Maternity Monday: Drape Front Blouse

This bright fuchsia blouse from ASOS looks fun, and it’s machine washable, too. ASOS has a lot of really cute maternity clothes right now, but it’s hard to find styles that have multiple sizes still in stock. This one is $45 (with free shipping and free returns) and comes in sizes 2–16, almost all of which are still available. Note that it has a button/keyhole neckline at the back. ASOS Maternity Drape Front Blouse

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  1. Anonanonanon says:

    I’ve ordered one or two things from asos this pregnancy (usually for weekend wear, not work wear) and have been pleased with everything I’ve received so far.

    We just had our (phone) conference with our son’s second grade teacher. Last year, we had a teacher who demanded absolute silence in her first grade classroom and it was a really tough year for my son. We asked about his focus/chatter, and it was really refreshing to hear his teacher say it was not any better or worse than the other kids, and that they’re in second grade and a certain amount of focusing issues and chatter is to be expected, and that he’s just glad the class is so friendly with each other. He also said usually when our son is chatting with someone, it’s because he’s really excited about something he just read in a book and wants to share it with his friend, so he tries not to discourage it unless it’s disruptive.

    We recognize he has to work on not sharing every interesting thing he reads or sees in that moment out loud (trust me, we don’t love it when it happens at home either) but it was so great to hear a teacher say he doesn’t want to discourage kids from sharing their excitement over reading with their friends.

    • Tfor22 says:

      That is great news! This sounds like a much better classroom environment.

    • FTMinFL says:

      Yay! As an excited learner myself, I am so thankful to parents who put up with my need to recount every book I ever read in painstaking detail. Your son will appreciate the way you listen later in life :)

  2. Mom of Three says:

    Hello! I don’t really know where to turn so I am posting here for the first time, and I am really hoping for some input about my birth experience.

    I went to a prominent hospital to have my third baby naturally. I was in triage for about 11 hours before I was moved to labor and delivery (L&D). I had my baby about 2 hours afterward. I had an L&D nurse who seemed inexperienced (didn’t want to perform vaginal exams and wasn’t good at it, was more keen on setting up equipment than monitoring me). I ended up pushing the baby’s head out on my own so the baby’s head dropped on the bed, which probably caused the baby’s facial bruising. While this happened, the nurse was several feet away setting up equipment. I spoke to a director to complain that the nurse didn’t act appropriately so I received no help from her nor did she enable anyone else to help me (I requested for a Dr. to be called) before the baby’s head was out. That director and another director follow up with a phone call a week later, basically telling me that my delivery was rapid and that was that. I mulled it over for a month before sending an email telling her my thoughts in writing, to be more coherent. That email was forwarded to the director of customer relations, who sent me a letter detailing the nurse’s account of what happened. It was surreal reading that letter because it sounded like someone else’s experience and not mine, and it was sloppy with factual errors. I replied to the letter via email, copying the CEO/president of the hospital, to refute the nurse’s account. For example, (1) the nurse reported that during my L&D visit she never left my room but she left several times, once when the OB came and he had to call around looking for her, (2) the nurse indicated that as she was preparing to perform a vaginal exam, the OB arrived – this did not happen at all, see (1) and when I requested the exam upon arrival in L&D, the nurse told me she would rather have the OB perform the exam, (3) the nurse pulled back the covers and saw the baby’s head crowning and she called for assistance – also untrue, because she saw that the head was out, went to the door and yelled “the baby’s head is out.” I understand it is my words against the nurse’s, but my version can be substantiated (e.g., talking with the OB and the other nurses who came in to help).

    The CEO promptly sent an email apologizing for the lack of positive experience and offered to meet with me. I asked for a substantive reply to my email before scheduling such meeting. I then received another letter from the director of customer relations, mechanically detailing when I got registered into the hospital, when I left triage, when I was transferred to L&D, when my vitals was taken, and when vaginal exams were preformed. But conveniently leaving all that happened 25 minutes before the birth out, which was the point of contention, including the last vaginal exam performed by the nurse during this time. The letter again stated that the nurse saw the baby’s head crowning and called for help. It did not in any way address any of my refutation to the nurse’s account. Yet, the conclusion was that my care appears appropriate and timely and my case is considered closed.

    I know the sane thing to do here is to avoid looking at my newborn’s pictures, avoid this hospital and stop carrying this baggage. But, I can’t seem to get over the fact that I was given rather poor service, the nurse lied about it and is getting away with it. What do I do when the leadership team is against me?

    I’m not sure if I should still meet with the CEO, and if I do, how should I approach the meeting?

    • Bottom Line says:

      What are you trying to accomplish? What do you want?

      Do you just want to get over it? It might help to meet with the CEO for closure. The CEO seems apologetic and might make you feel better. But remember that the CEO has a job to do, and may not ultimately concede as much as you want.

      Do you want some sort of recourse? Refund? Nurse to be disciplined? Just an apology? (You said the CEO already apologized, but it sounds like that was not enough). You have to decide what you’re trying to accomplish before you can decide what to do.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sorry you have these feelings about your birth experience, and they are certainly valid and I don’t want to minimize your unhappiness with how this went down in any way. That said, I want to echo the question of what you want to accomplish.

        FWIW, this is similar to one of my birth experiences. I was never even admitted to L&D (OB’s fault, really), ended up pushing the baby out in a (shared!) HRP room while the nurses were busy setting up equipment and trying to strap the fetal monitor on me. My husband was the one who picked the baby up off the bed while the nurses pushed call buttons and called for the OB or generally looked really confused about what was happening.

        A few years later, it’s a “wtf?!” story, but I went back to that hospital for the next baby, and I never made a thing out of it. My husband wanted to, but I couldn’t answer the “what is the point?” question in a way I found satisfactory. The baby and I were totally healthy, it was a good birth outcome, just an imperfect experience. I filled out the hospital’s survey with an account of what had happened, but no one ever reached back out to me, nor did I expect them to.

