Finally Friday: ‘ZeroGrand’ Perforated Wingtip

If you haven’t tried this wingtip from Cole Haan, you should know that it’s ridiculously light — it’s perfect for running around with your kids on the weekend. We’re featuring the ironstone suede, and it also comes in black/white, black, orange, and port.  It’s available in three widths in sizes 5-11 for $200-$250 at Nordstrom. Cole Haan ‘ZeroGrand’ Perforated Wingtip

At Amazon, there are several colors in a wide range of prices, and if you happen to wear a size 5 or 7.5, check out the blue and off-white pairs on clearance at Lord & Taylor.



  1. Anon for this says:

    A family in my town is going through every parents worse nightmare. Their two year old daughter climbed out of her crib and snuck out their back door last night. They think this happened around 3:30 am and police still have not found her yet. It’s also winter here. Prayers that she is found safe.

    [Ed. note: This link was deleted because it was broken, sorry!]

    • mascot says:

      Clicked on the article and she’s been found. Thank goodness. What a scary time.

    • anne-on says:

      Oh my god, that is so so scary. Very happy she was found safe. This happened to a neighbor of ours across the street (during the day, but their 2 yr old opened the back slider and just went out). We now have the ADT doors with alarms that beep and announce which door/window/slider has been opened, and the whole house will go off once we set the ‘stay’ alarm at night if a door/window/slider is opened. It took my au pair some getting used to (only woke up the whole house once or twice!) but it definitely adds to my piece of mind.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        I escaped once when I was about 2. At around 3am I simply got out of bed, went downstairs, opened the deadbolt on the front door and decided I was going to walk to my grandparents’ house (they lived 2 hours away). The neighbor down the street was outside smoking while her husband was inside dying of cancer, and she saw me and called my parents. When my son was that age I was constantly terrified he’d find his way outside like I did!

        • Anononymous says:

          I escaped at about 6 or 7 months. It was day and my mother and grandmother were cleaning the house in preparation for my paternal grandmother to come visit and meet me for the first time. No one’s sure how I did it, but my dad came home and I was about 1/10th of a mile down the road playing in a mud puddle. (And it’s a good thing there was a mud puddle in Arizona right then, because our road ended on a 65 mph highway at the bottom of a hill, so even if someone saw me, I would have been dead.)

    • Oh my god, I am so glad she was found!

    • Walnut says:

      Stories like this make me very happy that every floor board in my 100 year old house makes noise. And it still makes me want to station a watchdog at the top of the steps. Unfortunately my current “watchdog” sleeps harder than any of us.

    • Wow … this never even occurred to me when we baby-proofed, but our son is two so I suppose it’s feasible now. Will seriously consider an alarm.

      • A much cheaper option is to get a key deadbolt, and just keep the key on a nail a little higher than they can reach/climb to. Not much more time in an emergency, and no way they can escape.

        • Anononymous says:

          Also a security chain is both very high up, complicated for a child and easy for an adult to handle in an emergency.

      • Edna Mazur says:

        We put a baby gate across the hallway. our doors face each other so we can get into his room quick without going over it, and he can wander into our room, but he can’t roam the house.

    • OMG!!!!! So scary! This really is one of my worst nightmares.

  2. One and Done says:

    Is there some kind of polite way of shutting down well-meaning people who constantly ask when you’re going to have another kid? I’ve used “it’s not looking likely” which made one lady think I was having problems TTC. Which is fine, I suppose. I don’t really want to get into it with people about how only children are so sad/selfish/how I’m depriving my child of a sibling, etc. We’re really done and DH is getting a vasectomy next month. Would it be awfully rude or dishonest to say “we aren’t able to have more children” after my husband’s surgery?

    • mascot says:

      We just own it and say we are one and done. If pushed, I note that my husband and both grandmothers are only children and they are just fine, thank you very much. If I am friendly with you, I might say something along the lines of “you know how they say if we had this child first, they would have been an only? well, we had that kid first” It’s somewhat true, my kid has a really strong personality and that did slightly factor into our family planning.

      • avocado says:

        +1 to all of this, especially “we had that kid first.” I never say “we’re not able to have more” (even though that is pretty much true) because that implies an unfulfilled desire for more.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I’ve used the “we had that kid first” line too. I try to be a little careful about it because I don’t want my daughter to hear that when she’s older and think I’m slamming her, but her first year was brutal (beyond the whole chaos of being a single parent with a mentally ill, semi-abusive coparent).

