Family Friday: Sun Protection Swim Hat

When my kids were younger, I put this hat on them pretty much every time we left the house, especially when I was babywearing them, because I wanted their head and neck to be covered. The one we had was some godawful green fish print — I’ve given it to my cousin for her daughter, and while it makes me happy to see her daughter wear it, I’m also glad to see that they have solid colors, for those of you who’d prefer that. Amazon has 12 colors in baby and toddler sizes. This hat was just was an easy, washable thing to throw on, and it made me feel like my kids were protected from the sun. iPlay Sun Protection Swim Hat

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  1. ElisaR says:

    bummer – this hat is sold out in all sizes but 2T-4T

    • AwayEmily says:

      There are a bunch of different sellers of this on amazon — try searching for iplay swim hat and you might find the sizes you’re looking for.

    • Hyphen says:

      To get the baby sizes, you have to select the special size (Baby), and then it gives you options for 0-6, 6-18, and 9-18 months. (Not sure why they show the full size range in the dropdown if you also have to select a special size.)

  2. Pogo – I saw the anesthesiologist today about pain management and clotting issues. Apparently, my platelets have dropped but are still within normal range so they are less concerned about it than the hematologist seemed to be (I have trouble translating between British and American adjectives sometimes – does okay mean okay or does it mean terrible?).

    They checked my back and made sure that an epidural would be okay structurally, and reiterated the 12 hour rule but nothing really new to report. They did say they’d continue to monitor my platelets and clotting during labour in case anything changed. I have a bit of a phobia about not being able to move my legs so they also talked through some of the other options.

  3. EB0220 says:

    Can we talk about parenting as an introvert? I read somewhere recently (Susan Cain, maybe) that introverts react more strongly to sensory input than extroverts do. That’s why we get overwhelmed more easily by parties, etc. and need quiet time to recharge. This really resonates with me and I think it’s making me struggle with my kids lately. They’re 5 and almost 3. They’re really great, but sometimes the noise is SO overwhelming. They always want to talk to me at the same time, and they’ll get louder and louder if I’m trying to talk with their sibling. I try to say “, I’ll talk to you next, after I hear from your sister”, but it often devolves into chaos. I get totally overwhelmed and it drains me, which I hate. Advice, commiseration, tips? Also, I wear hearing aids after years of hearing loss so I think my brain still isn’t used to regular noise levels.

    • Total commiseration from a fellow introvert. I’ve found that taking short breaks helps take the edge off. I’m talking five minutes alone in my bedroom while they’re playing. I also have mostly banned the TV and even music as background noise. If they’re sitting down watching something, fine. But background noise? Oh heck no. Two kids are noisy enough on their own! Also, take advantage of nap time and do something quiet that helps you recharge. Even if your 5-year-old is napping, he/she can go to their room for quiet time.

      With little kids, it can be a ton of work to get large blocks of alone/quiet time, so I rely on the quick fixes a lot. But when I’m really on the edge, I’m not afraid to tell my husband that he needs to take them on an errand or to the park for an hour.

      I also try to be more mindful of my own sensory input. When I’m home with the kids, I do not mess around on my phone. I’m really careful about what I watch and consume, much more so than in the past, because I know it affects me more deeply than others, like my DH. Doing that gives me more of a buffer to deal with the inevitable noisy and chaos that kids can bring.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I have this problem. I don’t really have solutions, just commiseration. I find a need a lot more sleep now than I used to, and can’t handle listening to music for pleasure as much as I did pre-kid.

    • Anon for this says:

      You can do what my dad did when my brother and I were little and turn off your hearing aids while we play! Probably not the safest. Drove my mother nuts. He would sit on the couch blissfully unaware reading.

      • EB0220 says:

        I do take them out at the pool and it is wonderful!

      • The Longest Shortest Time did an episode with a mother who was deaf and did this. She said her kids never learned to whine, at all, because they never got a response when they did it since she could not hear them.

    • Just commiseration. It causes problems with my husband too, since i generally do bedtime during the week, and as soon as my son is in bed my husband is ready to connect and I just want to be left alone for a while (my husband is also an introvert but has some alone time while i am doing bedtime). I only have one kid and it is still too much for me a lot of the time.

      • Anonymous says:

        This times one million. I’m like “this is my only alone time during the day” (sitting in traffic doesn’t count) and I need some “me” time. He takes it personally. We’re a work in progress.

        On the background noise issue – I’ve read that introverts aren’t nearly as productive working with background noise, which I’ve found to be true. My husband can listen to CNN and music while working from home, while I need absolute silence. I’ve always been this way (had to wear ear plugs during law school exams because even the typing of others would distract me!). Keeping my fingers crossed that my company never requires us to start working in cubes…

        • EB0220 says:

          My tolerance for background noise has always been pretty low. I never play music, podcasts or TV at home unless we’re actively watching or listening. It’s just too much! I recently interviewed with a startup, and they all work in this tiny office with desks right next to each other (no cubes, even). I actually almost left the interview…yikes. My current company has offices and it is heaven.

