I bought my son an indoor tent at the beginning of quarantine, hoping that he would go inside and entertain himself quietly. Optimism — ha! It didn’t give me as much quiet time as I wanted, of course, but he does love it. All kids love a little space of their own to put their favorite toys in or engage in some imaginative play.
While it’s not the one I bought, I like this tent that’s printed like a supermarket. I think it would make a cute companion to a play kitchen, and you could even put some shelves inside to store all of the play food that comes with the kitchen.
It is $33.41 at Sears and available at Amazon for $24.89. Kiddie Play Supermarket Playhouse
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Happy Friday everyone!
Tonight, we have ‘cocktail hour’/’happy hour’ planned. I know I’ve talked about this on here before, but it’s one of my favorite things – 4-5PM is the worst hour of the day over here and turning it into ‘appetizers and seltzer or chocolate milk in a fancy glass while we listen to music and chat about our day’ a couple days a week makes it so much better.
I’m literally planning presentation of appetizers for my kids. Cookie cutters are involved. WHO AM I?
Mrs. Jones says
That’s so cute. We did a happy hour last night when we were working in the garden and didn’t realize the time. Sausages, fruit, bread and spread, cucumbers and carrots. It was really lovely.
Sometimes my son and I set up animals around the sitting room with food from his play kitchen, sit at his play table, and pretend to be in a cafe, which is a fun variation. Because of my husband’s work schedule, we’re often 25-30 minutes early for nursery so 1 or 2 days a week we go to Pret, which has the friendliest staff and the best view of the road for vehicle spotting. We know all the regulars and there is often a cheeky treat for him. Going to a cafe and watching the world go by is our shared favourite activity and it’s nice to try and recreate it.
Us Americans FINALLY got to see Nadiya Hussain’s cooking on her new Netflix show and ‘a cheeky treat’ is probably my favorite British saying. I don’t think it fully translates (‘cheeky’ here is understood to be more rude/fresh than charmingly precocious/mischievous) but I adore hearing it in her accent!
I’m American but it’s one of the few Britishisms I’ve adopted after 8 years here and my son asks for a cheeky treat with a cheeky grin. I’ve got a few more Scottish words that I use more regularly ‘hold yer wheesht…’ (stop whining), ‘dreich’ (damp and grey), ‘outwith’.
Hello hi this is not true Ms. wearing a Gillet to push the Buggy to go watch the Bin Lorries go by on the way to Nursery :)
When my Scottish colleagues first broke out the ‘outwith’ I blanked for a bit and then eventually figured it out from context!
My bosses for the last 8? 10? years have all been Brits so my son has grown up hearing the accent on conference calls (and I adopt a fair number of them myself when speaking with my UK-based team) but this one escaped me for some reason.
A favorite game when he was small was ‘what’s the silly British word for this’. I have to admit, ‘ice-lolly’ IS hilarious when said by a 2-yr old
Oh gosh, Anon, you’re right! I don’t even notice it anymore. I wrote something for WaPo in December and it got edited to remove Britishism and I was chatting with the editor and so embarrassed to admit I was American.
Oh, that sounds fabulous! We have some cream soda that the kids are dying to have :-). Add some little snackies, etc. this might be a great segue into “family movie night” aka “mom and dad collapse while the kids watch Dora for the 1,537th time.
HAHAHAHA! First of all, I love it, it’s super adorable, this is exactly the stuff your kids will go on to remember.
I’m laughing because I was a stay at home mom for about a year and a half with my first, which I was not well-suited to, and the worse things got the cuter the food got!!
I’m a big fan of fruit cheese and cracker dinner sometimes for myself, so no reason the kids can’t have it!
I agree 4-5 is the worst hour of day here too.
Any advice on cat and baby interaction? Now that my 10-month old is crawling he often excitedly crawls over to the cat. Our cat is very curious about him (won’t immediately run away) but will hiss if he comes over quickly and will scratch if he tries to touch her. So far we’ve just been keeping them separated, but is there any recommended method of getting them comfortable together?
Our cats figured out pretty quickly once the baby was mobile that they needed to stay out of reach. Once the kids were bigger toddlers, they started to become friends with the cats. We encouraged soft touching. By the time my oldest was 4 she could dress our cat in doll clothes and push him in her stroller. We didn’t have to do much.
That’s my experience, too. Kitty may go into hiding for awhile once he/she figures out that the baby is mobile.
Our older cat seemed to ‘get’ that the baby was a small kitten-like creature and was very docile but would make herself scare (jumping up to a shelf) so as not to allow much contact. When our son did touch her we encouraged soft/gentle petting, and showed him the ‘right’ way to pet (not back and forth! gently, in one direction!) and that went well. Now they’re very good friends (but at 15 she still doesn’t like anyone but me picking her up).