        Childbirth is unpredictable. Nurses aren’t perfect. I wouldn’t assume that facial bruising is from the baby’s head falling on the bed — babies’ faces are often unattractive because of all the pressures of birth. If you think this nurse was not properly trained or that the hospital’s protocols could put other patients in danger, absolutely bring that up. But to be honest, I’m not getting that impression out of your description of the events.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I want to second (third?) the suggestion to stop and think about what you hope to accomplish/get out of this.

        I definitely don’t want to minimize what was clearly a negative birth experience, childbirth is scary enough without feeling like you’re just pushing out your baby all alone while the person in the room who is supposed to assist you isn’t doing so! Your negative view of that experience is 100% justified, I want to make that clear.

        However, I would focus on what your ASKS are if you talk to the CEO. Are you suggesting more training for nurses on a specific area? Different staffing levels? A change in protocol? what would you like to see? Right now it sounds like you would like an apology, and I think they’ve likely given you all the apology they’re going to. You and your baby came out healthy, so all they can do (in their mind) is apologize that that process wasn’t a pleasant experience for you. If that’s your goal, I don’t think you’re going to get the closure you seek.

        I am 100% one of those people who gets very angry when I feel like something is unfair, or that someone is lying and getting away with it. I get “angry tears” on those occasions, so I get it. But ultimately you have to ask yourself if the juice is worth the squeeze, is the end result of whatever you hope to get out of this worth the time and energy it will take from you?

    • I agree with trying to answer what you are looking for: Do you want to be recognized as right? Do you want the nurse to be reprimanded/retrained?

      When I had a (very, very) bad experience with a nurse, the hospital leadership took it very seriously and she was reprimanded & never allowed to be near my son again. I didn’t have the emotional energy at the time to pursue anything more.

      Are you sure that the bruising is from hitting the table? I would think that would have to be a significant force. My second had facial bruising. I had a precipitous labor & nearly didn’t make it up to L&D. They wheeled me into one of the emergency L&D rooms and I immediately delivered. They told me that the bruising on face was because she went through the birth canal so fast. I just peeked at her birth announcement and you can totally see the bruising two weeks later, but only if you know what you are looking at. Her birth is definitely a story, but the bruising is just something that I remember.

      I hope you can still find some joy in this time with your newborn — the bad memories do fade.

      • Mom of Three says:

        OP: Thanks everyone. I do think the nurse should be retrained. But I guess I have been thinking that unless I can prove that I am right and that she is wrong, the hospital would not provide such training or do anything in particular about the nurse. I also dislike the fact that the hospital is highlighting only the facts that fit their narrative, so it looks like everyone is covering up for the nurse (as expected for liability reasons I suppose). I spoke to my OB (who unfortunately didn’t make it for the birth) about my experience and she completely agreed with me, suggesting that she had patients and even had personal experience that was lackluster at this hospital. From that conversation, I felt like I really needed to bring up my story to the highest level that I could to prevent this from happening to anyone else, mostly because I could. Not everyone could, due to their position, language barriers, or whatever. So, after this meeting I think I would stop regardless of the outcome. Although, just for kicks, I did look up how to file a complaint against a nurse to the Board of Nursing.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          If it helps – my mom used to be in HR for several large hospital chains. It is extremely rare for a complaint against a medical provider to come completely out of the blue. Usually, it’s part of a known pattern, and hospitals keep records of those patterns until they have a critical mass to require retraining or firing or something else. It takes quite a bit of effort and record-keeping to get a nurse fired in the U.S. because of union rules, malpractice liability, etc. So be satisfied that you’ve done your part by contributing to the paper trail. You may never know what happens with that nurse, but your efforts probably weren’t for nothing.

  3. Tfor22 says:

    Sorry in advance if this is a bit scattered! Last week on All Souls Day my husband was traveling and I had to serve at church. Our son (who is 12) had a test in the subject he struggles with the most the next day and was really nervous about it. It was a good chunk of his grade for the marking period. He didn’t want me to leave (even though I had mentioned it a few times in the week before). While I was gone he tried to reach me but couldn’t since the service wasn’t over yet. (I could have been more explicit about the times, I now see.) He concluded that something had happened to me and was completely panicked. He has been worried about one of his parents dying ever since.

    And now for my question–Friday we have opera tickets. We have a babysitter who can come who has watched him for years. But during the day (because of the teacher conference) he’ll have a new caregiver from backup care. In between there is maybe an hour tops with one of us. It feels like this is too much for the guy. He’ll also have a caregiver (same reason but one we know and really like) Wednesday from 10 am to 9 pm. Should we skip the opera?

    • mascot says:

      That seems like an awful lot of anxiety that he’s working with (I’m not a healthcare pro, fwiw). Would he benefit from talking to someone, doing meditation, or otherwise working on some coping skills to help him through this? Could you arrange check-ins with his sitter while you are gone?

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I had this fear when I was young as well (sort of still do). It was triggered by a 2-3 year period where multiple very close friends of mine lost their parents in truly bizarre and horrific ways (murder, drunk driver car crash, cancer they had no idea was there until given a month to live… etc.). I was a bit clingier during this time but, honestly, I don’t think my parents staying home more would have made a difference. I would have been just as worried the next day if they were 30 seconds late to pick me up from school whether they had skipped the opera or not.

      I know this isn’t a light suggestion, but maybe talk to him about it and see if therapy is warranted? I will say I still carry that same fear with me on some level at all times and while it’s not debilitating and doesn’t necessarily disrupt my life, it would be nice if I had learned how to control it at a younger age.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Examples of how this has manifested as an adult for me:
        -I kiss my son goodbye every morning thinking of Sandy Hook and “that could happen today”
        -I’m convinced there’s a 50% chance my husband will die in a car crash on the way to pick me up any pregnancy craving food I request (the universe WILL punish me for sending him out for a hamburger)
        -I don’t like going to concerts, crowded shopping malls on weekends, voting in-person on big election days, etc. because I’m convinced something bad could happen (this could also be because I make a living planning for emergencies including those that result in mass fatalities, or maybe that’s my living because I have those concerns? who knows. something to unpack at a later date)

        I don’t freak out and cry or let that worry consume me, but it’s always there and it’s there every day. I manage to live my life just fine but is it the healthiest? no. And it’s not alleviated by NOT doing those things or by my loved ones staying home, because at some point we all have to leave the house so alleviating the worry temporarily doesn’t affect the next time we’re separated.