    • I have an only child and sometimes the noise is still so overwhelming. I “handle” it in a few ways:

      1. Kid has an early bedtime.
      2. I work in a very quiet office.
      3. When I’m truly overwhelmed, I go shut myself in my bedroom and cover my ears while my child screams outside the door “I WANNA GO TIMEOUT WIF YOU!!!”

    • Also commiseration. This is one reason I’m sure that I would not make a good stay at home mom – toddlers are just so loud and I can only tolerate that for limited amounts of time. I treasure the time after daycare drop off and before things really pick up at the office, when I can drink my coffee (hot!) and read emails or the news and just enjoy the quiet.

      • EB0220 says:

        YES! When I walk into the office I visibly relax. Ahhhh….silence, inside voices, hot coffee!

    • Commiseration. Not feasible for everyone, but this is one of the reasons I love working from home a few days per week. I get so much more done, the kids are gone at daycare, my mind is free and clear of other people and background noise. I’ve become a much more patient/tolerant mom since I started doing this.

      • EB0220 says:

        I really need to do this! Thanks for the tip. One of my kids is at on-site daycare so that always slows me down, but it’s probably feasible to WFH once a week or so.

  4. Farrah says:

    I just bought this hat for my 12-mo son for our beach vacation earlier this month. It was recommended by another mom blogger and I did tons of comparative shopping. DS is in 95%+ for head size, so I bought the 2-4T size. I was sceptical at first, but I love this hat after having used it! The brim is a little bit floppy, but I turned it up and it stayed up (somewhat). I bought orange bc it was a lighter color, matched his navy/orange trunks, plus we are Tennesseans….GO VOLS!

    • We used this when my son was a newborn too and liked it. We also sized up due to giant-headed baby. (Go giant heads!)

  5. I know this has been discussed before, but how do you explain to your kids why you work and why it is important? My just turned four year old told me I wasn’t making time for him this morning.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think this is 2 separate issues. Your 4-year-old saying you don’t make time for him: “Why do you think that? How do YOU think we should fix that?” He’s old enough to start coming up with solutions. When he says, “you can skip work,” THEN you can explain that by working, you are happy and fulfilled, plus it helps you provide for your family.

      • Thanks for the input. He was upset that I couldn’t play with him right at that moment and I was taken aback and hurt so I didn’t have a thoughtful response (I am also realllly tired from four month sleep regression with new baby).

      • anne-on says:

        Agreed – I’d separate out the ‘I want more time with mommy conversation’ from ‘why mommy works’ conversation.
        On the ‘why mommy works’ conversation, I personally didn’t focus on the money aspect much, and made it more about how much I enjoy working. So, sample script was something like ‘mommy works with a lot of people she likes, and does things that are interesting to her (child friendly example here). I love you very very much, but it would make me sad if I couldn’t also do the work I like, just like you’d be sad if you could only play with me all day and not see your friends. Some people make different decisions and have a mommy or daddy stay at home – and that’s ok, every family is different, and this is what works for our family.

        • See I take the opposite path. In real life, I absolutely LOVE working. But especially when my 4yo and 2yo want me to stay home and play, I talk about how we all have jobs to do, as part of our family. Mom and Dad go to work and Kids and Dog go to school (daycare and doggie daycare, but whatever.) That’s how we earn money and learn things so we can have fun at night and on the weekends. We have to do our jobs so we can buy a present and go to a birthday party for Friend this weekend, or so we can spend Saturday morning at the park playing, instead of having to stay inside and learn our letters. Just like how we have to empty the dishwasher so we can have clean plates to eat on, or we have to brush our teeth so we can chew yummy pizza.

          I guess I was trying to avoid “I’m choosing to work” and focusing on “I have to work” because I don’t want to give the impression that only moms have this “choice” to make. But I like your framing about being sad if they couldn’t see their friends, just like I’d be sad if I couldn’t work.

          • anne-on says:

            Ha – we have A LOT of SAHP by choice in our school (HCOL, high income area) so I didn’t want to get into the ‘why do you have to work if tommy’s mommy and john’s daddy don’t’ – but I can totally see why you’d tie it to household income. I actually LOVE that we have a few SAHD’s because it removes the ‘only mommies choose to work’ narrative.

    • Four year olds can be really blunt sometimes! My almost-4 y.o. son doesn’t say this in words, but will often communicate in actions (hanging on me, crying at daycare drop-off, etc.) when we haven’t spent enough time together. And you know, he’s often right about it. When this comes up, I try to make sure we get more time together (even if it’s just me attentively working on a puzzle with him or sitting next to him at dinner and chatting about his day or hanging out longer at bedtime for extra stories/songs) for a few days.

      But I don’t think it’s necessarily about work. It’s about where my attention is at. So if he asks me why I have to go to work, I’m pretty direct about it: grown-ups have to work to get paid in money, and we use money to buy stuff like food and Hot Wheels. That seems to satisfy him (for now). I’ll also walk him through the week, like “today is Thursday, which means we have Thursday school day, Friday school day, and then it’s the weekend and we have two family days!”