        When I’m in a punchy mood, I have also said something like, “It turns out I don’t like being a parent as much as I thought I would. So I’m gonna see this one through to the end, but that’s enough for me.” People tend to stop asking you parenting questions after that ; )

    • Rude people are going to be rude no matter how much effort you put into being polite. So just say whatever you want to say – some version of “we’re not, thanks!” works well. If you feel feisty, feel free to point out that in polite society, we don’t ask family and friends about their sex lives.

    • My response is “we are only committed to this one at this point” with a smile that suggests they shouldn’t ask any follow up questions.

    • Anonymous says:

      This line of questioning is so awful. I have never personally heard the implication that only children are somehow inferior. I was an only child because my brother died, not because my parents “selfishly” didn’t want more kids. I would get up in someone’s face about only children if this were ever said to me.

    • PinkKeyboard says:

      Just say “Whenever one shows up”. They don’t know that will be half past never and it’s none of their business.

    • I would either do “we’re happy with what we have” or if you think that will be too open for questioning just say “we don’t have any definite plans, how about you?” Putting the question back on them is key. I might even do it if it was wildly implausible they would be planning for more children, as it reinforces how none of your business this question is.

      • That’s amazing. Someone just asked us – not two weeks after the birth of our second kid – if we would have a third. I was livid but it was family so I tried to bite my tongue. But I will file this one away for the future ….

        • oh god, if someone did that to me I think I might say, “just as soon as my taint heals!”

    • Sometimes I say not unless they will loan me the money for a second full-time daycare class or nanny.

    • I always say we are still undecided, which is true. I don’t give any reasons one way or the other unless it is a close friend and she asks. (I do have a pro con list. I really am undecided.) Our LO is only 2 so it makes sense right now. In a few years, if we decide we are one and done, maybe I’ll change my answer? But I feel once the kid is older people might stop asking?

    • Anononymous says:

      I’m sort of hoping to be asked that when we visit red state family. So I can say, Hillary Clinton’s child care payment plan would have made a second child possible. And then stare and stare and stare at them.

      (It’s unfortunately true, we’re economically strapped and husband isn’t that interested in a second. But I dreamed for a moment…)

      • In reality, we are holding off making a decision on a second kid to see what happens on a number of issues (is the US in a nuclear arms race/at war, can we afford the increased medical bills due to reduced/eliminated maternity coverage, can we drink the water coming out of our faucets now that the EPA has been dismantled, will either of us be laid off if there is another recession)?). My in-laws (who all voted for Trump) are pushing us to have a second kid and I so want to let them know why we are hesitating.

        • Anononymous says:

          Come back and let me know how it goes! (I’ll do the same.) Luckily for us, the family is just living in a red state and are all Hillary voters. But it’s a place where 5 kids is a “normal” size family and I relish getting to say this to the many, many prying “friends” we’ll encounter.

  3. POSITA says:

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the reliability of an au pair? We currently have two in FT daycare, but are thinking of switching to an au pair next year to give both kids more downtime at home. The 4 yo would attend preschool in the mornings, but the 1 yo would be with the au pair FT. My biggest qualm is the possibility that we’d end up with spotty coverage. Any good or bad experiences?

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “spotty” coverage. I decided against an au pair because we don’t have the living space for one, but my colleagues who do are very pleased. I think they can be even more reliable than daytime nannies because you don’t have to worry about travel time. But they have limits on how many hours per week they work – typically 35-40. So if you work 9+ hours per day and need her for that whole period, you will have to find some supplemental coverage.

      • anne-on says:

        Agreed – au pairs are great IMO for school age kids, but we do have to coordinate carefully for snow days/school breaks/sickness otherwise you can run into that 10-hours/day limit really quickly. And there’s no way you’re going to get a full 50 hours a week out of an au pair, its illegal. So unless you can do part time hours with the 1 yo (2-3 hrs/day in day care with you dropping off) you’d probably have coverage issues.
        But an au pair does work beautifully for us for our school aged kid, and it is SO helpful when he’s randomly sick/school closes early/I travel. We also don’t have local family, so we REALLY needed the extra flexibility. You need to screen carefully, but if you are honest about your priorities, what your home is like, the schedule, etc. you should be fine!

      • POSITA says:

        I think we could make the hour restriction work. We have a grandparent in town who likes to take the kids on Friday afternoons for special time. I think my husband and I could stagger schedules so that we only need care 8-5 M/Tu/W/Th and 8-12 F. Because we won’t have to do pick up or drop off, we easily save 45 minutes in the morning and evening.

