Feeding Tuesday: Kids’ Stainless Steel Cups

We’ve had four of these mugs for about a year now, and I think it was a reader who recommended them originally. They’re great for kids! They’re stainless steel, so they’re easy to maintain and free of BPA — and of course, they won’t break if your kid drops them on the floor. They’re also a nice next step after the sippy cup, and if the drink you’re giving your kid is warm/hot or cold, the insulation will help keep it that way. There’s a version with a straw as well, which we have but have never used. Although these aren’t marked dishwasher-safe, we haven’t had any problems so far (and neither have most of the reviewers on Amazon). A pair is $11.99. (There’s a size for adults, too.) Housavvy Kids 2-Pack Stainless Steel Cups



  1. Anon in NOVA says:

    OMG I want to see a lil one dressed in a black and white striped onesie hitting this back and forth on his crib bars like he’s in jail.

    That’s all.

    • avocado says:

      Hahaha. It made me think of Little House on the Prairie, when Laura and Mary were so happy to get their own tin cups for Christmas so they didn’t have to share anymore. Or maybe Oliver Twist.

  2. Sleep question. When did your kids switch from two naps to one? Did kid just refuse to nap or you had to make the transition?
    Baby AIMS is about 13 months now and still takes a short morning nap (10-1030/11) and longer afternoon nap(1/130-2:30/3). For the last week she has been having a very hard time going to sleep at night. We had a pretty good routine worked out where she went to bed between 6:30 and 7, after we read our books, all on her own. The last week though we haven’t been able to get her to sleep before 8 or 830 and each time had been a battle. One or two night she made it to 9/930. We’ve tried letting her stay up later but she is visibly tired/cranky at 7 and sometimes before. I’m happy to have a later bedtime but not with a cranky kid. And even when she stays up later she is still struggling to fall asleep on her own, which wasn’t an issue before. Putting her down at her regular time however doesn’t work either. And she is not sleeping in much later than she did with an earlier bedtime. Although – and this is kind of great – she is sleeping much better once she is asleep (a few nights she actually managed to sleep through the night entirely without any wake ups, other nights it’s been 1 very short wake up for a bottle and back to sleep). It seems drastic to me for a kid to suddenly go to sleep so much later than before.

    I’m wondering if maybe she is just getting too much sleep in the day time? Other ideas welcome. Sort of at a loss but this is really starting to wear on me because battling an angry cranky kid immediately after work is just rough.

    • mascot says:

      What is her childcare situation during the day? We were in a daycare center so once he moved to the young toddler room around 12 months, they dropped the morning nap and only had an afternoon nap. It took a few weeks to get through that and we still used the weekends to catch up. I think there was a big discussion here about the 2 to 1 nap transition in the last week or so.
      Is she having any big developmental changes? That can screw up sleep. It’s good that she’s sleeping through the night more. If she’s getting plenty of calories during the day, dropping the middle of the night bottle might break the habit of waking up for a snack.

      • She’s at home so naps are more or less at her choosing. She’s usually pretty routine-oriented so I haven’t had to set her schedule too much, just followed her cues. No big developmental changes other than being on the cusp of walking and the only thing that preceded this was we were late getting home and she fell asleep in her car seat at her usual bedtime but then stayed up till 10 once we got home. In the past one night was not enough to throw her completely off though.

    • FTMinFL says:

      Take this with a grain of salt because my little guy hasn’t dropped to one nap yet, but he started fighting both naps and nighttime around 13 months. I thought he was trying to drop to one nap and we tried it based on his cues (some days one nap, some days two) for a couple weeks then he magically went back to his old schedule. The tactic that worked best to get us through that time was a big early dinner + early bedtime. Good luck!

    • Waking up from a nap at 3pm and then being ready to go to bed again at 6:30/7 would be a shorter awake period than my kids have usually done. Her naps are close enough that she’s probably ready for a combined nap. Try giving her a snack (mini lunch) at 11:00 (do something exciting so she stays awake that long) and then let her nap 11:30/12 – 2/3pm. If it’s just one nap then it’s likely to be 2-2 1/2 hours long. That should give you 4-5 hours awake time before bed at 7pm

      • This is what I was thinking too, thanks.

      • Seconded; this is what we did on weekends when my son was transitioning to one nap around 13-14 months. He’s 20 months now and depending on how exciting the morning has been, sometimes can’t stay awake till 12.30 on weekends. We just try to get food into him before and after naptime.

    • EBMom says:

      I would guess this is the 1-year sleep regression and that things will return to normal in 1 to 3 weeks. Most children don’t drop their second nap until 15 to 18 months.

      Also, she also could still be sleeping too much in the day and/or not having enough wake time before bedtime even if she still needs two naps or is going through a regression. To figure out if that is going on, look at her overall total hours of sleep for a week and find out her average hours of sleep per day. Most kids sleep about the same number of hours in a 24 hour period and you can get this number by taking a week’s average. For example, she might be sleeping 14 hours a day. Most kids need at least 10 or 10.5 hours of nighttime sleep and about 4 hours of awake time before bed. So you can figure out naps from there. For example, if she is sleeping 14 hours per day and she should be in bed by 7:30 and you want her to sleep 10.5 hours at night, then her total number of nap hours should not exceed 3.5 hours and she needs to be awake from her second nap by 3;30. In this example, if she is sleeping more than 3.5 total hours for both naps or sleeping past 3:30, she might need to be awoken from one or both naps. Most caregivers don’t want to wake up a sleeping baby (who will likely be cranky as she adjusts to the new schedule), but some babies need some prompting to get on a healthy sleep schedule.

      But at this age, I would give it a week or two to see if it is a regression. She might fix the issue herself after the regression is over.

    • We’re currently in the middle of this process. At almost 15 months she’s in the 12-18 month class at daycare where the morning nap is optional/playtime. It’s tough. She’s generally been skipping the morning nap and doing a longer afternoon nap, but we tried that at home one weekend and she was literally passing out on us by 11 – we did Anon at 9:30’s suggestion and fed her a quick lunch. That perked her up long enough that she held out until 12:30 and then took a long nap. I’m hoping that can become the norm soon. But we’ve never had nighttime sleep problems, although we have recently pushed bedtime from 6:30 to closer to 7. So I imagine that part is a regression.

    • Anononymous says:

      My 14 month old is transitioning to 1 nap a day (or was — now she’s mildly sick and back to 2 naps a day). If she’s doing something (park, museum, grandma comes over) she will skip her morning nap. If she gets too long of a morning nap she skips her afternoon nap. I was working on moving up her lunch to 11:30 so she could get to sleep by 12, but then this stomach bug snuck up on us. She seems to really need 5 hours of wake time between naps, and that just throws havoc into a 24 hour day. Can’t wait until we’re at 6 hours!

      But she usually sleeps through the night (9 hours, not 12/about 5 nights out of 7 since about 2 months, except when sick) so I really don’t know how much interplay there is between the two. (Except for too late of an afternoon nap — she has to be up by 4 at the latest to swing a 8/8:30 bedtime.)

    • 11 months. It was earlier than I’d have liked (she was still doing 2 solid naps) but she moved up In daycare and they only did 1 nap. They would let her sleep if/as needed in the AM but she never pulled it off. She started going to bed a lot earlier and took a 1-3:45 nap daily for a while.

    • farrley says:

      Kiddo dropped morning nap right around 12 to 13 months. After about a week of struggles to get him to nap in the am, we dropped to just one afternoon nap. I was nervous because it seemed like my friends’ kiddos kept the morning nap longer, but it ended up being fine. His afternoon naps were pretty long after the transition, sometimes close to 3 hours.

  3. Divorce with a toddler says:

    My husband has repeatedly let me know he’s not happy. He’s constantly criticising me — the house is messy, I’m not working out enough, I’m not listening to him with rapt attention while trying to manage our toddler, our toddler is being a PITA, etc. etc.

    I’m not happy either. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells, but at the same time I’m so angry all the time. I’m sure he would say that I’m constantly on his a** about things and that all his complaints are legit.

    So sick of this. Seriously starting to wonder if it’s just better to throw in the towel and get divorced. He didn’t want to do counseling 6 months ago when I suggested it. I tried on my own, but didn’t click with the therapist. But, I’m worried about f-ing up my kid and being a single parent and sharing custody and all that crap.

    Not sure if I’m venting or asking for advice. As usual, there really isn’t anyone I know IRL that I can talk about this with.

    • EBMom says:

      Advice (if you want it): you both sound depressed. You probably both need more care, time off and breaks, than either of you can give right now. You both deserve a break, I’m sure, but no one is around to give it and you are both drained. For both of you, I’d suggest seeing a different counselor and possibly trying medication.

      He’s not dealing with you fairly, but it sounds like he is asking for help in his own (not very healthy) way right now. This could be a rough patch that you can both ride out, but it sounds like you’ll both need some help to do so.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sorry you are going through this. I was in a similar position recently and I am not sure what the future might bring. One thing that keeps me positive and happy is the fact that I have my baby to love and a job to support myself.

      Can you take some time off and go on a short vacation with your spouse? Maybe you and your spouse need to reconnect. Do you have a close friend you can talk to?

      I have noticed that my husband and I fight when we are stressed, tired, overworked etc. I am curious what other moms have to say about this.

      • Anonymous says:
        • I read that and now “blame” has no meaning for me.

          But thank you. Young kids with dual working parents is a REALLY hard time in life. It’s even harder because we’re the generation trying to figure out how to do that as equal partners – we’ve started in egalitarian marriages but the world is still set up for traditional marriages, esp when kids come into the picture. It’s exhausting to constantly choose between equal/happy and hard vs unequal/unhappy and easy.