      • We play up the weekend too. I am grateful that we don’t have any drop off drama; he is usually happy to get to school.

        I have also been debating about staying home for a while. I am not feeling satisfied with my job (but in general love and prefer working) so this hit close to home today.

        Coming up with immediate and thoughtful responses in tough situations is something I struggle with in all aspects of my life. Four year olds are blunt and in the moment – it will be good practice.

    • Katarina says:

      I do talk to my 3.5 year old about this. I tell him I have to work to make money to pay for things, like gymnastics and Thomas toys. My husband is a SAHD, so he knows that some people work and some don’t. He seems to understand.

  6. Love these hats. I scout mom’s groups to pick them up second-hand so we have a number of them floating around and keep one at daycare, too.

    Can anyone recommend interview questions to gauge work-life balance? I have two young kids so I’m looking for a job with reasonable hours and infrequent after-hours demands; bonus points for understanding bosses who don’t give me grief for needing to pick up a sick kid. But I’d rather avoid the direct question (how is the work-life balance here?) both to avoid mommy-tracking myself and since it so rarely offers any real insight. (Everyone claims it’s great, but that might not have any connection to reality.) Any suggestions on alternative phrasing or other questions that help evaluate work-life balance?

    Also planning to post on AAM once her open thread goes up today.

    • When I was interviewing I asked what a typical day or week (depending on context) for that person was like – what are they doing, etc. People use it to talk about what they actually do on a day to day basis, but they usually drop clues like come in at 10, step out for XYZ, leave at 7, log on after dinner, etc. that give you a little insight.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        This seems like a good approach, and I’m sure the AAM crew will have great suggestions. A friend of mine recently had a very TOUGH time getting hired, would always make it to the final round and not get hired. Turned out she was asking “is it ok if i leave to get my sick kids sometimes? I might have to leave early on wednesdays because sometimes her school after care is closed that day” etc. during the interviews. I tried to tell her that yes, it’s illegal to discriminate based on being a parent, but you still shouldn’t bring it up! and to be honest I would be hesitant to hire ANYONE that spent an interview listing off reasons they might miss work, regardless of what they were!
        tl;dr you’re being smart about not mommy-tracking yourself, fair or not :(

    • Was wondering the exact same thing at midnight last night. I need to make a change, but the one good thing about my current job is the reasonable hours and infrequent after-hours (I’m a solo parent most weeks, I really do need to leave at 430 every day). I’m mommy tracking myself because I’m scared that I’ll end up somewhere that won’t have those.

  7. Our daycare provider fed my baby his first solid foods… without me. I am very sad. :(
    She asked my husband if we had started yet and he said no, but we planned to, so she should go ahead. So she did that day and I learned about it on the app she uses. I didn’t cry, but I wanted to.
    I know it’s no big deal but… :(

    • Cornellian says:

      Aww. We played with solids a week or two ago (decided it was too early after all) but if it’s any consolation, my baby made the same exaggerated reaction each time we did it.

    • Ugh. I’m sorry. Missing firsts is really tough. Hugs.

    • mascot says:

      So our daycare providers didn’t tell us about any developmental milestones unless we specifically asked that first year for this exact reason. We treated the first time we saw something as the first time he did it. Can you ask her to not update you on things like crawling/walking/words? Food is a little different because you need to know so you can watch for reactions.
      My mom was a SAHM and still “missed” my first word when I apparently asked for a cookie at mother’s morning out. Kids are sneaky like that. But it’s still hard.

      • AwayEmily says:

        Yes, our daycare specifically asked if we wanted to know when she took her first steps, which I really appreciated (I did not want to know).

    • I know this isn’t comforting right now but going forward, I feel like a lot of firsts are sort of on a sliding scale. So first solid was today, but you can do first ice cream!

      With things like walking, I feel like there were probably five moments we could have declared as baby’s first steps. Our nanny might be hiding some firsts from us too. I just like to declare what I saw to be the first.

    • Katala says:

      I would be sad too (and pretty upset with husband). Hugs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hugs, I understand how you feel.

      Our (ex!) nanny gave my first child his first haircut without even asking us. My husband had not given her permission, but also didn’t quite understand why I was SO upset. It’s tough to acknowledge to yourself that you can’t always be there for everything, and things like this get through the chinks in my “happy to be a working mom” armor.

      • Redux says:

        Right. I know I may not be there for the things the baby does himself– crawl, walk, etc. But this one is adult-directed. Like the haircut, it wouldn’t have happened if the adult doesn’t do it. Feels worse somehow.

  8. the end of pumping says:

    Looks like I am going to make it to my goal of BFing one year. My son tuns one on July 11. I had been down to pumping once a day, and then more recently pumping only a few times a week. This week I only pumped once (Monday) and have been dipping into the freezer stash. Somehow I feel like I’m doing something wrong. He has enough in the freezer to get through a few more weeks until July 11 (I think, but I’ll double check this weekend). It’s time to say goodbye to the pump, right? I know other moms have posted that they were able to keep their BFing relationship after ditching the pump, and I’d like to do that. Any tips? Right now we’re mainly nursing once at night (usually dream feed) and when he wakes up in the morning, though if he wants to nurse when I get home from work we do that too.

