Washable Workwear Wednesday: Mid Rise Ponte Ankle Pants

Readers at Corporette® were recently looking for good ponte pants for work, and I was intrigued to see a lot of people link to Lands’ End pants as being well-made, durable (one reader had had them for 5 years) and, of course, machine washable. These pictured ones are available in black, charcoal, and burgundy — in regular, petite, and plus sizes — for a sale price of $20. What?! Note they are cuffed at the bottom, though. Women’s Mid Rise Ponte Ankle Pants

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. Good morning ladies, a lot of moms can cook with a toddler running around but I can’t manage to do it. My son is all over the kitchen, he tries to reach the countertop by climbing onto the cabinet door, tries to climb onto the pantry shelves, warming tray handle to reach the cooktop, etc. I can’t contain him in a pack and play because again he can manage to climb out. I don’t want to put him in his high chair with a tablet because he already watches too much throughout the day. Any advice would be appreciated!

    • I LOVE our learning tower. I stick the toddler in it (she LOVES to climb up and be able to see what I’m doing) and give her a “task” (i.e. have her “shake” the box of macaroni or something like that). They can be expensive and take up a lot of space, but the sacrifice of both has been totally worth it for me – it has made cooking/cleaning the kitchen much easier (if not always possible).

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I agree with getting him involved in the kitchen. I debated a learning tower (and similar products) but ultimately decided that it would be big in our space, so we got a folding step stool that has been great. I was freaked out at first (no back!) but we just really emphasized being careful and she got it. My kid was ~18 months at the time. We give her tasks (salad spinner FTW) and that helps too.

      • My kid is so much easier when she’s “helping.” We don’t have a learning tower, we just scoot a kitchen chair over to the counter. Starting around age 2 she has helped with various tasks. She uses a butter knife to cut a cucumber, or she’ll tear greens or herbs, or rinse veggies in a bowl of water. Actually, her favorite is to “wash the dishes,” but that leaves a big mess so we don’t let her do that too often. I’ve found that she is more likely to eat the food she has helped prepare, too, so that’s a bonus!

        • Thank you :) I will have to try to get him to “help”.
          Which tower do you have? I did a quick search and found Little Partners but isn’t it a little high for them to climb up? (at least at higher notches) I’m afraid my little monkey might try to climb over the top and fall over.

          • We actually do have the Little Partners; at the lowest level, even our shorty can definitely almost pull herself onto the counter, but she loves it so much we just threaten to put it away if she climbs, which is usually effective. I am afraid anything lower wouldn’t be effective though, since being at counter height is pretty much the point (so she can see what is going on).

        • farrleybear says:

          My son loves to play at the sink! We just have a step-stool and he will turn water off and on, splash around, etc. It keeps him busy while I cook, though I definitely need to not have many real dishes in there; he’s wedged several kid cups down the drain:(

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I got my kiddo a small coffee table from Ikea (maybe Lack?) that sits in the kitchen – we do a lot of food prep on that little table, or she can do play-dough, coloring, Duplos, etc on the table while I’m prepping dinner. I also got her an Ikea play kitchen set and she will sometimes steal some pasta or veggies from me and “cook” her own dinner. Cheaper than a learning tower and we can repurpose the table when she doesn’t need a table in the kitchen anymore.

        • +1. We got the kids table from Ikea that comes with two chairs for $25. A lot of the “prep” happens on that table, or I get out all the plates/cups/silverware and have them set the table. Prep can be things like breaking up the spaghetti noodles while the water boils, or it can be using butter knives to cut up fruit like grapes or berries. Yes, we end up with tinier pieces than we need, but keeps them busy.

          And like NewMomAnon said, easy to repurpose – we’ve used it as extra kids seating at bigger parties, we’ve used it as a coloring table in the living room, even a craft station when glue needed to dry overnight. It’s come in surprisingly more handy than we originally thought it would.

      • I meant to ask you which is your favorite tower but replied down below instead.

      • BTanon says:

        Same experience, setting kid up to “help” – or stand and eat cheerios – at the counter is the most likely way to buy me some cooking time. Considered a learning tower but a heavy step stool with wide base has served the same purpose in our kitchen. I love the one we have, since it has a large step and doesn’t slide easily on the floor: Rubbermaid Molded Plastic Stool with Non-Slip Step Treads, 300-Pound Capacity, Black Finish (http://amzn.to/2wyguZp)

    • Do you have a cabinet full of stuff he can unload/mess with? I used to let my son get deep into a lower cabinet full of plastic storage containers and other unbreakable stuff. It made a mess but kept him busy. He also liked playing with water in the sink on a step stool. Again, messy but worth it sometimes for the distraction.

      • Good idea, thank you. I usually let him play in the pantry but not the lower cabinet, I could make a safe cabinet just for him. Do you let him play with a running faucet only? Mine likes to collect water with cups and pour it into another container but he needs to be supervised or water will overflow.

        • This is based on foggy memories as we are out of the toddler stage, but I think I generally restricted water play to within the sink and turned the water off but had a dishpan full of water in the sink he could use as source material. Obviously this means the kid needs to be tall enough to reach into the sink on a step stool. He still got water all over the step stool and floor. I think I probably relied more on the cabinet when he was really little, and the sink was more 2-3 year old. And to be frank, I mostly cooked when I was not alone or he was asleep – we eat leftovers most of the week in our house.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I was trying to remember what I did back in that stage, and this was it!
        I had a cabinet full of tupperware etc. and would let him get into that.

        • blueridge29 says:

          We had a play kitchen set and at that age my son loved to pretend to “cook” next to me. If you stock it with fake food and cooking pans he can go to town.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you baby wear at all? I often put toddler on my back while I cook. He loves the snuggles and watching what I’m doing. I have the Tula Toddler size.

      If baby wearing isn’t your thing, try a learning tower and get him to help with small tasks.

      • Can I ask if you’re happy with the Tula toddler version? I’m a long way away from that (although at the rate this baby is growing…) but love wearing the baby. I have a boba 4g but it only goes up to 20lbs I think.

        • Clementine says:

          I have the Tula toddler and it’s fantastic, but it’s really designed for a true toddler height kiddo. Our kid didn’t fit in it until he was 18 months old from a leg length standpoint.