          I will NEVER be happy in a traditional marriage, but I feel like I’m pressured to give in about 5 times a week. I should just stay home since working is causing me too much stress. I should have dinner ready for the family and serve it with a smile while we all enjoy a Family Dinner. I should handwash stainless steel cups instead of throwing my cracking melamine ones into the dishwasher. Husband should joke about Son playing football and being a ladykiller, and then joke about getting a gun to scare off Daughter’s 5 year old boy friends.

          It’s hard. But we’re blazing a trail, collectively, so our kids can have more options when they get to our age.

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree with everything you said. Things get complicated in dual working households when the kids come into picture. The question is how do we maintain the balance?

    • You’re not working out enough?! Girl, no.

      • Lurker says:

        This sounds bad but I would let OP explain before thinking it is outrageous. I married a guy that believes that working out is absolutely necessary self-care. He has family members with weight/diet induced medical conditions. He was heading down the road of needing the same medications as them and fixed it all with diet and exercise. To him, not exercising is like not brushing your teeth or showering. When I don’t exercise, he really believes that I am shaving years off my life and he truly worries about me. It’s not all about having a skinny hot wife. He wants me to be able run a mile though without collapsing in a fit of asthma and he wants that modeled for our future children so they don’t end up like his family.

        There are times this pressure stresses me out and there are times I’m grateful for it.

        • Closet Redux says:

          Agreed. My husband offered to get me a gym membership after our baby was born. At first I was like, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? because the messaging seems off– hey you just had a baby, get in shape! But then I realized that yes, I would LOVE a gym membership right now. I need endorphines and alone-time and to feel strong and energetic. It wasn’t about losing baby weight, it was about doing something that makes me feel good about myself. My husband knows I love going to the gym and I havent had a membership in a while. It was a thoughtful gift suggestion (but I still declined and said I’d get it for myself when I was ready).

          • Closet Redux says:

            …and I just read down-thread. Sounds like this is about appearance. Woof.

    • POSITA says:

      You both sound stressed and exhausted. Find some way for you both to get some solid downtime before making any decisions. It’s so so hard to have any perspective when you’re so beaten down.

    • I don’t want to sound harsh, so please take this as me trying to be helpful not trying to criticize, but I think that finding a therpaist you like and/or dragging your husband to a marriage counselor are actually much less work in the long run than getting a divorce and/or being a single parent. Divorce sounds easy when your problems seem overwhelming, but the reality of it really hard. You deserve to be happier – don’t let the anger fester forever or you will reach a point of no return.

      • Agreed. You obviously can’t make your husband go or participate in therapy, but it would ridiculous for either one of you not to try. It’s a hard place to be in, but divorce is unlikely to make it easier. That comes with a lot of stress, and it often doesn’t go away until the kids are grown. I’m really sorry that you’re dealing with this, and I do hope that it is something that can be worked out.

    • Decided to be more anon for this. says:

      I don’t know the specifics of your situation so please take this as my personal experience, not advice.

      I got separated and then divorced when my son was 3. It was the best decision I ever made for myself, and for my toddler (now elementary schooler) as well. I couldn’t hack it anymore. I was constantly on egg shells, he was constantly laying around in his PJs on the weekend with the lights off, but would be offended if we went out to do anything without him. Our child was a nightmare around him (he was never good at setting boundaries or clear expectations. It took me 20 minutes to put our child to bed. He had no routine and it literally took him 2+hours. A marriage counselor gave him a bunch of tips to fix this, he wasn’t interested). He somehow kept discovering new debts he had hidden from me. I was working to pay his debts, managing everything at home, raising our kid, and decided if I was going to do everything myself I might as well be happy about it. Every time I went on antidepressants I took myself off of them, because being on them gave me the gumption to explore divorce options.

      Anyway, I took the leap and it was great. My child and I shared a 1 bedroom apartment (he had the bedroom, I had the living room. had to save up forever for a futon for myself and was so proud when I got it!). I had never been happier. I made less than half what my husband did at the time, but was still much more financially stable than I had been, without going from crisis to crisis. I was finally my happy self and, even though I had less time with my son now that I was working full time and he was gone every other weekend, we did more together because I wasn’t using all my energy just to get through the day.

      Are there downsides? absolutely. I have to let me son be entirely under my exhusband’s care and that’s scary. There’s the inevitable disagreements about parenting. I have to shove all of his homework/projects into the time he’s with me, so sometimes it feels like I’m just the taskmaster. My ex dresses him embarrasingly horrible for school, sometimes in the wrong-sized clothes, etc. He doesn’t brush his teeth. These are things I have to live with. My husband never took up last minute childcare issues so I didn’t lose anything there, but I have no family in my area so it was still really hard to find myself stuck in a place I don’t want to live and only moved here for his job. (we have joint legal custody- I can’t move)

      I will say, the icing on the cake, is that I am re-married to a wonderful man who has taken to fatherhood amazingly. I have a true partner in life and child-rearing, something I never had before. My son spends less hours in childcare because we both adjusted our schedules, my husband takes him every morning and goes in late, I pick him up every afternoon and get off early. I haven’t made a school lunch in over a year. My husband taught him how to ride a bike, how to swim, took us camping for the first time, etc. We’re reading a chapter a night of books to him and blowing through book series! My child never would have gotten to experience all of that on a regular basis with two parents using all of their emotional energy to tolerate life with each other.

      My husband does his share of chores, handles all that mail that piles up, etc. He doesn’t keep score. These are gifts I appreciate every single day thanks to having endured a failed marriage. I am so, SO happy every single day that I made the decision. I’m sure my ex is doing better as well, he at least seems to be when I see him.

      I’m sorry this is so long. But I also want you to know that you do not have to live like this, and I remember how emotionally draining it was to use everything I had just to tolerate the day. I felt like I was racing to bedtime with my child rather than enjoying him. I’m not saying divorce is the right path for you, but I encourage you to do SOMETHING to change this. I’m really, really sorry that you’re in this place.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for sharing this positive story!

      • Good for you Decided!

        OP, you have to do what is right for you. I can give an anecdote from the child’s perspective. My personal experience is that my parents should have separated/divorced when I was a small child and they didn’t. They stayed together for the kids (and likely financial reasons since divorce can be so expensive). What did that look like? Separate bank accounts. Mom sleeping on the couch. Mom going back to work, but still dealing with all of the day to day kid/house stuff. Dad working long hours to avoid mom. Me asking mom for certain things (because she’d give in) and dad for certain things (because he made more money). I don’t recall screaming matches but do recall them giving each other the silent treatment. They finally got a divorce a couple years ago. Miraculously, I’m doing pretty well, but my sibling has been through lots of therapy and my guess is that a lot of issues stem from this unhealthy relationship sibling witnessed while growing up. And PS – both of my parents seem much happier now that they are no longer together.

        I’m not saying you should one thing or the other but think about what is best for you.

    • PinkKeyboard says:

      Could you try to have a come to Jesus meeting with him? My husband use to always voice VERY SINGLE CRITICAL THOUGHT he ever flipping had. He felt it would help improve me and that I should do the same to him. I literally made a list for a few days of his every critical comment and every comment I made (or refrained from). I walked around the house and pointed out all his clutter he doesn’t notice because it’s his. The times he doesn’t do dishes but I’ve emptied the dishwasher. All this stuff that I don’t mention because no one is perfect and it just makes someone miserable to hear about. Things have been much improved since, there is occasional backsliding, but overall much better. If he isn’t willing to work on things or go to therapy I don’t think you would be crazy to look into divorce.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        Good for you and for him. I’m impressed that he took it so well. It takes a big person with a bit of emotional maturity to listen to something like that and at least attempt to internalize it and make changes. And good for you for making your point! :)

      • PinkKeyboard says:

        I have to clarify: I’ve never gotten the working out comments. That part is mean. He is also helpful as far as putting the toddler to bed if I want to be out and he takes her to daycare everyday as I’m out of the house before she wakes up. He will also pick her up if I want to do something. You didn’t really address if he’s helping with your child or not, but I wanted to mention that he should be.

    • Divorce with a toddler says:

      Thank you to everyone for your amazing comments. I’d respond to each one individually, but I’m already trying not to spend all morning crying!

      Regarding depression — I think we’re both depressed/stressed. We both have a history of it. It’s going on my list of things to discuss.

      Counseling — I totally get that counseling to fix the problems is hard in the short term, but probably better in the long term. Aside from logistical issues (when, where) which I think we can overcome with planning, he already shot that idea down. But again, will add it to the list.

      Working out complants — frankly, this is the one that makes me go ‘forget it’. He’s got major body issues himself, and has transfered them to me. Neither of us are in excellent, or even ‘good’ shape, but given our ages and lifestyle, we’re not doing that bad. But, he’s admitted he’s no longer attracted to me because of it. Long term, I’m worried how his issues will affect our daughter and wonder how he’s going to deal with thing when we really age and have health issues.

      He does actively parent — he does drop-offs usually pick-ups occasionally, bedtime if he’s home, gets up in the morning with her about 50% of the time. But, complains if he has to do morning duty solo, even though I do pick-up and evening duty up until bedtime alone 90% of the time.

      • Sarabeth says:

        Happy marriage > Divorce > High-conflict marriage. For you, but also for your kid. This is a research-based finding.

        So yeah, it’s worth trying counseling again. Would he go if you said it was a requirement of your staying in the marriage? But if you can’t get him to go, or you go and it doesn’t help, then DTMFA.