    And from a purely practical standpoint, how does the switch from EBM to milk work? Does he just start taking two 4 oz bottles of cow’s milk during the day instead of EMB? I’m sure we’ll go over this at our one year appointment with the ped but I feel a bit rudderless before this big change.

    • anne-on says:

      I think you’re at a good point to start switching in milk with your BM now – be prepared that it may take your son some time to adapt to the taste of milk as your BM is probably much, much sweeter. My kiddo HATED milk (and still kinda does) so we definitely mixed at first to get him accustomed to the taste. There are also some tips about blending whole milk with bananas/fruit/etc. if your son really really is not ok with the taste of whole milk.
      Check with your ped about how much milk they want them to take – mine was VERY strict with the amounts, others are less so. He was also fine with subbing in yogurt/cheese for milk and just encouraging water for hydration, so you might want to bring that up.
      Good luck! And yes, I’m sure you can still nurse at night/morning without pumping, you’re pumping so infrequently now you may not even have any engorgement issues. If you do, I’d hand express in the shower for your own comfort, but really try to drop the pump.

      • the end of pumping says:

        Do you warm the milk at all when mixed with BM? Currently his BM bottles during the day are just warmed up by sitting in hot water. Thank you for this!

        • anne-on says:

          I did, but I’d maybe encourage you not to if possible – my son STILL prefers his milk warm and it is kind of a pain to deal with.

          • I don’t know if it makes a difference. Our baby always drank bottles straight from the fridge and was fine with cold milk till he turned 2, at which point he started demanding warm milk, even though we’d never offered that.. So you never know!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I stopped pumping at about the 1 year mark and continued nursing until 15 months when my daughter self-weaned. I had been pumping 2x at work and 1x at night. I dropped 1 pumping session per week, so it took me 3 weeks to get rid of the pump. But it was honestly very easy. I still nursed morning and night, and at the time my daughter self-weaned, I had been planning on dropping the morning nursing session anyway. It sounds like you’re doing everything right!

      As for the switch to cows milk, I started mixing some cows milk into her bottle (she took 6 oz bottles, so I started with 1 oz milk and 5 oz BM, and gradually increased it). It worked fine for her.

      • the end of pumping says:

        Great, thank you – I like the idea of gradually subbing it in his bottles when I’m at work – that will also stretch my freezer supply a bit.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          That’s exactly why I started doing it! Daycare would just warm up her bottles like normal. There seemed to be more residue from the combined BM & cows milk, but she seemed fine with it. Eventually I think we got up to 3 or 4 oz per bottle, and then we started sending just cups of milk instead.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I also switched to 1 pump a day at 11 months and stopped pumping at a year. I had no problem with my supply just doing AM/PM (I think if you’ve been pumping/BFing this long it’s pretty well established), and even was able to feed her on weekend days. We weaned at 14 months and I had to do some hand expression in the shower but it was surprisingly easy for both of us.

      In terms of feeding at daycare…we did the following:
      11 months: 1 bottle of BM, 1 bottle of formula
      12 months: dropped a bottle, just had 1 bottle of half cows milk/half formula (formula is sweeter so this helped to transition her — you could do the same with BM if you had it but we were out at this point), with lots of work at daycare on getting her to use the sippy cup
      13 months: dropped bottle and formula completely, 1 sippy cup of cows milk

      Now, at 15 months, she drinks 1 sippy cup of milk a day (before her long afternoon nap) and just water for the rest of the day. We decided we’d rather she get most of her calcium from yogurt/cheese (both of which she loves).

      • AwayEmily says:

        Also: it seems like there is a HUGE amount of normal variation in all of this so I would not stress if you/he end up doing something much different. I have friends whose kids took an AM bottle of milk until they were two, others who never took to milk, etc. I also found that daycare was an enormous help with all of this — they’ve done this transition so many times that they were able to offer us lots of good advice. You may have to ask for this advice directly, though — I think they’re often reluctant to volunteer it because some parents don’t want to hear it.

      • the end of pumping says:

        Thank you so much for this. I have been concerned about whether it would be enough on weekends. I messaged my ped about it and they said I will know if he is still hungry and not getting enough milk, and then I can supplement. I was like, “duh.” Haha. But somehow I didn’t figure that out.

        • AwayEmily says:

          And the nice thing is that once he’s a year, all milk (BM or cows) is optional, not necessary, so you can supplement with food instead of milk when he’s hungry! I somehow found this really comforting because it was more in line with how normal humans deal with hunger rather than the crazy milk calculations we have to do with babies. Whenever we went through a transition (dropping a bottle, weaning) I made sure that she had plenty of food she really loves (extra avocado rations!).