        • Anonymous says:

          I love it so much it literally hangs one of the dining room chairs so the toddler can grab it whenever he wants an ‘uppie’. It’s a lot like an Ergo but larger.

          I had the Ergo until he was 2.5 years old and he’s a big kid – he’s wearing 3T. Ergo goes to 35lbs but he’s a tall kid so I felt more comfortable with the higher back panel on the Tula Toddler.

        • We also love our toddler Tula for my 45lb 3.5 year old, it is so comfy. It still doesn’t fit my tiny 19mo, who is 23lbs (we tried this weekend because even though he doesn’t meet the weight limit (25lbs), we thought he might be tall enough and it swallowed him up!)

          We have a ring sling (sakura bloom) for newborn through 35lbs and it works really well for quick around the house ups (or all the time baby wearing when they are smaller).

          We also have an Ergo (clearly we are a baby wearing family, lol) that I love, but it’s highest weight is 40lbs.

      • Oops my comment got eaten. I used to wear him forward facing with the Ergo 360. I should take it out again and see how he likes it. Thank you!

    • Two thoughts.

      First, this may just be a phase that you have to cope with and try to be at peace that there may not be a perfect solution right now. However, trust that things will likely change in a few months so that a better situation becomes possible. I have found that one of the hard things about parenting is dealing with your own child’s specific challenges when you know that 90% of parents have an easier time on that particular issue. In your situation, for example, it might bother me that other children’s behavior allows their parents to get some cooking done in the kitchen but not me. It helps me to reframe the issue on changing myself and my attitude versus my child, since it is impossible to change my child into one of the children that allows their parents to easily get cooking done. Hope that perspective shift makes sense.

      Second, it sounds like you want a solution that keeps your child entertained but isn’t a screen. The learning tower might be an option, and he can be given different tasks like “move this fruit from the plate to the bowl” or whatever. Or, he might do well with some sensory activities on the floor, like banging on pots and pans or stacking up spare tupperware or whatever. Or, can he be strapped in to a booster or highchair nearby and working on something like stickers, coloring, play-doh, fingerpainting, etc? If it is close enough to dinner, maybe let him sit down and have a vegetable snack? This could be a good opportunity to stick food in front of him that he won’t normally eat and give him the chance to decide that he is hungry enough to try it. It probably won’t be a big deal if he fills up on broccoli or carrots before dinner and it can help him build a healthy palate.

      Good luck!

      • Sabba, you’re right! I need to stop comparing him to other children his age. I love my son so much but everything’s challenging with him. I wish I had at least one easy thing like eating or sleeping. Thank you, I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    • anne-on says:

      I fed (and still feed) my son first, and then while he’s eating at the island (or in a highchair next to the island) will cook dinner. I’ll narrate what I’m doing, let him try bites of the food I’m making, ask questions about the colors/etc. We did (and still do) a LOT of food prep on the weekends to make prepping kid dinner a 5 minute affair – protein (meatballs, roasted pork loin, turkey bacon, deli meat, roasted chicken breasts) all keep fine for a day or two. That plus raw veggies (peppers, carrots, snap peas, etc.) and a few crackers/goldfish is dinner.
      We do slightly more involved, but basically 30-minute prep dinners for the adults, and leftovers are often then turned into kid dinners the next night.

      • This is what I do as well. The rare times I plan on feeding him what I am making or want to get a jump on dinner, I give him an “appetizer” (frozen veggies, fruit, cheerios) and some bowls and spoons to play with. He will usually entertain himself for 20 minutes or so eating and putting all the cheerios in the bowl and then taking them out.

    • I was about to write this post! My 15 month old just last night finally reached the dials on the front of the stove so we need to figure out something new. He has a play kitchen in the real kitchen and that helps to play along, but I like the idea of having him “help”. Would the learning tower work for that young? I haven’t even heard of this product before.

    • Thisperson1 says:

      The only thing my almost 2yo wants to “help” with while cooking is the stove, and that’s a no. Husband takes some daddy and me time on Sunday, and I cook a couple of meals for the week, then we just reheat as needed. Hopefully not our long term situation, but works for now.

      • anne-on says:

        +1 – We started eating real, adult meals A LOT more once our son hit 3 or so. Hiring a mother’s helper 2-3 days a week when he was 2 was to come from 5-7pm and help with dinner and allow me some flex time to batch cook, through in laundry, run an errand in a pinch was a HUGE lifesaver.

      • This has been my solution since I was single. I cook a couple times a week and reheat. It’s much more efficient, and I am okay with eating the same thing every day for the better part of a week.

      • PatsyStone says:

        Yeah, I solved this problem by not doing any “real” cooking for the time being. Worked like a charm!

    • Thank you ladies for chiming in!!

  2. Edna Mazur says:

    So soccer snacks. We’ve only had two “games” thus far (3 and 4 year olds) and are up to bring snacks next game. So far, for both games, the snacks were rice crispy treats, the prepackaged ones, and capri suns. I’ll do capri suns but my kids won’t eat rice crispy treats. What would be the functional equivalent? Golf fish crackers? Gummy snacks (also not sure if my kid will eat these)? Nutty bars? There are seven kids on the team.

    • Gold fish or preztels. Add some cheese (sticks or babybels) for protein. Done. Water is better than juice, they’re not playing hard enough to need electrolytes.

      • Edna Mazur says:

        They aren’t playing hard enough to need a snack at all, I don’t think a single kid there has broken a sweat :) I like the idea of milk or water but my husband has fond memories of capri suns at soccer so, even though our kid refuses anything but milk, he has informed me that we have to bring capri suns.

        • All my memories of capri suns involve being unable to get the damn straw into the pouch, and then squeezing the gross, hot juice all over myself.

    • I don’t think you need to try to come up with something exactly equivalent. It’s just a snack, right? I’m sure many of the other parents would appreciate something slightly less like a treat anyway. String cheese, any kind of cracker or chip they’ll eat, raisins, cup up fruit or grapes, applesauce pouches, yogurt pouches, granola bars, cereal bars…. You could also do water bottles instead of juice, or milk boxes.

    • SD in DC says:

      Soccer makes me think of cut-up oranges! Cutting up oranges is extra work for you, though, so I agree with the goldfish and pretzel suggestions. Maybe some clementines if you want to add fruit? In my experience, they are usually a hit with kids (and presumably they each have their own adult to help them peel if needed).