        I’m sharing this to say I think regardless of whether you go to the Opera or not, he’s going to be worried when ya’ll are apart, and it’s worth exploring coping strategies now so that he’s not one day bugging his spouse to make sure they logged into the DMV website to add their emergency contact information so he knows the state trooper will call him if something happens. (maybe I did that last week)

    • It sounds like he needs some extra time with you (or both of you individually) this week. It’s up to you on how you (both) can carve that out. Can you take off Friday and spend the day with him, even if you each take half of the day, and then it should be okay to leave for the Opera at night? Can you spend Wed with him? Can you take off early a few days and spend after-school-through-bedtime with him? Not sure on the timing of the Opera vs his bedtime, but if he’s going to be sleeping for most of the time you’re away, that might not be the best plan.

      I think the key will be giving him your undivided attention, which I know is hard when you’re missing work, but it sounds like he really needs reassurance that you guys are going to be there for him when he needs you. And he clearly needs you right now. Find a way to give him several hours (each) of your time, and that should help a bit with the anxiety.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I have a few thoughts on this.

      1. I think if you are concerned about your son’s anxiety levels, you should deal with that proactively, but not necessarily live your life in a way that always accommodates his anxiety. In my experience, being accommodated when I’m anxious about something gives credence to the anxious thought and makes the anxiety worse. Being pushed outside my comfort zone while being supported helps and gives me confidence and a data point that demonstrates that the anxious thought is incorrect.

      2. Have you talked to your kid’s pediatrician about this? He may need to learn some coping skills and the pediatrician may have some good references.

      3. I was an anxious kid and it would have helped me to know what would happen if my parents did die. I didn’t know that life insurance was a thing, and I didn’t know what would happen to me if my parents died. So I automatically assumed I would become homeless (???).

    • I wouldn’t skip the opera. Maybe you can call him a few times to check in just so he isn’t too worried. And I think talking in advance about your plans is good. But I agree that the anxiety is a separate issue and skipping your plans isn’t the way to treat it.

    • Tfor22 says:

      Thanks, everyone! It really helps to hear a variety of viewpoints and experiences.

  4. No experience with kids this age but I had this happen when I was a similar age. I was terrified of dying or someone I loved dying and concocted some pretty terrifying scenarios. The difference? I never told anyone so was just a scared kid on my own, preparing myself for the inevitable tragedy. I think it was tied up with stress, as it sounds like with your kiddo. No real thoughts on the concert but could you spend some extra time throughout the week talking about things?

    I babysat for someone who would never “make promises she couldn’t keep” so told her kids she’d come back if it was in god’s plan. Don’t do that…the last thing an anxious kid needs is a sense of a capricious deity.

  5. Anon in NYC says:

    My 2.5 year old has started stalling at bedtime, and I would appreciate some tips on how to proceed! She doesn’t actually fight the bedtime routine at all, and willingly goes in her crib. But she has started doing things like calling out for me or DH to go back in and put her blanket on her. Or, she’ll throw a book out of her crib and need that book back. Or, if we’ve put socks on her, she’ll take the socks off and then need help putting it back on (we’ve stopped putting socks on her). Then after she falls asleep, she typically wakes up at least 1-2x per night and calls for us until we go in there and put her blanket on her. If we try the “le pause” trick, she quickly escalates into wailing.

    My husband wants to return to CIO-style tactics, but I don’t think that will really work with a toddler. Any other suggestions?

    • My daughter did something similar recently and I just went in and made it no fun. She’d tell me her foot hurt and I needed to kiss it so I’d say “ok, here you go. Bedtime now. I’m in the next room if you need me.” They key was not to linger. I think at this age kids look for reassurance and will usually get bored of this if you just don’t linger.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      My son is 7.5 now, so my memory could be incorrect/vague, but I remember basically resorting back to CIO tactics at that point. I’d explain the bedtime routine (which was the same every night), and before I left the room I’d ask if he needed anything “are you good on water? do you have enough blankets? can you think of anything else you might need? because once mommy leaves it’s time to go night night and I’m not going to come back in”. And then I would stick to that and not go back in. By 2.5 I knew the difference between an “I’m mad you won’t come hand me the book I want” cry and an “I’ve actually hurt myself” cry.

      He wasn’t in a crib at that age, so he was more prone to getting up and leaving the room than crying. I had to sit outside the door for three nights in a row and calmly tell him to get back into his room each time he tried to leave, but after that he stopped trying.

      • bluefield says:

        This is my vote. Appeasement never works. You need to be firm or else this will escalate as time goes on.

    • I don’t know if you’re willing to do this, but what I do is sit there and pat kiddo in his toddler bed, but in complete silence and darkness so it’s no fun and I bore him to sleep. I don’t think he’s ever taken more than half an hour to pass out completely, when I do that…

    • Anonymous says:

      We are having the same problem with my two and a half year old. Although not as frequent.

      She goes down fine around 7:30/8:00. Then anywhere from 2-4 we get repeated calls to her crib to replace a blanket, add or remove her pillow, etc. I make this very un-fun. Go in. Perform the requested task to make her be quiet. And leave. This has not stopped it from happening and is driving me crazy.

      My toddler wakes me up more than my four month old. Hoping others have helpful solutions!

    • Momata says:

      My kids are 2.5 and almost 4. Both of them like to stall. The 4yo, we use “123-magic” – basically when she gets to 3 times out of her room, she gets a consequence (losing a stuffie or having the door closed), but if she doens’t get to 3 times out of her room, she gets a reward in the morning. The 2.5yo, I do not engage. I go in once for the first request but then after that I say “it’s time to sleep, nobody is coming back, good night, I love you.” It takes a couple nights of CIO but less than 5 minutes both times.

    • My 2.5-year-old tried has tried similar tactics. We use a combination of going back to the Ferber method (going back in at 2 minutes, then 5, then 10–for me, the key is that the time gets longer, and the parent decides when to go in) and being really boring when we go in. It seems like the full CIO wouldn’t work for him at this point. If Kiddo wants something adjusted, like socks or a blanket, we usually do that, but neutrally, like AIMS suggests. If he asks for something that he’s not allowed to have in bed, we just say “No, it’s bedtime. You can see/have it in the morning.”

