hula hoop to make giant bubbles. Neighborhood kids came over and partied and blew bubbles and popped them and it was awesome. Probably cost about $15, but $10 of that was the bubble machine that we still use.

      I made one of those “trike wash” things and it was super easy and fun.

      Kiddo LOVES watering plants, or really anything involving pouring or scooping, so seriously just giving her some buckets and a spray bottle and cups = happy kid for a good while.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 to watering stuff. We fill up the wading pool and let them fill up their watering cans from there and water all the plants and the grass.

      • Redux says:

        This is a ridiculous question, but: what kind of soap do you use for making bubbles? Cheap dish soap? Or do you have to buy the tubs of bubble solution?

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I’ve only made homemade bubble solution once (there are a lot of recipes online – I think normal dish soap is okay), but it also involved glycerin and made the bubbles really heavy. So, it’s easy to do, but be careful with the glycerin.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          We ended up doing a combo, like my husband picked up some cheap dish soap, and I DIYed something more complex from the internet, and then we had a ton of leftover little containers of bubbles from ??? and our neighbors also brought some solution over.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I feel so much better seeing that I’m not the only person with basically no yard!
      How old are the kiddos? When mine was younger we got sooo much use out of a $10 plastic kiddie pool from WalMart. Also anything to do with the hose (he would fill up buckets, empty coffee cans, etc). He’s in elementary school now but I was surprised to find out he’s still in to chalk. We take turns laying on the ground while the other traces our outline, then we color outfits on eachother. I love the backyard camping idea (we just have a deck, no backyard).

    • Sarabeth says:

      This is probably not helpful for this year, but this is why we have a pool membership. That’s what we do basically every weekend day in the summer. Sometimes we bring a friend for the four year-old, sometime it’s just us. But it keeps the kids endlessly amused, I get to swim laps at some point, and everybody sleeps like the dead that night.

      Actually taking off 45 min early from work today to get a few hours at the pool in this evening.

      • BigLaw Sr Assoc says:

        Yeah, this. We go to the pool, beach, park for family fun times. I live with my husband and four kids in a small 3 BR condo in a city (no yard or even courtyard), so indoor activities are limited. Where we live, we can use outdoor pools year round, thank goodness.

    • My 3-year-old loves playing “science,” by which he means adding food coloring to vinegar and then pouring thae vinegar over baking soda in a bottle/flask. He likes to keep adding baking soda then vinegar until we’re out of vinegar. It’s cheap and can be done outdoors or indoors–the mess can be wiped up with a towel.

  2. NewMomAnon says:

    Kiddo has a magnifying glass that we bring on “nature walks” so she can look at bugs and leaves and stuff up close. I let her carry a little sack to gather her nature treasures….they magically disappear overnight so she has to really explore them in the moment.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I just listened to a Janet Lansbury podcast about “playing with your kid” and part of her message was the importance of not planning activities. Let your kid entertain him or herself. I’ve been working on that this summer, and kiddo hates it but I’m so seeing so much imaginative play and she is taking much more initiative to set up projects and clean them up afterward.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s how my mom was with us and I think it’s really valuable. My mom never got down on the floor and played pretend with us, or whatever. I read or daydreamed or came up with things to do on my own.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I feel so guilty about it, especially when she complains that I never “play” with her. But I do see positive effects so I’m going to keep at it. My mom didn’t play either, and she certainly didn’t drag us on a million outings or bike trips or social gatherings. My dad sometimes planned outings, but we spent a lot of time entertaining ourselves. And I don’t remember being upset about it.

        • This actually makes me feel better about how I parent. My mom always gives me a hard time about the fact that i never “play” with my kids — but I think of it as peacefully co-existing. They can entertain themselves and I do my thing near them. I am able to work from home a lot, and can keep them with me because they are so good at just “being” in the house (or the backyard).

          • I can’t remem where but I just read an article about how valuable it is for kids to be bored.