      • Sending you lots of support, this is so hard. No matter what you decide to do in terms of staying or going, counseling/treatment (meds if applicable) for YOU will probably make your path easier, so if I were you I would make that your number 1 priority.

      • “He’s admitted he’s no longer attracted to me…”

        Do you think he’s already checked out of this marriage, but is needling you to be the Bad Guy and ask for the divorce? Refusing counseling, sneering at your appearance (and “You need to work out” when it’s not coming from a caring, health-intervention place is absolutely SNEERING), complaining about house/kid/life and acting like it’s your fault, and flat out saying he’s not attracted to you? To me, that all adds up to a man who wants out but hasn’t pulled the trigger, so he’s being nasty hoping you will do it.

        If it were me and my husband, I would flat out confront him: “Are you pushing me to divorce you? If you want out, just be man enough to admit it.” That would either goad him into saying yes, or he’d have to say no or the very wimpy non-answer, “I don’t know.” No or I Don’t Know would be followed up with a brisk, bullet point talk of how he’s been treating me, what’s it made me feel like, and a couple non-negotiables for ME to stay in the marriage. Followed up with a cold, hard deadline of when he will start showing this new behavior, and what action I will take next if he doesn’t shape up.

        I say flip the tables. BOTH partners have to want to be in this marriage, and that includes you, so lay out what he’s been doing that’s unacceptable and what you need to see to move forward with him. You’re not stuck or trapped. You’re a professional, incredible woman who doesn’t need to put up with anyone’s crap–not even your husband/father of your toddler. It never acceptable for one spouse to bully the other, critique the other, or make the other walk around the house with a ball of boiling, tense cramps in their stomach.

        • PinkKeyboard says:

          +1 to Jax. She just did a much better description of my “come to Jesus” meeting.

        • Divorce with a toddler says:

          Dashing out the door for daycare pick-up, but honestly, I think this is spot on and something I’ve wondered. And I think may be how I phrase it with him tonight, as he wants to talk. Because right now it seems like the burden is on me to change, not on US to improve the relationship.

          It was a question I didn’t want to ask because I was afraid of the answer. I think I still am, but I’m more afraid of rinsing and repeating this crap in another few months.

          • I know this is late, but in case you come back I wanted to address being afraid of the answer to, “Do you want a divorce?”

            Right now, you’re living with a ticking bomb. You’re like the bomb expert trying to figure out what type of bomb he is and which wire to cut. So on top of work, parenting, household-stuff, you get to sweat it out and work on the bomb every night, never knowing when you’re going to slip up or run out of time and have it explode in your face.

            Meanwhile, he gets to be The Bomb. He doesn’t have to control his anger, his dissatisfaction with his life–he gets to come home and dump all that out on you! He gets to decide if today is a good time to drop his bomb…or maybe it’s not a great month right now so he’s going to be extra moody and wait a little longer…or maybe he’s a dud and will never go off but likes to pretend and manipulate you…but in the meantime he’ll act and say whatever he wants because he thinks YOU want him more than he wants you.

            Well, eff that. If you confront him, and he blurts out your absolute worst fears (he never loved you, he’s already contacted a divorce lawyer, he’s having an affair, he’s actually gay, etc) you’re still better off than you are now. Whatever he admits to thinking/feeling/doing it’s been going on all along–but now you know. The Bomb has finally exploded and freed you to assess the damage and start recovery. The [email protected] thing was going to go off anyway. You just detonated it on your time, not his.

            You’re upset, scared, confused, trying to do whatever you can to make him happy because you’re a kind, loving person. And he’s abusing that love. You have EVERY right to stand up to him and say, “One way or another, this behavior ends now.”

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Hugs. Can you do a trial separation instead of jumping straight from “married couple living together” to “divorce”? It’s a lot easier to see all the things your spouse adds to (or detracts from) your life when you have to do it all yourself. Kiddo’s dad and I lived apart for a long time (6 months maybe?) and it gave me the confidence to walk into a divorce knowing that I could handle it.

      You both need individual therapy, and probably psych meds to even things out for a year or two. My experience was that couples counseling was not effective when one or both of us were emotionally broken. It was probably more damaging than just avoiding each other.

      There is a book called “Mom’s House, Dad’s House” that I highly recommend you read right now – it discusses the stage you are at now (acrimonious co-habitation), how to transition out of that stage into two houses, and the pitfalls you might face. It also has age-specific information about how children cope with the various household arrangements.

      Good luck. Keep checking back in – I think a bunch of us have experience with single parenting young children. There is stuff I could advise about custody arrangements for a working single mom, daycare arrangements, and mindset adjustments that helped me, but I think they are all premature given where you are now.

    • 6 months ago I was considering divorce. Husband was drinking all day while ‘working from home,’ clearly depressed and anxious but unwilling to deal with it, I took care of toddler plus him, worked 3 jobs, still got criticized for everything – and while I thought about getting counseling for myself, it just felt like one additional thing that I’ve have to schedule and take care of.

      One night I got fed up and told him that if he didn’t get his sh*t together I would kick him out. It was terrifying, because I perceived a very real chance that if push came to shove, he’d choose booze over me.

      He promised to go to a doctor’s appointment and that he’d follow all of their recommendations. And so far – he has. It’s night and day. His mental health stuff turned him into a monster, and since that’s (at least tentatively) under control, he’s his best self all of the time instead of just occasionally. With a clearer mind he’s been able to cut out the drinking as well. He’s told me that getting on meds was the best thing to happen to him since our son was born. He recognizes that he was a mess and has worked to make amends.

      So all that’s to say – you know your situation best, but if there’s a chance that good person is hiding in there behind a mental illness, see if he’s willing to consider treatment. But he’s got to do the work – you dragging him there against his will won’t solve anything.

      Being a single parent doesn’t F up your kid. It is challenging, but completely possible to do well. Sometimes divorce is better that having your kid grow up and learn about relationships from watching an unhealthy model.

      Hugs. Keep us posted.

      • Anon too of course says:

        Wow, whoever wrote the above, we should find each other IRL, because I could have written it almost word for word. My husband is a SAHD but otherwise it’s all there– the drinking, the fed up, the eggshells. I’m actually not joking about finding each other– reply if you’re interested in a new friend and I’ll figure out how to connect.

        And he went to the doc last week for a long-overdue physical and discovered some major, immediate health concerns that could affect not only his mood but also his energy, etc. etc. A week later of the right (non-psych meds, though psych meds are great too) and I’m married to a different man– who looks a hell of a lot more like the one I said vows to. Seriously, I cannot overstate how desperate and unhappy I felt, and how much hope I have right now. And how glad I am that I was gentle in moving towards “solving” the problem. Sometimes love can’t be solved and involves waiting for someone to get their act together. And it is so, so, so hard and painful, that waiting and discernment process. I don’t find it is made easier by the constant barrage of 50-shades-of-gray style “your husband should take care of you and go to Jared and generally treat you like a princess” messaging from the media and older generations with very, very different life circumstances at our ages.

        The single biggest piece of advice I can give you is to keep talking. Keep reaching out to friends, even if only here, to chew on these issues and vent and ask for advice. Do not try to keep a stiff upper lip about the sheer emotional pain of all of this. Transitioning a marriage into being parents together is effing hard. And you are rocking it. Try to build in time for small, simple, guaranteed pleasures in every single one of your days, even if that’s a milky way at lunch or a ten minute phone call to an old friend during your commute. You can do this, literally no matter what it looks like.

        And lastly, it was very freeing when I realized that all my choices were shitty ones, so I couldn’t make a wrong decision!!! That sounds like really dark humor, but seriously. Staying in my marriage sucked, I knew divorce would suck too, so I basically was just choosing the flavor of suck. Somehow that took the pressure off. :)

      • Anon too of course says:

        Got stuck in moderation so trying again…

        Wow, whoever wrote the above, we should find each other IRL, because I could have written it almost word for word. My husband is a SAHD but otherwise it’s all there– the drinking, the fed up, the eggshells. I’m actually not joking about finding each other– reply if you’re interested in a new friend and I’ll figure out how to connect.

        And he went to the doc last week for a long-overdue physical and discovered some major, immediate health concerns that could affect not only his mood but also his energy, etc. etc. A week later of the right (non-psych meds, though psych meds are great too) and I’m married to a different man– who looks a whole heck of a lot more like the one I said vows to. Seriously, I cannot overstate how desperate and unhappy I felt, and how much hope I have right now. And how glad I am that I was gentle in moving towards “solving” the problem. Sometimes love can’t be solved and involves waiting for someone to get their act together. And it is so, so, so hard and painful, that waiting and discernment process. I don’t find it is made easier by the constant barrage of 50-shades-of-gray style “your husband should take care of you and go to Jared and generally treat you like a princess” messaging from the media and older generations with very, very different life circumstances at our ages.

        The single biggest piece of advice I can give you is to keep talking. Keep reaching out to friends, even if only here, to chew on these issues and vent and ask for advice. Do not try to keep a stiff upper lip about the sheer emotional pain of all of this. Transitioning a marriage into being parents together is effing hard. And you are rocking it because you’re still alive. Try to build in time for small, simple, guaranteed pleasures in every single one of your days, even if that’s a milky way at lunch or a ten minute phone call to an old friend during your commute. You can do this, literally no matter what it looks like.

        And lastly, it was very freeing when I realized that all my choices were painful ones, so I couldn’t make a wrong decision!!! That sounds like really dark humor, but seriously. Staying in my marriage was rotten at the time, I knew divorce would be rotten too, so I basically was just choosing the flavor of suck. Somehow that took the pressure off. :)

        • Anon from below (4:54) says:

          THIS: ‘I don’t find it is made easier by the constant barrage of 50-shades-of-gray style “your husband should take care of you and go to Jared and generally treat you like a princess” messaging from the media and older generations with very, very different life circumstances at our ages.’

