I’m always touting the virtues of the perfect shirtdress — and here’s another one from Ann Taylor I’d love to add to my collection.
This tailored dress’s midi silhouette is accentuated by a matching self-tie belt. It has short sleeves, a unique square floral print, and front slit that works for both the office and dinner. This cheery dress truly embodies the “May flowers” that follow “April showers.” Add a cozy cardigan for cool evenings or aggressive A/C.
This dress is $169 (but check for frequent sales). It comes in sizes 00–18 as well as petites.
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Sales of Note…
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How much would a 4 year old use a play house (and for how many years to come)? Thinking of one of those Step 2 or Fisher Price plastic ones for the back yard. I remember having a wooden playhouse as a kid that was basically a musty, spidery shed so I never used it, but I think the plastic ones look friendlier and let light in.
We inherited the neighborhood Step 2 playhouse/climbing structure for my 2-year-old last spring. Seems that kids have lost interest around 5-6 years.
Agree with this- our kids were 4 and 6 when we got rid of ours. I personally would have kept it a bit longer but my husband was over it and the kids didn’t put up a fight.
It’s more about size than interest. My 9 yo would still play in a playhouse, but she got too tall for our Little Tykes one around age 5 or 6, and she’s not especially tall
Yeah, I definitely remember that by that age, I was sitting on top of my Little Tikes playhouse, like Snoopy.
I think it really depends on the kid and the playhouse. Some kids will definitely lose interest in simpler ones more like age 6, but if it’s a bigger one I can see it potentially being used up to 9 or 10.
Wayfair has lovely wooden ones with climbing ladders and slides or sandboxes underneath.
Height makes a big difference. Our kids still used the playset/playhouse combo at ages 7 and 10 but I bought the tallest one I could find – older kid would not have been able to stand up inside the first little plastic one we had.
I tend to agree with this. Kids outgrow the plastic ones quickly. The taller, larger wooden ones get used later.
We have a taller wooden one. My 6yo would’ve outgrown the plastic one by 4, she’s tall. Our kids use our swingset nonstop though.
I don’t think you’ll get much use out of the plastic playhouses. Go for a wooden one, or for a playhouse that’s part of a swingset, if you want your kiddo to use it for awhile. My 8-year-old still uses the “fort” on our swingset, and my Dh has made a couple of cute modifications over the years, like adding a table.
If you can build one, a tree platform will get used all the way through the teen years. A platform as opposed to a treehouse greatly reduces the bug issues and general ickiness.
The daycare has let me know that my kid’s started peeing in the potty they have there. Does this mean we need to start potty training at home? What are some good resources/tips?
For my first, day care did the heavy lifting for potty training. Once he was going at school, we would give him an opportunity to go in the potty each morning before we left for day care. Once he would go at home, we started putting him on the potty at specific times on the weekend (we did not leave the house much for about 3 months). I honestly don’t remember if he was in pull ups or underwear during that time. Every kid is so different though: I’d ask day care for a bit of guidance.
How old? I think plenty of kids are interested in the potty and will sit and pee in it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to potty train or that it will be easy right now. I think asking daycare what they think is a good idea. We did pullups for my kids and did things kind of gradually. Daniel Tiger potty book. Elmo potty book. Lots of reminders/times when you enforce a break (reassure them no one will take their toys etc.) and have them go. I know some people love the no-pull ups route (I guess the book Oh Crap is an example), but that’s not my style. We also took signals from our kids throughout the process, especially with my younger, everything can turn into a massive power struggle so I didn’t want to have it turn into a control issue.
Good point! They’re turning two this month, and husband and I weren’t really planning to do potty training anytime soon, but I wasn’t sure if this meant that we should be more proactive about it. We have a little potty at home that they pooped in it when we first got it, but never since, and they will sit on it and occasionally pee while wearing a diaper.
+1. We started trying to potty train DS when he was 2 after he showed an interest. It went horribly. We started again at 3 and it was much, much better. In retrospect, interest is different than readiness. Keep encouraging interest, and look for readiness, but don’t rush. Keys to readiness, in my book, include enough maturity (ie my DS defiantly peed all over when we tried at 2….not accidents, to be clear, so he was not mature enough at all for attempt #1, oops), AND being able to do all the physical mechanics of potty largely independently. If they can’t get their pant down/up and get on a step stool alone, potty training will get frustrating for you and kiddo. YMMV of course, but I’m team don’t rush/mistake interest for readiness.
Boston Legal Eagle says
The Oh Crap weekend bootcamp method worked for both of my kids at around age 2.5, but every kid is different. I think my older one would have put up more of a fight if we had waited until later (plus we had a new baby so timing would not have been great) but I know lots on here who had more success just waiting until kiddo expressed interest.
+1 to the book. buy it now, its an easy read. then decide. her ideal age range is 22-30 months
that booked worked like a charm for my first son at 27 months. I had little to no success with my 2nd and he still wets himself regularly at age 5. ugh. I do think it’s a very good book despite our 2nd failure.
I am probably getting way ahead of myself, but I am a finalist for a position with a target start in July. If I am offered the position, I would like to negotiate a start at the end of that month due to some already planned vacation travel, and then potentially having the rest of month off with my young kids (we can cancel current day camp plans). My question is around health insurance – is this what COBRA is for? Or is that only when you’re fired? My husband is self-employed so I’ve always carried our family coverage. I’m ok with risking it (we have the $ for emergencies) but wondering if I am missing something that should make me rethink my plan.
Yes. Also, COBRA can be retro, so you can sign up only if you need it. Get all your maintenance stuff out of the way, including prescriptions.
Agree with this, this is exactly what I did when I left my job last summer. Got all prescriptions, dental, check-ups, etc done ahead of time, emptied out my FSA, and planned to sign up for Cobra retroactively if necessary. Also check with your company on coverage- my company ended health insurance the day my employment ended (which I think is a terrible policy). Some will carry through to the end of the month. Have fun! I enjoyed my time with my kids but it also reinforced why I am not a SAHM.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Can you stay at your current job until July 3 so you get the full month of July covered, but still have 2 or so weeks off? Or are you thinking of having June and July off? But yes, COBRA should come in, and be retroactive, although $$$.