          • Anonanonanon says:

            Honestly one of my proudest parenting accomplishments is raising a child who is capable of entertaining himself when necessary.
            I had a WONDERFUL mother, don’t get me wrong, but I also think in some ways she entertained me TOO much as a kid. It took me well in to adulthood to learn how to be bored, and I feel like my constant need to be around people and doing something probably got me in trouble a time or two in high school and college. I was able to stay home for 2 years with my first, and I actually worry that my youngest won’t ever learn how to be bored because she’ll have always been in daycare

  3. How old is the kiddo? Set up the kiddy pool! Bubble machine. Make said lemonade from scratch. Fun with ice: get out some ice cubes and see what household materials make them melt faster. Put on some music and have a dance party. DH works really late once a week and I’ve been taking kiddo to the pool & then out for dinner (somewhere casual and kid-friendly – gyros, burritos etc) on that night. Also, I feel you – we’ve had (seriously) like 5 or 6 birthday parties this summer, with a couple more to come, but most of them have thankfully been low-key at the local playground.

  4. Working from Home says:

    Work from home experts…I’ve been working almost exclusively from home for about two years now (due to a move for hubby’s job). Recently, I’ve found it difficult to stay as engaged as I once was. Maybe it is just summertime and has nothing to do with working from home. But does anyone have any advice to be more engaged in my work in a work from home situation? Thanks!

    • In my experience, lack of engagement = lack of challenging work to do, regardless of where you work (I’ve done both office and WFH). Could you talk to your supervisor about taking on some new challenges?

    • octagon says:

      convert your desk to a standing desk. it helps.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Have you tried teleworking from a different location? about 80% of the time getting out of my house and working somewhere like Starbucks etc. helps me focus again. I thought it would be the opposite, but at home there’s so many other things to do while at Starbucks you can either work or… stare into space pointlessly

    • If you’ve been working remotely for two years and are only just now starting to have difficulty, what’s changed recently? Did you cut back on work travel, meetings or other things that might give you a bit of day-to-day variety? Did the nature of your work change? I also second getting out of the house – is there a coworking space or coffee shop nearby?

  5. fed maternity leave says:

    Fed moms – talk to me about maternity leave, please! I’m considering applying for a fed job that will be opening up in my department (currently a contractor). I’m also thinking to be trying to conceive about the time that I could be moving into the new job. What would be my maternity leave situation if I’ve been at the job 6-12 months before a baby arrives? Thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not a fed now, but I was before and my husband currently is. Your situation would not be great 6-12 months in. You would be entitled to FMLA, but would have to save up all your vacation and sick leave to get only part of it with pay, otherwise you will have to take leave without pay. If I remember correctly, new feds start with 3 weeks vacation and 3 weeks sick leave, so assuming you take 0 days off and work a full year before your maternity leave, you could get 6 weeks paid. Some offices will let you go into the negative for sick/vacation time (mine did when I was hospitalized for a month a few months after starting my job out of college), but I’m not sure if they would do this for maternity leave. If you’re ok taking leave without pay, IME most offices are flexible and even generous with the amount of time you can take off (unpaid) for maternity leave.

    • I’m not sure what you qualify for before a year. But after a year, you get 12 weeks under FMLA. If you have saved up sick leave, you can use it for up to 6 weeks after birth (i.e. the medical leave part) to get paid. After 6 weeks or after you use all you sick leave, you can use your vacation days to continue getting paid. After that, you are out of luck and it will be an unpaid leave. Given that you only receive 13 days of sick leave and 13 days of vacation in your first year, you are basically looking at an unpaid leave.

    • Lana Del Raygun says:

      Hiiii it’s not great. You become eligible for FMLA after a year, as usual. Here are you ways to get paid during that time:

      – You accrue 4 hours of sick leave every 2-wk pay period
      – You accrue 4 hours of annual leave every 2-wk pay period (I assume you have no prior federal service, but after 3 years it jumps to 6h, and after 15 years you get 8. If you’re in high demand you may be able to negotiate a higher rate but I think this is mostly for high-level intelligence work and crappy foreign postings)
      – In government, you can earn “credit hours” to use instead of leave; more specific policies will vary. I can only bank 24 hours, which is still a big help with not burning leave to go to the doctor and for short vacations.

      Bottom line, you’re looking at 6.5 *days* each of sick and annual leave if you have a baby after 6 months, and 13 days each if you’re there for 12 months first, so you’ll have to take leave without pay. The good news is that LWOP still counts towards your retirement eligibility and length of service for leave accrual purposes, and the government will still pay its regular share of your health insurance during that time. If you want to ease back into work part time, take intermittent leave. DO NOT go part time, which will mess up your insurance contributions and retirement eligibility, and get rid of your FTE so that you may not be able to go back to full-time.

      Your agency may also have a leave bank and/or voluntary leave transfer program that you could be eligible for once you run out of leave and are still recovering from birth (but not once you’re passed the recover period).