      What goes in the bed is really predictable — same pillow, same pillowcase, same blankets, same stuffed animal, a bottle of water. No other toys or books are in the room. Someone here suggested that, and I thought it was impossible in our small house. I’m not thrilled that my living room looks like a toy museum, while our son’s room, one of the largest in the house, is a haven of clean and empty space. But I’ll admit that he sleeps much better without all the distractions.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Thanks, all! We’ve definitely tried to make all interactions very boring, but I think she just likes having us come in. I’m not sure if she’d really understand consequences/rewards at this point, but we’ll consider it… and of course, just not going in!

  6. I know this has been posted before but I am having trouble finding the post! We are going on our first flight with toddler and are looking for ways to keep him entertained on the plane. All suggestions are appreciated!

    • How old is he? Some suggestions that have worked for us: stickers, little presents to unwrap every X hours, tablet with headphones if he’ll keep them on, lots and lots of books, crayons and paper/ colouring book, pillbox of various snacks including a few slightly unhealthy treats…

    • Thisperson1 says:

      We brought a lot of different toys for toddler’s first trip, and the thing he loved the most? A large daily pill dispenser box with snacks in each compartment. He was able to open it but had to work a bit to get it, and got snacks. We use it for any long car trips, etc.

    • I hit up the target dollar spot. Two things in particular kept my toddler busy on a cross country flight– a box of bandaids that she unwrapped and put all over her stuffed lion, and this finding nemo jar that involved a glittery piece of foam with holes punched in it that you could stick little cardboard plants, and set up the cardboard fish into a little scene. She still plays with that thing months later. She took good naps too. The roar of the plane’s engine was like a white noise machine. I also let her have unlimited pacifier time, which was a special treat.

    • Artemis says:

      Another vote for MANY stickers–my toddler liked to stick them all over the tray table and seat back, and peel them off again, and re-stick them . . . took some clean up but worth it.

      ALSO, Crayola Color Wonder makes travel kits–little self-contained plastic snap-shut boxes that hold Color Wonder paper pads and Color Wonder markers–markers that are CLEAR unless you use them on the special paper–so no mess on anybody or anything while traveling!

      And figure toys without wheels–no matchbox cars to send flying–but little toy dinosaurs, or animals, or people without little parts–just to hold and throw around and talk to, etc. etc.

      • +1 all of this. We use those Toob figure toys. Buy a couple sets, and bring out 3-4 at a time. They’re smaller, but you’re right there watching them play so it’s okay.

        Stickers for sure. Those wax sticks were also popular when mine were toddlers, more so than Playdough. (And less messy)

        Another idea in a pinch is just those condiment cups from a restaurant. At 18 months, mine could sit for a good 20 minutes playing and stacking those. We even used some spare drinking cups from the flight attendant one time. One ice in two cups helped quickly diffuse a tantrum.

        We bought a bunch of character mini tupperware/ziplocs from the Target dollar spot and filled them with snacks. That way, the container and the snack were both entertainment.

        Practice headphones in advance, we used the Vtech ones from Amazon. But even without that, they can sit and stare at a cartoon without hearing it, if you get desperate.

        And a good stuffed animal to cuddle. Mine liked those ones with buckles on them and a zipper pouch, although they didn’t start playing with the buckles for real until about 2 years old. Search Buckle Toy Buster on Amazon to see one of the 4-5 options.

        Finally, we kept all of this in one of those Skip Hop backpacks – packed one for each kid (with some “extras” in my checked suitcase for the return trip) and kept it under their seat. Perfect to corral all this stuff. Toys in the main compartment, snacks in the front zipper. A take-n-toss water bottle in the mesh on the side.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      A roll of blue painters tape to stick all over the back of the seat in front/tray table. Kept my kiddo amused forever…also, the Friskie’s cat fishing app, or any of the bubble apps meant for small children. Pictures of trucks and animals on your phone, or pictures and videos of kiddo.

      • +1 to blue painters tape. I kept my 15 mo son entertained for half an hour by putting tape on my nose. Pictures of friends and family are good too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone on here once suggested the Friskies Cat games for phones — they’re still about what my 2 y-o can handle, app wise. Download those and a “painting” app on your phone or tablet!

      • Anonymous says:

        I have tried everything. I am now in love with Melissa & Doug reusable stickers. $5 for 4 pages. They entertained my 2 1/2 year old for hours on a plane and they require less clean up. Other recent winners from a cross country flight were play doh and the plastic cup from the airline.

    • farrleybear says:

      We had great result with magnetic tiles for our 2.5 year old on recent flight to Hawaii. They are different shapes and click together to allow kids to build stuff or just play–bonus is they are less likely to get dropped under seat since they stick together. Also, the water pen coloring books (I think Melissa and Doug) were a hit.

  7. Artemis says:

    Gift help, please, for my mother-in-law’s birthday. She doesn’t need or want any more stuff–not any stuff that I can think of right now, or that she’s willing to ask for, anyway. She’s a total foodie and an excellent cook and baker and enjoys it. I would actually like to buy her something consumable, for use in the kitchen or just yummy to eat, but that’s tough too–she already buys specialty olive oils and vinegars from a local store, she’s a farmer’s market groupie, and she travels a bunch and often buys foodstuffs on her travels.

    Does anyone have any interesting/unique foodie gifts to suggest? She also loves chocolate so if anyone knows of some really wonderful but lesser-known or really gourmet chocolate that might work too . . . thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yummly Bazaar subscription box?

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I’m really reaching here… but would a nice personalized canvas tote of some sort for her frequent farmer’s market trips be helpful? or a nice basket or something? (Be sure to mention it’s for the farmers market so she’ll know thought went into it)

      • Artemis says:

        I wish, this is such a good idea–a few years ago we got her reusable shopping bags with pics of the grandkids on them. Big hit! She uses them at the farmers’ market :).