You only pay the $$$ on the small chance you need it though, so it’s pretty low risk.
Yup — and if you’re neurotic like me you can fill out all of the forms and give them to a loved one so in case you’re incapacitated they can just send them in then.
Ooh this never even occurred to me, but it’s a great idea.
I mostly want July off. My current job is closed 7/3 and 7/4 (I thought of your suggested option) and it would feel weird to ask for two days of paid holidays to be my last two days at work. But maybe I am being too nice! I’ll see how this shakes out in the next few weeks. These are two education-related jobs so a long notice period is typical (3-4 weeks).
Your end date may not even be relevant. At my (higher ed) employer, you lose coverage on your last day. I think giving coverage through the end of the month is generous and not universal.
Yes this is exactly what Cobra is for. As the other poster said it’s retroactive, so you can elect it after the fact if you need it. Mostly likely won’t need it. I hope this works out for you and you’re able to have a fun summer!
My comments keep getting eaten so apologies if this posts twice but yes this is exactly what Cobra is for!
Has anyone gone through the ‘fair play’ exercise in your house? how did it go? has implementation been successful?
We did it a few years back via our couples therapist (there was only the book, not cards). The biggest help was the language she included around concept/planning/execution – my husband was fine with executing on things and didn’t understand why it would make me rage-y when he would say something like ‘just tell me what to do and I’ll do it!’ great, you’re still making me do 2/3 of the job and taking credit for doing the whole thing. You’re a senior exec, if you told your boss after 10 years on the job ‘just tell me how to do my job and I’ll do it!’ you’d be fired. That language he got and he stepped up more. The resentment that I had/have about having to tell a grown man to knock it off and be a full partner is something we/I are still working on. Sorry – not a sunshine and roses story and I definitely would suggest couples work through it before having kids.
We did Fair Play about 6 months ago, but have had our own version (we called it the CEO list) for years before Eve Rodsky surfaced. It’s not a silver bullet one-and-done, we frequently have to revisit, but it does help provide the language to talk about this stuff productively. Some of the lessons from FP that stuck out were the concept of “wild cards” (e.g. being pregnant/a new mom is a wild card and helps your partner realize that they need to take on more of the daily/normal cards for a while); the idea of balancing out daily grind tasks with more long-range tasks; and also it forced me to acknowledge more of my role in contributing to this system of unbalanced labor and resentment (spoiler: it’s not all his fault).
Anyway overall it was positive, gave us common framework and language, and I often recommend to friends ( my husband does too).
We started and have not finished, but I really like two things about it. (1) The CPE framework for thinking about full ownership of something, and (2) the minimum standard of care concept. We found it helpful to divide up the cards based on what we agreed were the current allocations (not target, just what we were currently doing, even if it wasn’t good), just to see how things currently shook out. That showed that I had way too many (which we knew), but also that there were way too many that were shared and not clearly allocated, which is inefficient. The minimum standard of care gave voice to something we were struggling with, such as how often is reasonable for delivery for dinner, do the kids get the same lunch every day, etc. (he was responsible for food). Sometimes we disagreed on what that standard should be and that led to a lot of discussion, but it was helpful to zero in on the pain point there.
We started couples therapy shortly after that initial exercise, which helpful for guiding a productive discussion. We keep meaning to revisit the formal card dealing process, but have not prioritized it because things have gotten a lot better and because we hired a fam assistant/nanny recently and are still refining what things we can allocate to her plate. This is actually a good reminder that we should do that.
how do you fit in more complicated reading time for older kids when there are younger siblings? our kids are about to be 4 and 6 at end of this month.
I want my older one to have audiobook time but I don’t want to force it on the weekend – she’d always rather color, work on a puzzle etc at quiet time on weekends. audiobooks are also hard in car because she can do much more advanced books than my 3 year old and someone is complaining or talking in car with a book.
I want to encourage a love of reading but beyond 15 mins or so of joint reading time at bedtime, I’m not sure how else to do this. all tips appreciated!
This sounds fine to me. I have an only child, but ~15 minutes of joint reading at bedtime is about all we do. I think not forcing it is important. I also think not every person is going to have a love of reading, and that’s ok. Reading is my Thing (I read ~100 books a year) but I have a kid who doesn’t have much interest in books. She’s never wanted to sit and be read to the way I was as a child. It makes me a little sad that we don’t share this hobby, but she’s her own person with her own interests and skills (she’s way more active and social than I was a kid) and trying to force her into being a mini-me would not be productive. (Not implying you’re trying to do this, just saying it was something I had to come to terms with.)
Boston Legal Eagle says
This 100%. And I have two kids, who had different reading preferences, so I know even more that I can’t force anything. My older one can read at grade level but doesn’t really pick up chapter books to read for fun. He’s too busy running around or building legos or other structures. Younger one likes to sit and listen to a book, and I think will enjoy reading chapter books soon. I personally love reading too (and even I fall off and don’t read much every few months or so), but I know loving reading is not a requirement for every kid.
Agreed. 15 mins of bedtime joint reading is really all we did at that age. When I had a 5yo I also had a 2yo, so an even bigger ability/ interest gap, and even less energy to coax them to read.
PS: Their reading habits may change over time! At 6, kid 1 could read at grade level but didn’t pick up chapter books on his own – he preferred to use the sofa as a trampoline or build Legos. At almost 8, he’s still very active but usually spends the post-dinner hour with his nose in a book, utterly lost to the world.
We combine audiobook with something else – usually coloring or drawing. It’s great for quiet time in a room.
If the car is otherwise a good option, can you get her a separate tablet and headphones?
We do audiobooks during quiet time. And for 20 minutes at bedtime.
I think it really helps with vocabulary and sentence structure.
