Washable Wednesday: Elbow Sleeve Ponte Sheath Dress

Lands’ End has always had great washable sheath dresses, and this year they’ve got a ton of options with elbow-length sleeves and … pockets, which is really great. We’re featuring the rich cardinal windowpane, but note that it comes in a zillion colors in regular, petite, tall, and plus sizes. (Do note that these are not lined, if that matters to you.) The dress is $89.95 full price ($99.95 for tall and plus sizes). Elbow Sleeve Ponte Sheath Dress

Looking for other washable workwear? See all of our recent recommendations for washable clothes for work, or check out our roundup of the best brands for washable workwear.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Took my 5mo out this weekend to meet up with an acquaintance and her family (two boys, ages 1 and 3). The boys were invited to say hello to the baby, and the oldest reached in and sort of pinched her face (fairly gently; she didn’t cry, but it was not just a pat). The acquaintance apologized the day after. What do you say in a situation like that? On one hand, it’s understandable that toddlers do this kind of thing all.the.time. But when my daughter is older, I also want to model respect for her bodily autonomy, so “it’s ok” doesn’t seem quite right. Thoughts? Am I overthinking this?

    • POSITA says:

      Just say “it’s ok.” The kid was a toddler and yours is a baby. There’s no such thing as bodily autonomy at this age. They don’t get it. I’m sure the mother of the 3 yo told her toddler not to do that. Good enough.

    • ElisaR says:

      Respectfully – I don’t think this requires a whole lot of thought. I do understand that you want to teach bodily autonomy at some point but I think a 5 month old being touched by a 3 year old is not really a teaching opportunity.

    • anne-on says:

      Did you (or she) do anything in the moment? I would gently take the toddlers hand away and say something like ‘careful, we need to be very gentle with little babies – can you show me on my hand how you can be gentle?’ then praise them for doing a good job and ask if they’d like to try again to interact with the baby. We use a similar script for small children greeting our older cat .
      I’ve taken a ‘village’ sort of approach to these sorts of things (both with my own kid and close friends/neighbors/school friends kids). I think its perfectly fine to gently correct and model good behavior. And! I would want OTHER parents to do the same to my kid. Maybe its just how I grew up, but if you were being a jerk you darn well knew the neighbor moms would correct you, and then tell your parents if it was particularly bad (and parents welcomed this feedback and oversight!)

      • I love this script and this approach!! It’s also shockingly easy as the parent of a baby to judge how older kids interact with younger ones or just in general, which I think may be happening a little here. Maybe you didn’t think the way the other mom responded in the moment was sufficient? I remember watching my nieces and nephews, and later, my friends’ kids and thinking “I will teach my child to be kind! I would never let MY child do that!” And then my kids started to get older, and I realized how ridiculous this notion of total control is.

        Here, the appropriate response is to give the kids the tools they need. Anne’s script gives the toddler the tools needed to play gently with the child, and as your child ages, you can teach her to say back to the child “I didn’t like that! Gentle hands, please!” But this act shouldn’t require an apology the day after from the mom to you — it’s just part of learning how to interact with other people. For example, we teach kindness above just about everything in our house, and I still have one child who just plays rough. He is into big body play, and can be aggressively kind. Short of never letting him out into society, we just have to teach, and teach again, how to behave, use gentle hands, and interact appropriately – and how to check if a friend is okay if he gets too aggressive. We use a lot of what Anne-On says. I try to stay vigilant of how my child is behaving, but I can’t control every single body movement.

        FWIW, this might be happening a little as well — I can also see my friends with younger kids watching MY older kids, and I can hear them thinking “I would NEVER let my kid do that!” One friend in particular has always been really tough on my older son for what really amounts to age appropriate behavior (not saying that the behavior in the original post was appropriate — but it is age appropriate for a toddler to not quite have awareness of how to interact with a baby, which is why Anne’s script is so helpful here), but as her kids have gotten older, I’ve seen her relax slightly in her interactions with my kids — that is, recognizing age appropriate behavior and responding accordingly, and realizing that not every single action is a reflection on either the child or parent and that you don’t have to escalate every. single. act.

        • Anonymous says:

          This is so true and I was so guilty of this myself. Silently judging parents for their kids’ behavior. And it 100% was because I had no idea how kids normally act as toddlers. Now as long as I see a parent trying, you do you! This stuff is hard!!!

    • “These things happen.” Because they do.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 this doesn’t absolve it (which actually, absolving a 3 year old’s developmentally appropriate behavior is a kindness you will appreciate in a few years!) but doesn’t make everyone feel worse about something fairly minor

    • Yes, you’re overthinking it. Three-year-olds are unpredictable little creatures. They are constantly learning (and re-learning) life lessons like “we don’t pinch babies.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Overthinking this. Toddlers don’t have a great sense of how hard or gentle they are touching all the time.

      For bodily autonomy, we are super big on this. For both girl and boys, we stop tickling/touching if they tell us to stop. We insist they not touch each other without consent (in practical sense this means that if someone says ‘stop kid get off me’ – it’s not a consent in advance thing. I will enforce that the other kid stops and usually say something like ‘when someone says no to touches, you have to listen’ No punishment/discipline unless they are repeatedly refusing to stop.

      I will say that I think it helps that DH is 150% on board with this. If he’s rolling around on the floor and roughhousing/tickling with them and someone says ‘stop’ or ‘no’, he will stop instantly. The kids clearly know this and are trying out their rights, because they will sometimes say ‘stop’ and then say ‘go’ or ‘more tickles’ just a minute or two later.

      We also don’t force them to hug or kiss adults, including grandparents, we encourage them to offer a high five or a wave if they don’t want a hug or kiss.

    • Thanks for all the feedback! To clarify, I’m not asking about what to say now at 5 months, but what to say when she’s old enough to hear and internalize the message. I like “it happens” and directing the other child to use gentle touches. I’m trying to give myself a few go-to lines for situations like this in the future. Thanks again!

      • I always tell my children “if you don’t like what [other child] is doing, you can say ‘please stop that.'” I have three year old twins and am trying to teach them (1) we only touch other people when we know they want us to (they have NO sense of personal space, including with strangers); (2) if another person asks you to stop touching them, you have to stop touching them; and (3) no one can touch you if you don’t want them do (except I can totally haul you up to your room for a timeout even if you’re screaming and flailing, and Daddy is definitely within his rights to pin you the table so you can get your flu shot from the doctor — sorry, kiddo).