          • the end of pumping says:

            Ha – yes. It is still so weird to me that he is eating actual meals like a regular person, but it’s happening!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll jump in because this is actually super common in Canada where mat leave is one year. Most women who are still BF at one year don’t pump when they go back to work and are still able to nurse morning/after work/before bed. After work feed was the first to go for my kids but we kept up morning/bedtime until they were done around 18 months. I also nursed daytime on weekends. You can send along a bottle or two to daycare – definitely not more than 8 oz, but it’s not strictly necessary if baby is still nursing at least twice a day.

      • Anonymous says:

        and cow’s milk is fine – no need for formula.

      • the end of pumping says:

        Great, thank you. He has already mostly given up the after work feed and I’ve noticed we’re only nursing 4-5 times on weekend days (same as 2-3 nurse + 2 bottles). In some ways I’m a little sad because this seems like such a big transition (he’s not a baby anymore!) but also I’m envisioning an Office Space-style trip to the field with my pump.

    • Anonymous says:

      Be aware that your child may get constipated when you eliminate BM. Totally supportive of you introducing formula/cows milk whenever and however feels good for your family (with pediatrician input, when necessary), but I was surprised that my daughter developed constipation when she switched off of BM, and would have appreciated a heads up. (Lots of berries and prunes and prune juice are helpful here.)

      • AwayEmily says:

        Yes, we had this happen for sure — one of the reasons we decided to limit her to one cup of milk a day (yogurt did not seem to be as much of an issue).

    • October says:

      My toddler took a looooong time to warm up to milk, especially since I still nursed a couple times per day. We added a little bit of chocolate powder so he would drink it. Now that we are done nursing (at 22 months), he’s finally upped his cow’s milk intake.

      Also, per my pedi, keep supplementing vitamin D until he is drinking appropriate amounts of cow’s milk (or another source; note that it is an added vitamin — not naturally-occurring — so cheese and some yogurts do not contain vit D).

    • Katarina says:

      I went cold turkey from warmed breast milk in the bottle to cold cows milk in a straw cup, with no major issues. Both had significantly reduced consumption in the week of the switch.

    • Sarabeth says:

      You’ve gotten lots of good advice already, but I will chime in since my baby is also turning 1 in early July. I had an (over)abundant freezer stash, so I dropped to one pump in May and quit pumping entirely two weeks ago. We have just started mixing cow’s milk into some of his bottles – we have enough frozen milk to make it to his birthday and a few weeks beyond, but I want to know in advance if he has a bad reaction to cow’s milk, so that I can make an alternative plan without the pressure of my frozen stash running out soon. Our ped gave us the green light for this as early as 10 months. When he turns one, we will titrate down the bottles until they are all cow’s milk.

      I am planning on nursing morning/evening for another six months or so, which is what I did with my older child – it worked fine. Nutritionally, my only concern is iron, since the calcium in cow’s milk can impede iron absorption and our family is vegetarian, so we have to work at eating enough iron. Baby gets oats every morning which are iron-fortified. Up to now, we have made them with breastmilk, but I am planning on switching to water + coconut cream, so that he continues to get the iron from them.

  9. Hello, moms! Here from Corporette as a visitor- I’m an aunt to a super awesome soon-to-be one year old boy. I have a budget of about $100- what are some of the best ‘big’ gifts for little guys? I think he’s probably still too little for a balance bike, although that was what I really wanted to get him. I’m thinking a radio flyer wagon? A play structure thing? A little tykes basketball hoop? A tunnel? Help me out please!

    • Strategy mom says:

      A wagon would be great! or a little tykes car (those red ones that have been around forever). I’d definitely wait until 2 for a balance bike.

    • Strategy mom says:

      Also, water tables are great at that age!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I started a new job June 1. I love it. One of my coworkers is due with her first child in about 6 weeks. 2 questions: 1- do i get her a baby gift? I’d like to but I don’t want to be creepy. 2- I creeped online and found her baby registry, and it looks like she already has a ton of swaddles, blankets, clothes, etc. so if a gift is appropriate, any suggestions?

    • Cornellian says:

      Are they having a shower at work? If so, I’d say yes.

      If not, a lot of my coworkers got me board books they loved/their kids love, which I thought was sweet. Obviously not useful for a newborn, but seems like an appropriate gift from one lawyer to another.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        Yes – board books are a safe (and good) choice for a coworker that you don’t know very well.

    • Go for it! A gift would be a really nice gesture. I would go with something small (under $25) and sweet, like a couple of your favorite board books or a cute onesie/sleeper. Even if she already has a ton of stuff, it’s really about making a thoughtful gesture and building a relationship with your new co-worker.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s never creepy to give a baby gift. If she’s weirded out by it then she’s the weird one. You can always say to her “I remember how exciting this time was for me so I wanted to get you something to celebrate.” My guess is that you will be remembered by her as very thoughtful.

  11. porcupine says:

    We had this hat last summer when my daughter was < 1 year and liked it.

    However, just wanted to chime in if you are looking for another option – I recently purchased the Sunday Afternoons play hat and we LOVE it! It is more expensive than the iplay but the sun protection is better – a wider stiffer rim and I think the back protection is also slightly better.