      • Edna Mazur says:

        Yes! That was totally what we had too. Love the idea of clementines, since I really don’t want to cut up fruit.

    • mascot says:

      Orange slices and some wet wipes? Single serve bags of goldfish? Tiny boxes of raisins? I hear you about not playing hard enough to need a snack. So far we’ve avoided soccer snacks for most games and the kids are pleasantly surprised when someone randomly gives them one.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      honestly the parents will probably appreciate a non-treat snack. I kind of hate this tradition of needing to bring snacks to games. My kid can certainly survive until we get home, and if he can’t I could just bring our own snack.

      Anyway, I’m not sure what age range you’re talking about, but we’ve had the following served at games (5-7 age range):
      -mini bags of smartfood popcorn
      -mini bags of ritz sandwiches (mini ritz with “cheese” in between)
      -rice krispie treats
      -mini oreos

      So, as you can see, it really varies by who brings the snack.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Individual bags of Pirates Booty are a fave in our house.

      • Edna Mazur says:

        I had to google this. I sounds fun but I’ve never seen this in stores around here.

  3. Anon in NYC says:

    My 2 year old recently started telling me that she’s “not a good listener.” My husband and I have never said that to her, so I’m assuming one of her preschool teachers said that to her. Her teacher said that she didn’t say that, but did tell my daughter that she wasn’t listening or wasn’t “hearing” what the teacher said because she was ignoring the teacher’s request to clean up. Based on what the teacher said, my husband thinks that maybe my daughter extrapolated from that statement that she wasn’t “good” at listening. I don’t really buy that – I don’t think a 2 year old could take a “you’re not listening to me” or a “you’re not hearing me” and then determine that she’s “not a good listener,” but maybe I’m not giving my kid enough credit?

    Also, it simultaneously makes my blood boil to think that her teacher may have told her that she’s not good at something and also makes my heart break to hear my daughter repeatedly say this as fact. I’m not even sure what to do in this situation – honestly, even if the teacher did tell her that, it’s a fairly minor comment and I totally understand sometimes not being perfect with your words. Thoughts? Am I overreacting?

    • anonnymommy says:

      Sometimes my daughter will hear a comment like that at daycare, toward another child, or from another child (who picked it up at home). They try these phrases out, to determine who reacts. Other children may react strongly (“No I’m not! I’m a GOOD listener!”), other children might join in (“oh, that’s bad, [another child] is not a good listener”), other adults might react (“We don’t say that about our friends!” / “OH who is being a bad listener?” [adult jumping in for discipline]). I’ve learned to just say, “oh really?” and sort of play along, to see where my daughter takes it. Sometimes she puts a stuffed animal in time out, sometimes she tells me that’s ok and she doesn’t have to be a good listener, sometimes it’s just testing me.

      Long story short, don’t worry. Just talk to your kiddo.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        This is a good point, another child could have said “you’re not a good listener!” to a buddy (after picking it up from home) and she borrowed the phrase when she was told she wasn’t listening.

    • I don’t think you are overreacting. This would concern me too. I’m not sure on the best way to approach this, but I agree that you need to teach your daughter that not listening one time does not make her a bad listener. Similar to the idea that you can label a child’s feeling without labeling the child. For example, “Dora is feeling shy today” (labeling the feeling) versus “Dora is a shy little girl” (labeling Dora). In your shoes, I think I would tell my daughter that she might have a hard time listening sometimes, but that there are other times she has been a great listener. Then, I would list examples with 1 “bad” example of a time she didn’t listen and 12 good ones to show her she has been a great listener many times. Then, I would tell her a story about my life about how I didn’t do something perfectly one time, but that one time didn’t define who I was or how I could approach the situation the next time.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I try to turn every comment about innate ability into an opportunity to talk about the joy of practicing and learning – I agree that it would be worrisome to have an adult telling a child they are not good at listening, and I’d address that, but I would also take the opportunity to say, “Hmm, what are some things a good listener does? I bet you can get better at listening by practicing those things! Let’s practice together. It’s fun to learn new skills.”

      • AnonAnon says:

        My kiddo came home from daycare saying, “I’m not good at hopping and jumping.” It was true, but I hope no one said that to her. I tried to turn it into a “grit” lesson. I told her sometimes things can be hard for us, but that we can practice them at get better.

        • There’s a Daniel tiger with this lesson – keep trying, you’ll get be-eh-ter! Sometimes kiddo sings it to himelf when he’s trying to do something. Anyways, we’ve also tried to focus on “learning to listen” or “getting better at” listening.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Thanks all, these are really helpful responses. My daughter absolutely could be parroting something another kid is saying (I didn’t even think about that!), and I will work on drawing her out more on the topic and also talking to her a little bit more about why she says this and examples of good listening.

  4. My mom is already asking me what Kiddo will “want” for Christmas. He will be 2 years and 8 months at Christmas. We have the typical large toys and then some (play kitchen, ride-on car, tricycle, Little People ramp, play workbench) and don’t have room for anything else large in our 1100-sq-ft house. Anyone have good ideas for relatively small toys that fit in a toy chest or on a shelf? We have lots of family, so I should probably build up the list.

    • Anonymous says:

      My boys in that age have a Playmobil School bus that is super popular. It doesn’t take up a lot of room but it has a high play value. I also started encouraging clothes gifts around that age because they are old enough to get excited about a dinosaur tshirt if they are into dinosaurs (or whatever he is into).

      Schleich animals are also quite nice and not large but they can be pricey so grandparents get to feel like they are spoiling the child.

    • Carine says:

      Wooden puzzles, Lego Duplos, maybe some consumables like crayons, easel paper, bubbles, sidewalk chalk?

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Magna Tiles. They’re technically marked ages 3 and up I think but they’re amazing/easy to store.

      Is he old enough for duplos? again, lots of fun but easy to store away discreetly in a small bin or basket in a main room

      Really nice wood puzzles?

      • Edna Mazur says:

        Came here to say Magna Tiles. Second those.