      • Anonymous says:

        Our daycare teaches kids to say, “That’s not nice” to an array of toddler interactions. (Is someone takes a a toy, etc.) It’s a pretty good coverall.

        I also like the language of “rights” that she discusses in Bringing Up Bebe — I correct her behavior toward other kids with “You don’t have the right to touch someone without their permission” or “You don’t have the right to take someone else’s toy.” The other parents look at me like I’m weird, but whatever.

    • I think both of your sentiments are right on. It’s too soon for her to notice, and not a big deal, but when she does start reacting to unwanted touches you can come up with a script that models body autonomy. Something like “he touched you and you didn’t like that so you can tell him no.” while removing his hand gently.

      We rarely, if ever, use “it’s okay” in our house. I feel like it belittles whatever feelings they are having. So if they are hurt and crying we say something along the lines of “oh, it sounds like that hurt” rather than “it’s okay”. Or if my eldest (3) is mad that his brother (1) is doing something that I see as minor, instead of asking him to ignore it I would say something along the lines of “it sounds like you’re upset about that, maybe you should move further away”.

      • POSITA says:

        No one is suggesting to say “it’s ok” to the kid. Commenters are saying that it’s fine to respond to the mother with “it’s ok” because she had no control over the random things her 3 yo chooses to do. Presumably she reasonably corrected her kid in the moment and then later apologized again to the other mom. That is okay. Her reaction was totally appropriate.

        • Ha – I kind of had the opposite experience in the park yesterday. A younger kid bopped my son in the nose (totally unprompted – he just walked by, and she popped him). My son responded by telling her like three times — “I DON’T LIKE THAT, THAT WASN’T NICE”. The other mom picked her daughter up immediately, and kind of laughed it off to me — said she’s never seen her child do that before, but didn’t really offer any response to my kid. She then seemed annoyed that I didn’t immediately say “it’s okay!” or get my son to stop saying that it wasn’t kind. Clearly, my son wasn’t hurt, and he was bigger. But he recognized it as a not kind act, and he responded. I didn’t make him stop b/c I thought it was a fair response. But then I was in this weird place of not wanting to invalidate my kid, but it really was not a big deal.

          So then we kind of hit a cross road. The other mom seemed to want me to stop my son from saying the act wasn’t kind, and I wasn’t going to make him. In hindsight, I should have told him to go ask the girl if he could have a high five to make him feel better, or some other olive branch. I tried to smile at the mom, but I think it was too little too late as the other mom just walked off, and then ignored me when it turned out our older kids were in the same class while we were in the park. Don’t think I handled it perfectly, but meh, I guess we are all learning.

      • I wasn’t suggesting that her response wasn’t appropriate. I read her OP as asking what to do in the situation with the kids to model body autonomy, not how to respond to the mom. I can see how it can be read either way though.

        I think some commenters quickly jumped to imply or say that she was overreacting, rather than responding to her request for how to manage these situations when she wants to teach her daughter body autonomy. I was trying to respond to this question by showing what we do to model and teach body autonomy.

        • While both kinds of responses are very helpful, this is what I have been looking for. Thanks again all!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, kids get bodily autonomy sometime between being potty trained and learning to drive a car. (And even then they still don’t get to eat candy for dinner and still need their vaccinations.)

      That said, for my 2yo meeting a baby, I always direct her (germy, germy, filthy) hands away from the baby’s face and hands and encourage her to pat the baby’s feet. Even with purell handy, it makes it less likely that she will hurt the baby or accidentally stick something in the baby’s eye etc. (She just about stuck me in the eye with, yes, a stick the other day.) You can also always tell toddlers, right now is not a good time.

      Here’s the thing: basically if you are interacting with a toddler, you should feel free to parent with words. Really all adults should, but especially other parents. If you want a toddler to do or not do something, you must tell them. 95% of parents appreciate this. The other 5% you should quit being friends with, because they are nuts. Toddlers need to be socialized.

  2. Elementary School? says:

    Thank you for all the suggestions/moral support last week.

    Elementary schooler is indeed coming to live with us. We’re waiting to see what elementary school we’re assigned to and then we’re going to just figure out after care from there. A key portion is appealing to the heartstrings of the administration.

    TBH, I’m really nervous at how this is going to change our family dynamic. I think it’s mostly just fear of the unknown. I’m hoping that we can handle all the additional obligations of elementary school while still making time in our life for all the fun toddler stuff.

    This is going to be fine, right?

    • octagon says:

      It is going to be fine.

      It is going to be hard, it is going to be joyful, it is going to be exhausting, it is going to be rewarding.

      It is going to be fine. YOU are going to be fine.

    • It will be fine. Not a true comparison, but we hosted our 9-year-old niece for a couple of weeks this summer and our 3-year old LOVED it. The two of them entertained each other and it actually gave my husband and I more time to do the things that we previously had to squeeze in at the margins – meal prep, laundry, housekeeping, etc.

      Our little one talks all the time now about how he wants a sister (but he only wants an older one …)

      • Elementary School? says:

        This is the dream! That the older one can keep half an eye on the little one while I’m cooking/folding laundry/etc.

        I don’t need full on childcare, just someone to say ‘Hey! Baby is washing hands in the toilet again!’

    • Anonymous says:

      Try to have the mental attitude of inviting the elementary schooler to feel comfortable in your home, rather than foisting love and a family upon him/her. I use this attitude toward my stepson and I find it helps. He has trouble adjusting sometimes, but I’m focused on making my house a place he feels welcome and invited — that’s all I can control. There are days he hates it, and days he loves it. There are days he calls me “mom” and loves up on my daughter. There are days he refuses to talk to her and plays alone in his room. We talk a lot about how all feelings are ok to have, but it’s not ok to make everybody else sad/angry/upset just because you feel that way. How it’s always ok to need alone time, and how we can be kind and respectful in saying, “I think I need alone time.”

      Every day will be different from the day before. Some days will be amazing, some will be really rough. Every day will be worth it, and you’ll have a stronger, bigger family love than you had before.