        I’m more worried about sick days, vacation days and holidays. If the au pair expects to travel home for two weeks at Christmas, that’s a non starter. What are the odds that the au pair doesn’t work out and we end up with no care? That would be a huge mess.

        • Anon in NOVA says:

          Oooooo I didn’t even think about the fact they probably would want to travel home a couple of weeks a year (duh.) That would be a bit tough to work around.

          • Au pairs get 2 weeks off per year, and although different agencies have different guidelines on this, it is up to mutual agreement. So if you agree to your au pair taking two weeks over Christmas, then that is their time off for the entire year. Also, from my experience (my au pair and her friends) traveling home is really expensive and generally not on the to-do list. It is more common to have family come to them.

          • anne-on says:

            We make it a requirement that 1 week of vacation be taken when we take ours, and 1 week is at her discretion. We also take our au pair on 1 week of a family vacation, so they tend to be inclined to work with us on the other time they want. And yes, once they are here they don’t tend to want to go back to Europe, much more common to have family come visit.

        • Re: the au pair not working out. Screening is a huge, time consuming part of getting an au pair. I underestimated the time commitment that it takes to review profiles, email and Skype to find a great au pair. We actually did have our first au pair flame out. She was really really home sick and went back home within two weeks. It was a bit of a scramble for us during a really bad time of year. However, when she left, we went into “rematch” and ended up with our awesome au pair who was leaving her first host family due to ideological differences in childrearing.

          • anne-on says:

            Oh god yes, screening/skyping/emails/creating a handbook takes SO MUCH TIME. I compared it to online dating but worse because this person is going to live with you and be responsible for your kids. We use cultural care, and I really like that they do DISC personality evaluations. It definitely helps in our process.

    • There are several of us who have au pairs in this community. Our au pair has been our most reliable source of child care, hands down after trying every other type of childcare. An au pair can provide up to 45 hours of childcare in a week, with a maximum of ten hours per day. We supplement our childcare with preschool and have no problem with the 45 hours while my husband and I both work full-time. The two biggest advantages for us are that we get to set her hours so that it is a split schedule with some time in the morning and some in the afternoon/evening, and, second, that she lives with us. We have no concerns that she won’t make it because of snow or that we are trusting our kids with someone “we don’t know.” My daughter absolutely adores our au pair, and when our au pair travels my daughter is constantly asking when she will return. It has been a great experience for us.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        I think you addressed this with the split schedule comment, but I wanted to confirm.

        I understand there is a time limit, but can the hours be broken up in a way that would be otherwise inconvenient to hiring a different type of caregiver?
        For example, asking them to work 7AM-9AM, and then 12PM-5PM. (so taking a young child to a part-time preschool and then picking them up) It would be difficult to find a caregiver willing to travel to and from your house twice to do that, but since an au pair is there already is that a typical arrangement? Or even having them work 8AM-9AM then 12PM-4:30PM three days a week, but a full 10 hour day the other two? I’m starting to see more of the advantage of an au pair vs. a nanny if that’s the case.

        • That is exactly what we do. We were unable to find a nanny who would take a similar schedule (unless we wanted to pay for those off hours). Our au pair works 7:30-8:30 a.m. and then 11:30-5:30ish MWF. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she has our youngest from 7:30-5:30. Oh and actually either Wednesday or Friday night she watches the kids until 7:30. My husband and I meet for an early dinner and date night every week. The built in date night is one of the best perks for us.

        • Yes, split schedules is indeed the big perk.
          We are just hitting our one year anniversary of our amazing au pair. We adore her and she is staying a second year. There are always horror stories, but we’ve had zero drama. We put in a lot of up front work in screening. Provided a full handbook that laid out expectations up during the interview process. And got lucky that everything has been as advertised.
          As was noted above, they get two weeks off per year and we arranged it so that we pick a week and she picks a week (within reason, I let her know my busy seasons and request to avoid those).

    • avocado says:

      Does anyone have an au pair who can drive the kids? What about an au pair with an older child (tween/teen)?

      • anne-on says:

        Our au pair definitely drives our kid, so we screen for driving experience (esp. in ice/snow), and favor countries with very in-depth driving programs (like Germany). We also shadow their driving for a week or so before letting them drive alone, and do not allow them to drive with other people in the car without prior permission.