      • +1 they meet the dual goals of being a good “splurge” gift for grandparents (plus, they can add to the collection for later gifts!) and are easy to store.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Imaginative play, building and artistic play have been a big deal since kiddo turned three – she spends lots of time with her dress up closet and her dolls/stuffed animals. We’ve also found Lego Junior and the K’nex Kids sets to be a lot of fun, although I don’t think kiddo was ready for the Lego Junior sets until closer to three and a half. Playdough kits, big rolls of paper, fingerpaints, coloring books, stickers, have all been hits.

      You might also consider a scooter. Also, is your kiddo in a big kid bed yet? Bedding for a big kid bed is fun.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Other thoughts: kiddo got a backpack for her second birthday and was really excited about it, plus it’s useful! She also got a rolling suitcase and sleeping bag (with Disney characters, naturally) for Christmas last year and loved it. Cool sneakers have been a good gift.

    • anne-on says:

      Magna tiles, family membership to a local museum/aquarium, dress-up clothing. Can you also ask them to give him something small and then give a bigger gift you could use for his room/play room (a good play chest, a toy table, an easel, a desk, etc.)?

      • PatsyStone says:

        Family memberships are a great idea for this age. We got SO MUCH use out of our zoo membership during the 2yo year when all he wanted to do was walk and go.

    • Dress up clothes?
      Lego duplo?
      Micro Mini scooter?
      (Also I have all the stuff you do, and more, and I’m thinking of donating some of it but I feel guilty that I’d be giving away their big ticket presents. I need to get over that and just do it, and maybe that’ll help them stop this obsession with buying a “big” gift.)

      Ask for experiences – a local zoo or museum membership, or a local playhouse? (They could buy a small toy to represent the gift – like a stuffed giraffe for the zoo.) Maybe a soccer lesson and they can buy the outfit and a ball for home? Maybe a local Disney on Ice show or something? Maybe tickets to his first movie (as a family)?

    • Maddie Ross says:

      A set of superhero capes and masks. My LO got those for her birthday this year and loves them. (And they take up no room at all.)

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I found a five pack of these on Amazon for less than $30, and they are pretty decent quality – felt masks and satin capes, some with glow in dark decals. They have “girls” and “boys,” which is annoying, but the girls ones are most of the same characters (batman, superman, wonder woman, spiderman, and one I’ve forgotten…) in mostly the same colors but with some pink and a softer blue.

      • avocado says:

        Chasing Fireflies used to have the cutest customized superhero capes, if the grandparents want to splurge.

    • Play tent and tunnel – they collapse flat and can be hidden under the couch.

    • I love the superhero dress up ideas. Also, that’s about the age of my LO right now and trucks, cars, trains, anything that goes are a huge it right now. Another thing I was thinking about was maybe a kids camera.

    • Wow, thank you all for the great suggestions!

      My parents bought us a zoo/aquarium pass (combined in our city) last year. We’ve used the heck out of it, and I asked my mom to buy one for us again this year. I agree they’re a great gift! I don’t think it will slow my mom down on actual purchases, but that’s OK. My parents buy a ton of stuff, and DH has a huge family, so “Santa” doesn’t do too much at our house.

  5. Carine says:

    Help, please! We have a very sensitive, thoughtful, and funny 5yo who apparently has been doing a “booty shaking dance” when changing into pajamas in front of babysitters. I’m not sure whether she waits until she’s fully undressed or if it’s just when she’s down to underwear – I think on at least one occasion she was totally nude. I’m sure she has done this with us at some point and we would have laughed, maybe said she was silly, tried to redirect to the task at hand. I assume she’s getting more of a reaction from babysitters and it’s become a Thing She Does. At this point I think it’s something we need to address, because it clearly made one sitter uncomfortable last weekend, and we’re probably getting to the age where we need to have conversations about bodies. Right? But what do I say?? I don’t want to make her self-conscious – I don’t want to add an element of shame to something that I think is probably normal silly kid activity – but we do need some expectations about what’s appropriate to do in certain situations or with people who aren’t her parents. I’m struggling with how to articulate what she should and should not do with her body in play. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • anonnymommy says:

      My 6yo step-son is into this booty-shaking thing too, and I have no idea what to do about it. Maybe it’s a phase?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I remember my parents explaining at one point that I needed to wear underpants when a babysitter was over, and being super confused. Honestly, isn’t a sexual response to that kind of the babysitter’s issue, and not your child’s issue? I would do nothing. The phase will pass and your kiddo can learn about how she wants people to view her body when she is ready to do so.

      • Carine says:

        Thanks, this is helpful and I think it is what’s behind my hesitation. I am having a hard time finding a way to address the babysitter’s issue with my daughter, because it’s actually not my daughter’s issue and she is not going to understand. I also suspect that talking about it may just make it more of a Thing.

        We have no other issues with things like this – she’s not doing anything at school or in other situations that is causing anyone distress or concern. So maybe you’re right and we should just let it lie and expect it will pass.

        • I tend to agree with this. The concern seems to be that it isn’t appropriate for her to be engaging in a “s*xualized” way of dancing, but I am guessing your 5-year-old isn’t intending her dancing to be interpreted in that context, she probably just thinks she is doing a silly dance. The babysitter is the one who is interpreting it that way, which is the babysitter’s issues. I would ignore it, and if the babysitter kept making it an issue, address it with the babysitter (“she is a kid and is just dancing – this isn’t a s*xual thing). The only factor that might make me think a conversation with your daughter is warranted is if you know your daughter is copying an adult behavior she saw (like if she saw a music video where people were dancing like that) and you want to have a conversation about public/private/adult behaviors, but then only because I think you need to provide context to the behavior she is imitating, which is fine for an adult but may not be appropriate for a child.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 to this. That’s totally normal for a 5 year old, and I would hope our babysitters could handle it with grace. Does it seem like the babysitter is genuinely uncomfortable or just doesn’t want you to think she somehow taught your kid the dance?

        • Carine says:

          This was a new sitter – she was genuinely uncomfortable and was very hesitant talking about it, which made me uncomfortable, so it was just weird all around.

          The other woman who usually comes has mentioned it before but only in an off-hand way that seemed like we were on the same page, e.g. “we had some dancing and being silly getting ready for bed but she wasn’t too bad with the stalling this time.”

          There were other things that made me think this new sitter won’t be a good fit for us so I don’t think we’ll have her back, but I wanted to gut-check this issue with other parents. Thanks for your thoughts!