      • Elementary School? says:

        We are going in with the attitude that we are not in any way a ‘replacement’ for the family she loves very much – instead, we are nice people who love her and support her.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Remember that to be inviting and welcoming for a child often means being consistent and predictable, not just warm and friendly. I remember staying with an uncle and aunt for an extended summer when home life got too unstable, and the hardest part was that everything was different and I never knew what was coming next. My parents were early risers; these family members slept until 8 am. I remember creeping around the house on the first morning, alone and hungry and scared, not knowing where food was or towels or how to work the tv or if I was allowed to work the tv and not knowing when they would wake up.

      The uncertainty of staying in a new home and not knowing how it runs can be scary; tell kiddo what time everyone wakes up in the morning and what time everyone goes to bed at night (an OK to Wake clock might be helpful), tell kiddo how laundry gets done, where to get a clean towel, where the snacks are kept, what time you leave for school in the morning, what steps need to happen before leaving, who will drop off and who will pick up, steps leading up to bedtime, etc. If kiddo can read, consider leaving these items written out somewhere for kiddo’s reference. A big part of feeling like you belong somewhere is knowing how you fit into the scene.

      And also, as a kid who got shuffled between family member’s homes because of drama in my nuclear family, on behalf of your visitor – thanks. Your kiddo may not verbalize or realize this yet, but those respites with family were some of the best parts of my childhood. Those homes weren’t perfect, for sure, but they were safe and calm and fun.

      • Elementary School? says:

        Good points! We’ve thought about this and even set up a couple things:

        -We wake up at a certain time and go to bed at a certain time and are going to work together to make a picture/word schedule of how the day is going to go.

        -We always keep a bowl of fruit on the counter and have a blanket rule that you may help yourself to a piece of fruit if you’re hungry as long as you haven’t brushed your teeth yet.

        -We’re also going to talk about expectations like try your hardest, hang up your wet towel, put your laundry in x place, etc.

  3. octagon says:

    My kid (20m) is starting to really notice my absences — crying fits when I leave to have dinner with friends, for instance. I have a long work trip coming up in a couple of weeks. Any book suggestions to help get him comfortable with the idea that Mommy will be gone, but then she will come back?

    • There’s a Daniel Tiger episode about how grown ups come back, annoying catchy song included, if your little one is into DT. No book recommendations, but I do find that it helps to just matter of factly say what is happening ahead of time. Also – this may be less difficult than you anticipate if your kid is upset by you leaving but fine when you’re gone. The best advice on leaving I’ve gotten is to not drag it out because it’s easier on the kid if you just say good bye quickly and go.

      • Anonymous says:

        This Daniel Tiger episode is amazing. Watch it over and over and keep singing that song! They also make a book form of this episode that you may be able to find on Amazon.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Oh my goodness. It has to have been 5 years since I last saw that episode, and as soon as I read this the song came IMMEDIATELY to my head! Definitely catchy :)

      • Gro-own-ups come back!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      It could just be tears in the moment, and not a prolonged thing (i.e., when I drop my kid off at preschool she often cries, but then she’s fine 2 minutes later). My husband takes the occasional week-long work trip and we try to facetime 2-3x during the week. She doesn’t get upset by it (some kids can get upset).

      • octagon says:

        Unfortunately, it’s prolonged. Last night DH said he cried off and on for 2 hours, and asked for me dozens of times, until I got home from dinner. Poor bug.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          Oh, poor baby. What we do in the week leading up to DH’s travel is tell kiddo that “Daddy is going to X,” show her his suitcase and tell her that he’s packing, talk about how he’s going to be back on Friday, etc.

          My kid has always had a slight preference for me (and much more so now), so I think it’s been less of a big deal to have DH travel. Not sure how she’d react if I had to travel.

    • AwayEmily says:

      Over the next few weeks, do a lot of explicit narrating of leaving and coming back. Both shorter absences (running into the kitchen to grab something) and longer ones (school dropoffs). Try a script like “I am leaving to go do X but I will come back. I will always come back.” Then when you come back, “I came back! I always come back for you.” I think at this age it helps to really drill it into them that you aren’t leaving forever, because that’s often the particular fear driving these reactions.

    • POSITA says:

      We went through this phase and it was tough. Mine also kept tabs on when I was supposed to be home (by dinner on weeknights) and freaked out if I was late. It wasn’t just about avoiding goodbyes. If it’s triggered by goodbyes, I’d try to avoid coming home and leaving again. You could also have her leave for a walk/swing ride/etc with the caregiver for a fun destination instead of you leaving first. Sometimes this helps.

      Now that she’s a bit older, I send lots of messages to her caregiver with pictures of me and what I’m doing. I make it a point to take pictures of things she likes such as firetrucks, trains, or planes and to send them to her. I also send quick voice recordings with the text message program on my phone saying that I love her and that I’ll be back at X time. She also likes to send me voice messages. I think she likes to know that I’m thinking of her. This way the caregiver also has the discretion when to share the messages. They are waiting in their phone for a sad moment, rather than interrupting fun like a skype call could.

      • POSITA says:

        For instance, on one work trip, I’ even asked an Amtrak employee in uniform to take a picture with me so I could send her a picture of me with a “real train conductor.” She loved this.

      • Anon for this says:

        Yes to this – my daughter is obsessed with seeing pictures of my hotel room whenever I travel. I take videos on my phone and send them to my husband to show her, so that even before we get a chance to Skype, she knows I’m out there thinking about her.

    • My husband travels frequently. At that age, DS didn’t have a grasp on days, so saying dad comes back in 5 days / on Saturday had no meaning for him. I finally settled on telling him “dada’s coming back, just not today” and that seemed to help. We also talk a lot about dada being in the airplane etc and dad sends pictures of said plane. Pretty sure DS thought dad spent the whole week on the plane, but that’s good enough for now…

    • JDJDTX says:

      My daughter loved “Llama Llama Misses Mama” at that age – her teacher read it to the class every day when she was 12-18 months, and I think it helped with dropoff. Now, at 2.5, she says things like “mama comes back” unprompted. It is more specific to daycare dropoff, but I think the message is the same.