Ugh this hits home so hard because my kids are 8, 6, 3 and 1 so the 8 and 6 year old don’t get read to at all these days. I always see example bed routines where the parents split the kids and read to them or kids are close in age so they read together and I’m so jealous. i also do solo bedtime pretty regularly – and on those nights it’s lucky if the 3 year old gets read to!
All this to say, I think what you’re doing is fine! Also reading comes in waves and seasons for us. There’s been periods where I’ve gotten through a book wiht the big kids – and the littles probably got neglected. But your younger one will catch up in attention span to older one sooner than you think.
you do solo bedtime with 4 kids – i’m impressed!
My kids are a little bit younger but same spread (3.5 and 5.5). Based on recs here, I just bought the Vanderbeekers book, which is more advanced, few pictures. So, the past few days we’ve been reading a book more for the younger one, then I read a chapter of Vanderbeekers. The 5.5yo has been really loving it! 3.5yo is less interested but so far won’t complain — you might be surprised. 3.5yo also has her own book light, so she’ll “read” her own books when she gets bored with me reading aloud. Also, when we have time in the am we try to do a little more reading when we all have more energy. We go to the library about once a month, because if they have new books I’m more interested in reading to them. And, I try to get books in their interests, so for example getting more non-fiction books on how things work to entertain the 5.5yo who loves tools/fixing.
My kids have the same age gap. Basically we tried lot of things until we found ones that resonated with both — and often those kept changing. At that age, we had a lot of luck with illustrated longer books like Mercy Watson, Princess in Black, Iris and Walter, Barkus, etc. I would also go to the library and search out more plot-driven picture books, since the one-word-per-page ones were boring for the 6yo.
And things change quickly — at newly 4, my younger was barely able to concentrate for a whole Mercy Watson, and at newly 5, he could do chapters of Harry Potter.
I know Magic Treehouse is unpopular here, but my 5 year old who loves pictures but is ready for more intricate plots LOVES the graphic novels. More pictures than chapter books but more interesting plots than picture books (I’m actually learning things, lol!).
I can’t stand the author/narrator’s voice, but Magic Treehouse audiobooks were a hit with my kids beginning around age 4 and probably phasing out around 8. They were the “quiet time” books so I didn’t have to listen.
Mary Moo Cow says
First, is older child asking for audiobook time? Or is this a need/want you’ve identified for her? If she’s asking for it, find some solo time for her — like old school boombox and books on tape from the library in the evenings, or find a special errand to run just the two of you and listen in the car. If she’s not asking for audiobook time, why is it important to you that she have it?
For more advanced book reading, I wouldn’t sweat it too much at this age. I’ve heard this from other second grade moms that our kids made whole stair steps in reading over this year. Suddenly I wasn’t reading to my daughter at bedtime because she wanted to read Boxcar Children to herself. But if you are concerned, you could try to set aside 15 minutes each weekend day as DEAR — remember that from grade school?! My kids get a kick out of the story behind our family drop everything and read. Or if older sibling has to wait with you for a younger kids activity, have her bring a book and see you reading one, too.
Finally, mine are almost 8 and almost 6. Younger one just gets pulled along sometimes. For example, we’ve been working our way through the American Girl audiobooks because older daughter asked, although I would rather have had only the older daughter listening to some of them.
We read to older child separately at bedtime,for 20-30 min. Bedtime is always evolving so you may mind that easier even in a few months. Ours are currently 8 and 4.5. Right now we either have one parent put each child to bed or older one reads to himself while parent puts younger ones to bed, then parent reads to the older one. You may also find that relatively soon they can listen to many of the same chapter books- that started happening right around 4 (simpler ones to start- Anna Hibiscus, All of a Kind Family). I also still read to them separately during the day sometimes- at 2/6 I would have “snuggly reading time” with the older one while the younger one napped, and now sometimes one of them will do their own audio book while I read to the other. (8 year old reads voraciously but I intend to keep reading yo him for years.).
Eh, I don’t think you need quite as much of a recipe as it seems like you’re looking for. 15 minutes of joint storytime is fine! I’ve always done one bedtime and one storytime for all my kids, who are now 6, 8 and 10. We used to just let each kid pick one short book or they could pool their reading time and agree on a longer book. The differentiation only came when they needed to read aloud to us to practice their own reading (which we usually tried to do separately from bedtime). The youngest is getting the typical 3rd kid short end of the stick, but we try.
Now, we read 15-30 min of Harry Potter most nights. We started a couple years ago and basically just let the youngest play quietly with toys at the same time. He still totally caught all the plot and would occasionally pipe up with questions, but he didn’t want to sit and focus on listening the way the older kids did. Sometimes I’d read a short book with pictures to him first. If no one is interested in Harry Potter (the oldest is a full book ahead of my read-aloud, now), the youngest reads something to me, instead. The older kids both love to read, and read their kindles in bed after lights-out.
We listen to audiobooks only in the car. Back when there was regular “quiet time” I turned on audiobooks for that. Occasionally my daughter will ask for one while she’s playing with dolls, coloring or doing puzzles, but more often she likes to listen to music.
It is kind of amazing to me how they soak it up even if they’re not focusing. Ours are 2 years apart, currently 4 and 6, and the younger one often bounces around the room with her stuffies while we read big sister’s book (younger sis gets a book too). If we’re reading a chapter book I’ll ask a couple of questions before we start that night’s chapter about what happened before, and the little one often chimes in from across the room, where I thought she had been ignoring us but has in fact grasped part of the plot.
Also, just another voice here that 15 minutes at bed seems fine, or at least that’s what we do and I don’t feel bad about it. On slow weekend days or mornings when everyone is miraculously ready early (these are not often), we fit in additinoal books and chapters. But most nights it’s each kid gets a book or, for the older one, a chapter. It works out to about 15 minutes a night.
They really are little sponges! I have some amazing audio recordings on my phone when I asked my youngest to recap chapter books “to catch daddy up to where we are in the book.” His version of recap involves capturing every.single.detail, frequently including direct quotes of dialogue, figurative language, and fun vocab words.