      • Lana Del Raygun says:

        Oh, you can also request to have sick and/or annual leave advanced. I get my annual leave for the year advanced automatically (not sure whether this is just because I’m less than 2 years in).

    • Unpaid, no FMLA job protection before 12 months.

    • Anonymous says:

      FWIW we cushioned the financial blow of an unpaid mat leave by socking away the equivalent of daycare costs in the year or two prior to each leave. That gave us time to adjust our budget without the sticker shock of daycare costs after mat leave was done.

    • Thanks to all who answered! This helps a lot. I figured it would be bad. It’s pretty dismal to see exactly how bad… I do have savings, but, it would really suck to switch jobs, use up all my vacation time from my old job, and then have no vacation when the baby comes…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Maybe I’m out of touch, but do people really pay $128 for a wallet? I know expensive items are featured here all the time, but this really blew my mind.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think some people do, but I don’t :)

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Ha, I don’t!

    • I don’t! If I’m going to pay that much for a wallet, it better last me well over 3 decades, going by the amortized cost of my previous wallets :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Mine was probably close to that, but it was a Christmas gift. I never would have just bought it on my own. I had been looking for a long time for one that would fit my phone so I can just carry it to lunch, etc. and have everything I need. It is large, I take good care of it, and I don’t plan on replacing it anytime soon.

      • Mine too. I received a coach wallet for Christmas a few years ago. I don’t think the gifter knew it, but I was looking for a wallet at the time and this one is absolutely perfect in terms of size and slots to put stuff. I would not have spent that much on it, but now that I know it exists, I probably will shell out for something similar when this one dies, which hopefully won’t be for a really long time.

    • Walnut says:

      If it’s perfect, yeah. I swear by Hobo wallets and have owned two of their wallets over the past decade. The only reason I bought the second is because the first was stolen from my bag. The leather is perfect, the function is perfect and both became more beautiful with age.

      When it comes to most things, I’m willing to spend more for something that is perfect and meets all my needs. I also browse eBay or second hand if I’m looking for a lower price point.

    • Sarabeth says:

      I do, and I am too cheap for 90% of the stuff posted on this site. I have my wallet with me all the time, though, so I’d rathe spend the money there than on a skirt/shirt/dress that I’d wear once every two weeks, max.

    • I spent a little over $100 on a wallet 7 years ago, have used it daily, and it’s still going strong. I actually like it better now than at first because the leather is all soft and buttery, the bright color has become softer, and it has a “patina” of little scuffs and scratches from the stuff in my wallet. I’ll probably have it at least another few years, so money well spent.

  7. Anon. says:

    Would this bother you?

    My 3.5 yr old has been in the same daycare class since the Fall, and he’s “enjoyed” it at times, but in the last three months, he’s been super upset at having to go to school. He continually tells me that he doesn’t want to nap there. There are a variety of reasons he will give (“Kid hits me” “They wake me up” “It’s dark,” etc.). It’s an inconsistent reason, but a consistent complaint.

    I brought it up with his teachers once or twice over the past three months. They assured me that he seems fine at school and isn’t upset at naptime, so okay fine. I didn’t really press the issue, but flagged it for them when he seems to be especially upset in the morning.

    last week, I brought it up, and the teacher looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Well at naptime, he tells me that he doesn’t like it when you get babysitters at night.” Pause. “He’s just playing you.”

    it really bothered me. As background, i’ve never liked this teacher that well (in a school committed to outdoor play, this class seems to stay inside a lot — and she’s just never seemed that motivated with the kids, unlike every other teacher we’ve had in this school). Also, I’ve never liked the idea that very young kids’ “play” their parents or caregivers — it implies intent to manipulate, when they are just little and have limited means to communicate.

    Anyway, I’m not going to “do” anything bc we’re out of the class in two weeks, but just looking for validation that it was an odd thing to say. Or discuss how we can help him, as he’s clearly got some anxiety around going to sleep right now. Or maybe not even looking for validation — just frustrated that he still has two weeks left. and want them to hurry up!!

    • Anonymous says:

      OMG – I would be LIVID. But, I agree that just getting through the last two weeks is best. If he’s staying at that daycare, I would be tempted to discuss with the director after the move.

      • Walnut says:


        I’d mention it to the director. I would want secondary validation that naptime was operating smoothly. Obviously kids will test boundaries, but it’s key to also press further to ensure everything is actually okay at naptime. I don’t think a surprise visit or two is out of line if you can swing a few hours of PTO to do an early pickup.