          Thank you to you, too. My husband sometimes complains about being “the broken toy that needs all the attention” but my heart is 50 times lighter knowing there a light at the end of tunnel. (Of course, he often can’t see it and starts with the “I’m worse off than everyone else. I don’t deserve to get better. I don’t see how I’ll get better. You deserve to be with someone else. I wish I could just erase your memory of me so you and the boys could start over with someone who’d be worthy of you.” Ugh.)

          • Anon too of course says:

            Late but just wanted to say that those words in quotes? I said them verbatim to my husband when I had bad PPD. It’s classic depression talk. Which is actually kind of a relief, because you know it’s the disease and not your husband!

            What I meant when I said those things was, I love you so much that I can’t begin to see how I could be worthy of you. It breaks my heart that I’m making your life so hard because of my issues right now. I wish I could erase that burden for you.

      • Thank you for this. My husband is battling depression and while he’s always been fully functional (no substance issues) I know what you mean about monster vs best self. He’s had dysthymia his whole life — some of his earliest memories are of feeling worthless and guilty — and he’s in the grip of a major depressive episode right now. The third in the 8 years we’ve been together.

        OP, so much of what your husband is doing sounds like depression. I recommend the book Depression Fallout. I’m extremely lucky because my husband is totally on board with treating mental health as an illness (it’s been a fatal illness in his family before so he knows it’s serious). His one New Year’s Resolution this year was to fully and thoroughly treat his depression. We’re in couples counseling and he sees both a therapist and a psychiatrist on his own. We call his depression The Demon Depressor the Tormentor. (I think it helps his male ego to see himself out in front, battling a monster, instead of being a fragile flower everyone has to tiptoe around. But honestly I am so proud of him for this hard, hard work he’s doing.)

        But without treatment, I don’t know how long I could go like this. When he’s having a major episode like now, he is angry and irritable and can be mean. When he’s not, he has trouble motivating to do basic household stuff and I feel like I shoulder 80% of the at-home load despite working the same kind of job he has and earning 47% of the household income. And as for walking on eggshells, yes, all the time.

        Our couples counselor has told us that he was himself exactly where my husband is, and that is so encouraging, to know that treatment really can work. But I think someone has to be determined to fight. It’s going to take meds (which my husband is already on, but that need rejiggering), two counseling sessions per week (solo and couples), plus regular journaling, exercise, meditation, and all of the other homework the therapists give him. (Did I say I was proud of him? So, so proud.)

        • also anon for this says:

          I am right there with you. My husband battles a serious mental illness and even though he is 100% on board with treatment I also feel like I am walking on eggshells and shouldering most of the burden at home. It is exhausting trying to get everything done invisibly because seeing me cooking, cleaning, doing paperwork, or being stressed out about anything stresses him out. I feel terribly guilty whenever I am having a hard time, because he doesn’t really have the capacity to support me and if I can’t keep it together then everything goes down the toilet for the whole family. At the same time, I am amazed and thankful that he can hold down a job and function as well as he does.

          • Anon from 4:54 says:

            Have you had couples counseling? What’s really helpful is our therapist knows what my husband should be capable of, even while he’s dealing with all of this, and holds him accountable for doing those things. So instead of shutting down and disappearing into the basement for hours, he has to tell me “I need some alone time. I’ll be back upstairs at dinnertime.” Or he still has to use a soft entry instead of a hard entry when asking for something (so “it would be really helpful to me if you could…” instead of “why don’t you ever…”). It’s hard to tell what’s reasonable to expect when someone’s dealing with this and so having a trained third party say “nope, buddy, you have do this” can be really helpful.

          • also anon for this says:

            That sounds really helpful. My husband used to have an amazing individual counselor who played this role for him, but we have not been able to find a compatible person this time around. After trying out several duds who actually made things worse we have given up on counseling for the time being, and his doctor hasn’t pushed it.

  4. I got my son a mug like this at Yellowstone last summer, and he loves it. He calls it his “Junior Ranger” cup and he acts like he is seriously big time when he uses it. But I only trust him with it at the table – I don’t think he could handle walking around the house with it yet.

    • Oh so much Junior Ranger nostalgia, those were the best!

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      Can I just say that’s the cutest thing ever? (I’m hormonal today so that might have something to do with it)

    • My dad got my 4 yro son a junior ranger vest from the grand canyon. He’s been wearing it every day since about Thanksgiving. It’s adorable.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Any recommendations for a free budgeting app or program? I want something basic and if possible not linked to my bank account. I am thinking to try the good old excel spread sheet.

    • I use an excel spreadsheet and it works really well for me. I tried Mint and it was too much energy and I could never get it to link my student loans properly. I have all our monthly expenses listed in one column, our income listed in a second column, and the difference (our leftover money, if you will) listed in a third column. I have each month listed in two rows at the bottom. Any annual expenses are listed under the month (my car registration comes out in November, Amazon Prime comes out in July, etc.) and each month I put any additional expenses under the appropriate month (we have a “fun money” category in our budget that little expenses come out of each week so these are usually big items such as medical bills, a car repair, etc.). At the end of the month, any money leftover either goes to debt, savings, etc. and I delete all the entries for the month other than the annual expenses.

    • I’m liking GoodBudget, which is an envelope system. Every month, you put whatever amounts you want to budget into certain envelopes and then deduct from them (on the app) when you spend. Fairly simple, no bank account connection. Though it’s sort of a pain, I prefer manually entering in the spending, because it keeps me more aware of what’s going on.

      • I know the envelope system works well for a lot of people – it is essentially what my husband uses for his “fun money” but I HATE cash. I keep track of my “fun money” using the “My Budget” app, which I believe is free, and still allows me to use credit or debit cards (which get paid off every single month).

        • Oh, we never use cash. We pay for anything we can on a credit card for airline miles (and pay it off each month) and the rest on debit. By envelope, I meant virtual – you enter the amount you want for each envelope into the program, and deduct from it each time you spend.

          I’m sort of fooling it, since I’m telling it that I’m spending money that is not actually spent until later (when the cc gets paid), but I figure it makes a lot more sense to pretend that I’m spending it when I commit to the transaction, rather than when it actually comes out of my account.

    • October says:

      I just downloaded HomeBudget this weekend (app is $4.99, but no ongoing subscription or fees). I have not fully tried it out yet, but it seems a lot like my old paper/pencil system, just digitized.

    • Butter says:

      I’m trying out Dollarbird this month. So far it’s pretty easy. It’s not fancy, and is entirely divorced from our accounts/the internet, but both of these are reasons why I like it so far.

      • YNAB is worth the 60 bucks. it just is. and you don’t pay extra for the app or updates. you will save that 60 bucks in the first month. it is totally an envelope system, and we also use CCs almost exclusively (for points reasons) and it works great for us.

  6. Just a quick update after yesterday’s hospital drama. Went in for my viability scan this am and they did the NT tests as well. Baby CB looks chubby and happy, even rolling over for us. I will be injecting myself with heparin for the next 8 months and need to see a haematologist and a geneticist but everyone seems optimistic that with a bit of management, everything will be okay. It appears that I should have gotten a call from my midwife telling me what they were concerned about and what the next steps were but didn’t, so that’s where the confusion emerged from.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      Ugh, so much stress over a missed phone call. (missed on their part, not yours). I’m sorry this was unnecessarily stressful but I’m glad it all ended well!

      • Yeah, apparently the midwife was supposed to call on Monday morning and talk me through everything before the secretary called. And after all the drama about being 2 days short of 12 weeks so having to go to another unit, I measured at 12w1d.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      At one of my monthly appointments my doctor was shocked and a little annoyed that I hadn’t yet made an appointment to an endocrinologist to get further testing done for my thyroid and said that it was really urgent for me to do so (untreated hypo thyroidism can have negative effects on a fetus) so there was a mad scramble to get that done. Yeah, didn’t get a call from the nurse telling me to do any of that.

    • Glad you had the scan and things look good, plus they cleared up this (needless, not-your-fault-at-all) confusion. Hopefully communication from them improves.

      • It seems like I’ll be seeing a combined hematologist / obstetrician so should be a bit clearer from here on out, will just need to go to midwife for measurements and whooping cough vaccine.

  7. bluesuedeshoes says:

    Natural birthing question: with my first, I had an unintentionally unmedicated birth (made it too the hospital too late for an epidural), and now, my second time around, I intentionally want to try for an unmedicated birth. I’ve forgotten a lot of what I learned three years ago, so does anyone have any suggestions for books or online resources on birth prep and pain management, particularly ones that are going to be complementary with hospital births?

    • Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel is great.

      I also strongly advise a doula and a birth plan (not something carved in stone but a good reminder of priorities). A good birth plan doesn’t promise a certain outcome but focuses on things like noting that you should not be offered pain medication and will request something if you want it or that you want to labor and/or deliver in your own clothes (I highly recommend a comfy maxi dress).

      One way to keep your birth plan as short and simple as possible is to find out the policies of the hospital where you will deliver. You don’t want to waste time noting that you don’t want an IV unless medically necessary if the hospital doesn’t do routine IVs on admission.

      I’ve had two intentionally unmedicated births – the second (even with twins) was infinitely easier. General advice is to labor at home as long as possible but given how quickly your first baby came, you may want to head to the hospital sooner as subsequent births usually go more quickly.