    • POSITA says:

      One follow up question if folks are still around on a Friday. Is it okay to ask the au pair to run minor errands or do minor things around the house while watching a kid(s)? For instance, we’d be asking her to drop the 4 yo at daycare every morning. Could we ask her to stop for milk and bananas (mid-week restock) with the 1 yo on her way home? It’s just one errand to get out of the way. Similarly, if the kids tear apart their bedrooms, can we ask her to help them clean up while we’re gone? I’m not talking heavy lifting. Just helping the kids do minor chores to keep the house picked up. Putting away toys, coats, backpacks, loading the dishwasher, etc. All the things that I would do naturally if I was home with the kids. Is the au pair likely to scoff?

      Thanks to all for your perspectives. It’s so helpful to have this type of input.

      • An au pair can perform child-related tasks. So our au pair is in charge of doing the children’s laundry, helping them clean their room and the playroom and picking up at the end of the day. We also ask our au pair to do “member of the household” activities. For us, this means that she is responsible for emptying the dishwasher, and I would have no problem asking her to stop and grab milk, cereal, etc. at the grocery store. I believe that some have their au pairs do the grocery shopping, but I like to have control over that. We are very up front in interviewing about what we expect our au pair to do, and we have had no pushback at all. As part of the interview process, we sound out our family handbook, which has the schedule and list of her chores.

        Also, our au pair drives our kids every day. She is responsible for picking the oldest up from school and she takes the youngest to and from preschool three times per week. She is a great driver, had experience driving in the snow and has the freedom to use on of our cars in her free time.

        In general, the s i t e: au pair mom . com is an amazing resource.

      • anne-on says:

        You’d have to check with the guidelines from the agency you use, but our au pair’s duties are limited to child-related errands. In that – yes, picking up the kid-related messes, cleaning up after kid’s meals, making the kids meals, laundry, sorting toys/clothes that are too small – all are ok and normal. You do need to screen for what I’d call tidiness/responsibility, but that’s all pretty routine.
        It is generally not ok to have them do your errands/laundry/housework, but small things like – we’re out of bananas/milk for the house, can you pick some up? are generally ok. Ditto to loading/unloading the dishwasher – I categorize that as ‘being a good roomate’ stuff – you really can’t “require” it of them, but we try our best to screen for mature au pairs who realize that is part of living with a family.

  4. For anyone who has breasfted and left their baby for more than 24 hours, how did you determine how much milk he should consume? We’re going to be gone for four nights when he is 8 mo old (in about a month). He’s eating some solids, though we’re doing BLW so it’s really at the “just for fun” stage. Though he’ll be staying with his grandparents, who really love to give him solids, so…

    I would appreciate any tips on calculating what to leave. I have built up a freezer stash for this purpose but the milk is so darn precious I want to make sure his gps know an estimated amount he’ll need. I know the average seems to be around 25-30 a day, and he typically does 9-10 oz when I’m at work. He usually does 8 feedings a day, but I really don’t think he eats 4 oz at each feeding from me. He’s also still waking up a lot at night and eating so I know he is snacking then. Any suggestions?

    • I want to say that I left 30 oz per day around that age, so I think your range is correct. My daughter definitely seemed to eat more solids while I was gone, but she has always been a good eater and not picky. You make a lot of milk at night, so he may be drinking more at night than you realize. I think I would aim for 30 oz and encourage the grandparents to serve fatty solids that he likes (like cheese, yogurt, coconut oil mixed into baby purees, etc.)

      • Thank you, that’s really helpful! I figure there is no harm in encouraging a lot of solids while I’m gone, and they sure love to feed them to him.

    • I would say leave 30 oz. per day. I left my son at 8 months for a 4-day trip and only left 25 ounces per day (enough for 5, 5 oz bottles), but he was not eating at all in the middle of the night and he was eating three, real meals of solid foods at that point.

    • Closet Redux says:

      As I understand it, a bf’d baby doesn’t need more than 30oz/day in a 24 hour period– and that includes babies who are not eating solids yet.

  5. Anon in NOVA says:

    I loved the earlier conversations about household help. It inspired me to make a list of what I’d want my imaginary daily housekeeper to do :-P (and also made me realize how much I really do when I get home every day).
    I was even nice and included some of my husband’s tasks! (loading/emptying the dishwasher, putting away groceries. In this imaginary world the groceries are delivered- he doesn’t even have to go get them!) Isn’t that big of me? Someone should really tell him what a great wife he has :-P

  6. BeBand says:

    Altho belly bands have been kind of panned on here, I tried one because my jeans are super tight (15 weeks). I think it works great, and as for the pulling up and down to go the bathroom every five minutes – I just pull the band up to my waist and pull my pants down (rather than trying to keep the band/jean combo together somehow). I don’t think it adds any annoyance to my excessive bathroom breaks.

    just in case anyone was curious!