  4. It will be fine. Some friends showed up after Easter holidays with a 12 year old (they have an 18 month old). It has been an adjustment but the when family seems to be thriving. I think the biggest thing for them was that the 12 year old was used to having household help and very little in the ways of rules, so bed making, room cleaning, and limits to screen time were challenging. Ask friends and colleagues to put out feelers for stuff you may need as well as activities that could be of interest. Also, ask for help. We had the 12 year old around to watch a sporting event, giving mom and dad some all e time.

  5. Ugh, I have a viva date for my PhD. Great as the end is in sight but intimidating as I haven’t thought about my PhD since I submitted 3 weeks before baby. Need to figure out how to do some prep with a no bottle baby in tow.

  6. Anon in NYC says:

    Any tips for moving with a toddler? We’re moving on Friday, and we’ve been talking up our new home and how she, mommy and daddy and the dog are all going to move there. We’re planning on unpacking her room first, and expecting a few nights of bad sleep, but any other suggestions?

    • just moved nyc says:

      We just did this with our toddlers. It was so much easier than getting them to sleep somewhere new on vacation because I busted my butt to get their room set up with all their familiar stuff on Day 1. I also let them explore and enjoy the exciting parts of the new place (light switches! a real closet!) and played up the things that are different and wonderful about our new places (the elevator beeps on every floor!). Basically make things as familiar as possible and then also make new things exciting. We had some night wakeups that didn’t require us going into the kids room, but no major issues. We also walked around looking at “daddy’s chair” in the living room, where the milk lives in the fridge, “mommy and daddy’s bed,” etc.

    • mascot says:

      Are you also changing schools/childcare? From when he was 18 months old until just under 3, my kid lived in 4 different places ( job relocation with a string of temporary housing). The hardest transition was the first move when he also changed schools and even that wasn’t so bad after a few days. The rest of the moves didn’t seem to phase him.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        No changes in schools/childcare!

        Thanks, all, for the tips! Fingers crossed it goes smoothly.

    • We did this and the best thing – if you can manage it – was leaving our daughter with grandparents for 2 days so we could move and do some unpacking without her. She came home, her room was already done, and it was fine. The only thing we sort of messed up was having her come home at night, thinking she’d just go to bed when she was so excited to see all her toys laid out nicely she just wanted to play. I think toddlers are easier about some things than we think. My dog definitely had a harder time adjusting. A few months after the move, we had to have her stay with us in our room for a while b/c of work in our building and she required zero adjustment on either side of that – not in our room and not back in hers. I steeled myself for bad sleep nights so maybe that helped somehow but it really was fine.
      Good luck with the move! We’ve been in our new place well over 6 months now and I am still not entirely unpacked. It’s all so much harder with a kid.

      • EP-er says:

        +1 to having her staying with grandparents for a bit, if they are used to it. It was such a life saver not to have the littles underfoot while the movers were there and we were unpacking for a few days!

    • AwayEmily says:

      We just moved with our 18-month old and it’s been way easier than I thought. I was recently talking to another friend who moved with a 2 year old and she also said it went much more smoothly than she expected…so here’s hoping it does for you, too! Like everyone else said, we focused on keeping the routines exactly the same, especially around bedtime and morning, and getting her room somewhat set up before moving in (though that mostly just meant putting on blackout shades and bringing the creepy monkey toy she insists on “putting to bed” every night).

    • This is probably appropriate for a slighly older child, but my 4 year old really enjoyed packing a small suitcase or bag of special stuff – I think we used something that he could unpack and repack repeatedly in the last day or two before the move. He also liked helping unpack. Packing was more alarming because it meant all of his stuff was disappearing so try to do the kid’s room last.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        So far we have been leaving her stuff till last, but it’s all going to be packed up tomorrow (eek). I like the idea of having her pack a small bag. I’m not sure she’d get it (2.5), but maybe!

    • Momata says:

      Just did this with a 3.5yo and 2yo. Depending on the age of your “toddler,” I have differnet tips. For both we read Berenstain Bears Move (which has a horrible environmental message but otherwise is great) and a book about moving from a dog’s point of view that should pop up on [email protected] if you search for toddler moving books. Those both helped a lot.

      For both kids, get their rooms set up ASAP. I washed their linens two nights before and then kept them (and stuffies, pillows, monitors, white noise machines, and all other sleep crutches) separate from the movers’ stuff so that I could make their beds as soon as possible. This includes whatever window treatment your kids are used to. For my 3.5yo, this apparently included artwork. A couple weeks after we moved she told me she didn’t like “the walls” in the new house. I unpacked the artwork from her old room and she was a lot happier.

      Keep a positive attitude. This was all my 2yo needed. He was super excited for his new room (which was not objectively any better than his old room). He went along for the ride and was super easy.

      Get all the help you can that first weekend. We had inlaws helping corral the kids and do bigger projects and could NOT have done it without them with kids underfoot. In this same vein, abandon all rules about screen time and snacks.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Thanks – that’s a good point about artwork. She has a lot of art up in her room, so I’ll be sure to add that to my list.

        And, of course, I just learned that my husband has to travel for 4 days next week. Ack!

  7. Mystery writer ISO estates lawyer says:

    Does anyone here know a lawyer who has experience with probate and will contests in NY? After years of dreaming about writing a novel, I’m actually writing a mystery with a friend and we need an expert to reality check our scenarios. Unpaid, but we would definitely give a heartfelt thanks in our acknowledgements section, if ever we got published! You can email me at corporettemysterywriter, at the mail of the Google.

  8. I hate the feeling that, no matter how many balls I have in the air, there are always some dropping. I’m a professor and the past month I’ve been kicking butt at research (submitted a pilot grant application and three manuscripts to journals), teaching (last few lectures went great, not letting grading or course prep take over my life), and momming (kid is 10 months old, turned into an easy and fun baby after being a super high maintenance newborn and a lousy nurser–so grateful for formula). But…my email inbox is a mess, I’m terrible at staying on top of administrative stuff (in work and personal life), I’ve been unprepared for every meeting I’ve attended (including those I’m running), I’m stuck at 9 lbs above pre-preg weight despite breaking up with most carbs for the past month and saw a pic of myself from this past weekend and wanted to cry…the list goes on.