    • Anonymous says:

      I read “A Natural Hospital Birth” by Cynthia Gabriel. It was helpful, especially in providing specific ways to push back against hospital staff that might not be accommodating of your plans. I would also recommend getting a doula.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve heard Ina May Gaskin’s book is good for getting in the right mindset.

    • Rachel Yellin Hypnosis! Delivered 10 lb baby with no drugs. There could have been other factors that contributed but I enjoyed it:)

      • Other says:

        Curious! You enjoyed the book, or the delivery of a 10lb baby unmedicated?! B/c dang! you are my hero if it’s the latter.

  8. Cookie Harpy says:

    Piggybacking off the divorce question above.

    I think I have let my resentment build to the point where I’ve “lost that loving feeling”, as the song says. My immediate reaction to any small stupid thing is to blame my husband. Like there weren’t diapers stocked under the changing table and my initial reaction was to snap in my head at him. I am getting off the depo shot. So hopefully my hormone-induced rages will subside. But I need to break the resentment habit because it’s making me miserable. Any of you gotten to the point of extreme resentment and come back from it successfully?

    • I’m sort of there when I get stressed. I think it’s a consequence of me feeling overwhelmed and him being the only other adult in the house.

      I had to run upstairs this morning to grab diapers to restock the diaper change table downstairs and found myself blaming him that he hadn’t done it but then he’d unloaded the dishwasher while I drank my coffee.

      I’m making an effort to consciously avoid blaming him for ‘every little thing’ that doesn’t go right. Yes, there are lots of things he screws up, but there are lots of things I screw up that I don’t get blamed for.

    • AnonMN says:

      I am currently working on this (now that I am getting enough sleep and no longer in the bottoms of PPD). What finally snapped me out of it, was realizing how it would feel to me if he said all of the things that I do. I try to take a pause before commeting and ask, how would that feel if he said it to me. It usually stops me in my tracks. It’s hard though.

      • This is also a good point. We recently ran out of diapers in the middle of the night because I am the one that orders them and I forgot that we were running low and he just calmly ran out to go get some, no blame, no “why didn’t you tell me sooner,” nothing. And I try to remember that when it’s something he forgot to do. “How would I want someone to address this with me” is a good way to approach this.

    • Can you try getting into the habit of mentally thanking for the things that he does do?
      I find that I sometimes take for granted all the various things that do get done but when I stop to think about life from Mr. AIMS’s perspective I feel much more generous and loving towards him. So, yes, maybe some things he doesn’t do but then some things I don’t do and just take for granted that they are done. I probably do more small daily tasks like refill diapers (or even to make sure they are ordered and delivered by amazon)but I’d say he does dozens of things that I benefit from and just assume as a given. Sometimes it’s easier to take notice of only the things that go wrong but to gloss over all that is actually done.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        Excellent advice, but I like to take it one step further and even verbally thank him for the every day things. I think it came across as sarcastic at first to be honest, but he has learned to appreciate it! I try to be like “Thanks for sorting all of that mail and shredding all those credit card offers. I know it’s not fun to come home from work and have to sort through more papers, and I appreciate that you did it.” or “Thank you for handling most of bedtime when you saw that I had a rough day and was feeling overwhelmed. I know I seem-and AM- grumpy right now, but I did notice that you did that for me and I do appreciate it.” It feels awkward at first, but I think it really is important to do. People don’t know how we feel if we don’t tell them.

        • Anon in NOVA says:

          PS this also holds me a bit accountable when I’m being ragey… I’m aware that it’d look silly if I verbally thanked him for all he does and then feel grumpy and go “YOU NEVER DO ANYTHING!”

        • avocado says:

          Ever since we were dating, my husband and I have made a conscious effort to thank each other for the little things on a daily basis. “Thank you for making dinner.” “Thank you for doing the dishes.” It is quite powerful for both the thank-er and the thank-ee, and sometimes I think it’s the only thing that’s gotten us through the really hard times.

      • EB0220 says:

        Yes – I try to do this and it helps. My husband is working 2 jobs and I feel like I do everything around the house. I do most things, but still – saying “thank you” keeps me conscious of where he does contribute. For example, he gets me coffee at our favorite place every morning so I don’t have to get out of the car with our toddler, and that is awesome. It staves off the score-keeping.

    • I get it, and suffer from PPR (post-partum rage, which I just invented, but I think should be a thing). It’s honestly the thing that I am most worried about if we choose to have another baby. It helped to get a blood work-up by my doctor, and finding out I’m B12 deficient. I take a hefty supplement now, and my anger has evened out significantly. If I am being honest, though, I don’t know how much of that is due to the supplement, or because I weaned over a year ago. I really suspect that BFing and weaning hormones threw me for a loop.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        PPR is real. I mean not a real phrase that I’ve heard before, but once you said it I thought “THIS IS TOTALLY REAL!”

      • (was) due in june says:

        PPR. This is me right now. Quick to intense, irrational (but based on a pearl of legitimacy in the middle) rages. Flames on the side of my face rage.

        • Well said — “irrational (but based on a pearl of legitimacy in the middle)” was my specialty. I found a legitimate issue, and then lost any sort of standing by raging out on my husband regarding the issue. He would concede, apologize, but I just couldn’t stop the anger from seething out of me — so I’d continue to lash out at him, angrily. It was awful. He would tell me to walk away, or he’d walk away if I wouldn’t, and it would take me a long time (usually overnight) to really calm down and realize how irrational I became. Man, I don’t miss those fights. They felt marriage ending in the moment (and I think my husband thought they would be if it didn’t subside). I haven’t felt that sense of uncontrollable anger since supplementing with B12 and weaning, and it is glorious to realize how much of that must have been chemical/hormonal.

    • ChiLaw says:

      I hope this isn’t nuts, but here’s my suggestion.

      I am (slowly) working my way through Feeling Better, by David Burns. It can be kind of frustrating (because it is repetitive and ‘splainy), but identifying the way that the things I think *aren’t* right, in a very explicit, sometimes annoyingly simple way, is supremely helpful.

      Like I tend toward what he calls “labeling” and “all or nothing thinking.” “My husband didn’t put diapers in the diaper table, he’s a bum who never helps.” You’re supposed to recognize this negative thought. And then you’re supposed to really break it down: “well, he didn’t help this one time, but is it true that he never helps? he was cleaning up the spilled cereal while i was doing the diaper change. and is he really a bum? he supported our family during that trying time and never complained.” etc. etc. The idea is to do it enough so that it becomes a habit.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I’ve found that it’s really helpful to verbally acknowledge when I’m in a bad mood. If I’ve already said something mean, I apologize for that and then say I’m grouchy/hungry/anxious/tired. If I’m about to say something mean, I stop myself and say, “Gosh, I’m grouchy! I think I need to [insert self-care task] before doing this thing that I’m trying to do.” For me, it’s usually hungry tbh. I even use this with kiddo; I never want her to internalize that she is inherently bad just because mama needed a snack and didn’t get one.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        I do the same thing! I tell my husband “I’m feeling very grumpy and I can’t identify the reason. I’m trying my best not to be grouchy at you, but wanted you to know it’s nothing you did if you pick up on it” etc.
        Good idea to use it with kiddo too.

        • (was) due in june says:

          I feel like there was a class on emotional intelligence when we were all growing up and somehow I totally missed it. It would take me a long time to actually recognize and articulate that statement. Ugh, I am the worst.

          • NewMomAnon says:

            It took me a long time to figure it out too. Now I realize I get this adrenaline rush that makes my head feel like it’s feeling up with water? I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s an unpleasant physical rush feeling that I’ve come to recognize as a sign that the emotion I’m having isn’t due to anyone else’s behaviors.

          • Anon in NOVA says:

            ^Yes! I think of it as “tingly head” hahaha! It’s a thing!

          • Closet Redux says:

            A few years ago I realized I was saying things like “I am the worst” or “I’m an idiot” all. the. time. I worked really hard to stop saying those things about myself to myself. I feel like it helped me to stop saying them about my husband, too.

        • Yes! Love using this with kiddo. It can be helpfully hilarious too. “Kid, I’m super upset right now because I need to get to a meeting at work. I’m feeling really frustrated that you haven’t put your boots on yet — can you help me get to the meeting on time?” And Kid is all like, yes! let’s do it together! (still very inefficiently, but at least he’ll be compliant).

  9. POSITA says:

    Any suggestions for how to motivate a 3.5 year old? I’m find every little thing to be a fight these days. Getting dressed in the morning we fight over each sock, pant leg, shirt sleve, etc because she doesn’t want to get dressed. Then we fight about teeth brushing, hair brushing, breakfast, shoes, coat, hat, mittens, walking to the car, getting in the car, putting on her car seat straps, buckling in, and on and on. It’s not that she cares what clothes she wears or what she eats, but it’s that she just wants to stay home. Getting her out the door is an exercise in threat after threat.

    It’s similar in the evening. She doesn’t want to go to bed (even hours later) so she will fight the evening routine. She’ll try to stop us from getting in the car to go home, making dinner, eating dinner, refuse pjs, refuse teeth brushing, refuse to get in bed for stories, refuse to stay when we turn out the light, etc.

    She also likes to test boundaries in her refusal. Throwing food to delay. Spitting in my face so I won’t put on her pjs. Kicking me in the shins so I can’t stir dinner. She knows better and does it all with a smirk to see what we’ll do next. She’s constantly testing us and all we want to do is throttle her. Help! She is exhausting. I try to outwit and negotiate with her, but you can only do so much. It just goes on and on.