Reading is definitely a priority for me/my family so I have lots of ideas. But first, at age 6 pictures books are still wonderful, so don’t feel like you need to “advance” her reading beyond that. Picture books often have richer stories and vocabulary than early chapter books!
– do they share a room? If not, read to the younger one for 15 min and then go into the other room and read to the older one (that’s what I do with my 5 & 7, while my husband does our toddler.)
– read during snack times and meals that are just the kids eating. We do family dinners, but for breakfast/lunch it’s often staggered and I will read to the kids. You could also play an audiobook then.
– get her a Yoto player and headphones that she can use in the car or around the house. There’s something about having a device and headphones that makes this very appealing to my kids
– put stacks of books on hold at the library for quick pickups and leave them on the coffee table. When there are new books around you will be more tempted to read them.
– When the kids are going stir crazy, sit yourself on the couch and start reading – they will almost always flock over and listen. Or give them popsicles and sit on the deck and read.
Bedtime reading time is great!
We also do audiobooks while we have pick up/ cleaning time.
oooh audiobooks for clean-up is a great idea! Stealing this.
What is this “cleaning up time” of which you speak…
(just kidding but actually also not kidding, we are SO BAD at making our kids clean up)
Same! I feel like as a working parent the window of time between dinner being done and needing to get ready for bed is so short and it’s hard not to let her play for all of it. We keep telling ourselves as she gets older and bedtime gets later we’ll make her clean up more, but so far we have not been successful at implementing it.
The only reason my kids clean their room is that we make it a pre-condition for screen time at least once a week. :)
glad it’s not just our house. i used to be much better with this when my twins were like 2-3 and we were at home a lot (thanks covid) but now their school day is longer and they are at home less it feels like they’d have 5 minutes of playtime and then it would be time to clean up
We didn’t have playtime at home on weekdays during the day care years. They played all day at school, and I couldn’t deal with chaos and mess in the evening. We all got home around 6:30. The routine was 1/2 hour show while I cooked dinner, family dinner, a few minutes of workbook/math manipulatives/phonics/board game/card game with me while dad did the dishes, bath, read aloud, bed.
I have a kid who really wants and needs play, and we see a HUGE impact on behavior when she doesn’t get enough unstructured play at home, even with her being in a play-based preschool (yes I know kindergarten will be a huge adjustment…). Fwiw, it’s mostly independent play and has been since age 3 or so. Husband and I do a little bit here and there, but we do a lot of household chores, sometimes work and sometimes our own hobbies like reading during this time. Husband and I are not morning people and use screens in the morning while we drag ourselves out of bed, so we prefer not to use them in the evenings, and our kid does not enjoy worksheets or board/card games.
Has anyone seen girl’s pokemon pajamas, other than what I found on Amazon or the ones at Hannah Andersson that are $45? She’s about a size 7.
this is not meant to be snark, but what do you mean by girls’ pajamas? at that age i think pajamas are pretty gender neutral, unless you mean you want pink/ all female characters/ or a nightgown?
Yeah, idk what girls pajamas are except for girls who have gone through puberty and need different cuts for comfort.
+1 my 5 year old wears a lot of “boy” clothing. “Boy” clothing seems pretty unisex to me.
When my husband took our 2 year old to the store to pick out big girl undies as part of potty training, she happily selected boys Pokemon briefs (she’s never watched kids tv and has no idea what a Pokemon is – she just likes yellow). I bought her some other girl-cut undies, but she picks out the Pokemon briefs about 50% of the mornings :)
Target has a three piece set for girls. And it looks like the Hanna pjs are marked down to $35!
thank you for reminding me! that’s the one she wanted in the store but they didn’t have her size. I’ll order it!
For what climate/ temperature? Target has plenty of short-sleeve sets.
First Time Twin Mom says
Long time reader/lurker but first time poster here. Recently pregnant first time mom and just found out yesterday that it’s twins!!!
Any advice?? I’m freaking out (nervous and excited). My spouse is surprisingly calm.
Congrats! I have 9-year-old twins. It’s really great although it was definitely an extra lift when they were little. My husband and I early on in our kids’ infancy adopted the practice of being purposefully deaf to most advice from non-twin parents. They truly did not get it in many respects. But having to handle two at once made us more organized from the get-go, and to this day, our babysitters are always amazed at how our kids are still super easy about going to bed because a set bedtime and routine has been part of their lives since they were 2 weeks old. We just couldn’t afford to wing it!
For your pregnancy, I remember reading when I was pregnant that in twin pregnancies you should make sure your water and protein intake stay high. Water was supposed to correlate with avoiding pre-term labor and protein would help increase birth weights. I went looking for this advice recently, and couldn’t track it down, so maybe it’s nonsense, but it worked well for my sample set of one because my twins went full-term.
Congrats!! Twins are so exciting!! I always planned on only one child and that’s what I have, but I would have secretly thrilled about twins. You get all the benefits of siblings without having to go through pregnancy and the sleepless nights baby stage twice. :)
haha I was secretly hoping my 3rd baby was twins, because I knew my husband would never be convinced to have a 4th otherwise.
OP, congratulations!! I agree with everyone that you should probably ignore advice from non-twin-moms. In my limited experience helping a family member with twins, it’s apples and oranges compared to a singleton. I’m always a little surprised when I see twins who aren’t the youngest in their family… all the twin parents I know personally were very “I love them to death, but never again” after getting through the early twin years.
Congrats! Also a twin mom. +1 to smiling politely and then ignoring most advice from non twin moms. They mean well. The example yesterday of not buying something for one twin when the other needs it was a good one, I thought. I didn’t comment (saw it late in the day) but buying one twin a pair of shoes and not the other would precipitate a huge fight between them in my house.
Other advice: my night nanny was a godsend, but my twins are terrible sleepers and I had an older kid. Maybe look into one. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea.
Go ahead and buy two of everything you think you need. Get a double stroller for when you have to take them to their check ups and your partner can’t go with you.
Don’t neglect your partner and let him help you with the babies.