          • Anonymous says:

            Your sitter might wonder why your kid was OK being naked with a stranger. That would creep me out. Maybe if she knew your kid better it would be “Oh, she’s going through a phase.” But it would make me wonder (if I were a stranger) what is going on in that house?

      • PatsyStone says:

        Same with me. Just a weird phase that will end soon. Totally normal.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I try to frame it as “people have a right to request to not see your privates” ie don’t force people to look at your privates or shake your privates at people if it makes them uncomfortable. I have a boy though, so that probably alters the conversation?

      We have the book “It’s not the stork!” because I’m pregnant and he had questions, and it does a good job of covering/addressing why there’s different standards for nudity with parents/doctors vs. other people.

      • avocado says:

        By age 5 I think kids need to be taught not to display the parts that are covered up by a swimsuit to people other than parents and doctors. It doesn’t need to be about $ex or being ashamed of one’s body, it’s about privacy and safety and knowing what’s appropriate with different categories of people. The babysitter is in a gray area–standing in for parents–but I would not want to put the babysitter in an awkward position with a 5-year-old who can put her own pajamas on. If the babysitter is feeling uncomfortable, it’s not necessarily because she thinks your daughter’s dancing is inappropriate. She could be concerned that the dancing is putting her (the babysitter) in a potentially compromising position.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m on the same page — the cute naked baby thing is cute when the baby is a baby. And gets a little weird when the baby can read.

          For instance: you don’t want the kid doing that at a sleepover.

          If a kid did this at my house, it would be too weird and I’d not invite that kid back. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable telling the parents why (I’d wonder if that kids weren’t abused somehow that they thought it was OK around non-parents, non-doctors, and as a way to get attention).

      • Carine says:

        I’m ordering that book now! Thanks for the recommendation, and thanks, avocado, for your comments too. These are the kinds of themes that we haven’t addressed yet and should, even if it’s not in the context of talking about this particular behavior.

  6. I am buying a dishwasher and haven’t had one in a long time! What features do you love and what do you not care about? We have a 7 month old, so there are lots of bottles being washed every day if that matters!

    • We have a Bosch with the flat rack for utensils and I will never go back to the basket, so so easy and I think things get cleaner,

      • Midwest Mama says:

        Yes to Bosch with the third rack for utensils! We got one last year and it was LIFE CHANGING — not only for forks and spoons and such but for pacis, sippy cup parts, etc. I will never, ever go back to the basket!

        Note that the Bosch does not come with a dry function (which I love b/c there’s no heat element, so it doesn’t limit what you can put in the top/bottom rack). The water gets so hot that I don’t have water spots (i.e. it all dries pretty fast) but that’s just something to note.

    • Us too! Specific model recs welcome! Lots of plastic and sippies and such here…

    • Katala says:

      Definitely the steam/sterilize setting if you’re washing bottles. I miss that.

      Also I was surprised when I first had a new dishwasher (2014ish) since I hadn’t had one in over 10 years – it took FOREVER to run a load. Like 3+ hours. We’re back to an older (2006ish) model and it’s about 1/1.5 hours, which is what I remember growing up. Might be the water saving feature? Just a heads up if that matters to you, in case there are models that take less time.

      • Yes, I thought about that! So how does this work, practically speaking? Do I need two sets of bottles? Nowadays, I wash kiddo’s bottles at night, and fill them all back up for daycare the next day at night so I can just pull them out of the fridge in the morning. If it’s taking 3 hours to wash them, I’d need to start the dishwasher as soon as I get home from work, which means nothing from dinner gets in there, right?

        • Katala says:

          Yep, I definitely needed two sets. Or you could fill in the morning but that may not be practical depending on your schedule. The sterilize/hot dry setting left the bottles ready to go, unlike our current older model that leaves some water on everything.

          I have 2 sets and am considering a third. There are nights I just can’t wash more bottles. And I’m definitely not together enough to run the dishwasher before dinner!

      • Our is much slower on the energy saver setting, but there are faster cycles like Turbo or something.

    • If I were to buy a dishwasher right now, I would want one that did better at drying the dishes. Mine are really wet when I get home in the late afternoon, even though it ran in the morning.

  7. Anonanonanon says:

    Office decor question:
    What do you have on the walls of your office? (not home office, but workplace office). I’ve been here long enough/am in the type of position where I should have more decor on my walls. I was thinking a gallery wall of photographs that relate to my profession, but then I realize that my profession is kind of grim (think: Working at the NTSB and having photos of famous transportation accidents on your walls… that’s not my job but gives you an idea). I don’t want personal photographs up on the wall. Degree-wise, I didn’t finish graduate school and I work with/supervise primarily people with graduate degrees, so putting up an undergrad degree is not done here.

    How do you make your office look “decorated” but still professional?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I have a historic map of a city that is important to me, a framed copy of a publication that I wrote, some framed awards I’ve won, and some framed art prints of places that have been important in my life (bought from Etsy). I reserve family pictures for some small frames on my bookshelf that I rotate out regularly.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I like the map idea! I’m a state employee, so maybe a nice map of the state I serve could be part of the gallery wall. I’m not particularly attached to it/from here or anything, but people don’t have to know that! :-P

    • My office needs help, too. I have a dry erase board and a cork board, both littered with unappealing things that my guests don’t need to see. I have my degree in a fancy frame, and a couple of plants, but it is otherwise lots of blank walls. My kids’ pictures are on my desk, facing me.

    • I find canvasses are useful for filling a lot of wall on a budget. I have a landscape scene on three large canvasses I got off Etsy that I have received a lot of compliments on, as well as a coordinating framed picture on another wall.

    • anon for this says:

      I have lots of wall space. On wall 1, which is behind me and what people see when they walk by, I have a large piece of art that is part image-related-to-my-city and part abstraction. It was made by a friend’s ex-girlfriend for a college art project and given to me when he got married to a different woman :-) On wall 2, which nobody looks at, I have my diplomas. On wall 3, the wall I face, I have framed posters with images unique to my city. They are a beautiful color and have a graphic-design feel to them, and they were a gift from a very good friend. I also have a large column between 2 windows, with drywall on the three sides protruding into the office, and I have family photos on the side I see.