    Just needed to get that off my chest, as I head off to lead four meetings, none of which I’ve spent more than 10 mins preparing for.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I feel you, something is always dropping. I just try to rotate which category is getting dropped periodically, hoping that if I rotate often enough no one will notice?

    • Anonymous says:

      Um…you sound awesome.

      Get some help with admin stuff (at one point my dad’s secretary had a secretary, because he had that much admin stuff to do for his job). Do books on tape while working out. Start doing workouts with baby (crawling after them is good for core strength!)

      Also, meetings are generally dumb.

  9. Health Insurance ? says:

    We get health insurance through my husband’s employer and it is open enrollment for next year. I am 5 weeks pregnant with my first and I’m sure there must be things we should be looking for/considering that we might not have previously due to delivery, breast pumps, adding the child to the health insurance, etc. Any tips?

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I’m pregnant with my second, and something that was important to me when deciding between my plan and my husband’s plan for our future kiddo was the level of coverage for urgent care visits. I tend to make asthmatic babies, apparently, and don’t want to abuse/over-burden the ER system, but sometimes a kid can’t wait until Monday to be seen, so urgent care visits were relatively frequent with my first. They were appx $150 a pop with him, which was not great. My current plan is technically an HMO (Kaiser Permanente) but they have 24/7 urgent care clinics for a minimal fee, and so I’m definitely choosing that one.

      Also, the ease with which you (or your future child) can see a specialist is something worth looking in to. If they end up needing tubes in their ears for frequent ear infections, their tonsils out, etc. that means specialist visits and it’s nice if that’s an easy process rather than 29 written referrals and a lot of faxing of forms on your part.

    • Anonymous says:

      See if you can find a chart directly comparing the health insurance options– my company has one that breaks down by common health events (e.g. childbirth). Our HMO plan charges something like $100 for delivery, although you don’t have the full choice of area hospitals at which to deliver. I’m on the PPO plan and ended up paying about $2500 birthing my child (plus higher premiums). It was worth it to me because the practice I wanted for delivery wasn’t an option through the HMO. I also really like our ped, so I don’t plan on switching to the HMO.

      Pump will be free with any health insurer and although there may be variation in exactly which are offered, this probably isn’t likely a big enough factor to warrant making a choice based on.

      Having a kid should be a qualifying life event regardless of which plan you pick and you should be able to add them regardless.

      If you’re looking at a plan like Kaiser– where everything is in one building and you don’t have a huge choice of providers– make sure that building is convenient to you. Last thing you want to be doing with a newborn is driving 40 minutes to and from doctor’s appointments with a brand new or sick baby. I’ve also heard the flip side is true– the convenience of being able to walk across a building from the ped’s office to the lab or specialist’s office is great.

      • I did not get a free pump through my health insurance last year (grandfathered plan that provided hand pumps only, FML). But I generally agree that it should not be the deciding factor.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you have an HSA? There were a lot of co-pays in the beginning. And I pretty desperately needed PT (that didn’t happen this go-around) and a lot of OTC stuff can be reimbursed.

      And, if you do have HSA check and see if you have the child care savings plan. It maxes out at $5k, but it’s worth it.

    • Anonymous says:

      For the next year your immediate concern is prenatal and delivery costs and whether your preferred provider (OB/midwife) is covered.

      If you can sit with or call the HR rep and work out how much maternity care + delivery will be. We were on the high deductible plan when I got pregnant and figured out best case scenario would be about $6k out of pocket difference between the plans but possibly higher depending on Rx needs with the other kids. So we switched back to the HMO-like plan which we like anyway and for which we paid a total of $250 for prenatal care, delivery, and follow-up. Plus higher premiums yes but it saved a ton of money.

      If you can’t sit with someone just spend quality time with the documents and look for the maternity and baby section.

      The best plan for pregnancy may not be the best plan for infant care but once baby is born that is a life event so you can switch to a different provider (assuming baby is full-term and healthy there should be no issue).

      • ElisaR says:


        I was on my own healthcare at the beginning of my last pregnancy and wound up paying around $3k out of pocket before I got switched over to my husband’s plan. I am now pregnant again and how paid NOTHING on my husband’s plan with this pregnancy. It’s a huge difference. Definitely look into prenatal and maternity care costs right now.

  10. FYI – Lands’ End has 40 percent off one regular priced item today. 50 percent for email subscribers, I think. This looks like a great dress to go from the office to an after work holiday party.

    • AnonMom says:

      I tried this dress in grey and sent it back. I felt frumpy.

      • Me too. Actually hated the sleeves; felt they were tight, unflattering and made the a-line more pronounced. The large amount of gray also did no favors.

  11. Anyone have a good review of a hanging closet organizer? There are a thousand products on Amazon. I want to stack my sweaters and am afraid of buying something too flimsy to hold the weight.

  12. Wheat allergy says:

    Anyone have experience with a childhood wheat allergy? My nine-month old was just diagnosed with a wheat/rye/barley allergy. Her RAST value was low (3), so they say she is a good candidate for outgrowing it. But she did have a very severe reaction to a piece of bread several weeks ago. We’re supposed to avoid gluten and re-test in a year. Any advice? I’m terrified that we won’t be able to keep her from grabbing another kid’s snack. Gluten seems to be everywhere.

    • My son had an egg allergy and reacted to eggs baked into stuff, so he couldn’t eat most bread products, with the exception of super processed bread. If your child goes to daycare, one good thing is that most daycares take food allergies pretty seriously. We had to work with our daycare and mostly sent his food, but he also ate some of the food provided there (his allergic reaction was mild so we were willing to take the risk of them providing some food). To our knowledge, there was never issues of him taking other kids food and eating it. Babies and toddlers require some level of supervision while eating due to the choking hazard, so as long as you have caregivers who know about the allergy and are taking it seriously, they should be able to intervene before your child ate another child’s food. It also should be reasonably easy to keep enough separation between other kids that your child isn’t even in a position to take another kid’s food (highchairs or separate side of the table). I would suggest having a conversation with any caregivers in which you stress how serious your child’s allergy is, and if it is a daycare, insist on talking to the director as well as every single teacher in your child’s room. Is an epi-pen or some other treatment an option to have on-hand for emergencies? We never pursued it since my son’s reaction wasn’t serious, but we moved him to a new daycare recently and they seemed to expect that we would have one as part of their allergy protocol.