Depending on your relationship with your mom/MIL, seriously consider having them help you in the beginning and/or when you’re ready. My MIL is disabled and I have a fraught relationship with my mom, but they have both helped me in different ways. I’ve learned to ask for help more instead of struggling alone.
I recently joined a twin moms group and it’s so nice to talk to moms who get it, have been there and are on the other side with advice and reassurance. Congrats again. Twins are a trip.
also a twin mom. my almost 5 year old fraternal twins are my only kids. congrats! it is a wild, but fun ride and agree to ignore most advice from singleton parents. i joined a local parents of multiples group, which has been nice. i found Lucie’s List helpful for figuring out what I need (they have a twin section), and actually did not find that I needed two of everything. my two pieces of unsolicited advice are (1) plan for as much help as you can afford. we had a baby nurse for a while and grandparents helping out during the day. DH literally had one week of leave, and i’m so glad we had help because there is no way i could’ve done it otherwise as i’m someone who needs sleep. and (2) get them on an eating schedule from day one or you will never sleep. my girls were born at 35 weeks, one was in the nicu for about two weeks, but she is totally healthy now. a lot of people who i know who’ve had twins have not had any nicu time for their kiddos and while i knew in my head that could happen, i don’t think i realized exactly what it could feel like emotionally to have my babies in two different places at the beginning. with twins you get big fast during the second trimester. be prepared for LOTS of questions about whether you did IVF and/or if twins run in your family. oh and the number of people who don’t understand the difference between fraternal and identical twins is mind boggling (like people asking in the same sentence, are they identical and which is the boy/girl)
This made me laugh. I had close friends in HS who were fraternal twins and looked pretty different (one had straight hair and was a lot taller than the other with curly hair) but people still mixed them up all the time and asked if they were identical.
Congrats! We found out at 20 weeks and both basically didn’t sleep at all for the next few days because of freaking out, but now we can’t imagine at all what it would be like to only have one.
I’m 12 weeks with twins so no actual twin parenting experience but for pregnancy-related advice: go out and buy a ton of food. I’ve been surprised at my hunger. My doctor said twin moms need an extra 600 calories per day during the first tri (singleton moms need none). I’ve had no nausea or heartburn or anything but am constantly ravenous to the point where it’s actually kind of annoying.
ooh how exciting, congratulations!
Can any employment lawyers or HR people weigh in on whether you’d put an employee with a “meets expectations” evaluation on a PIP? The short version of a long story is that I have a big boss who’s been gunning for me since 2020, for reasons I believe are discriminatory and related to my gender, parental status (although I’m not in a state where parents are a protected class) and use of FMLA leave for a child’s medical appointments. I’ve had a couple of unfair evaluations where I was rated as not meeting expectations (2.8-2.9 on a 5.0 scale; 3.0 is meets expectations). This year I worked with my new-ish manager, who appears to have my back more than others did, to document all the ways I’ve objectively met my performance goals and I got an overall rating of 3.2 and received a minimum of a 3 in every category, which I think is fair. I’m not a superstar, but I do meet expectations. However my manager confidentially shared (orally, not in writing of course) that Big Boss keeps asking him to put me on a PIP, including as recently as a few weeks ago, which was obviously terrible to hear. I would think that having your most recent evaluation be unsatisfactory is a pre-requisite for a PIP, but perhaps I’m being naive?
Also any guidance on how to respond to the written evaluation? The PIP isn’t mentioned of course, but there are some comments that upper management is unhappy with my productivity, which is demonstrably higher than pre-pandemic when I received a 3.7 (from a different manager). It would be a mistake to allude to discriminatory treatment before I’ve talked to a lawyer, right? I don’t think I’m ready to engage a lawyer yet because it seems like it would just backfire and tick off my manager who at this point appears to be in my corner.
And yes, I’m job-hunting but I’m tied to a small city for family reasons and there isn’t much remote work in my field so I don’t have a ton of options. In the last year or so I’ve only found maybe a half dozen suitable things to apply to and I didn’t get any interviews.
do you have to respond at all to the written evaluation? i think all you can really do in this situation is to keep doing your best, try to continue meeting expectations and to keep job hunting. engaging an attorney probably wouldn’t do much. even if you feel like you have been discriminated against, it sounds like you don’t have enough to make a legal case and engaging an attorney would be a waste of money and time. i’m so sorry that you’ve found yourself in this situation.
I’m not sure why you think she doesn’t have a legal case. There’s almost never a smoking gun memo that says “We’re going to terminate this woman because she took FMLA.” If all the complaints about the OP’s work product coincided with the start of her taking FMLA and she previously had strong reviews, that looks very bad for the employer. I have friends who do plaintiff side employment law and have successfully represented women in similar situations.
+1 and consultations are usually free.
I’m a former employee-side employment lawyer and I work in HR. Not giving legal advice here. First, you can consult with an employment lawyer without having them make an appearance. That can be good to do if you are considering leaving or if you want advice on what you should/should not be doing. Many firms offer a flat fee initial consultation. I’m not going to get into any specifics on use f FMLA etc. But as to PIP, in HR I do not see them as strictly tied to performance evals. However, if your most recent eval was satisfactory, I would be advising a PIP only if the performance has changed since the eval or if perhaps a pattern of performance began shortly before the eval and continued after. At my company the evaluation period is very strictly year based, so the eval you receive in January 2023 contains only 2022 performance as a whole. I’ve seen it happen that maybe one instance of poor behavior or bad performance happens late in the year and the develops into a worse pattern later. I’ve also seen someone’s performance or behavior tank suddenly and I would want to see the PIP illustrate that sudden decline.
I would consult an attorney now. Talking to a lawyer doesn’t mean you’re going to sue someone. If you’re headed towards a PIP, and it seems like you are, having an attorney lined up before that process begins will be an advantage.