  12. Momata says:

    How do you all get your kids to wear hats? Neither of mine will. Huge temper tantrum, screaming, taking it off. Help! Right now we just make a veritable helmet of sunscreen in their hair.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Haha, yep. My kiddo will not wear a hat.

    • I didn’t manage it once my son was old enough to take it off himself, but he started liking wearing a baseball cap around age 4. I was lucky that he had a ton of hair from birth so a hat’s main function was to shade his face/neck; we just used sunscreen for that instead. And he kind of liked sunglasses, at least intermittently.

      • Blueberry says:

        We’ve also compromised at baseball caps and sunscreen. I’d say we have a 50% success rate.

    • October says:

      Have you tried a baseball cap? Mine much prefers that to a sunhat. He fought hats like crazy until about 13/14 months, and by 18 months became obsessed with wearing his baseball cap all day to be like daddy.

    • layered bob says:

      no hat no play. repeat/bring child into house as necessary.

      • Momata says:

        I am with you in concept, but when we’re at, like, the arboretum or a friend’s pool, I’m not going to abandon the day over a hat. And I don’t make them wear them at home or at the playground because they are mostly shaded and not out for that long.

        • Edna Mazur says:

          Would it work to start making them wear one at home or at the playground where the stakes are lower, even though it is not much of a necessity, so you can make them go inside if they take it out? That way when you are at a place like the arboretum they’ll leave it on or fear having to leave? My kids always have a hat on outside for anything more than going out to the car. They leave them on in public, because it is always a rule, and they do get taken home from the playground or brought in from the yard if it gets taken off.

          • layered bob says:

            exactly. In the winter they wear a warm hat, in the summer they wear a sun hat, at any point, even if they are on our covered deck. Shady/cloudy doesn’t matter – it’s no hat no play all the time.

    • AwayEmily says:

      My 14-month-old is generally anti-hat but will tolerate a baseball cap sometimes (I think she doesn’t like the string under her neck?).

    • My son is staunchly anti-hat, unless we are “twinsies.” Meaning, everyone in the family has to wear the same hat, which is either a Red Sox hat or a baseball hat from the local Audubon society. So we are a family of huge dorks in matching hats.

    • EB0220 says:

      When my oldest was 2, we let her pick a hat in her favorite color from REI. Thereafter it (and every other hat) is her “adventure hat” and she knows we’re going to do something fun so we have to (get to) put on the hat. It helps although she’s still not perfect about wearing it.

  13. Super anon says:

    Thanks to those who commented yesterday about my annoying beagle mix. After an incredibly validating Google search for “I had a baby now I hate my dog”, taking the dog for a looooong walk to wear him out, and a heart to heart with my husband, I’m in a much better place. The dog is exhausted today and hasn’t made a peep, so I think the solution is going to be to send him to daycare 2-3x/week and give him lots of exercise and mentally stimulating toys the other days, so he’s too tired to bark/get into mischief. And then, when the summer is over and we all go back to our normal routine (long story that would out me, but we live in a different place in the summer for my husband’s work, which is why I’m now working at home), we’ll spend the time with a trainer to actually address the behaviors.

    I so appreciate the anonymity of this forum to be able to say a scary thing that is knocking around in my head and, in getting it out, take away some of the guilt and shame. Especially when it’s something that feels transgressive, like wanting to get rid of a formerly beloved family pet, it’s so helpful to float a balloon to strangers first. Thank you all for listening.

    • mascot says:

      Nina Ottoson makes some cool dog puzzles that he might like. They are pretty durable and dishwasher safe. There’s a discussion on the main page right now about things to do to wear out an energetic dog when the weather is bad, so maybe look at those too.

    • Best wishes for continued success! Last night I said to our cats, “what exactly are you all contributing?!” Pet parenthood can be hard too.

    • I was a crazy cat lady before I had my baby. One night when my husband was out of town I was alone with the baby. I had finally gotten her to sleep after hours of trying. The cats started racing around the house making noise and I almost threw them both out of the house. I was shaking with rage I resented them so much. I think it’s totally normal to hate your pets when you have a baby. My kid is older now and I’m back to being a crazy cat lady.

      • another anon says:

        I was always a super animal person pre-baby, always had a pet (or four), loved my cats so much while pregnant. After my first was born, I stopped caring about their existence really at all. H had been doing litter and I just fed them and only because they yelled for it. After #2 and some bad behaviors while I was preggo, we were ready to get rid of them. I would get ragey and thought I hated them. 5 months later, I’m starting to like them again. It’s cute to see the toddler look for them in the morning and the baby is getting interested too. Their behavior has improved a lot with just a little attention.

        All that to say, good luck and hopefully your feelings will shift even if all his annoying behaviors don’t disappear.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      We attended a class pre-baby about getting the dog ready for the baby. It was mostly useless, except for a few points that helped save my sanity.

      One of those points was that if you can work a dog’s brain, it is often just as exhausting as physically tiring them out. The trainer had a couple suggestions, but the two we used were food-related. Instead of just giving the dog a bowl of food, I would literally spill food all over the floor and let the dog “hunt” for it. And we got a food puzzle ball (I think it had a rope sticking out of a bottle and the dog had to figure out how to get the bottle to release food or something). We sometimes gave the dog her entire meal bit by bit in the puzzle ball.