    • Anonymous says:

      She just wants you to engage. You are engaging to the Nth degree. You need to completely dis engage. Pick a week when you’re not swamped at work, and every single time she pushes back, say, “okay,” shrug, and walk away. Do not speak to her until she is compliant. None of this behavior is OK (spitting, kicking, throwing food, what!!!) and she needs structure. You are the boss. She needs consequences. If she throws food, take it away (for an hour). If she refuses to get dressed, disengage. Take her to school in her PJs. Daycare teachers can deal with it. Drop the threats. Threaten time out ONCE, and then actually give her a time out. She’s 3, so she can handle a 3-minute time-out. That first time-out is going to take about half an hour. Supernanny it. Just do it. Good luck mama.

      • POSITA says:

        She gets lots of time outs. She gets lots of her favorite stuff taken away. She gets her dinner taken away pretty regularly. The problem is that what she really wants is not yo go to school and not to go to bed. None of our levers are strong enough to break her resistance.

        In the morning the only thing she wants is to play quietly and not get ready to go. If I disengage she is thrilled and plays happily. In the evening she wants to play and not ever go to bed. Any punishment is delaying the routine and pushing back bedtime. Every timeout is a win for her in her eyes. Eventually if she doesn’t eat she gets “hangry” and life goes downhill for us all. We have to keep the routine moving forward or she will never get to bed (her preference).

        • Anon in NOVA says:

          Have you tried putting her in her room at bedtime, but letting her stay up and quietly play (and no turning on overhead lights) until she’s ready to sleep?

        • Sarabeth says:

          Can you cut down the bedtime routine? If she’s fighting it, can you pare it back to the absolute basics? Kids can go to sleep without pajamas, for example.

          • POSITA says:

            We’re down to the basics plus fighting. Can’t really cut out food or teeth brushing. She won’t go to sleep in her clothes so PJs are also a must. She also still needs a Pull-Up for overnights so she has to undress anyways.

            I’ve tried taking her to school in her PJs when she refused to get dressed in the morning, but I can’t physically strap her in her carseat during a tantrum. She’s too strong. We ended up going back inside for clothes and I was over an hour late to work.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          Wait, that sounds like a description of me when I was that age. My parents started automating a lot of things – setting alarms for when certain tasks were “done,” and if they weren’t done, we moved onto the next task anyway. So if I hadn’t finished getting dressed within the allotted time, I moved onto the next thing undressed. And if I didn’t finish eating in the allotted time, food disappeared and we moved onto the next thing. They had an egg timer or something similar – it was easier for me to understand changing levels of sand than a digital clock count down.

          For me, it wasn’t a willful thing so much as I am really bad with time management. Still, to this day, I am bad at time management. You can punish me for it but it won’t change the fact that I need a crutch to help me stay on time.

          A few other tricks that I’ve gotten from this board – keep everything in one room, especially in the morning; it’s best if that room isn’t the room where her toys are located. Break things into smaller tasks; instead of asking her to get dressed, I’ll have her put on undies, and then pants, and then her shirt, and then her socks. I use a lot of countdowns; “I’ll give you to the count of 5 to get your shirt on, and then I’m going to do it for you.” And then I do it. Bribery and praise for good behaviors – “If we can get dressed and teeth brushed before this timer goes off, we’re going to have a dance party.” And then when we get it done before the timer goes off, I tell her I’m proud of her and we do a high five before our dance party. The next morning I remind her of how awesome she did the previous day, and ask her if we can do it even faster today.

          • POSITA says:

            We usually can get her to stay with a threat so we haven’t offered this particular solution, but maybe it will help someone else! The harder tasks are those requiring her cooperation–pjs and teeth brushing.

          • POSITA says:

            That comment went it the wrong spot. It was supposed to go above.

            I just ordered an egg timer. Thanks all for the suggestion! I feel like I’m still missing the right stick. I need something for the consequence that will motivate. E.g., “Put your pants on before the timer dings or ____.” So far nothing is strong enough to overcome her unwillingness and I’m not strong enough to fight her into clothes. I also haven’t had luck with bribes (other than candy, which I save for dire circumstances like blood draws). She laughs at sticker charts and couldn’t care less about time outs.

        • Agree with setting boundaries — that you don’t control — to keep moving forward. “Child, if you don’t pick your clothes by the time the egg timer chimes, you will go to school in your PJs.” Or “You may have your toys when you have picked your school clothes.” Or “Child, if you don’t get in the bath by the chime, then we won’t have time for stories before bed!” I read something that resonated – make the clock the enemy – not you. She can’t fight the clock like she can fight you. Don’t get mad if she doesn’t meet the deadline, just let her have the natural consequence of not meeting the deadline. My 4 year old doesn’t get TV in the morning until breakfast is eaten and he’s dressed. If he doesn’t do those fast enough, he knows he won’t get TV before it’s time to go.

          Then, maybe drop to the bare minimum? We don’t brush teeth in the morning, and give her one drawer with school appropriate clothing – let her pick what she’s wearing. Controlled choices. I’ve sent my kids to school in PJs. You can bring extra clothes if you want, or just give the teacher a heads-up, and if she can’t go outside b/c she’s not dressed appropriately, she’ll be more compliant next time (ask me how I know).

          Regarding her aggressive behavior while you are cooking, this might be counterintuitive, but can you give her 15 concentrated minutes of playtime when you get home before starting dinner? I read a book called the “Me, Me, Me Epidemic” and I LOVED it. One of the biggest suggestions to head off this type of behavior was a chunk of time EVERY DAY (it’s harder than you think!) where you do something THEY WANT TO DO with them solo every day. My 2 year old has chilled out a lot when I started this with him. I’ve leaned heavily on pre-made food to do this with both kids, but it really has made a big difference in their interactions with me and each other.

          • POSITA says:

            The aggressive stuff is so weird because she is often just looking for a reaction. The last time she spit in my face she was literally sitting in my lap while we had a quiet conversation about Cinderella, her favorite princess. There was no warning. It’s like she was just bored and wanted to see what would happen next.

    • mascot says:

      Agree to disengage when possible. Another suggestion is the 123 Magic program. It really helped us to calm down and not engage.
      Also, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. Or three-nagers. Just because they are verbal and say the occasional logical argument doesn’t change this.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I found out why the pediatrician’s office insisted on an in-person visit for a Tamiflu scrip yesterday! Apparently Tamiflu has some neuro-psych side effects in young children (like, self-injurious behavior) and so they are very careful about prescribing it. After describing the symptoms my daughter was exhibiting to the doctor over the phone, she said it didn’t sound like flu and set an appointment to see her.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        This was meant to be a standalone post….sorry.

      • avocado says:

        Yes, the reported side effects are so scary that I have always avoided requesting Tamiflu for my kid and myself. Your ped’s policy banning sick parents from the office is nuts. Who exactly do they think is going to bring in the sick kids other than the sick parents? In your situation I’d just bring the kid in, sit in the “sick child” waiting area, and try not to look sick myself. It’s not as if you are adding many germs to the mix.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          If kiddo’s illness gets much worse, we’re going to be on 9-1-1 alert for her asthma and I’ll either have to keep her home to monitor it or spend all day at work freaking out about whether daycare is monitoring it closely enough…this is a tough balance.

          • avocado says:

            Oh, yeah, with asthma in the mix the side effect calculus is totally different. But the side effects are very scary so it’s understandable that the doctor wouldn’t prescribe it over the phone. I hope she (and you!) feels better soon.

    • Sarabeth says:

      I get this frustration. Some of what you describe can be dealt with using natural consequences (refuses to read book with you –> mama skips book and goes straight to turning off light and leaving room; kicking/hitting –> timeout in her room until she is ready to use gentle touches). Some of it is harder, though, because the natural consequence of not getting dressed in the morning is not going to daycare, which is what she wants.

      One thing that sometimes works for us it to build in playtime buffers. So, if our daughter gets ready for daycare in time, she can play for ten minutes before we leave the house. If she delays, then no playtime. Similarly for bedtime – if she gets into her PJs and brushes her teeth quickly, I’ll set a timer for ten minutes to play with her before we read a book and finish the bedtime routine.

      Finally, agree with Anonymous above that you need to make sure you are only using threats that you can carry out, and they only get used once before they are carried out. “If you do X again, I will do Y.” Not in a harsh way, but consistent and without lots of second/third/fourth chances.

      • Sarabeth says:

        Also, a visual timer can help with stuff like this. You can set a timer for 30 minutes and kid can see how the time is decreasing as she uses it up by not putting on her clothes, thus shortening playtime.

        Also, maybe we are monsters, but we totally lock our kid in her room at bedtime. If you are worried about fire safety, you can unlock the door when she’s asleep.

        • Speaking of being a monster, we have a phrase that we use from time to time in our house as a type of final warning: “Do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way?”

          We only use this with things like she wont put on her clothes, we need to be out of the house in 10 minutes, and she is resisting, kicking, flailing, ignoring calm requests, and generally being a little a-hole.

          The “easy way” is her calming down and putting on her clothes. The “hard way” is one or both of us basically being a bully– using our size and strength to physically force her to do it. We rarely have to do things the hard way.

          Also, you have the restraint of a saint, OP. If I would have ever spit in my mother’s face, she would have spanked the daylights out of me. If (when) my kid does that to me, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to lock her in her room and go sit in the yard for a while to keep from doing the same.

        • POSITA says:

          Just got a timer! Really hoping it helps. I’m so sick of threats and consequences. I’d much rather have fun with her than fight constantly.

          • avocado says:

            “I’d much rather have fun with her than fight constantly.” Ain’t that the truth! I hope the timer helps.