I am spiraling so please be kind. I started a work project this week. I’ve been out of the work force for 2.5 years. I fully accept that this is my fault, but the work was billed as data entry. It is a project management job, for which I am fully responsible for the project planning and execution. This is so not what I was expecting and also not what I want. I should talk to my boss and ask to be reassigned, right? There’s a lot of office politics involved (I’m on loan from one business unit to another) so asking to be reassigned would, at best, make me look really bad and potentially make my boss look bad. But I really want to quit outright, which is even worse. We’re at the beginning of the project so it might be best to bow out now, but if I do that and then end up quitting anyway, I feel like I’m going to blacklist myself from this industry.
Do you have the skills to fill a project management role? How long will this assignment last? Do you want to stay at this company long-term? How much demand is there locally for your skill set and how hard was it for you to find a re-entry job?
If you do have the skills, the assignment is <6 months, and you are generally happy about the job/company/salary/benefits overall and/or this provides a necessary foot in the door to re-enter the workforce… then you might just have to suck it up. At my company everyone is expected to be able to handle some level of project management and it would be a very bad look for a brand new employee to refuse to take on an assignment like this… even if it’s not what you thought you’d be doing or what you want to do, business needs change and as a boss I am looking for employees who can be flexible and are willing to temporarily pinch hit when necessary.
Again this is assuming you have the skill set to do a good job; if not, you need to talk to your boss immediately about your concerns and ask for either training/resources/support or reassignment (but I would frame it more as “I am concerned I don’t have the necessary skills/experience to successfully complete this assignment” not as “this is different from what I expected and I don’t want to do it”).
I wonder if some of this is anxiety about starting a new job after a few years out, which I imagine could be nerve wracking for anyone. If so, try not to panic and assume the confidence of a mediocre white man. You most definitely can handle this.
Thanks for being the voice of reason. I have the skill set (part of why they chose me) and it’s basically a foot in the door after job hunting for a year (I’ve been insistent on remote work: this was my compromise). A lot of it I think is jitters after being out for so long. Then some if it is “I think I actually just don’t want to work.” So clearly the answer is to knock it out of the park with this project and then evaluate whether I want to continue and in what capacity.
I’m a little blurry on the fact here. Is this correct: after being out of the workforce for 2.5 years, you got your current job doing data entry. Then at some point after you’d started your data entry job, your business unit loaned you to another business unit for a project management assignment. How long have you been at your job, how long will this loan last, and is the data entry job what you’ll come back to when this loan is over?
What is causing you to spiral? Is it a feeling that you can’t do project management work and you’ll fail? or is it that you’ve done project management and you hate it and never want to do it again?
No that’s not quite correct. After being out of the work force 2.5 years, I got a job that was “We don’t have any work for you right now but we’ll 1099 you so you don’t go to a competitor.” I was fine with this: checked in weekly for work. A month passes and my boss says “we have a data entry job for you: 30 hours a week.” I said “that’s perfect: when do I start?” Boss didn’t respond for a week, then said “Oh that project fell through. Would you be willing to take a different project.” At this point I’d been waiting for work for six weeks so I said “yes” (what I should have said was “what’s the project”). I got the project plan at the client site Monday: I’m solely responsible for an entire project’s planning and execution. I can technically do it, but I feel very bait and switched. I don’t think they mean it that way: I think it’s a compliment that they think I can handle a whole project. But this is not how I wanted to on ramp after 2.5 years of being a SAHM.
The project management assignment doesn’t sound like bait and switch at all if that’s what you’re qualified for. The 1099 and the data entry assignment are what sound off to me.
Oh – that’s a little different. I was also imagining the situation that 1:46 describes, in which the JD said data entry and they are paying you for data entry and not project management. You’re competent and have a project that fits your skill set? Go for it and own it, in every sense of the word!
Things do sound a little chaotic at your workplace though. To me that’s a bit of a yellow flag.
Kindergarten reading… I can’t get my 6 year old to practice and I don’t think he’s getting enough support from his teacher. He knows all the letters and their sounds, he knows some sight words but I rarely can get him to practice sounding out words. He’s in aftercare until 5 or so most days so our time together is limited but maybe advice on things we can work on this summer? I have sight word flash cards, bob books, etc. We read together almost every night and he loves stories but gets irritated if I ask him to participate instead of listen. Any ideas? please don’t tell me your kid taught themselves to read because that’s not going to happen here.
Is “wait and do nothing” an option? My kid was basically where yours was at the end of kindergarten, and we very consciously decided to just not push it at all. She spent the summer playing hard at camp and made zero “progress” over the summer. Then, she kept learning throughout first grade, and now is a very competent reader (she’s finishing first grade now). Honestly it wasn’t until early spring of first grade that it really started to click for her. We would have made different choices if her teacher was saying she wasn’t on track, but both her K and first grade teachers said she was doing fine — not “advanced” or “reading well above grade level,” but “we have no concerns about her progress.” Like many people here, I was someone who learned to read early, and so I had to remind myself that it’s fine to not be “ahead.” Kids do things at their own pace, and that’s okay. I’m very, very glad we did not pressure her in any way — it has been amazing to see her learn to love reading in her own way.
And I should add — she’s not just a “competent” reader, she legitimately likes reading. She brings books to bed with her each night, she enjoys reading to her brother, etc. And maintaining that joy is really important to me, and at least for her requires a low-pressure environment.
+1000 to wait and do nothing. I gather I live in a less academically intense community than many here, but in our district the “normal” age for learning to read is first grade. There are certainly some bright kids who learn in kindergarten or before, but it’s by no means the expectation. It’s the summer after first grade when you worry about a child for whom it hasn’t clicked yet. The age at which a child learns to read is not closely correlated with later academic outcomes; there’s data about it out there if you care to dive into it. Anecdotally I was not an early read (I learned in first grade) and was identified as exceptionally gifted from a young age and was reading way, way above grade level by third grade or so, so I wouldn’t even assume this is evidence that your child isn’t gifted (although of course it’s normal and fine to have a child who isn’t gifted).
Yep, this. Most of my kids’ K friends classmates can’t read and the only instances where their teachers have expressed concern is when they don’t know all the letter sounds at this point. My niece sounds just like AwayEmily’s kid–not reading going into 1st grade, but something clicked in January or so and by June she was reading fluently.