    • Anonymous says:

      A playground friend of my daughter has a wheat allergy. Mom keeps rice crackers in her purse (and a bunch of other snacks) at all times. If kids are snacking in the park, she makes sure her daughter knows that Mom has her special snacks available. I also try to make sure to only bring fruit if I know we’ll be hanging out with them. And when we have ended up eating lunch together, get out the fruit first (hungry toddlers disobey) and sit between the two girls.

  13. frustrated 3yo says:

    I’d love suggestions on options I could give my 3-year-old son for when he’s angry — he’s a pretty easily frustrated kid, though I think within normal range for his age. Hitting and screaming (his instinctive two reactions) aren’t okay. We’ve suggested using his words, asking for a hug, and asking for space … with some success, but I’m wondering if there are other options people have had success with. Maybe a toy he could squeeze instead of taking it out on a person?

    (We’re also working on decreasing the sources of his frustration, but that’s another topic…)

    • I think there is a Daniel Tiger for this. Also, stomping, hitting or punching a pillow or punching bag, kicking the floor, jumping up and down, shaking his fists, etc.

      • Two Daniel Tigers. One involves foot stomping and one involves counting to four. I watch waaaaaaaay too much DT.

    • Name his feelings and give him acceptable ways to express them. It sounds like he’s a physical expresser more than verbal, but you can try both.

      If he’s mad because you won’t let him watch a cartoon before daycare:
      You: “You seem mad. Are you mad?”
      Kid: (YES! MAD!)
      Y: “Yes, I’m mad that we can’t watch a cartoon too. When I get mad, I stomp my feet. STOMP! Do you want to try?””
      Y: “Yes I’m still mad too. What else can we do? Would it help to tell a story of your favorite cartoon? Or do you want mom to tell you a story while we get our shoes on?”
      Y: “Me too, I’m mad too. But I think I’m going to sing the theme song while I get my shoes on. Why don’t you come listen and I’ll put yours on too? Maybe tonight we can watch the theme song video on Mom’s phone.”
      Y: “Okay yes I’ll put your shoes on and you can sing to me. I like that plan!”

      My house takes about 50 more back and forths like this, but I do catch my kids trying some techniques on their own sometimes, so hopefully it’s starting to help.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Does he have a blankie? My daughter often wants that when she has Big Feelings.

    • octagon says:

      Someone suggested the book Calm Down, Little Monkey and it’s worked well for us. Our go-to is “take a deep breath, little monkey.”

      • I ordered that book when it was suggested a couple of weeks ago. It has been amazing for helping my 2.5-year-old. The other day, he was really upset about taking a nap and yelled, “I’m the monkey!” We grabbed the book, walked him through the techniques and talked about how the monkey felt on each page. He calmed down by the end of the book. We read a few more, and he actually took a nap while we spent the next 2 hours high-fiving each other.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I really wanted to sing the “if you get so mad that you wanna roar, take a deep breath, and count to 4” to one of my coworkers today. Srsly, dude. Chill.

      • Pigpen's Mama says:

        Hah! I’ve sung “If you have to go potty…” to myself during very long meetings when I’m waiting for an appropriate time to take a bathroom break.

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      I’ve just started this count down from Sesame Street — my LO hasn’t seen the video (note to self, show it to her, she listens to cartoons and puppets, not her mama), but I’ve walked her through the technique. Heck, I may start doing this at work soon…


    • frustrated 3yo says:

      Thanks for all the ideas! I’ll try some of these. Sadly, although Daniel Tiger has solved most of our parenting-related problems, he hasn’t seemed to connect with these few episodes.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Since someone mentioned nursing tank tops the other day…are they really necessary? All the ones I’ve seen look pretty tight-fitting through the abdomen and since I need to be prepared for a C-section (doctor thinks baby is big and my pelvis is small) I was planning to just bring nursing bras and long, loose-fitting maternity tanks (plus a cardigan, nightgown, sweatpants, etc) to the hospital. Are nursing tanks essential? I don’t really care about modesty and am fine whipping off my top in front of just about anyone, but I do care about support/convenience.

    • AwayEmily says:

      How big are you up top? I was a 34A pre-pregnancy and grew somewhat but not a ton, and never needed much support — so just wearing t-shirts with no bra underneath was fine — when it was time to nurse I just pulled them up. I rarely wore nursing bras, actually.

      I mostly found nursing tanks useful while out in public — I would wear them with a t-shirt over them (no bra), and that way if I could pull up the t-shirt and still have my stomach covered.

      But no, definitely not necessary.

    • I had a c-section w/ my first and the tanks didn’t seem to bother me–tighter material actually was less likely to rub than loose material, if that makes sense. I prefer the tanks for the first 3 months while baby is flopping and learning to nurse well–feels less like I’m juggling multiple layer/babys. As baby gets older, then I do nursing bras with nursing friendly tops and dresses.

    • CPA Lady says:

      So, I had a c-section and a nursing tank would not have been a problem for me. The incision is very far down– right above the top of the p*bic bone.

      That said, I never found a nursing tank that I liked (I’m 5’3 and had something like a 32H chest during the initial post-partum time). Nothing fit me right, and I was too overwhelmed to go shopping during the newborn phase, so I just did nursing bras and pj tops with buttons.

    • I am very busty and never used them because I wanted more support than they offered. Different people like different things.

    • I only used them in the summer when it was really hot, but that was about 6 months post partum, and I wore nursing bras with them because they did not offer enough support for me. I did not feel a need for them before. I did, however, tend to stick to nursing shirts, for easy access. I was not into showing off my post bump belly.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Okay here’s one that’s probably slight vent/slight question — My husband has been gone off and on for work over the last five or so weeks to the extent where I’d say we’ve spent every other weekend with him at most. He’s finally home, for good, tonight. Over the last few days, a good friend keeps asking how excited I am to see him, and if it’s going to be a great reunion, etc. And, the thing is, it’s really not going to be a great reunion.