          • I tell my kid exactly this and it helps. I ask him “easy way or hard way” and if he doesn’t respond I get sad and tell him “I don’t want to fight, I want to have fun with you, but we can’t if I have to fight you to get your diaper on (or whatever)”. 90% of the time it helps, the other 10% he chooses ‘fight!’ or doesn’t answer.

    • avocado says:

      To piggyback, anyone have any advice for dealing with a similar situation with a 10-year-old? Formerly very mature, responsible, and well-behaved, but now throwing screaming tantrums about every step in the morning and evening routine. For example, when she gets home she resists putting her shoes away, washing her hands, sitting down at the dinner table, eating her food, drinking her milk, getting up from the table, going upstairs, getting into the shower, getting out of the shower… We have tried to impose natural consequences as much as possible (wasting time in the evening means no reading time), but at this age many of the natural consequences are impractical. I can’t let her be late for school because county policy is that more than a handful of tardies leads to a visit from the truant officer. I can’t just let her go to bed at midnight because then she will be tired the next day and everything will be even worse. We have also begun taking away big-girl privileges for toddler behavior (iPad goes in time-out, no sleepovers, etc.), but that just causes even bigger tantrums.

      • CPA Lady says:

        This sounds like there is a deeper issue. Is there something going on at school? Or maybe she’s starting to get some hormones of her own. My sister started her period right after she turned 11. So… that’s something to look forward to. :/

        Have you read that How To Talk So Kids Will Listen book? I remember when I was a tween and teenager, I wasn’t necessarily being an obstructionist jerk just to be an obstructionist jerk. There was some of that certainly, but most of it was because I was unhappy or scared about other things going on in my life and I didn’t know how to talk about it or who to talk to. When I started reading that book I was alternating laughing and crying because it would have been so helpful to have someone treat me and talk to me that way when I was a kid.

      • mascot says:

        Could part of this be the onset of puberty? As we all know, hormones are crazy making even when you have the self-awareness that it’s happening. I started my period right after I turned 11 so she’s likely approaching it at 10. Or is something stressing her out? I know that the How to Talk book is recommended a lot here. Does she need a safe outlet for stress relief? Growing up, my parents would tell us to go beat up trees. We would throw pine cones out of the yard and break sticks (bonus, the yard got cleaned). It gave us a place to release our emotions safely and without causing all sorts of fights. Ultimately, my brother got a heavy bag in HS and spent his time working out frustrations on that. I promise, neither of us are violent people- we just needed physical outlets for stress relief. Running, shooting baskets, yoga, etc could help her

      • avocado says:

        Thanks for the reminder about How to Talk So Kids Will Listen. I read that book a zillion years ago in a management seminar–I need to reread it now that I actually have a kid!

        In her case puberty is not a likely culprit for at least four more years, but I am hoping that part of it’s related to normal brain development and she’ll grow out of it. The pediatrician very helpfully advised that she needs to eat and sleep more, which are the two of the main things she refuses to do. We have changed up the evening routine to basically trick her into eating more, and that’s helped some in the evenings. She has recently been doing well in school and, more significantly, in her very intense and challenging sport, and her teachers and coaches don’t have much insight there.

        She is one of those kids who feels every tiny perceived injustice very deeply, and all the good things that happen never outweigh the bad. Yesterday’s tantrum excuse was that one of her teammates got a particularly special piece of gear and she didn’t. Getting this item is a huge rite of passage in the sport. She and her teammate are both ready and were supposed to get it at the end of the season. Teammate’s old equipment wore out, so the coach went ahead and gave her the new, big-girl version a little early to save her parents from having to replace the old one. My kid came home crying that she wasn’t as good as her teammate because she didn’t get one too. I pointed out the illogic of her position, but she was still crying about it this morning. Meanwhile, she’s gotten tons of recognition and special privileges over the past couple of weeks for her improvement and leadership, and two days ago came home from a competition with a slew of medals and personal bests. But none of that matters because her friend got one thing she didn’t get.

        • Other says:

          I have this kid. Mine is 5, and you wouldn’t think the world is out to get a five year old, but turns out it is. I read How To Talk… more recently, and the most helpful nugget for my kid is the part that advises straight empathy. In your case, I can make more traction with my kid if I answer “Yeah, it’s so hard when we feel like a good friend is doing better/getting more than you are. I hate feeling like that. It really stinks.” Now, mine is 5, so she’ll happily engage that line of thinking for a bit (maybe a pre-teen will clam up easier). She likes to say “It really stinks” a lot.

          After we acknowledge the suck for a bit, I can usually push her forward with an explanation via a few pointed questions – “how come she got the new equipment?” Or “what do you have to do to get it?” or other relevant moving ahead question. If I jump her directly to WHY it wasn’t unfair, she’s resistant and angry. That said, it’s probably easier to hoodwink a 5 year old, so YMMV.

          • avocado says:

            OMG, yes, the world is out to get her. I will try this approach when she comes home today with whatever the latest injustice is. I have got to reread that book.

      • avocado – SOLIDARITY. Are you describing my 10 yo stepdaughter? Some days it feels like EVERYTHING is a battle. Food. Cleaning out backpack. Not being on screens all day. Telling her not to interrupt makes her give you the silent treatment. Stomping up and down the stairs. Showering. MY GOD, SHOWERING. Brushing her hair. Brushing her teeth. The only thing that is not a battle is getting ready in the morning, which is bizarre to me but I won’t complain.

        • avocado says:

          Maybe all 10 y/o are like this? Stay strong!

          • Same to you. It is challenging and sometimes heartbreaking. They feel things so strongly at this age. I try to remember how I felt at her age (and also how terribly mean I was to my mom sometimes, so…karma).

      • Anonymous says:

        I think with a 10 year old you need a really good heart to heart. If she’s not being bullied or harassed at school, then I’d look into a way to give her more responsibility over herself, like by providing a checklist (maybe even read The Checklist Manifesto together). Explain that tardies have consequences/meeting with the truant officer. Get her a kitchen timer if she’s having trouble with time management.

        If you think puberty is likely, she may be becoming a night owl. Modify the bed time routine: no screens for 1 hour before bed, add a high impact workout, have her shower at night, maybe do stretches/yoga/meditation/journaling/prayer. Also, I’m planning on reading some books about teenagerhood WITH my kiddo. I found Reviving Ophelia to be hugely helpful to me when I read it at 16. Queen Bees and Wannabes and a couple others are also on my list.

    • My son is more easygoing but does this kind of thing too, and it is so crazy-making. I have found that oddly what works best is rather than saying if you don’t do x, you have x consequence, is just to start counting to 5. The first time or 2 I did it I explained that there would be a consequence at 5, but now I usually don’t have to spell out the consequence (which is great, because often I have no idea what it will be). YMMV obviously, but the counting really motivates my son more than a specific threat.

      For bedtime, we changed our routine so that stories are more of a prize to help motivate him. We allow 30 minutes for the bedtime routine, and he has to do get PJs on and brush teeth before stories. if it takes 20 minutes to do PJs and brush teeth, we can do stories for 10. If it takes 30 minutes, no stories. It doesn’t always work but is somewhat helpful. Ditto for getting ready in the morning – no videos until he is dressed. For stopping videos, setting a timer is helpful.

      With all this said, I still spend much of our morning commute trying to rush him. (He was born 2 weeks late and has never been in a hurry). I’ve given up expecting him to get dressed fully independently. He’s capable of it and will do it on his own time when he wants, but on a daily basis I help him to make my life easier.

      One other thing – when things are really going south, consider taking a break to connect in some way – offer a hug, empathize, etc. I think it is hard to figure out when you should be setting limits and when you need to be connecting, but sometimes it seems to help.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        On consequences – oddly enough, the most effective consequence I’ve proposed is “or mama will be sad, sad sad.” I used it the first time because we didn’t have time for a time-out, and I couldn’t think of any other consequence I would actually carry out, so I just decided to be honest.

        I’ve broadened the approach to other, very specific consequences that impact kiddo – we won’t be “late to daycare” (because kiddo doesn’t care what late means), we’ll “miss breakfast at daycare.” We won’t “have to leave without clothes on,” we’ll “get cold, cold, cold outside.”

      • I’m all over this thread today. YES – to your last paragraph. My 4 year old is super, super sensitive, but super super quiet. I can’t tell you how much more cooperative he became after I sat down with him one super uncooperative morning in a series of super uncooperative mornings, and just said that it seemed like he was having a hard time getting ready for school and was really sad (note he was being uncooperative and obstructionist, not mopey).

        Turns out, a bunch of kids on the playground were making him feel badly, and he was starting to hate school. The school issue is a whole other conversation, but things got better when we started emphasizing about why he was struggling in the mornings. We talked about ways to deal with the issues at school, and we also talked about ways he can feel better when he’s sad (lonely was probably the better word, but he didn’t really understand that word).

    • You know this is not helpful comment, but your post made me feel so much better about my almost always impossible three-year-old. She is slightly more cooperative… But still drives me insane. all I have for you is empathy and the knowledge that I’m raising a very bright, very strong-willed individual .

    • This is probably not helpful and you’ve probably already tried it. My 3.5-year-old is similar in that he wants to delay going to school and going to bed. We generally have the best results when we offer a reward for good behavior, rather than a punishment for bad behavior. Like your daughter, he is not phased by time-outs, and they sometimes escalate the situation (and make me lose my patience) because he will not follow the rules for time-out. So, for example, I might tell him that if he listens and gets dressed and eats a good breakfast, he can play for ten minutes before we leave for daycare. If he doesn’t listen and delays, then he doesn’t get any play time. He also seems to respond better when I give him notice (10 minutes left to play; 5 minutes left to play; 1 minute left to play) rather than springing it on him that we are leaving. I’m not sure if any of that will help you, but I hope so.