I also co-sign “wait and do nothing.” First grade is when the real reading focus starts in school, and second grade is the earliest I would worry about it. I was an early reader. None of my kids were, but the two older ones are both very strong and voracious readers now, and the youngest is on grade level in 1st grade and learning fast. All of them were basically were your child is at the end of K. Reading didn’t really “click” for my oldest until 2nd grade. Everyone learns at a different pace, so unless you suspect a specific challenge like dyslexia, I wouldn’t intervene at all.
Ask the teacher! Also, patience. My oldest was a natural reader/bookworm. My second had no interest at all until she build enough reading skill that she could confidently read without stopping. That was like….halfway through 1st grade. She is in 3rd now and tests in the 90%tile for reading skill.
Any special interests you can play off? Library books with early reader Pokemon or TMNT or whatever.
Can you ask aftercare to help him practice?
Two thoughts. (1) are you sure kid needs to practice? As the other commenters mentioned, many kids really learn to read in first grade (including yours truly). (2) if you feel you must practice, one Bob book per day was something I did with my learning to read kid at an appropriate age for that kid. Even if it’s just one per weekend day. We did them after lunch, as no kid I’ve ever met wants to practice reading at bedtime.
My kid is just turned 5 but following the lead of our teacher (prek) we have been labeling her drawings with her. She draws a cat and we help her write cat. More spelling than reading but she likes to draw so it flows with that and no pushback. I have a similar experience as you with books so following this thread.
Along the same lines, my 5 year old thinks it’s fun for us to write short words on her LCD drawing tablet and she has to figure out what they say. If she starts to get frustrated we go back to one of the handful of sight words she reliably knows like CAT and then we do rhyming words like HAT, BAT, RAT etc. There are M&M prizes involved.
I would definitely not push him to do anything he doesn’t want to do at this age though. She hates being asked to try to sound out words in books (even ones she clearly knows), so we don’t do that.
If you want to do something instead of waiting, you could try a screen-based program. The TV literally taught my kid to read, mostly through Hooked on Phonics.
What is the expectation in your school district? If the expectation is learning to read in kindergarten (which is the expectation in our school district), you may need to advocate for intervention services at the beginning of next year. My daughter attended a private school for kindergarten that was focused on “reading readiness.” When she started first grade at the public school, she was labeled as needing intervention because she wasn’t reading yet. Fortunately, the intervention small groups worked wonders and she was reading as well as her peers within a few months. Based on our experience, I would recommend keeping an eye on things to make sure he gets selected for the special services so he can catch up to grade level.
I would definitely determine what the expectation is. When my daughter was in first grade she was expected to analyze character and themes in a Beverly Clearly novel and to write full paragraphs independently, all of which required strong reading skills.
That is bananacrackers.
This is the latter half of 2nd grade in my blue ribbon MA public school district.
I have a 5YO in K who is a beginning reader (who is capable of reading more than she thinks she can once she settles into a rhythm (“I can’t read” and then somehow she reads 90% of a book type of thing)). Part of it may be school. They are just starting what I would call “phonics” and so the classroom is just getting now to the “sound it out” part (obviously in our district the standard is reading in 1st not K) and learning about building blocks and sound combinations. Kiddo’s ability to sound out has increased dramatically now that it is being reinforced in school rather than me modeling while we read together.
The other thing we do is take turns reading pages and read some of the super duper easy books to build confidence. Go back to some toddler books (kiddo reads Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to me in the car sometimes). She is at the point now where the You Can Read Level 1 books are mostly achievable for her, but we still take turns most nights. She also tires easily, so I give her 15-20 minutes of joint reading (which may or may not finish a book because she’s super slow) and call it a day. If she is getting frustrated, I take over for a few pages.
We also have the least interesting books on earth featuring characters from the shows she likes, which seems to be a good motivator for her even if it sends my motivation to the floor. I try to sprinkle in classics here and there with moderate success.
I always frame it as “will you please read to me?” as opposed to “let’s go read”. Sometimes I will ask her read to her dolls too.
Finally, depending on your screen tolerance, texting has been a hit. She likes to read text messages from her extended family and likes to text back with them (all from my phone, thankfully my family knows that the 800 emojis in a string was not me). So, reading outside of stories is reading too!
You can play sight word Bingo! Either make your own board or buy the Zingo version.
Also: do you know what curriculum your school uses? The podcast Sold A Story does a deep dive into this, but the short version is that phonics is the best way; however, many schools have adopted alternative curricula due to politics/marketing, and it’s leaving a lot of kids unable to read. (And not the direction of politics like you would expect…Pres Bush was a huge proponent of phonics so schools/teachers who didn’t like Bush turned away from it.)
THIS. Your child is not going to learn to read without phonics. If it’s not being taught in school, you will have to teach it at home.
OP here. Thanks all this is helpful. I don’t find his teacher particularly helpful (and she sent home a coloring sheet that included the word “Indian” and a person in full costume this week for the letter “I” – in LA!). His last “report card” said he was on level, I just feel like he hasn’t progressed at all in the past few months since then. We’re also transferring schools next year, going from LAUSD to a highly regarded charter school and I was under the impression that he should be reading, as some of his peers are. But I think the standards are officially first grade for reading.
I did listen to sold a story thanks to this site :) I really do appreciate hearing “you can relax” from a group of women I consider my peers.
Late in the day but wanted to weigh in: feel free to ignore. My son was 5 at the start of kindergarten last August, has since turned six. Mid-year his teacher pulled me aside and said he’s behind in reading. She said she was doing all she could and just didn’t want him labeled as technically “behind” so any extra we could do at home would help. I called my mom, got my old “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” book and we started going through it before bed. We started in January and we’re on lesson 40, so we don’t do it every night. At first it was a lot of effort to get him to sound out the letters, but it’s gotten easier and he’s really snowballed his skills the last few weeks. I checked in with the teacher and she’s pleased with his progress. I just want to caveat that you absolutely don’t “need” to do this, but it was important to me that he learned to sound out words. He was coming home with small books he had either memorized or was guessing and that made me very nervous. If you don’t have the time to put in the effort, please don’t feel guilty. You are a good mom just for caring. I just hate that they kind of set kids up for failure by not teaching phonics anymore.