    We’ve done this before, and re-entry is really hard. The kids are used to only me at this point. It will be a struggle for them to accept him as caregiver/authority figure again, as I’m definitely default and preferred right now. He’ll be exhausted from the work he’s been doing, and I’ll be exhausted from solo parenting. Both of us will want a break, but it will be hard to figure out who “gets” one. He’ll look for sympathy b/c he’s missed out on so much, and I’ll struggle to really give it, as I’m slightly resentful that he’s been gone so much -while being grateful he works so hard for us. Simultaneously, he’s grateful I give so much to keep the ships floating at home while he kills it at work, but is upset he missed so much family time.

    Anyway, all that is to say, I expect I will be happy to see him again, but I’m trying not to put too much pressure on the next few days. If I do, we’ll fight when neither of us lives up to the expectation. Instead, I expect it will be a complicated few days — he’ll be trying to catch up on sleep, frustrated that the kids don’t prefer him right now, and I’ll be frustrated that he doesn’t step up to take on more kid stuff now that he’s back. I predict at some point there will be a fight of some sort. So, recognizing that, I have a babysitter lined up for Friday night when we can BOTH really be “off” and finally enjoy each other again, and I expect that’s when we’ll really reconnect.

    So here’s the question — I think my husband and I have a great, fun, supportive relationship, but this is the reality of a marriage with two working parents and two little kids. Right? I just don’t expect the next three days to be champagne and flowers, nor will we be rushing off for hot [email protected] the moment he arrives, and parenting/life, etc. will still be hard. My friend doesn’t have kids and is not married, but has been in a series of long term relationships. I guess I’m feeling defensive, but maybe also looking for support that I’m not alone in this?

    • The only people who have to be happy with your relationship are you and your husband. My friends like all sorts of things that I wouldn’t want to deal with. It doesn’t matter.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      When I was a military spouse (now divorced) and my then-husband was on his first deployment of our marriage, everyone said that “the return home is the hardest part” of a deployment. I remember thinking that was just horrible, but then it was absolutely true, for all of the reasons you’ve listed. Maybe some googling of “returning military spouse” would yield some helpful reads/results? It’s not exactly the same situation, but again, difficult for many of the same reasons.

      Just focus on taking it easy, for both of you. Plan easy meals or even to order in and do “movie night” in with the kids or something. You’ll both appreciate the break and it’s something to do as a family that doesn’t require TOO much interaction from everyone.

    • ElisaR says:

      what you’re describing sounds like the reality of marriage to me. it sounds like you’re respectful and considerate of his feelings while acknowledging your own – all of it sounds totally fair. your friend doesn’t likely understand the complexities of parenting and was probably trying to make positive conversation…. good luck, the first weekend will be an adjustment but you guys will get back in the groove!

    • Yes, your view sounds absolutely normal to me. Honestly you seem incredibly sane, pragmatic, and healthy – you seriously just helped me understand why my husband and I had a massive fight ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE AIRPORT when he was coming back in town after a much briefer, much rarer trip. You are smart to keep expectations low – you could even be pleasantly surprised!

    • Momata says:

      You sound thoughtful, self-aware, considerate, loving, and practical. Your friend probably just made an off-hand comment. I have a good friend whose husband travels a LOT during some parts of the year and not at all during others. I have seen her struggle with many of the same issues you raised. I think getting a babysitter was a great idea. Maybe you can also schedule “breaks” for each of you? Like, you each get to sleep in one day, he takes them to the playground one afternoon and you take them to the zoo the other?

    • Anon in NYC says:

      When we were dating, my husband took a 9 month assignment where he was gone for 3 weeks out of every month. That week that he was back was so challenging for very similar reasons. I was used to living by myself, doing things alone, eating/making foods that I wanted (that he hates), etc. I imagine it is even harder with kids.

      If you can swing it, can you get a hotel room for Friday night so you can both have a true night away and can wake up leisurely on Saturday morning? It will probably be a good mental and emotional reset for both of you.

    • AwayEmily says:

      This all seems so smart and self-aware. My husband is gone for 2 – 3 days in the middle of every week and we deal with a lot of the same issues, although on a much smaller scale. And I like to think we also have a good marriage!

      It sounds like you have a lot more experience with this than I do, but one thing that has worked pretty well for us is making sure he spends a chunk of alone time doing something extra-fun with our daughter very soon after he gets back. Even if it’s just a picnic at the playground after school. She gets used to him again (without me around to be “default”), he gets some quality time where she’s likely to be in a good mood because she’s doing something special, and I get a bit of a break.

      But you are very much not alone, and you articulated this complicated dynamic much better than I could have.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks to all for the kind support. I think it was helpful for me to type it all out, as it did help me firmly set my expectations for the next few days, and remember to think about his perspective as well. As much as I want to hand off the baton for a few days, it’s never that simple :)

      Appreciate all the community here!

    • CPA Lady says:

      My husband travels 70% of the time for work. Your vent sounds totally normal to me. My thoughts on the matter:

      – It is best for everyone if DH does not expect one single thing from me, including gardening, until I have some time to myself. For the most part I can deal with his travel, but there was one week I nearly snapped and it was the week he got home and expected me to garden right away on night one and then ditched me with our kid the next night to go play cards with his buddies, and then ditched me with our kid the night after that to do some work on his computer until it was kiddo’s bedtime. OH. HELL. NO. Since that week, I’ve been very proactive about asking for what I need up front, because it’s kind of on me to express my needs. He’s not a mind reader.

      – Without fail, I dump kid off on him and go do something ALONE! at the earliest possible moment. He’s coming home from a 10 day trip late tonight, and tomorrow night I will be doing something by myself that I haven’t figured out yet, but mark my words, it’s happening.

      – I don’t care what my kid wants. When dad is home, dad is putting her to bed. If she wants to wail about it, I’ll go to Target (ALONE!) so I don’t have to listen to it. (#bestmomever)

      Long story short (too late!), you’re not alone. At all.

      • Ha, the day after DH comes back from a monthlong work trip, I am going an hour away with a girlfriend to run a marathon.

        This last bit of marathon training has…not gone well.

      • EB0220 says:

        When I was reading your first bullet point I was thinking, “OH HELLO NO”. And then you wrote it! Hahaha.