    • Blueberry says:

      If you know her well enough, maybe some great cookbooks, particularly cookbooks that would cause her to stretch her cooking muscles — I’m thinking the Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks, for example, which got great reviews. Maybe pair them with some of the more unusual spices or other ingredients she wouldn’t already have in her kitchen?

    • Newbie says:

      Penzey’s spices – they have all sorts of fancy/unusual things depending on what type of cuisine she likes.

    • Artemis says:

      Thank you so far–she’s already a Penzey’s spice queen and has cookbooks coming out her ears but I’m going to check out the Yotam Ottolenghi one and also look at Yummly, but am also open to any more ideas!

      • Ottolenghi cookbooks are great but do call for some random spices. Maybe look through and buy her some that repeat throughout the recipes?

        Another idea – fancy vanilla. These can be pricey and I love using the good stuff when I bake.

    • octagon says:

      If she is not averse to mixes, Momofuku Milk bar sells cookie and cake/pie mixes on their site. They also sell some unusual ingredients like corn powder that she could use in other recipes.

    • If she likes to bake, King Arthur Flour has unbelievable baking supplies–specialty flours, a million kinds of vanilla, half sheet parchment paper. If she’s a bread baker, you could get her a bannette (a basket for helping bread rise), lame (baguette slasher), cloche for bread baking. It’s basically paradise. They also have gift baskets.

    • With the holidays coming up, what about some holiday beverage mixes? Cocoa and artisan marshmallows for hot chocolate, or spices for mulled wine, or good tea or coffee?

    • I am also a foodie and I love cooking. I already have the Ottolenghi books and a lifetime supply of sumac. What I would love are beautiful things for entertaining. A porcelain honey jar, awesome salt and pepper shakers, trivets, butter dish, cutting board, apron, serving dish, etc. Could be holiday themed but I would want them to be really high quality. I do not want spice mixes, fancy salt, or anything that will take up space in my refrigerator after opening. I just feel guilty when I throw them away. The consumable I would use the most would be a gift bean sampler from Rancho Gordo, but I love beans.

      • Jeffiner says:

        +1 I’m also a foodie and love cooking. I will research and pick out the specialty tools or pans that I want (or decide that I don’t want), but when it comes time to serve things I’m scrambling to make a mixing bowl do double duty as a serving bowl.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Does she cook/bake FOR people and events? (book club, etc.). Would personalized “from the kitchen of ___” labels, little gift bags she could use to gift baked goods, or something similar be useful?

    • Is it possible to arrange an experience gift in her area, like a farm tour, tour of a small chocolate factory, or something similar? Cooking schools might offer such tours.

    • Frozen Peach says:

      I can help! I gave this to a friend who has everything and it was a huge hit. Raw Spice Bar has a subscription where they will send you monthly packages of very high-end exotic spice blends that are curated/ created by chefs and come with paired recipes.

    • Is she a reader? Can you pair a book with a food themed gift? Like give her a copy of A Gentleman in Moscow with some caviar and vodka?

    • Anonymous says:

      I recently saw a super gorgeous multi pocket garden tool bag, but it was styled for use at the farmer’s market. Like with fresh carrots sticking out of the pockets and not getting crushed. Unless she has a “system” for shopping at the farmer’s market, I’d consider that.

      Found it online! It’s the Apolis Garden Bag.

  8. Anonanonanon says:

    2 pregnancy questions:
    1. OMG swelly legs. This didn’t happen with my first, but I was also 8 years younger (too young to be pregnant honestly) so a lot is different. Would a stool under my desk make a difference? or since my feet would still be below my heart would it not really matter?

    2. I’m in an awesome place professionally right now, things have really exploded (in a positive way) the past few months, and now I’m dreading being out for 12 weeks! I’m torn- I really don’t want to do any work while I’m on FMLA on principle, but I don’t want to miss all the “fun” either! Can’t the professional world just do me a solid and like… stop for 12 weeks? seems reasonable, right? :-P

    • Blueberry says:

      1. Compression thigh high tights and swimming both help me a lot. The days I manage to swim in the morning, my ankles barely swell. I make it a priority these days, also because it’s really the only form of exercise my body can manage.

      2. I feel exactly the same way. My rational response is that once I’m out for a couple months, the momentum is lost anyway, so I might as well embrace maternity leave and take all the time I can, because it’s so precious. But it stings to be saying no to work that I’ve been trying to get a foothold in for years! Heading into my previous leave, I was too junior and replaceable for it to matter.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Exactly! It’s hard to be rational, though. i found out my name was “put out there” to be on a committee to plan a training for the entire state, but someone pointed out the training would take place while I was still out and that I’d be out for 2 months leading up to the training (aka all the important parts) so I wasn’t included. I wanted to scream “WHAT WHY WHAT IS THE DIAL IN NUMBER I WILL BE AT THAT MEETING” even though it would make zero sense for me to have any involvement :( :(

        • AwayEmily says:

          I hear you. I just got invited to an awesome-sounding conference two weeks after my due date in January and legit thought “well, MAYBE…” (ultimately logic won out and I said no).

          On the up side, it’s pretty great that we love our jobs enough that this is an issue!

          • Anonanonanon says:

            Haha i had the EXACT same thing come up… but then realized you can’t go to a conference while you’re out on short-term disability (which is what my first 6 weeks of time off will be). Sigh. Yes, it really is a blessing to actually love our jobs, great point!

      • Blueberry says:

        Congrats btw! Were you the one whose first kid was an accidental pregnancy and then had been trying for some time for the second?

    • My swelling was awful. I feel your pain. I propped up under my desk at all times, propped up over my head (using the couch) at home for at least a short period when getting home from work, and tried to swim as much as I could. Nothing took it away but at least it made life a little bit more worth living.

    • ElisaR says:

      i’m dealing w/ the swelly legs right now too. i do have my feet propped up on a stool, and i can tell it definitely helps (even though they aren’t all that high up). i’m 36 wks and at the point where your feet hurt just sitting at the desk so definitely getting some help with the prop!

      and what the other poster said about compression socks/stockings – that’s true they are helpful! although it’s 70 degrees in NJ today so i’m not sporting them.

      elevate the feet even more when you get home and good luck! (oh and drink a lot of water…… hmmm maybe i need to take my own advice there)

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Propping feet helps. I also took short, frequent walks around the office/neighborhood, which helped a lot.