      In case either of those are helpful on the “no doggy daycare” days.

  14. I had a hard start to breastfeeding my first baby because of very tender / raw nipples. Am I right to expect that the second baby will be easier, or should I brace myself for more of the same? Baby #2 is due any day now.

    • EB0220 says:

      My experience (and that of friends) is that babies can be very different. Even a slightly issue with latch can cause a lot of tenderness. I think there’s hope that the 2nd baby will be easier – at least one of you knows what you’re doing now!

    • I had pretty different experiences with my 2 kids and bf’ing, so I think it’s very possible things will be different for you this time around. Still, doesn’t hurt to stock up on supples ahead of time and might help you feel calmer about it (at least excessive planning helps me feel less anxious). N*pple shields, lansinoh cream, etc. If you do have n*pple damage I’ve heard great things about silver3tt3s for healing – available on Amaz0n. Expensive but supposed to be very effective.

    • Blueberry says:

      My experience was that it still hurt and was tender for a while, but that it never got as bad as it did the first time around (which was pretty bad), because I had learned more or less what is normal vs. not normal and was less afraid that my baby would starve if I didn’t tough it out and more assertive about correcting a bad latch.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve had three kids and each was different. For me, getting good latch is key. That and lots of medela lanolin. If properly latched it might feel uncomfortable or sore at the beginning when you start nursing but it shouldn’t hurt. Check out video/info sheets on latch to understand what to look for.

      • EB0220 says:

        I so agree that it shouldn’t hurt if the latch is good. I was very lucky that my first had a perfect latch. When my tongue and lip-tied second came along, I knew it wasn’t supposed to feel that way and pushed until we fixed her latch.

    • There was still tenderness for my second, but I don’t remember it being as bad. I think because I took care of myself better (lanisoh all the time right away). The cramping after birth, however, was MUCH WORSE for me this time, so that made BF harder, because the cramps happened everytime he latched.

      • Blueberry says:

        Oh yeah! Weird, right? Nobody told me that was going to happen!

      • YES the cramps were terrible.

      • EB0220 says:

        OMG so much worse. Why doesn’t anyone talk about this? I just warned my sister who is about to have her second and she said no one had said anything to her about this. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE IT HURTS LIKE H*LL?

      • AwayEmily says:

        aauuughhh pregnant with my second now and had no idea about this.

      • Thanks, and wow, I had no idea. (Thought the cramps were bad the first time…!!). I will look into the triple nipple stuff. It got bad enough last time that my ped suggested I give breastfeeding a rest, but I never heard about it.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      Will your OB write you a prescription for triple nipple ointment? I was really tender/raw with both of mine and this pregnancy my OB wrote it out before I got to the hospital, so I can have it on me immediately.

      • Marilla says:

        That is a hilarious/perfect name. I’ve only known it as “all purpose nipple ointment.” (Seconding the rec for it whatever you call it – magic.)

      • Just hearing the term “triple nipple cream” is giving me bad flashbacks! I later learned that if you’re using that stuff, you’re in bad shape.

    • Katala says:

      My second was much less painful overall. BFing was definitely easier, I never used the soothies etc. that I stocked up on. Recovery was so much faster and easier too, though that was probably more related to #2 popping out in 2 pushes. So yes, there’s hope!

    • Get the Rx stuff. I had major problems with my first and almost quit BFing over it. Mild pain is normal; mine was neither mind nor normal. Lanolin was the equivalent of taking Tylenol for a broken bone.

      Got the Rx ASAP with my second. Insurance didn’t cover it (it’s a compound) and it was like $90 at the boutique pharmanmcy by my house but it was like magic fairly salve. I used it for about two weeks on my cracked and bloody nipples. Then they toughened up and I didn’t need it anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes definitely, my 2nd was so much better. I had stocked up on nipple cream and shields but hardly had to se them at all except during the first week. Everything has been a lot easier the 2nd time round. Good luck!!

  15. I need to rant somewhere about the absurd expectations around kids’ activities.

    Last night was my son’s final evening at our church’s VBS program. As we walked out, they handed us a little notecard with upcoming kids’ programs. I about lost it when I saw auditions for the Christmas program are in AUGUST and rehearsals for the Christmas choir begin October 4. And they are 1.5 hours each. That is flat-out ridiculous. The kids’ program director can hate me all she wants, but I have no intentions of bringing my 2nd grader to Christmas program rehearsals until November. And I have half a mind to tell her exactly why: because I’m not committing my kid to yet another weeknight activity. I’m super irritated because in the last two years, our church programs have gone from nice, sweet productions of kids singing Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful to this lights and music spectacular, with a special story line that has almost nothing to do with the Christmas story.

    Multiply this times about every kid-related activity ever, and is it any wonder why families are pressed for time and constantly stressed? We’re constantly keeping a really close eye on how involved our kiddo becomes. I want him to try things, but not at the expense of family time, homework, and just plain decompressing after a long day at school and his before/after-school program.