        • Thanks All, and a surprise visit sounds like a great plan. Even if it doesn’t solve anything else, I think my sweet little boy would love a few early pick ups.

          I don’t think I’m going to go to the director on this one. In all honesty, I don’t think it will change anything. Admittedly, I don’t love the teacher overall, and I don’t get the sense that this teacher is particularly motivated (for reasons beyond this). I agree that her delivery and treatment of the issue over several months was disappointing and not helpful to a worried parent, but not necessarily worthy of escalation. It doesn’t help that there were some issues in my other son’s class and his teachers went above and beyond to help. By comparison, she just sort of — coasts.

          T-minus two weeks.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would be livid as well, and agree that discussing with the director may be a good idea. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to reframe “playing you” as “testing you”/”testing boundaries”. I don’t think this teacher addressed the issue in a constructive way at all, but even lousy teachers have a lot of experience with kiddo behavior–she may be noticing something that is helpful, but not expressing it in a helpful way. Just a thought–you know your kid best and I would be quite happy to be changing teachers so soon!

      • Redux says:

        +1. If she had said “testing boundaries” would you be as upset? Poor choice of words for sure, but the message isn’t off-base, in my experience.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          While I agree generally (my 3 year old tests the heck out of boundaries), this comment from the teacher rubs me the wrong way. 1) why turn it around and make it some sort personal attack about bedtime and babysitters. She had a specific concern about naps at school, and 2) the phrase “playing you” ascribes some level of malice to a 3.5 year. It’s concerning that the teacher may be thinking that a 3.5 year old is being deliberately manipulative or bad.

          It may be a poor choice of words, and she may have simply meant testing boundaries, but the combination of 1+2 is the thing that would make me angry here.

          • Agree, thanks for the validation.

          • Anonymous says:

            +1 from Anon at 2:06; To the OP: After reading the rest of the thread from this afternoon, I don’t think you need the validation, but just in case it’s helpful anyways–I think you’re on the right track! It’s smart to use the teacher’s knowledge and experience and I totally get being frustrated that a service provider’s level of helpfulness is subpar, especially after your expectations were set higher from another encounter.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would be absolutely enraged. You are not out of line. I’d talk to the director and seriously consider switching centers if this type of attitude was deemed acceptable.

    • Ugh. I likewise don’t believe that very young children are deliberately manipulative, but they do certainly test boundaries – but the teacher’s response doesn’t even seem remotely helpful. (What are you supposed to do with that information, and how is that supposed to address the school/ naptime resistance, anyway?) I would bring it up with the director, and then go on vacation for one of the remaining two weeks if you can…

    • rosie says:

      Agree this is annoying. There are better ways to say it if she meant he’s testing boundaries, and is the comment about the babysitter supposed to be a dig at you? Maybe she was feeling defensive and wanted to say that your kid complains about everything, not just daycare (not an excuse, IMO)?

    • Anonanonanon says:

      That is MESSED UP. I’m actually angry on your behalf!!
      I agree to just wait out the next two weeks, because I’m not sure what you could accomplish by taking it up the chain, but I don’t blame you for being livid.

    • lawsuited says:

      I don’t think the teacher chose her words well, but 3.5 year olds are absolutely able to manipulate caregivers to get a desired outcome. Even 1.5 year olds can feign crying and tell you they didn’t eat the cookie you watched them eat. Furthermore, at 3.5 kids are still learning complicated moral concepts like lying and can’t fully understand and communicate their feelings about why they don’t like sleep time.

      I know the first instinct is to be furious at anyone who impugns our kid (and I’ve gotten my fair share of real talk from daycare workers – my LO went through a phase where he pushed over every kid smaller than him, and he still eats everybody else’s food), but your daycare providers have valuable insight into your kid’s behaviour and it’s worth listening and trying to take it on board.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Lol to your kiddo eating everybody else’s food. My kiddo once sat on a friend so she could eat the friend’s lunch while a toddler. Rules are hard…