      • anon for this says:

        Oh, and for Christmas, I’m going to ask my husband for some plants (probably succulents) to put in my windowsills.

    • PatsyStone says:

      I get a lot of compliments on my office decor, but I really just need to have a “happy” and “me” seeming office to cope. I don’t have a window. I have two large framed pieces of art my parents no longer wanted after redecorating, not my “perfect” art, but cozies up the space. I have some cheap wraps on my black couch that pick up some of the colors in the art and also serve for emergency stain/cleavage/etc. covers.

      I get a pretty new Rifle Paper calendar every January.
      2018 pick: https://riflepaperco.com/new/2018-calendars/2018-yucatan-wall-calendar/

      A small mirror on the side of the wall no one can see but me. Degrees (need to be reframed). And one piece of art that I really love that faces me. It’s a good gift to ask for if you find something that speaks to you.


      I also put up random small pieces of my son’s art projects sprinkled on my big bulletin board among work stuff, the more abstract the better.

      For OP, maybe some abstract renditions of transportation/highway/infrastructure like this:

    • ElisaR says:

      i have a painting of Piccadilly Square in London. It’s the city where I did a semester of Study Abroad, so it’s personal to me and is a nice reminder – but not obvious to people unless they ask. I also have a framed poster of the Joffrey Ballet in my office. Ballet was an important part of my life and it’s a pretty picture…. then I have framed photos on my desk of my family. I think it’s nice to have decor that can spark conversation beyond your obvious job which anyone in your office probably already knows you do….

  8. I would like advice on a toddler carrier. We have the lillebaby but I honestly never really figured it out. Would that work, if I could figure out the backpack mode? I ended up mostly using a baby bjorn someone gave us but he’s outgrowing that. 15 months old, about 24 lbs, 31″ tall

    • Sarabeth says:

      Figure out the lillebaby, you should still have 6-12 months of use out of a standard size one. Then you can move up to a toddler carrier (we have a lillebaby toddler size, but there are lots of options). But most toddler carriers are sized for kids who are in either 24 month or 2T pants, depending on the brand – that’s the minimum size, I still wear my 4 year-old comfortably in the toddler lillebaby. My younger is a similar size to yours, and he is totally fine in the regular lillebaby, and will be for quite a while yet.

      • Thanks! I will go back to it. Do you have any hot tips for wrangling a kid into a backpack setting? I should probably watch some videos to get a feel for it. My son is so wiggly and crazy I need to have it all figured out before I try anything.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I figured it out by doing it several times with kiddo over my bed, with a full-size mirror nearby to watch myself. I also watched some YouTube videos for techniques beforehand.

        • I’d go to a baby wearing group. One of the mums at the buggy walk I went to totally sorted my moby problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lillebaby’s are great. I had an Ergo then a Tula Toddler around 2.5 years. A Lillebaby will get you from now until age 2+. Back carries are not hard once you get some practice.

    • Newbie Momma says:

      There are some good instructional videos on the company website. I wouldn’t have figured out my Lillebaby otherwise.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Am I crazy to think that newborns don’t really need toys? We have an activity mat with mobile for tummy time and lots of books to read to our daughter, but I don’t see the point in investing in lots of other stuff until she’s more active and aware of her surroundings. My SIL has a degree in child development and has informed me the baby won’t develop properly if she doesn’t have all sorts of rattles and blocks and “touch and feel” books from Day 1 of her life (but of course SIL is not offering to give us these toys, just informing us that we’re bad parents if *we* don’t buy them. Sigh.)

    • What? No! My kid loved his skiphop play mat from day one but otherwise doesn’t “play”. I have some greeting cards with black and white designs he looks at. At six weeks, he likes lights, mirrors, and the noise of the shower. I try to introduce him to sensations (cold glass, soft fabric, etc) and talk to him loads.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      My almost three month old got really mad the other day because I put a soft rattle toy in his hand and he kept hitting himself in the face with it. He couldn’t figure out how to let it go either, so the madder he got the harder he gripped and the more he flailed. It was hilarious.

      Our parents probably didn’t grow up with touch and feel books and they as a generation grew up fine. I think as long as baby is getting stimulation you don’t really need all the bells and whistles.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is utter nonsense. My degree isn’t in child development but it is in child health so there’s a ton of overlap and I’m comfortable saying that is a bunch of hooey. Babies play with everything in their natural environment, it doesn’t have to be baby-centric. You can give your kid a regular household item to explore and they’ll be stimulated in the same way as if it were a plastic baby toy.
      That said, people love to buy babies clothes and toys, and with holidays coming up, it may be easy to request those for that time. You may want a few things for the car seat/stroller or to have something safe and easy on hand in your diaper bag to pull out at a moment’s notice. Babies also love to look at themselves so little mirrors for tummy time can be nice and distracting especially if your baby isn’t a fan of tummy time otherwise.

    • Yeah, newborns are simulated by the world around them, they don’t need toys. Talk to them, sing to them, there’s time for touch and feel books later. Like when they can see more than 12 inches in front of their face.

      Even older babies can probably get by with just a few things, a soft ball, a blankie for peek-a-boo, something that makes noise (I’m a big fan of shaky eggs, they’re easy for little hands to hold and harder for them to hit themselves with) and something to chew.

    • Um, my kid’s favourite toys at the wee-infant stage were an empty prescription pill bottle filled with rice (it made an amazing sound when shaken), a chew ring with different textures, and a small yogurt cup with holes poked into it so that it produced ‘rain’ when filled with bathwater. On occasion we also gave him whole carrots to clutch and taste, until one day I discovered toothmarks and decided he was in danger of biting off a chunk.

    • Sarabeth says:

      I mean, don’t lock your infant in a sensory deprivation chamber and you’ll be fine. Let the kid play with utensils and pot lids, like all the other babies who are ignoring the piles of toys and pulling everything out of the kitchen cabinets instead.

    • Katala says:

      No, babies ignore toys until closer to 6 months IME. Once they’re more in control of their hands, can see well and able to sit up with support I’ve noticed they also want more entertainment. At that point, rattles, balls, blankies/fabric, kitchen utensils etc. (especially big brother’s toys that are choking hazards, ugh) became much more fun.

      They don’t need to be baby toys though. We got a set of brightly colored silicone cooking tools (spatulas, whisk, brush) from costco and he LOVES them. Also loves silicone muffin cups.