  16. My husband got an amazing bonus this year (he kicked b-tt to get it, but still it was more than we’d expected) and so we’re FINALLY going on our honeymoon, 7 years into our marriage. We’re thinking Italy, most likely Rome and Florence, with a possible side trip to Siena. Probably ~10 days. (Yay for grandparents willing to take the kids for a full week+weekends). Anyone have any sense of what we should expect to spend? We’re pushing 40 and are way past shared bathrooms/uncomfortable hotels/cheaping out just for the sake of being cheap. But we also don’t plan to be extravagant. A few nice dinners, reasonable hotels, etc. Any thoughts?

    • We were in Italy two years ago and spent about $250 per day on accomodations and food–but we ate dinner at really nice places (we love good food) and drank lots of wine. Our accomodations were nice, but I was budget conscious too. We could’ve spent a lot more on them, but aimed at $100/night –mostly on Air bnb or just Google searches for b and bs. Enjoy your time!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think we spent about $4-5k on a similar trip, including direct coach flights from the east coast. Flew into Venice, train to Florence, car to Rome, flew out of Rome. Stayed in moderate hotels that included breakfast, splurged more on dinners and a few guided tours/admissions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yay, that sounds amazing! We spent about $500/day in Rome. Hotels in Rome are weirdly expensive. We were there in shoulder season and had trouble finding anything that looked clean, comfortable and well-located for under $200 per night. We ended up at a nice but definitely not fancy Best Western for about $195/night. Then we probably spent about $100 day on food (bfast included at hotel, $20 on a cheap pizza lunch and gelato during the day and $60-80 on a nice but not super fancy dinner) and most days we did a guided tour (one food tour, one Vatican tour, one Colosseum tour) and those ran close to $100/person.
      Airfare will vary a lot depending on time of year. I have gone for ~$600 from Chicago in spring/fall but I know people who have paid over $1500 for plane tickets in the summer.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      My husband and I were last in Italy about 10 years ago when we had a fairly limited budget. My husband is very anti-shared bathrooms, and we were able to find some really great accommodations in small hotels (and it might be even easier if you’re willing to do Airbnb type places).

      Sounds like so much fun! Yay for belated honeymoons and helpful grandparents!

    • Anonymous says:

      loved Guardastelle near San Gimignano

    • DH and I spent a lot of time in Rome, Florence, and Tuscany pre-kids. There are some beautiful properties in Tuscany that are very reasonably priced, especially considering how gorgeous they are. Check out Villa Armena or Poggio Piglia – they are driving distance to the Tuscan hill towns but are also so beautiful and relaxing.

      A lot of great restaurants in Italy aren’t terribly expensive, unless you really want to have a fine dining experience. I’d say we probably spent $150-$250/day on food (wine included). We love to eat, so we typically had sit-down lunches and dinners each day. You could probably save even more money by getting a cheaper panini or pizza slice for lunch. We also probably another $50-$100/day on activities (museum fees, parking in hill towns, tours, etc.). Some hotels include breakfast in their room rates, which helps to keep costs down.

    • We did this a few years ago, including Siena, which was lovely! Can’t remember what we spent exactly but somewhere in the neighborhood of $4-5K seems close to it, although we also did Venice which was the most expensive portion. Some tips: this wasn’t that long ago, but apparently paying cash and booking directly still gets you savings on hotels in Italy. The Rick Steve Italy book has a lot of reasonable hotels listed but they book up fast. We were very happy with the place he recommended in Florence (Europa?). Not luxurious but very clean, spacious, charming and comfy and the owners were really great. I think time of year matters too. Avoid peak tourist season. We went in October and it was perfect. However, one note, all the beds were super uncomfortable – but that was across the board, whether we stayed in a moderately priced place in FL or a really fancy palazzo in Venice. If you end up somewhere that feels like you’re sleeping on hard wood, it’s not because you cheaped out and got a bad room. Also, book tickets for trains ahead of time and spring for “1st class” – much more comfortable and not much more expensive if you buy in advance. Enjoy!

  17. Anonanonanon says:

    Am I going to be the house everyone hates on halloween?
    I ordered multi-colored spider rings and glow in the dark vampire fangs in bulk from oriental trading adn plan to give them out instead of candy. I’m pregnant and had GD last time so I’m trying to behave, which I can’t do with candy in the house, and my husband lost a lot of weight a few years ago but struggles with impulse control if candy is around as well. We always have a bunch leftover and I didn’t want to risk that. I’m telling myself it’s for the kids with allergies, but it’s really just so I don’t have to buy candy and end up eating it all. Should I suck it up and buy candy?

    • I think those are cool. And haters are gonna hate – you do you!

    • I expect some kids will be disappointed and some will think the spider rings and fangs are cool. But I can’t imagine doing something that affects your family’s health negatively just so some little kids are happy getting one more piece of candy on Halloween. It’s not like you’re the house that’s giving out apples or something like that… release the guilt :)

    • Cornellian says:

      Look in to the teal pumpkin project.

    • What’s the worst case scenario if you give out spider rings and vampire teeth? Some kids will think your house is lame and may act rudely. Their opinions on this don’t matter, and they’ll still get more candy than they need. What’s the worst case scenario if you buy candy? You or your husband spend the evening binge-eating sugar in a way that negatively affects your health. Don’t give this another thought.

    • No, you’re fine! My kids would be thrilled with rings and fangs.

    • Anonymous says:

      IME, having something different than candy has actually gone over very well with kids. They get so much candy that anything different catches their attention quite a bit more. Go for it and don’t worry!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m with you in solidarity! I am totally that house in my neighborhood too and you know what? It’s only my kids who resent it – all the other kids think it’s awesome! So, go for it and don’t buy candy you don’t want to eat. (And think not only of the allergy kids but also sending a message that a “treat” doesn’t have to be candy. No kid in this country needs more sugar.)

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I had a neighbor who used to hand out baseball cards (and then pogs and then pokemon cards) and it was The Best Thing Ever. We used to beg to start the night there so we could get the “best” ones.

    • I’m late to the thread, but another thought – our local dentist office does a candy “buy back” after Halloween and I think they ship it off to deployed troops. I think a lot of dentists participate so there might be one near you.

      But you do you, rings and fangs sound cool!

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