Both my kids were in K and 1st in the no phonics, Lucy Calkins era. I did TYCTR in 100 Easy Lessons with them going into K, spending only about 10 minutes a night. It wasn’t always super smooth to convince them to do it, but it absolutely worked. They’re both top of the class readers. My 9 yo is currently reading the original Treasure Island. My 6 yo (1st grader) just finished the Magic Treehouse series. They both love reading. We still read complex books to them before bed. The lesson book was limited to only about 10 minutes a day, but we were very consistent about doing it every single day over about 6 months.
For those that are “wait and do nothing” you really need to listen to this podcast: sold a story https://features.apmreports.org/sold-a-story/
our kids are not being taught to read and most don’t just “pick it up”
Highly recommend the teach your kid to read in 100 lessons book.
I think people are saying wait and do nothing because the child is still in kindergarten. Reading is taught in first grade where I live. If my kid didn’t learn to read in first grade, I wouldn’t have such a blase attitude. Although fwiw I know a lot of people whose kids all seem to have learned to read in school with minimal issues. I understand that reading instruction in the US isn’t perfect but at least in our district what they’re doing does seem to work for most kids.
I think this is also hugely dependent on your child’s personality. If my kid hasn’t learned to read by the end of first grade, I’ll be looking into tutoring but I won’t be trying to teach her myself. For one, although I can obviously read, I’m not an expert in teaching reading. Being able to do X doesn’t necessarily qualify you to teach X. But perhaps more importantly, a parent trying to be the teacher is a recipe for disaster if you have a stubborn, strong-willed kid. I was the same way as a kid myself. When my parents tried doing any supplemental work at home, it just resulted in blowout fights and me hating the subject. Fostering a lifelong enjoyment of reading is much more important to me than getting my child reading by some arbitrary age.
That’s the point of the 100 Easy Lessons book. It’s literally scripted so the parent just follows the instructions. It tells you exactly what to do and say each day to teach your kid to read. It breaks the lessons into 10-15 minute chunks so they’re bite sized and you can get through them, even with a more reluctant kid. I offered rewards for doing it.
I’ll listen because I’m curious, but… kids of educated, education-motivated parents pick up reading. I believe that underserved students and kids whose home life isn’t conducive to/doesn’t prioritize learning wont pick it up but I don’t think those parents are well-represented on this board.
This isn’t what the data shows. Kids have to be taught to read. In affluent areas, kids who are behind have parents who spend thousands on tutors. Those kids just don’t magically learn to read because their parents are motivated–they pay for help.
I had a kid in the Lucy Calkins era and there was very much an assumption by the school and the parents that if you kept reading to kids that they’d learn to read themselves. There was happy hour at the end of 1st grade for the girl scout moms–all super engaged, affluent parents. They were ALL talking about how shocked they were at the last report card to find out that their kid was behind in reading and that the teacher was recommending a tutor over the summer. Tutors were running $500/hr and they were recommending sessions 2-3 times a week all summer. I’d taught my kid with the 100 Easy Lessons book and she was literally the only kid who could read in her Girl Scout troop. It was bizarre at the time, but makes so much sense in retrospect.
The 100 Easy Lessons book really only works early–it starts at the very beginning of sounding out and has to be done in order. You can’t really use it with an end of 1st grader as they likely won’t want to start waaaay back at the beginning, but it’s perfect for a kindergartner. The other option is to wait and drop $$$$$ on tutoring if reading isn’t taught well at your school. That’s an option, but seems so much more stressful than spending 10 minutes a night practicing with your kid.
I agree. I wouldn’t wait. I was an early reader (started at three) and it was obvious my DD wasn’t getting enough phonics reinforcement in K at school. We started at a reading clinic and it’s done wonders. I’d do SOMETHING whether it’s Hooked on Phonics or paid tutoring or in between.
Spinoff of the PIP thread above: what is the purpose of a PIP? My perspective is that you don’t put an employee on a PIP unless you want them gone; it’s a signal that they should leave voluntarily and a way to CYA when you eventually fire them if they don’t leave on their own. If there are fixable issues and you want to keep the employee then you coach them without a formal PIP. Other managers in my organization claim that a PIP is a good way to discipline employees and encourage their “development” and that a PIP does not signal that we want them out. Who’s right?
You. It’s very rare for a PIP to be used as anything other than a precursor to firing.
Agreed, this is the only reason I have ever done a PIP. PIPs are a lot of work; there are much easier ways to coach someone and encourage development.
I always think of it as a heads up that you’re about to be fired, so brush up your resume. I will say, my mom’s work bff was put on a PIP and she still works there, three years later. She’s literally the first person I’ve heard of to survive a PIP.
My husband was put on a PIP his first year teaching at a new school and I assumed he would be fired. He’s still there four years later. His manager had struggled to communicate a specific thing to him and the PIP worked as a communication tool. (Manager is is not a very direct communicator overall, it turns out. They’ve since adjusted to each other.)
I am the HR poster from above and I have absolutely used a PIP for a member of my own team (in HR) with the expectation that he would improve a specific aspect of his performance. Sort of equivalent to corrective action in my company. Employee exhibited X issue, I coached him on it verbally several times, coached in writing, issue did not improve, so I put it into a formal plan. It has specific steps to follow and it is actually working.
I worked at a consulting firm in my late 20s that LOVED to put people on PIPs – “development plans”. In hindsight it is 100% a first step towards firing. This was also a place with very high turnover.
FWIW I got put put on one, got off of it, and then got put on one again (!!!), got off of it, worked my tail off, and finally when everything was going well, was asked to “set my end date” or do some inane 2 week focus plan. At least I got ~4 weeks of severance.
That company no longer exists.