    • I loved mine. It was almost impossible to find maternity pants for work in a long inseam (33 or more) so I really needed the band to keep my pants in rotation as long as possible! I also didn’t have to pee as much as most people during pregnancy so it worked out great for me. I did the same – just popping it up.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      It gets harder to organize everything as you get larger – I found it useful from weeks 8-18-ish, but after that I couldn’t stand it.

      And – at 15 weeks, have you tried maternity pants? Once you try maternity pants, you might just decide to trash the belly band because maternity pants are SOOO comfortable. It becomes relative at some point; maternity pants > belly band > hair tie through your button fly > squeezing yourself into fully buttoned regular pants.

      • It’s hard to give up those maternity jeans when you’re baby is born. They forgive so many sins.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        ^yes. I started needing a belly band around 15 weeks. When I finally got maternity pants (maybe around 18? 20?) I felt like SUCH AN IDIOT for not getting them sooner!! I didn’t realize how uncomfortable the belly band was until I had on comfortable pants again. I preferred maternity pants with an elastic waist instead of the panel. The belly band felt like it was just smashing my open jeans into me. Which, I guess that really is what they’re doing.

        • I was like the one person alive who hated maternity jeans, so YMMV.

          • NewMomAnon says:

            I didn’t like maternity jeans with the full panel (denim is heavy and they tended to sag), but I liked the ones with the elastic waist. On the other hand, I preferred work pants with the full panel.

          • I tried full panel and elastic waist – I could not find a pair that wouldn’t fall down! I have this problem with 99% of non-maternity jeans, too.

      • BeBand says:

        I have tried maternity pants and they are SO comfortable. I’m trying to hold off putting them all into rotation at once though, because I don’t want it to feel like I ‘only’ have four pairs of pants (or whatever I end up buying) for the next six months of my life. Maybe that’s inevitable and I should just give in?

        • rosie says:

          Dress to maximize comfort. I found the band got uncomfortable pretty quickly–I wore it one time with jeans after I had been wearing side panel jeans (but my one pair was too dirty to wear at that moment) and was like, yeah, done with this. One thing that’s worked well for me is to have a variety of waist styles, so I can wear full panel pants to work one day, and then under-belly leggings the next, because I get uncomfortable having the same style on all the time right now. Yoga pants that can go over the belly or be folded under are nice to come home to for this reason :)

  7. Famouscait says:

    What information do you gather (and from where?) to make an informed decision about public school? We’re relocating this summer and my son is still only 2, so we’d be a few years away from actually enrolling. I just don’t know where or how to get real data about the schools, and does the overall district matter? I anticipate buying a house in a racially and economically diverse area; if we bought out in the cul-du-sac land of planned neighborhoods I feel sure there’s enough property tax to support good schools, but also far less diversity on all measures. What helps inform this decision?

    • avocado says:

      Greatschools dot org has some test scores. Your state’s department of education website should also have accountability measures such as test scores as well as some measures of diversity (% eligible for free or reduced price lunch, race/ethnicity, etc.).

      In our metropolitan area, both the district and the specific school zone matter. All schools are neighborhood schools; there are virtually no magnets or charter schools. One of our large suburban districts has excellent schools on the affluent white side and terrible schools on the poor minority side. The city itself is fairly diverse but its schools are not. The situation is really de facto segregation because the city schools are so bad that everyone who can possibly afford to do so sends their children to private school. The private schools have some racial diversity but not much socioeconomic diversity.

      The neighborhood school issue means that in our area there is sadly no such thing as a public school that is both diverse and high-quality, except for the one magnet high school that is almost impossible to get into. Private school was not a good option for our family for a variety of reasons, so we seek diversity through extracurricular activities.

      • avocado says:

        Also–I visited our local public school and talked with the principal before enrolling our daughter. We were transferring her in under somewhat atypical circumstances so I had a good excuse to request a meeting, but I also remember my parents visiting public schools when deciding where to buy a house when I was a kid. It’s worth a try.

      • Anonymous says:

        The ‘racial diversity but not economic diversity’ is what I see in the schools in our town. To buy a house and pay the taxes, you need to be wealthy. Our schools actually have a higher percentage of Asian and South Asian students than the state as a whole, but is that really ‘diverse’ in the sense that we think we mean?