    • Anonymous says:


    • +1!!! You can’t just dabble in something anymore.

      I want my kids to play baseball. I do not want to do 2x/week after-school practice until 8pm (!!) and then 3 games on a weekend. I especially do not want to drive to every town in a 30 mile radius for those games. When I pushed back about conflicts with other kid activities, they simply suggested I find an in-law or maybe another sport parent I could trade with. No, I don’t think the answer is over-scheduling MORE people.

      Same thing with dance – I want my kids to learn body movement. Not to spend $500 on specific way-too-revealing-for-a-kid leotards and scrunchies and body glitter and get a major stinkeye because we scheduled a family vacation for two weeks before a recital.

      Add to that the ridiculous homework expectations, and I’ve had it on my kids’ behalf. They need time to relax and play and be bored and learn to be a KID. We’re starting to be THAT family who pushes back on homework and practices, because it’s all just too much.

      You’re definitely not alone.

      • YES, you are spot-on. It’s sad when even elementary-age kids can’t dabble. I feel like I’m constantly fighting the tide because so many parents are not pushing back on this insanity. My kids aren’t doing any activities this summer, aside from VBS, and I am so glad. We’re all burned out and need a break, and we aren’t doing half the stuff that most families do.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I keep wishing there was some organized weekly activity that did a different sport every session. My kid (who is admittedly only 3.5) LOVES each new activity the first week, is lukewarm the second, and by the third is over it. It would be so great to have swimming one week, dance the next, soccer the next, etc.

          • Check out the YMCA! In our town, they have an “itty bitty sports sampler” for preschoolers that’s exactly what you described.

  16. Power wheels says:

    So, give me the scoop. I have an almost 4 y/o and a 1 y/o. I’ve been looking at the power wheels Gator, as probably a Christmas present (they’ll be 1.5 and 4 and a bit then). We were at the toy store this weekend and they both really were into the power wheels.

    I know the little one can’t drive for a while, but she’ll stay nickeled in for the ride. And I love that it has andump tailgate. We have a big yard and I could actually see them being mildly useful (or at least busy…) with this feature.

    I had a powerwheels jeep as a kid and my sister and I played with it all the time at my grandpa’s house, which had a great big lawn.

    We have a place to store it (garage or shed). What are some of the cons?

    • Well, of course they want a Power Wheel. What kid wouldn’t?

      The cons? I believe these things have no place in a typical suburban neighborhood, even those with big yards. I’ve seen kids back into trees, run into garage doors, and run over their friends’ feet. I’ve seen several roll backwards into the street, usually by a young kid who doesn’t have of his/her own, then “borrows” a friend’s without knowing what they’re doing or how to control it. But, I acknowledge that I am a total curmudgeon about this genre of toys, which seem to give kids waaayyyy too much power given their developmental stage in life. I don’t love that my 4-year-old nephew uses one on my brother’s farm, but I also feel like he’s a lot safer than the kids who use them in my neighborhood.

      • Power wheels says:

        Hrm, I’m OK with kids learning life lessons…and the only one that I’m really fearful of is the street. But ours would be fenced backyard only.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      No cons – we have had all manner of those toys – tractor, car and now a pink jeep. Grandpa bought the tractor so it was full price but we bought the others on Craigslist for cheap. We also bought the regular V6 batteries – not the special power wheels one – and a quick charge battery charger from Amazon.

      • Power wheels says:

        Oh tell me more. You just have a battery that dies quickly and a speedy charger? And that’s cheaper than the big PW one?

        And, if you remember, about how much of a discount should I aim to find via Craigslist?

    • Check out whether it’s good in grass or driveway or asphalt, depending on where your kids will use it. Our neighbors have one and the kids can only use it in the driveway because it doesn’t work in the grass and the road chews up the plastic tires.

      • Power wheels says:

        That’s what I’m worried about. We have a huge backyard (almost a full acre) but I don’t let them play on the driveway because we live on a busy road. They bike in the adjoining neighborhood but that’s not for power-wheelsing.

        Any idea how I’d find out? All the reviews on this one are good…

    • Power wheels says:

      One more question- with two kids, is it dumb to expect them to share? Obvi the younger one can’t drive for years band probably by the time she can (3?) the big one (then 5.5) won’t be able to fit with a passenger.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can absolutely make them share. And, imho, you should. Any fights over it = no one is allowed to play with it for the rest of the day/weekend. They’ll learn how to share pretty quickly.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Kiddo has one at her grandparents’ house. My dad specifically chose one that has two speeds, and he set the governor so she can’t go to the higher speed. It means we can keep up with her by just walking quickly (the higher speed would mean a full-on sprint to keep up with her, which is no good with a 3.5 year old).

      I was surprised at how quickly she learned to drive and steer it. I wish it didn’t reverse; that is a level of difficulty beyond her current capabilities. I bet the biggest con you’ll find is the tantrums of the little one when he/she isn’t allowed to drive.

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