  9. AwayEmily says:

    Anyone have a (current) recommendation for some black pregnancy skinny jeans/jegging type things that (1) have a full panel (2) have pockets on them so they look like real pants and (3) are soft/comfy. I basically want some black leggings that can semi-pass as pants.

  10. Raleigh Ped Rec? says:

    I missed Friday’s chat and someone said they had a pediatrician in Raleigh that they would recommend. I’m not the OP from that threat, but I would love a recommendation!

    • Anonymous says:

      Oberlin Rd Pediatrics. Specifically Dr Galla, but everyone I met there was great. She was my first kid’s first doctor, and I honestly get emotional thinking about how great she was.

  11. What do you do when there isn’t enough time in the day to do your job? I have a hard stop at 5:00 for daycare pickup. I start work early and have put in 9+ hours by then, so its not like I’m working a shortened day. My team is short staffed and I am sort of stuck with all of the work. My base job could take up at least all 9 hours a day just sitting at my desk with no interruptions. Add to that 200+ emails/day, coworker interruptions, meetings, and other requests I feel like i’m constantly behind and there is no hope of catching up. I keep trying, but I’m not even sure of what to do anymore. I keep saying i will do more work at night, but I’m also the default parent at night (husband works late), so by the time I pick up kids, do dinner, homework, bedtime, straighten up etc its already almost 10 and even if I get to bed right then I’m looking at less than 7 hours of sleep. When do I get my work done? How do other people work at night while still have anytime for sleeping & relaxing? It sort of feels hopeless overall and like I need a total life change in order to make everything work and not feel totally stressed and frazzled all the time.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      For me, step one was acknowledging that I cannot work at night. I just can’t. By the time I switch gears mentally to do daycare pickup, evening routine, dinner, cleanup, acknowledge my husband exists, bedtime, etc. I’m just done. If I’m in a crazy busy period I have to get up at about 5am to knock out some work at home (usually it’s a hard deadline.. like finishing a presentation I have to give later the same day) until about 6:30 and then I get dressed and head out the door at my usual time of 6:50. I’m very much not a morning person and I love my sleep, but I just can’t work in the evenings.

      Can you minimize the amount of cleanup you have to do in the evenings? If this is temporary, can you focus on easier meals with less clean up (ie stouffers lasagna and bagged salad) to minimize the time you’re spending on that? Save some of the cleaning for the weekends? Then maybe you can get to bed earlier.

      If this is going to be long-term, it seems worth discussing with your manager and seeing if there’s some triage that can be done until the staffing issue is resolved

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi, this is me, and I’m contributing to the problem by reading this s1te rather than powering through my work to-dos, but I’m trying to avoid burnout here!

      I cannot work at night unless it’s an extraordinary circumstance. Sometimes I print things out and take them home if I just need to read/review, but stuff that requires lots of thinking or any computer work is just not going to happen in the evenings. I don’t have the bandwidth, and I need downtime to stay sane.

      So here are my suggestions: Do not try to find more hours to work if this is a long-term situation. If it’s crunch time because of year end or something, you can power through with a little less sleep. But if there’s no end in sight, you need to adjust output expectations. Make sure you understand from your boss what your must-dos are, and what his or her priorities are after that. Make it clear that things are going to have to drop, because your team is short-staffed and there are only so many hours in the day. Say no to more work if it will interfere with the main priorities, and keep a running list of things you had to say no to. Make sure to put it in an email or something so there’s a good record that you’re telling your boss about resource constraints and decisions you’ve made because of them.

      Also, look at what your team is doing. Can you delegate more to any of them? Are they efficient? Are you doing extra work because you actually need to, or because you feel like “I’ll just have to redo this to get it up to my standard, so I might as well take it on from the outset?” Are any of them causing you more work?
      Especially when your short-staffed, the instinct can be to hold on to people for the sake of having a person, but if it’s an unhelpful person, it can sometimes be worse than an empty desk. Training your staff is a time investment, but it pays off eventually. I have problems with all of this, and constantly need to remind myself not to let perfect be the enemy of good, so just throwing it out as food for thought!

    • Anonymous says:

      Escalate to your boss; ask boss to prioritize what you work on that week/day.

      Pass the buck and turn down requests, if possible. You can only do what you can do.

    • Coach Laura says:

      Take working at home off the table. Don’t have that seen as an option or an expectation by you or your team: It will just make you more frazzled. Focus on being as productive as possible at work and using your time at home to make you a better worker when you’re at work. Streamline your home chores during this time as much as possible. Minimize meal prep, do the bare minimum of cleaning and focus on your kids and your sanity. It won’t kill anyone to have a slightly dirtier house and to eat Trader Joe’s premade meals for dinner for a couple months or even eat takeout. This is especially true if your partner can’t contribute more to the household management. Prioritize your sleep at the expense of straightening the house.

      If you are getting up at 5, getting in at 7, and working until 5 that sounds like the maximum work hours possible. Prioritize the work and then focus on what you’ve selected to work on, shutting out thoughts of what you’re not getting done. Easier said than done, of course, but it might help. Make sure you loop your boss in and make sure that you both understand that you’re not superhuman. Have your boss help you pick those things that won’t get done or that get delegated so that you have buy-in from your boss. Use whatever to-do system works for you and go down the list, checking off the done items with satisfaction. Focus on those tasks you’ve agreed upon to minimize distraction. And close your door/turn off email for a 45 minute period twice a day to focus on ongoing projects or powering through something that needs brain power.

      Good luck!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      How do you do working from home? I stink at it, but I have colleagues who swear they get so much more done at home, because people tend to correspond with them by e-mail instead of dropping into their office or calling them on the phone. Also, consider scheduling your work chunks as meetings on your work calendar and marking yourself as “in a meeting” during those periods. Turn off the ringer on your phone and turn the volume off on your computer so you don’t hear the e-mail notifications. Schedule 2 of those a day, for an hour each (or whatever makes sense).

      Also, have you looked at the Pomodoro method of work management or similar?