        I suppose it’s better than being in a completely homogeneous culture, but it’s still homogeneous in the sense that my kids will go to school with the kids of other doctors, lawyers, etc – even if they’re a different ethnicity.

      • In House Lobbyist says:

        That was the problem in the city we lived in. When you had children, everyone moved to a surrounding area or put their kids in private school. We moved 30 minutes away and went from one of the worst school districts to the best in the state – which is also the wealthiest county. We decided to put our money into housing instead of private school.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I’ve lived in my town for long enough to get a good sense of the public schools both from word of mouth and by making friends who are public school teachers (seriously, do this, it’s so helpful in being able to predict trends. Like “this kind of mediocre school just got an awesome principal, things might be looking up”).

      The greatschools dot org website pretty much corresponds with what I’ve heard in the community and from my teacher friends. It shows diversity info, test score info, etc. and gives the school an overall rating on a scale of 1-10. The rich white schools in my town in expensive areas are all 8-10s. The 5-7s are in mixed less wealthy neighborhoods.

      The elementary school in my neighborhood is a 6 and I struggle with whether or not to send my daughter there. We’ve got a few more years to decide. I’m leaning towards yes at the moment. She’s going to go to an expensive grades 6-12 private school and honestly I would prefer to send her to public school both so she can meet different kinds of people and so I don’t have to spend $12k a year on private elementary school.

      • October says:

        Our elementary school is around a 5/6, too, but you know what? The only way mediocre schools are ever going to get better is if involved, caring (and, yes, middle+ class) parents send their kids there. We talk about wanting our kids to encounter “diversity,” so it’s time to walk the walk! Plus, I don’t think the rating matters so much for elementary school for our kids — anything “academic” that is lacking will likely be made up at home. As long as there is no physical safety issue, we will definitely be doing public school.

        • Famouscait says:

          I absolutely agree with all of this. But I do wonder if I agree in the hypothetical, and may feel differently when its time to enroll my kiddo in that mediocre school.

          This article is an interesting take on the topic and is what got me thinking on the issue:

          • Anononymous says:

            I grew up in a small town where there was one school (well there were four, but it was k-2, 3-5, 6-8, and H). It was a Title 1 school (>50% of kids had free or reduced lunches). I got infinitely more attention from teachers because I was a “good” kid than I would have in a “better” school. There were definitely subjects where I could have used a boost or a different teacher (math), but I always scored in the 99th%-tile for achievement tests all through grade school. (Unfortunately, neither I nor my family members were aware that one should study for the SAT [I mean, you’re not supposed to, that entirely invalidates the purpose of the test, but we didn’t realize no one else was playing by the rules].) I got into my first choice college and actually probably had a better chance to get into an Ivy than I would have had attending a “good” school.

            I really think that parents who insist on their kids going to super-special amazing schools are actually just providing a vote of no confidence in their kid. Like, ‘you’re not objectively special, but attending ths school may make up the difference!’

          • CPA Lady says:

            ^ actually thank you for this comment, because what I was fearing in sending my kid to a mediocre school is that the teachers would be so focused on all the kids that can barely read that they would not have any attention to give to my kid. And that she’d be bored, unchallenged, and completely unprepared for the academically rigorous 6-12th grade years at private school.

            I also do worry about the poverty thing. 70% of the kids at the public elementary school that we’re considering are on free or reduced lunches. I wonder if this is regional too. Is a mediocre school in the south the same as a mediocre school in Oregon or Connecticut?

          • Former educator says:

            I’m very late, and as a former educator, and while I can definitely see where Anonymous at 2:09 is coming from, I would caution with the huge caveat that if your child will ever have any type of special need, it’s 100% going to pay off by going to the great public school.

      • Anononymous @2:09 says:

        Since you have a Jr High/High School picked out, I would just touch base with them in fourth and fifth grade about what sixth grade expectations are (amount of homework, reading level, math level, etc.)

        Just remember, Finland has the best schools in the world and they don’t even teach kids to read until they’re 7. Americans have constructed a school system not designed to educate kids but to generationally replicate poverty and racism.

    • Anonymous says:

      We went public school over private because I don’t believe in private schools but we did a lot of research into the different schools and chose our house based to get into a specific school. I wanted a school that consistently met or exceeded standards (available on our state department of education website), a school whose hours closely matched my work hours so I wouldn’t be away from the kids as much, and a diverse student body.

      • Famouscait says:

        You named a lot of factors we looked into for daycare. Thanks – that makes it feel more do-able.