    • No, you’re fine. If you are creating a registry, it couldn’t hurt to put a couple of toys on there for when the kid is old enough for them. When my LO was 6 months old, his favorite thing to play with was a lotion bottle. He also liked those mini rubber ducks (they were part of the decor at his baby shower so I had a bunch), but mostly the lotion bottle. Oh yeah, and shakers? I had some expired sprinkles that he played with when he was in the shaker stage (around 1 year old).

    • Anonymous says:

      What? No. Where did she go to school? I worked in child protection law for years where I had to lead lots of evidence about children developing normally or not, and parents providing a suitable environment or not, and I have never heard anything like this.

      Kids learn texture by being in the real world – your fuzzy sweater, DH’s 5 o’clock shadow, the squishy ducky in the bath, the slippery feel of water, these are the things that teach texture, not a specific set of books.

      • She went to excellent schools and did very well, but she’s young (mid-20s), enjoys drama and especially enjoys criticizing me and her brother, so I think this is just a way to pick at and criticize us, not anything that’s really based on her education. But I wanted a gut check from real moms :)

  10. I have my six week postpartum check up tomorrow. Anything I should be asking about? Need to go back on the pill, feeding going ok etc. A bit nervous as I have to take kiddo with me and he hates his pram so I’m afraid he may scream. Kiddo has his next week, but they come to our house to do it.

    • My kid barfed all over me during the six week check-up. Shrug! The midwives (or docs or nurses) are used to it all so don’t worry too much about your kid! I asked about checking my stitches, etc., about readiness for gardening, and got my IUD put in. Really quick visit.

    • They’ll ask if you’ve been intimate since the birth and if you’re like me you will laugh loudly at the absurdity and say “Um, no. Is that a real question?”

      Maybe that was just me.

    • Can’t think of anything specific but I recommend nursing or pumping shortly before you go. They will give you a breast exam, most likely, and that is not comfortable if you need to nurse. Hopefully your kiddo sleeps through the whole thing.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I think I got an unexpected pelvic check and PAP smear, and then the nurse midwife said I didn’t need to have another one for 2 years? Or something. So that might happen.

      My kid also may have been nursing while she did the PAP. Nurse midwife was not phased at all.

      I’d also maybe request a flu shot at this time, so you don’t have to make a special trip to get one later in the season.

      • Newbie Momma says:

        Mine was also nursing during the exam so as to avoid the screaming. I was nervous to bring him along as well, but I think it’s very common (bringing them along and the screaming).

        • Katala says:

          Yep, this happened with my second and Dr. tried to hurry up and finish so I could pick him up. With my first I would have been anxious, but this time I was like, he’s fine for a minute go ahead and do what you need to do, ha. Then I nursed him in the waiting area. NBD.

          I think they like to see the babies too. Esp. the nurse who I saw so many times preggo, finally got to see who was growing so big in there! They know tiny babies get fussy, so try not to worry about that.

    • If you’re nursing, they’ll give you a different kind of pill than what you were probably on before, so you might have questions about that. You might also be interested in asking about gardening stuff – I got cleared to do it at my 6 week appointment, but honestly, it was 6 months before things felt right down there. My husband eagerly counted down the days until the 6 week appointment, and we were both shocked to find out that evening that it was really painful still. At some point it became very stressful and I wondered if it would ever go back to normal (it did, finally). One other thing I wished I asked about was what I should do if I am worried about PPD later on down the line – I wasn’t having any issues at 6 weeks, but did later on and wasn’t sure what to do.

      • Katala says:

        This is good advice. And agree it took 6 months to feel right. 6 weeks is crazy – not for some, I guess, but for me it was not happening then and was painful for several months more.

    • My son screamed, and it was much more distracting to me than the midwife – it was amazing to see how she could totally ignore this sound that I was so driven to respond to.

    • Bonus Baby says:

      If she is putting you on the mini-pill due to BFing, ask her to SPECIFICALLY EXPLAIN exactly how it is different than your previous bc, other hormonal bc, etc. It is less effective than other hormonal BC– ask me how I know :) Get alllllll the details.

      • I’ve been on the minipill for ages but I think it is a different formulation that isn’t approved in the US. Good point though.

    • If you think it may be something you’d benefit from (and I think everyone would after pregnancy) you might ask for a referral to a physical therapist for pelvic floor rehab.

  11. ifiknew says:

    I’ve been back at work now for a few days post maternity leave. It’s going SO much better than I expected. I realized I really enjoying working and I’m not fantasizing about quitting like I did when I was on maternity leave.

    The one part that has been so so hard, is how I feel like I’m missing so much of the time she’s awake. We usually are up between 7 and 7:30 and we play for 30 minutes to an hour before she goes down for a nap and I leave. Then I see her for about an hour in the evening before she gets to bed at 6:30. She’s only 16 weeks, so I know we can do a later bedtime eventually, but she seems to need this sleep now. It is so hard feeling like I will always only get 2-3 hours with my kid Monday through Friday. I know it’s quality not quantity of time or so I tell myself, but is this something that you guys think about? How should I be framing this to myself?

    • Anonymous says:

      Framing: you’re doing great.

      If you want more time during the week, can you leave 15 mins- 30 mins earlier and check email after she’s in bed at 6:30pm?

      Otherwise, just lean into the cuddles and snuggles when you are with her and soak them up. It won’t be long before she starts being awake for longer periods.

      • avocado says:

        Yes, you’re doing great and it sounds as if you’re actually getting a lot of awake time with her. Mine went to day care, and here’s how I thought about it: “She is getting much more from day care than I could give her at home because she is spending all day with loving adults who are focused 100% on the babies and aren’t stressed out, in an environment that is designed for learning and growth. She is getting more from me during the hours when we are together, because I am not stressed out and exhausted from being stuck at home alone all day with a demanding infant who won’t let me eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom.”

      • Katala says:

        Sounds like you’re doing great. Already appreciating what you like about working is awesome!

        Agree that it sounds like you get a lot of awake time for that age. We’re starting to realize that baby needs to be asleep by 7:15 and it’s very difficult for me to get home by 6:30, it’s usually closer to 7. It’s so hard to not get that extra time, but having a happy, rested baby makes the time we do get together much better. We get 1-2 hours in the morning, but it’s all rushed. So right now he comes to bed for snuggles between 5-6 so we can all get a little more sleep. It’ll get better before you (we!) know it.