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I too am not great at working from home, but I seem to accomplish the same thing others describe by doing exactly what NewMomAnon described. Closing my office door, turning off the ringer, putting up an out of office message, and turning off email notifications. Sometimes that buys me a good 4 hour chunk which can make all the difference (usually a lot of coffee is involved too)

    • Anon. says:

      Thank you for all of this. I need to take working in the evenings off the table. I lug my laptop home every night and just don’t get to it. We have minimized as much as possible (cleaning service, premade meal delivery, etc), but still there is homework to do, bathing, etc. Part of the problem at work is my boss delegates EVERYTHING to me and when I go to her about the fact that I am overwhelmed she prioritizes the things that she needs done first, but leaves the things that I still need to do with me for doing later. Not sure if that makes sense, but like the things she could take off my plate she doesn’t and she priorities them for me to do first. Also, completely open work space with no doors to shut. I can’t block myself out and no work from home policy. My boss also likes to be able to have conversations with me all day long, so I have a hard time getting into a project when I am interrupted multiple times. I know I can be more efficient, but I”m just not working at the best level of “me” these days. We got a new employee today, which should help long run, but I’m currently panicking that I haven’t finishing things that are due tomorrow at 8am because I spent most of the day getting him up to speed. Sooo… I just feel hopeless about making this work.

      • Anonymous says:

        This sucks, but you need to manage up. I had a boss like yours and I left, but in the interim…

        1) Send boss an email with *your* priorities each morning. “Hi! I’m need to do X, Y and Z before my meeting at 11. Please delegate anything that comes up to (whoever). Then we’ll be set for A, B and C this afternoon! So excited about G and H!

        2) Open plan interruptions: Get yourself a couple of pads of paper (I liked reporter sized, not legal.) Get yourself a bunch of colored pens. Assign colors to priorities, projects or topics (depending on your workplace.) Whenever anyone comes to you, listen impassively. Pick up the correct color pen. Give them a huge smile! Write whatever salient info you need into your pad and tell them you cannot answer that/will get back to them. At whatever time. Then don’t forget to check in and see if they fixed it themselves.

        3) Schedule chats with your boss. Get A and B done (head down, headphones on) run out and grab coffee. Talk to your boss. Say how much you enjoy talking to her, but you’ve got to get back to items E and F. Then get back to work.

        Your boss and coworkers are going to get annoyed if you don’t give them what they want (answers! chats! lots of validation!) and you can’t cut them off completely. Try to give them bigger chunks of what they want and get bigger chunks of time for yourself.

        • Anonanonanon says:

          ^all excellent advice. As always, I recommend she has great scripts for conversations like this

        • Good advice, but I’d also say that you may need to find another position. I am in a very similar situation, and it’s just not sustainable.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Urgh, I am angry on your behalf – open concept work space but no work-from-home option is horrible, horrible, horrible. I don’t know how I would function. I might consider getting a green hat and a red hat, and informing all my chatty co-workers/boss that green means “ask me anything, but do it right now before I change my hat” and red means “wait for the green hat unless something is on fire.” And maybe a black hat that means “approach at your own risk, will bite if provoked.”

        I would also consider a pair of big noise-cancelling headphones, and a laptop with a huge screen so you can hide behind it when you’re working.

        As far as managing up – meh. Sometimes it works if your boss is just a space cadet who can’t stay organized, but often the boss interrupts like that because boss is a manipulative narcissist who wants to see you scramble for them. There is no managing up.

  12. Pack and Play/Playard Recs? says:

    Help! I need to buy a changing table/playpen on short order for changing and containing a wiggly and large 10 month old (grandma’s knees are not up to climbing the three floors to the nursery). I don’t have time to do much research. Does anyone have one they love that they recommend? Alternatively, one that they hate that I should definitely avoid?

    I’m thinking about the Graco Pack ‘n Play Simple Solutions, link to follow

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I say that, for grandma’s house, go for the pack n play. It’s a classic for a reason. Only caveat is will you be there to help grandma set it up? If I remember correctly from when I used one years ago, setup wasn’t intuitive (you had to lock the sides while the middle was still not flattened or something)

    • October says:

      We have a pack n play set up on our ground floor for changing and it kills our backs. And I am 31! So it might be especially hard on a grandma. I do love our Graco for general baby containment but it is too low for comfortable changes. What’s your budget? You could probably get an actual changing table for cheap.

    • Also, check the weight limit on the pack and play changing stations. I remember my kids outgrowing them relatively early, I think before 10 months. You might do better with a cheap changing table from Ikea or you can usually get a used one for very cheap.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 I think the changing table weight limit for our pack n play was 15 (maybe 20) lbs. so my chunkers grew out of it far before 10 months.

        Also agree the height is not good for backs unless the adult is very short. I would think about a small (but tall-ish, like a 4-drawer) dresser. Ikea has a 4-drawer Malm dresser that is a good height and cheap.

      • Yes this. Do you see yourself needing a drawer dresser in the near to mid term? Buy one at the right height and slap a changing mat on top of it. Store the supplies in the top drawer. When kiddo is done with diapers, it can be reused to house toys or out-of-season clothes or just clutter that comes from a kid.

    • We used a pad on top of a dresser for our changing area but IKEA also sells inexpensive changing tables if you really don’t need a dresser. Or use a changing pad on top of an existing table, couch, bed, or floor (floor probably not idea for grandma’s knees either).

    • NewMomAnon says:

      By 7 months old, kiddo was so wiggly that I didn’t trust her with a changing table anymore – we put a changing pad on a low-ish surface (end of the couch, floor, ottoman) and did all diaper changes there. Bonus is that they cost about $35 instead of $150, and less to dispose of later.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I agree – your 10 month old will probably be outside the weight limits for the pack and play changing table. Either buy a standalone changing table, put a pad on a dresser, or change the baby on the floor. And a fence might be a a better bet for containment (they’re larger) – like this:

    • blueberries says:

      Guava Lotus! It zips all the way down to the floor, so kiddo can get himself/herself out.