        • Anonymous says:

          When we bought, I took the school zone maps for the whole city, located the schools I was interested in (also considered which high schools they fed into), and figured out which neighborhoods in the zones I was interested in. I wanted to be able to walk to school so that narrowed it further. We intentionally looked places that had a diversity of houses and lots of walkability to encourage interaction. Some large houses with large yards and garages (us), some smaller houses or townhouses, some houses where owner lives upstairs and rents basement. It’s nearish to a large university and a university hospital so it tends more racially diverse than the rest of our very white city. An middle eastern immigrant family rent the basement apartment of the end of our street. A doctor with 4 kids lives next door on one side and a SAHD with a doctor wife on the other, there’s a two mom family with 3 kids across the street. We take turns walking the kids to school together in the mornings.

          I grew up with a giant house with the giant garages on a street full the same. No one ever walked anywhere. Did not want my kid to grow up thinking it was normal for everyone’s parents to be doctors/lawyers/bankers and to chat with the neighbors mostly about their ski vacations, spring break holidays and which lawn care company/house cleaners are the best.

          So my advice is don’t look at what houses are on the market now. Figure out where you want to live and spend time watching the market in that area, maybe send out letters to a few houses you really love. We found our house by sending letters out in neighborhoods we liked. It was never on the market at all. I was about to give up after seven years of looking but the wait was worth it.

          • Famouscait says:

            Wow – this is awesome advice to consider. Thank you!

          • Anonymous says:

            We sent 30 letters, got 3 responses, 2 serious contenders and 1 house we are very happy with. We bought from the original owner who built on land that he bought from his brother so the house has literally never been on the market. We didn’t use an agent for the letters and I think the personal touch helped.

    • I think you can actually do tours of the schools. Test scores only give part of the story, in my opinion. But if you do a tour during the school day you can see the teachers and the students, interactions, ask questions about the curriculum, etc. I think this would be my approach if I were in your shoes.

    • Anonymous says:

      By far the most helpful info came from people I trusted that lived in the area. We were lucky to have a number of friends of friends in the area we were moving to. We were also pretty forward about asking folks on the street near houses we were looking at. Depending on your realtor, they can be a good resource too. Also, any way you can get onto a local mom listserve, or maybe ask your local mom listserve (if you’re on one) for a referral to someone to talk to? Especially since you are moving to a socio-economically diverse area, I’d take and test score info with a grain of salt. My kids’ eventual high school only has like a 5 or 6 from but has a great IB program and sends a great number of its graduates to excellent colleges, etc.

    • Where are you headed? (If you care to say.)

    • Sarabeth says:

      I like Niche better than Greatschools for school info. They general have more of the raw data directly available. I screen for percentage of kids getting free lunch. We’re aiming for midrange there. Schools with 40+% of children in poverty have real difficulties (this is a major finding of education research, and the reason that our country direly needs a better system for school districting and assignments). On the other hand, I do not want my kid to go to a school with 5% of kids getting free lunch either, because that is not the real world.

    • Kindergarten boy says:

      If you are relocating for work and not familiar with the area find someone (several someones) who have kids currently in schools. Ask HR or your manager to put you in touch w people, don’t be shy about it. There is no substitute for talking w people bc the statistics available online can be really deceiving or hard to interpret locally and don’t tell you about special programs or what people do. In my area for example schools range from 65% to 95% free lunch, which you can see online, and overall test scores get higher with lower free lunch eligible % (they are also whiter). But the stats don’t tell you that at some of the poorest schools they have special enrichment opportunities that may be of great interest to you. They also don’t tell that many kids of professional parents are in the gifted and talented program starting in 2nd grade and those are only in certain schools which may not be your neighborhood school…so if you buy your house for the school and your kid tests into the program or you may find out about a different kind of magnet or other program you prefer and you may be living somewhere that maybe you wouldn’t prefer for a school that you don’t even use. These are just examples… considerations that I wouldn’t even have thought to think about when I had a 2 yo. So best advice is talk to lots of people about their experiences w schools and listen for what they say and what they don’t say. You may – as I do – discount the opinions of people who only focus on test scores to judge schools.

    • I may be too late, but check the parent message boards. We’re looking to move right now, and parent comments swayed me to consider a school that’s ranked a 6, when I may not have considered it otherwise. They spoke to the culture of the school, the teachers, the community, the fact that the principal new every child’s name, etc. Also, if you have a realtor, ask her. Our realtor offered to put us in contact with parents at various schools, which has been very helpful.