      • Actually, she wasn’t impugning him, she was blowing me off! I want her valuable insight! I want to work with her b/c my kid clearly has anxiety about falling asleep without me right now. Instead, she chalked it up to my kid “playing” me and added a subtle dig that this is my fault for leaving him all the time (I kid, I have no guilt about this — the stage is normal and will pass) — with no real solutions or suggestions. My older son went through a rough separation period at 2.5 and his teachers came up with some awesome solutions to help him with some rough transitions. None of my frustration is directed at the teachers for telling me something I didn’t want to hear.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I’d be annoyed too but I’m going to push you on little kids can’t be manipulative – your kiddo is 3.5. That is an age at which most kiddos are starting to experiment with manipulation. At that age, my kiddo would shout for her daddy when I said no to something or set a boundary, and she would misbehave while staring at me to see what I would do. Those are efforts to exert agency over another person, which is the definition of “manipulation.” But that kind of manipulation isn’t a bad thing – it’s totally normal, and developmentally appropriate.

    • I’ll be the outlier and say I don’t think I’d be livid. Miffed a bit, because the delivery seems sub-par, but look at it from their perspective. You’ve told them multiple times that your kid seems upset to go to school. They’ve said that he’s fine once he’s actually there. At some point, accept it as a phase and move on.

      I absolutely believe kids around 3 start to try to manipulate their caregivers. I also absolutely believe they make up wild stories. There’s a common saying for teachers – “If you’ll believe only half of what your kid tells you about school, we’ll believe only half of what she tells us about home.” My then-3-year-old had a very elaborate story about her teacher moving away, including a goodbye party from the other teachers, that it turns out was completley made up. She also told her teachers that I made her stay up all night to watch a scary movie, including some vivid details and even a midnight walk around the neighborhood.

      Now, I think the teacher seemed to have a rough delivery. She should have read your personality a bit more and said “Yes that’s pretty common for this age group, in fact, *laugh* during naptime she says she hates when you get a babysitter! Ha! It sounds like maybe she’s fighting the nap, does she seem extra awake at bedtime so we should start shortening her naptime? Does she nap on the weekends? Some kids do drop their last nap in this classroom, although we still enforce laying on the cot.” Or whatever her suggestion is. But also, teachers are human and I give them the benefit of the doubt when they deal with 3 year olds all day long. Sometimes their adult-speak doesn’t turn on all the way when you’re there for pickup or dropoff.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        My kiddo once told me a sad story about a classmate being taken from school by strangers and never seeing her mommy and daddy again because they didn’t want her. She even told me the name of the kid and it was a real name (not one of kiddo’s typical made up names), and details about the kid’s blanket and contents of the kid’s cubby. I asked her teachers about it the next day – they’ve never had a kid by that name, and the story was 100% made up. And my brother once told his preschool teacher that his parents had been killed in an airplane crash. Imaginations are weird and scary places.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 to preschool teachers communicating ENTIRELY differently than adults who only interact with adults during the day.

        I guess my question is, what part of this situation made you livid? Was it the fact that the teacher used the nighttime babysitters as an example, or was it the fact that she insinuated that your son was testing boundaries rather than actually experiencing unpleasantness? I can understand both.

        I agree with above posters that you have to take daycare providers’ words with a grain of salt, but give them more respect than it seems you might be – they spend a good amount of time watching your child in a routine setting, and they also see similar developmental patterns with a cohort of kids his age. She might be less inclined to go outside with a gaggle of 3.5 y/os than some of the other teachers, and you’re well within your rights to ask about that, but I don’t think you can paint everything she does with the same broad brush.

      • Amelia Bedelia says:

        my daughter told a woman that her “real” mom died and I was her step mother! WHAAATTTT???
        it was hilarious.
        oh, and she totally did it to get sympathy so she could have another cookie.
        she was three at the time.

        • ElisaR says:

          this just made me laugh out loud…. thank you

          • Sans kiddos says:

            damn yall.

            I just dropped in from the main boards because I’m bored at work and having small lying humans sounds terrifying! hahaha. these stories are wild.

      • Anonymous says:

        How does she know he’s fine when he’s there? if the teacher is going to blow off her concerns by saying he tells her he doesn’t like something his mom does, that sounds to me like the teacher is saying “kids are always upset about something, it’s no big deal.” To me sounds like they are not taking the mom seriously and I wouldn’t be inclined to trust their account of how he’s doing all day if they blew me off like that.

        • There is a shade of this as well, thanks. She has a co-teacher who I very much like, but she is the aid to this teacher. I feel better that the aid’s eyes are on the kids during the day.