      • Oh, we have also implemented a sticker chart to encourage good behaviors, but I realize not all parents would be comfortable with that. It helps when we are desperate, though.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope you read this — try cutting out red food dye. I know it sounds crazy, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a 3.5 year old. My suggestions:

      1) Pick your battles. Do you want to brushing hair before school to be the hill you die on? If so, fine. But I can tell you of every single thing you outlined in your post, the only two I insist on are properly fastened car seat straps while driving and brushing teeth before bed. Every single other thing is not worth my time or effort. I’m a big believer in natural consequences. No coat when it’s freezing out? That’s fine, you’ll be cold. (But, like you, we drive so it’s not going to kill my kid.) Developmentally speaking, my kid is typical (aka “normal”) so he can make decisions about cold, food, etc. for himself. I’m not worried.

      2) Don’t threaten. Lay out expectations and consequences in advance and then execute on those expectations in calm, neutral, consistent manner. If you can’t do that today, find a way to get some me time and some extra sleep and you’ll be in better shape to tackle it soon. Good luck.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Daycare decision question — I could use some input! I’m in NoVa (so traffic can be a huge issue) and we’re going with an in-home daycare center (up to 4 kids at a home).

    Daycare provider A is a 12 minute drive from our house, but requires a busy road to get there so could be 15-20 mins depending on traffic. In the direction of me and DH’s work, but not as convenient. Provider is probably in her 40s, experienced, and would have 4 children in the home — including ours. Space for children is smaller but still OK. We would feel comfortable leaving baby with her.

    Daycare Provider B is 8 minute drive from our house, no potential for traffic as its driving through a neighborhood. Dedicated entire basement with kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom with cribs for naptime. Also has a fenced-in backyard and screened in porch for children. Provider is older though, probably in her late 50s/early 60s (but clearly very very experienced). She would only have 2 children (including ours), the other is a toddler. She prefers infants to toddlers due to their schedules and energy level.

    We are 90% sure we’ll go with Daycare Provider B because of the a) house set up including the backyard and b) proximity to our home. Should her older age be a concern at all in terms of energy level to play with children? Will she be more passive? And while its great that our baby will get so much individual attention, I also want her to be socialized so I’m concerned that have only one other toddler in the house isn’t enough socialization?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      How old is baby? Socialization doesn’t matter much until over a year. And little babies don’t require a whole lot of active “playing” from a caregiver; more carrying, nurturing, etc. Honestly, for a little baby (under a year), I would go with the second caregiver because that is a perfect set up for a tiny baby.

      After a year old, I would start exploring a larger setting with more kids/more active caregiver if your kiddo is active (which you’ll know by that time).

      • Anonymous says:

        She’s not born yet!! hah! So she’ll be 3.5-4 months old when starting care.

      • Momata says:

        I’d do B until you felt you needed more socialization – I personally didn’t feel my kids recognized or needed that until at least 14 mos. Before that I think the priorities are snuggles, nurturing, an environment that can accommodate their schedule (as opposed to the child adopting an external schedule), and outside time. All of these seem more present in B than A, plus the commute difference is HUGE as you’re adjusting to going to work, plus baby might be like mine and hate hate hate HATE the car with the passion of a thousand suns.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      I’m going to preface this with a disclaimer that I AM IN NO WAY JUDGING YOUR DECISION.. this is just something I learned very recently and previously wasn’t aware of, so wanted to share.

      Daycares of that size in Virginia are not licensed by anyone. Many say they are “licensed businesses” but that is a businesses license. 5 kids or less is not “on the grid” in terms of being inspected by DSS. I only share because I’ve read stories of parents not being aware of that/assuming their provider was licensed, and I also wasn’t aware.

      I’d choose provider B as well. Commute times in this area are no joke, and that setup sounds great! You’ve met the provider, so if you didn’t get any indication from your interaction that age would be a problem, I wouldn’t let the number dissuade you :)

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Agree on licensing – I would assume that a person with only 2 kids is more like a nanny share than a licensed in-home daycare and vet accordingly. References, ask about Red Cross first aid training, ask about safe sleep practices, etc.

      • OP here says:

        OP here — Ok actually these are licensed (and I should’ve clarified). They run under Infant-Toddler Daycare which provides the license through the state. They do rigorous monthly inspections as well as monitor meal-prep, follow the USDA food program, etc….

        • Anon in NOVA says:

          No need to clarify! It’s completely your business, even if they aren’t at all licensed! It was genuinely a “hey here’s a thing about our state I recently learned” thing. :)

          PS I may need details on this program if we have another… if you can find a good one, in home is SO the way to go with babies (especially with the NOVA prices for daycares!) but I wasn’t aware of a program like this for them!

          • Anon in NOVA says:

            NVM, re-read and realized it was literally called Infant-Toddler daycare. This is awesome! I’m so happy I found out about this today! and they partner with Childcare Aware and everything!
            (sorry for all of the exclamation points… considering a second but was stressing over the “how will i find the right in home daycare” thing)

          • OP here says:

            Yay! Yes I was so relieved when I found it. The parent info sessions are good and made me feel comfortable, and the prices are soooo much more reasonable. All the providers I’ve visited have been good, its mostly about finding one close to your house/work.

    • October says:

      I firmly believe baby “socialization” is a concept made up by people who want you to spend big $$$ on classes and experiences. Babies and toddlers get what they need from engaging with caregivers and exploring their own little worlds. Yes, exposure to other kids is good, but that can be achieved by occasionally visiting the library or playground or hanging out with a neighbor. So go with B :)

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        Less likely to have a thousand sick days with B, too! fewer kids=fewer germs

      • OP here says:

        Thanks — This is helpful. I was wondering if the whole socialization thing was a recent invention haha.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Disagree – clearly, the antibiotics industry came up with the idea of “socialization.” Who else would advocate for bringing together a bunch of tiny people possessing nascent immune systems who put everything in their mouths?

    • Anonymous says:

      Another NOVA mom vote for B, given the information you’ve provided. Regarding energy levels, I say go with your gut and what you’ve observed. My own mom is that age and seems to have more energy with my toddlers than I do, but my MIL… not so much.

  11. CPA Lady says:

    Can I just wallow in self pity for a minute? On Saturday my husband is going on out town to go to a funeral. On Sunday he is working all day. On Monday daycare is closed for MLK day. So I get to solo parent three days in a row. JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL. How do stay at home moms do it? I would be the actual worst at that.

    • Pity away! Solo parenting is hard. Playtime is fun but when you don’t have someone to help with meals, baths, bedtime, etc., it gets so tough. There’s never enough toddler-proofed space for my kid, so when the weather is bad, finding an indoor activity somewhere else is so key. And when do we pee?! Not sure how old your little one is, but maybe you can trade some babysitting with a daycare classmate so each kid’s parent(s) get a break on MLK Day? Or liberally allow some Sesame Street so you can drink all the coffee? Anyway, commiseration. I just came off a 3-day stint myself, and it’s exhausting! But then I missed him like crazy when I was back at work and he went back to daycare.
      And, sorry if this comes off as snarky, but there is a reason my SAHM friends always seem to have wine in hand!

    • I don’t know. I had my kid at home all day the week before Christmas. He was sick the first half of the week, so we didn’t go out much for several days either. I have so much respect for SAH parents, which is reinforced every time I’m alone with my toddler for more than a couple of hours, plus every time I try to get something done with him around.

    • I recently started a mental “fun for a 3-year-old” list in my head and am trying to do one fun thing for the kid every weekend (rather than wait for spontaneous fun things that may or may not happen). But they are easy things! Like take the car through the car wash! Have an ice cream sundae (i.e., a tiny bowl of vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles) or a tea (room temperature super weak tea with honey) party. It’s actually not that much work, it doesn’t involve my hatred of crafts, and *I* end up looking forward to it.

    • Oh cr*p! Thanks for reminding me. Our daycare is closed for MLK day, too.
      Some ideas – all-day pyjama party with movie and popcorn? Playdate with daycare classmate? Toddler activity at local museum that you’ve always wanted to go to but couldn’t because of work? Can you and husband each take half a day off on Monday? (that’s what we do – I’m most productive in AM so I work then and take afternoon off, he starts work around lunchtime)

    • Full sympathy here! I like to do one big outing when I’m solo parenting over the weekend. Like a children’s museum or science museum, followed by lunch or ice cream. Or the zoo/a farm if you can swing it with the weather. I find it a lot more fun and interesting for both of us, versus trying to come up with mini activities in our neighborhood.

      (Also playdates. It’s so nice to be able to hang out with another adult for a few hours!)

    • ChiLaw says:

      Yes it’s so overwhelming! The best thing about vacation is how it makes me excited to come back to work. But I agree with the advice that you can build in fun rewards for both of you. Here are some things that have worked with my almost-two-year-old:

      I am *not* a craft hater (shhh I’m the opposite) so trips to Michaels (which has a particularly puddly parking lot, so if it has rained we wear our boots there) and a ride in the cart and picking out supplies for a craft and doing the craft together can take up a lot of the day! She’s particularly focused on crafts as gifts for people – decorating ornaments for her extended family, and now valentines, etc. It helps her focus to say “and now color one for grandpa!”

      We do coffee dates (hot cocoa for her) and she loves to sit in the chair and talk and savor her cocoa like a grownup — we can spend an hour in Starbucks!

      Walks with a mission: “let’s go find the neighbors’ cats!” or “let’s walk to town to get some grapes (from the cooler at the coffee shop. coffee is kind of a theme in my life)!”

      Good luck!

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