  8. NewMomAnon says:

    Ok, so after my snarky comment up above about not enjoying being a parent as much as I expected, here’s a question – I accidentally stumbled on a bunch of videos from 2 years ago in my Amazon account, and found myself just crying as I was watching them. Ever wish you could have a redo of some portion of your child’s life? It’s probably the only reason I would even humor having a second kid – to have the perspective and maybe the coparent support to enjoy the baby years more.

    • My husband and I were both working ludicrous schedules when our daughter was a baby. Pretty much through the first year of her life. I don’t know if I’d redo it, but the logistics were very stressful. I do think I’d try less hard at work during that time if I knew then what I know now. I sacrificed a lot of things for that job and it was not worth it in retrospect.

    • avocado says:

      I have often wished I could go back and enjoy my pregnancy and her infancy a whole lot more. This would require not having hyperemesis, not being on law review, and probably not being in law school at all.

      Now that she is older I wish I could make time move more slowly. Every night I go to bed thinking “It’s more than half over! I wish I had done more today to take advantage of my time with her!”

    • I really like your honestly. The first year is super hard. I don’t necessarily want a redo, but I am making more of an effort to cherish right now. For example, almost every other night after I pick up LO and bring him home, he’ll ask to cuddle on the couch. I have a million things I want to do, but I’m really trying to slow down and sit with him. Because he needs it and it is precious. When he’s older, he won’t want anything to do with me. If dinner doesn’t get made right then, it’s not a huge deal.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I just remember getting so frustrated when she would demand to be carried, and I treated her like she was a lot older than she was, developmentally. Watching the videos last night made me realize that she really was just a baby. A part of me thinks that I maybe don’t enjoy being a parent of a baby very much and it’s OK that I didn’t enjoy that time, but part of me wishes I could have just done less, slowed down, and made more accommodations so I could have enjoyed her as a baby instead of being inconvenienced.

        In other news, I very much enjoy the stage we are in now. After the initial “WTF” when I realized I now have to parent a little person, rather than just tending to a baby/toddler’s physical needs, I’m really enjoying the process of exploring her viewpoints and setting appropriate boundaries, discipline, and challenges in place for her. It really does get better.

        • avocado says:

          Once I had a baby I realized I was just not a baby person, and I decided pretty early on that it was OK if I didn’t enjoy every minute of it as long as I did my best for the kid. I also had what the evil Dr. Sears would call a “high-need” baby, which might have played into it. Like you, I found parenting to be infinitely more fun and rewarding when the kid started to turn into an actual little person. So maybe wanting to go back and slow down and enjoy babyhood just isn’t realistic.

        • This is me. I have two kids, and I like to say that I love my babies — but I fall in love with my two year olds. I love the independence, fearlessness and sweetness. Also, a baby’s cries makes me an anxious, nervous wreck — but two year old tantrums don’t bother me (I think it’s because I rarely need to “fix” the cause of an older kid tantrum — like you do when your infant is crying). We’re on the fence on 3, and if I could skip pregnancy and the first two years, I’d be all in.

          Also — NewMomAnon, I gave a long answer to you yesterday about Reggio Emilia as an alternative to Montessori, but it was really late! TL;Dr, we love it — hugely happy with the program.

          • Anon in NOVA says:

            YES so well said “I love my babies- but I fall in love with my two year olds”
            I’m just not a baby person. If I could skip the first year I’d have so many more! I have moments of that “I wish I could go back and appreciate it more” line of thinking, but I’m sure I’m just romanticizing that time period.

    • Kindergarten boy says:

      No one in real life ever talked about how hard the first year is. I was blessed w a high needs baby too and seriously think I had PTSD. Then #2 came just when #1 was getting easier and more fun and it was another rough year. BUT now, with 2 big kids in elementary school #3 – I am enjoying!! Partly because #3 is just a calmer baby but also bc we are older wiser and we know we have to savor it.

      That we have more $$ and job security and flexibility NO DOUBT contributes to our enjoyment of this little one. Writing this with a napping baby on my chest. Mmmm. :)

    • ChiLaw says:

      Yes, I feel all sorts of ways about this. I had PPD and found parenting a newborn SO stressful, but also, oh that tiny newborn snuggling in my arms. I’ve thought, too, “could I be a better parent to a second kid?” but also “do I really want to go through that again?”

      I do bedtime with my daughter about 6 nights a week, and I make a point of just being there with her, snuggling and singing, and trying not to rush the moment. She grows so fast!

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