    • I feel this hard. Yesterday when I picked up my son from daycare I just couldn’t put him down for a while. He’s up for about an hour and a half when we get home, and most of that is spent on dinner/chaos/his sister’s homework/whatever. But yesterday our daycare provider showed us some pictures of him playing dress up, and I could see how much fun he was having and how much he loved them, and I thought how lucky he was (and we all are) that he has even more adults to love him and stimulate him. It’s still so so hard not to have more time, but you’re doing great. Hugs.

  12. Anonymous says:

    When you work from home because you got sh!t to do and it’s too distracting at work with the LOUD construction project right outside your window, and you’ve been really vocal at home about how much you have to do especially with the nanny going on vacation next week and you’re still trying to figure out how you’ll manage a full day’s work just working during morning preschool hours, nap, and after bedtime, and your husband who has unlimited leave and can work as late as he wants every night because you’re the one who’s home to relieve the nanny spot on 6:00, decides to take the day off and hovers around you endlessly, saying “I’ll get out of your hair” but then peppering you with questions and random observations.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s the worst!

      If he has unlimited leave just tell him that if he speaks to you again before 6pm for anything other than asking you to call 911, that you are unable to take any time off next week and he will have to cover the nanny’s vacation on his own.

      Or throw this wallet and a car key out the window and lock him out the house until 6pm.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately he’s on travel out of the country all next week. Which is why next week is going to be super extra awesome. Did I mention that I have not one but two preschoolers — three year old twins?

    • Ugh, so annoying!!

      If he has unlimited leave why isn’t he covering all or part of the nanny’s vacation???

  13. Baby is a pain in the back says:

    I started getting lower back pain while pregnant and for the 8 months I’ve had little bit it’s become worse and worse. It’s to the point now where I sometimes have a hard time falling asleep because of dull pain. Does this happen to every mom? I feel like an old fart going to a doctor but it may be time…

    • Anonymous says:

      have you tried sleeping with a pillow between your knees and ankles? that always helped me

    • Katala says:

      I’d see a chiropractor. My pelvis was all crazy after pregnancy and it didn’t go back on its own. Back muscles got strained and tense trying to keep me upright. Took a few visits but now my lower back is mostly good if I don’t work in positions with horrible posture for too long.

      • yes! chiro helped so much! although sadly my cardiologist (other issues) won’t let me go back so realize that some doctors are strongly against them.

      • +1 to the chiro, and also strengthening the muscles that support your lower back.

  14. Everlong for EB says:

    Sorry, no phone threading.

    I second the Bosch recommendation. We bought a new one back in February with the special rack for utensils and it is an amazing space saver. Utensils and bottle nipples go on the top. The most amazing thing about the dishwasher is that you can put all dishes on the top or bottom rack. It’s amazing to put bottles and other plastic ware on the bottom rack when needed with no issues!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I would really appreciate your stories about hitting puberty – timing, early signs, emotions, etc. My daughter is 7.5 and is very interested in the subject and while we’ve been reading all sorts of books and having long discussions, she’s not really experiencing changes herself quite yet. But I can tell that it’s coming. Any personal stories that you could share? I feel like I’m really awesome at this part, where we talk about growing up and sexuality from a more detached perspective. It’s like an amazing science project. But at some point it will get personal, and I would love some thoughts from those who have been in the trenches.

    • avocado says:

      As the mother of a sixth-grader I would advise you not to make it too much of a big deal out of it, especially at age 7.5. It’s important for girls to get good solid information from reliable sources and to have an open dialogue with their parents where they feel safe asking questions. But there can also be a lot of hype that creates unnecessary anxiety over a natural process. Also, a lot of the emotional and behavioral issues commonly attributed to “hormones” are actually caused by rapid brain development and physical growth.

      If they are available in your area, the Girlology programs are excellent. They are developmentally appropriate and scientifically accurate, and they cover a lot of important topics related to growing up other than just the birds and the bees. Example: Did you know that many young athletes go through an awkward period and temporarily lose skills and coordination when they hit a growth spurt around age 12? This causes many girls to get discouraged and give up their sports, but if a girl sticks it out her skills will eventually return.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s helpful. I’m trying to just answer her questions right now, but she’s so interested that she wants to talk about it a LOT. I’m trying not to create anxiety and just be very matter of fact, I guess, but I’ve never done this before!

        I will look for the Girlology programs too. Thanks for the rec!

    • I read the book My Girl (the movie with Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky) and asked my mom about the part where Vada gets her first period. She treated it very blase – she said yes it happens to all girls, you’ll probably be around 9 or so, I was 10 when I got mine, X semi-embarrassing story about herself, and ended with “I’ll always be here to ask questions like this. If you want more details, I’ll either answer or help you find a place you can feel comfortable getting answers.”

      I loved that she opened the door to questions. She ended up being my sounding board when my best friend (guy) told me he thought he was gay, as we talked through what that meant and the logistics involved (and how to best support him, obviously, but this was the early 90s and pre-internet). She bought me my first tampons and explained how to use them, and “covered” for me when I spent an hour in the bathroom trying to figure it out.

      KAT – A great post would be a list of age-sorted books about this topic, for boys and girls. I need to start laying the framework for my 5 year old (her best friend has two older siblings, so I want her to know she can ask me about whatever she hears from them) and would love some extra resources.

      • Sorry, she said “I’ll always be here to ask embarrassing body questions like this.”

        That phrasing was so important. I knew it covered physical body parts and s**ual activities, even though I was too young to know what those even were. But at 7, I knew boys and girls did secret things with their private areas, so I grasped the basics of what she was saying, anyway.

      • avocado says:

        For the younger set our pediatrician (who is the mom of a tween girl herself) recommends the American Girl Body Book for Younger Girls.

      • anonnymommy says:

        This is such a great story, and I COMPLETELY AGREE on needing a post from Kat on this. It would be great to have a summary of which books are good for which ages; which books have explicit and overly graphic images (possibly appropriate for the late-elementary-school-aged crowd, but not appropriate for my 3 and 6 year old); and books for parents on how to have these conversations.

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