          And pushing back on the comment regarding the respect I give to this teacher, I get that anxious parents may not be the best part of their job, but it’s part of their job. I’ve been sending kids to daycare for 5 yrs, and this is the only teacher I”ve ever felt like my concerns were not taken seriously or addressed respectfully.

    • Spirograph says:

      My 3.5 year old is manipulative. Infants aren’t manipulative, but toddlers are starting somewhere around 2, in my experience. It’s completely developmentally appropriate – they’re learning that other people react to their actions, and that they can change those reactions by changing their behavior or their verbal communication. How much they choose to manipulate is personality-dependent, but they absolutely have the ability.

      The thing that bothers me about the daycare teacher’s response is the “well she tells me XYZ about you” part of it. She chose her words poorly in general, but there was no reason to throw out something that could be construed as questioning whether you ought to be hiring babysitters.

      All that said, I would let this whole thing go. There’s nothing to be gained from engaging any further on it. You can say something to the director about the delivery if you feel strongly, but the insight is spot on. Gently, I tend to think preschool teachers know more than I do about generalized preschooler behavior, just because they have so many more children to observe as data points.

    • Ah yes, let me clarify — of course a 3 year is going to try to exert control over situations, push boundaries, and lie, to change the outcome to her liking. However, manipulation, requires bad intent — to exert control or influence (a person or situation) “cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously,” which is what I don’t like attributing to kids.

      Regarding this situation, of course my child is using whatever tools he has to exert control. He wants me to pick him up at or before naptime. He gets anxious when I’m not with him when he is falling asleep. He is going to tell me that he doesn’t want to nap at school to try to get picked up early — to change the outcome or control his situation.

      My frustration with his teacher has been that she has been absolutely not receptive to working with me on a solution for a situation that is clearing causing him anxiety. And then the comment about babysitters just seemed odd/somewhat spiteful.

      • Anonymous says:

        I mean, kids are are clever, unfair, and unscrupulous. If you want to address the teacher being “not receptive to working with me on a solution for a situation that is clearing causing him anxiety” that’s one thing, but getting livid because she said he was “playing” you is misplaced.

        • FWIW, if you look at my post, I said the teacher’s comment was “odd” and that it bothered me. I never said I was livid. The conversation happened about 2 weeks ago, and if I was livid, I probably wouldn’t be talking about it on an online forum — I would have raised it with the school. That said, it’s still bugging me — and my child still says he hates nap time. However, the tenor of the conversation with the teacher was that I’m unlikely to get the situation resolved while he’s still in this classroom, and no parent wants that.

          • Anonymous says:

            Oh sorry! I remembered the second response saying “livid as well” and ascribed the original livid to you instead of the first response

          • Thanks! I’m bummed and a little disappointed largely. Underlying all of this is the feeling that it sucks when you know your kid is having a hard time with something and there’s not a ton you can do (short of never sleeping again?!! )

          • Anonymous says:

            Awww I’m sorry! hugs if you want them, and please do sleep! You and kiddo both deserve for you to be rested :)

  8. Anonymous says:

    I just tried an off-white/pinkish manicure after all the love for Meghan Markle’s off-white mani a while back. I can’t help but feel like it looks like when I was in middle school and some of the girls would paint White Out on their nails in class out of boredom. Jury is still out on this one for me.

    • Anonymous says:

      I recently got on the bandwagon with true white nail polish and love it! (I live in Austin and was in a workout class with Camille Styles, who had it on, which inspired me. I don’t really follow her–I’m far too dorky and it feels too high pressure to see someone looking so put-together all the time–but it just looked so clean and fresh that I couldn’t help trying it out.) It goes with everything! I will probably go back to grey when it finally cools down (maybe January?), but for now, I’m loving the white! (I got Deborah Lippmann in Amazing Grace from Amaz*n; it’s expensive but the brush is amazing and it only takes two coats, not four like some other light colors require.)

      • I’ve got on Essie’s ‘Between the Seats’. I actually thought it would be more gray but goes on very matte white. Two coats with the Gel Setter top coat was enough.

        Gray recommendation??? Please and thank you :)

        • Anonymous says:

          Sure! The two I have in my bathroom cabinet are:
          OPI You don’t know Jacques! — somewhat dark, warm-tinted, and
          Essie Merino Cool — a little lighter w a faint purple tinge.
          Neither is pale grey, though, so you may need to keep up the hunt if that’s what you wanted.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I sort of feel similarly, but at the same time love it and am fully on the bandwagon for summer.

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