    • An alternative voice, I have a very wriggly 10 month old and we now change her on the floor because she’s so fast that she’d climb off the changing table in a second. It’s slightly terrifying and our parents don’t have the catlike reflexes needed to contain her. Although changing on the floor is hard on the back, so maybe a box of Chux disposable pads that can be laid over a couch cushion and the baby changed there?

  13. Turtle - FSA Dependent Care says:

    Is there any reason to NOT do the max $5,000 set aside for dependent care in 2018? I’m due in April with #1. TBD childcare as of right now – just starting to look into it. I’ll be going back to work in mid August.

    It seems pretty practical to do so, but is there something I’m not considering? Should DH and I both be maxing it out at our respective jobs?

    • Your max is $5,000 for both of you, I believe. (Only I have it, my husband doesn’t, so I max out the $5k). There’s no reason not to, if you are sure you will be doing paid childcare. I wish I had known I could have used it for our nanny, even though we only had her one day a week. In any case, check with your employer – I was not actually allowed to change it until his status changed (i.e. he was enrolling in daycare). You may have to wait until your child is born and/or starts care to do a status change.

    • I was just debating the same thing. My understanding is that you are allowed to change your designation for certain qualifying events and a child being born is one such event. So I guess you can always revisit the issue.
      I’d say that if you’re utilizing daycare or any kind of on the books childcare you should do it.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Do you still get to claim the stuff you spent that was over $5K? $5K just covers summer care for one of my kids…

    • ElisaR says:

      i believe you can’t sign up for a benefit from #1 until that child is born…..and that’s considered a qualifying event so you can do it mid year. that was my experience with my first son – you aren’t allowed to put money aside in jan, feb, march for a baby that hasn’t been born yet….

      • Interestingly, DH’s HR department just told him that he signs up for it now during open enrollment. Maybe they don’t actually start deducting until April….? I just asked my HR dept the same – we’ll see what they say.

        • Haha, and of course my HR department just said I must have a dependent to enroll for dependent care. Le sigh. Nothing’s easy.

          • ElisaR says:

            yeah i tried to be on top of things and do that too but it didn’t work out….. it’s ok, sign up mid year and you’ll go through that $5k in about 2.2 seconds.

  14. Seriously?? says:

    Today, my husband asked me what our daughter’s DOB is. She is only 4 months old. He is otherwise a great father, so I’ll give him a pass this time. But seriously – how could he forget that?

    • When my kid was 4 months old I could not have told you MY birth date, much less his. #sleepdeprived But seriously, maybe your husband is visual? Ask him if it would help if you wrote it down somewhere. I definitely think this gets a pass.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      sounds like a brain fart, annoying (because you’re also sleep-deprived) but forgivable.

      When my son was slightly under 2 we went to an aquarium that was free for 2 and under and they asked for my son’s birthday AND MY (now ex) HUSBAND GAVE THE WRONG MONTH AND EVERYTHING. The lady said “now normally I’d think you were lying to get a free ticket but I KNOW that look on her face is real!” because I looked so mad.

    • My birthday and my son’s are just one day apart. I always have to pause and think to avoid mixing them up (and so does my husband). That earns us lots of weird looks. I have also filled out forms where he is 33 or I am 2.

    • Birthdays says:

      As someone who cannot remember my kids’ or husband’s birthdays without a calendar, I don’t see this as a big deal. My husband can’t remember mine or our kids’ either. We can both get the part of the month right consistently, just not the day.

    • Redux says:

      My husband asks me biometric stuff all the time and I hate it. How much does the baby weigh for tylenol dosage, what size pants does our toddler wear. I could recite this stuff in my sleep and rather than commit it to memory, he just asks me. Annoying. One of the many pieces of invisible baggage moms carry.

    • Anonymous says:

      My father, who I love and I think is generally a decent father, spelled my nickname wrong when I was in my late teens.

      • ElisaR says:

        i have been married 2.5 years. my dad WORKS with me in an office. last week he asked me how to spell my last name. no, it’s not a tricky one…..

        • Anonymous says:

          I didn’t change my name so initially when I read this I thought your dad didn’t know how to spell the name you both share! Oh dads…

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I made the password to all of our joint accounts either a variant of our anniversary or a variant of kiddo’s birthday. Worked beautifully.

  15. Rude OBGYN says:

    I KNOW this is inappropriate behavior, so I am simply ranting. I went to a new OBGYN for a check-up/get an IUD replaced. He asked me to reconsider the IUD and to consider having kids soon since I am in my late 30s. He didn’t even ask me if I WANTED kids. I told him we have an adopted child, and are in the process of adopting another, and he tried to talk be out of it and to have a bio kid because adopting doesn’t create the same bond. Seriously? I told him to leave the room NOW, I cried, got dressed and left. I did not share with this a-hole, but the reason we adopt is not because we don’t want bio kids. It is because both my husband and I have a sibling (and I have a twin) with schizophrenia. It is a very painful topic, and this insensitive jerk makes me want to scream.

    • ElisaR says:

      he sounds like an insensitive a-hole. i would switch doctors. and possibly write a letter telling him why if you like.

    • Redux says:

      Whoa eff that guy seriously. So sorry this happened to you. Congrats to you for standing up for yourself and insisting he leave.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is awful. I would definitely write a letter to… someone. His practice, the board…? This is totally unacceptable, and I would have reacted the same way.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1. Waaaaaaay out of line. And how the F would he know anyway – has he adopted AND had bio kids? WTF?

    • rakma says:

      That is terrible. I’m so sorry you had to deal with this a-hole.

      After a bad experience with a doctor, I stopped making appointments with doctors who wouldn’t schedule a consultation with me before an exam. I needed to be able to walk out of the room if I was uncomfortable, and you can’t do that in a medical gown. I now have a trusted network of doctors, and know how I’d report anything I was uncomfortable with (they’re all associates of the same hospital, I won’t go to a solo-practitioner)

    • this makes my skin crawl. is this doctor on zoc doc? bc i would write a scathing review. if he is part of a larger practice, i would also write a letter to the practice. this is just beyond absurd. i have to say that i think it is wonderful that you and your husband have adopted one child and are in the process of adopting another. i’m sure that they are both very lucky kiddos.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Hugs. I hope you find a much better doctor.

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