Monitoring is key though – my cat hissed and swiped at my brother’s sons because my brother let them pull her tail and yank her fur (he thought it was funny, and then tried to bop her on the head when she reacted, ARGH). The cat acted remarkably well (swipe at the kids was with claws sheathed) and I think the hiss scared the kids both enough to be wary. My brother is also no longer allowed around my cat for obvious reasons…
The cats will teach him how to touch them quickly.
I grew up with grumpy cats and my brother and I definitely learned important lessons about not messing with cats at an early age.
Not much advice but solidarity! 10 months – 2 years was a rough time for the kid/cat relationship for us. Kiddo is now 2.5 and “wuvs my kitty!” But more importantly, he’s now old enough to understand staying away or gentle touches. Cat is still not really into the kid but will tolerate gentle petting and sometimes rubs around kiddo’s legs.
We had three (now two) cats that all had different relationships. The 13yo who has passed on never wanted anything to do with baby once she became mobile. Her sister (also 13) stayed away until kiddo was walking. Now cat will be in kiddo’s vicinity and accept some petting, but is quick to run away. Cat will hiss if kiddo gets out of line and kiddo says “kitty sad” and we talk about why she made kitty sad (usually eeks out “sawwy kitty”). Third cat (11 yo) has always tolerated any attention from kiddo, including her smacking him, climbing on him, pulling his tail and putting bows on him. It may be that he is gigantic and she only recently (at 2) became bigger than him.
We monitored all interactions until we knew how they would react to each other, but never did anything intentional. I do think making sure cats have a safe space to get away if they need it is essential.
We’ve had 4 different cats with infants/toddlers, and haven’t had an issue with any of them and the kids. The older cats (RIP) were curious at first but avoided the kids once they were mobile. The cats we have now were <1 year old when we got them, and have grown up with the kids. One is extremely tolerant and will basically allow the kids to haul him around without protest. The other will tolerate some pats, but escapes if they try to pick her up. We've always encouraged gentle touches and been very firm that tail pulling is not allowed, but otherwise we let the cats enforce their level of comfort. The kids learned quickly how they can interact with each cat.
Husband: have you seen Pinkey Pie?
Me: (hands over pink My Little Pony)
Husband and daughter in unison: No! That’s Princess Twilight Sparkle!
(Husband and I gaze at each other realizing that there is no denying it: DH is now Girl Dad).
FWIW we have 3 girls ;)
That’s adorable. :)
Made me laugh out loud. We have two girls and seeing my dad school another dad on princess cupcake toppers at a recent birthday party was truly awesome.
Sorry *my DH
that’s my husband and me with Thomas the Train.
CPA Lady says
Bwahahaha, yes, my husband knows all the my little ponies better than I do. On one of our most recent evening walks, we were trying to decide based on personality types, which pony we all are. I have theories about the enneagram types of the various ponies too.
This just made my week.
While I’m loving the extra time with my kids, is anyone else getting burned out from being their kids’ playmate during this time? I feel sort of sh!tty for admitting that, but it’s not like they’re getting social interaction anywhere else right now. There is a big age gap between my kids, which doesn’t help matters. Older kid gets FED UP with his little sister, who admittedly is a high-energy handful right now. If they play together for even an hour, that’s a success. Family bike rides and walks help, but you can only do that so many times a day. I just needed to vent because we’re headed into the weekend and I’m already dreading it.
For sure. I have a 2 year old only child who doesn’t really do any fully independent play. Even with a screen involved, she wants someone sitting next to her. Fortunately she’s in a major daddy phase, so my husband is bearing the brunt of it, but I still find it exhausting.
Yes literally everyone
Boston Legal Eagle says
Having an adult be a kid’s playmate is a very modern invention, I think. Back in the day, moms were called homemakers whose roles were primarily to take care of the house, cook the food, etc. I wish I could just leave my kids together to play, but their ages right now (4 and 1.5) make it difficult as the toddler keeps breaking whatever the older one is building or keeps getting distracted and climbing on things, or just wants to be around me. I’m not sure what moms of the past did – playpens all day? TV all day?
I’ve been wondering about this a lot (I have a 1.5 year old). For instance, what would a typical American homemaker, in, say, the 1600s/1700s (with no domestic servants… or slaves, I guess, yikes) do all day with her young kids? I imagine as soon as they were 3 or 4 they helped out a lot and could be expected to not kill themselves or need entertainment, but what about a 1-3 year old? Were they just better at being “ignored” or left on their own? older kids just watched them? Mom strapped them to her back???
They were neglected by today’s standards. Left in a crib or tied to a fence post or wandering dangerously or minded by an older child. Shockingly accidental deaths were dramatically more common.
This. The concept of needing to “entertain” your kids was not a thing, and the idea of shaping your toddler’s social/emotional development was also not a thing. “Parent” was a noun, not a verb. If your kids were alive, that was good enough. And kids dying was considered just a fact of life, not a unique tragedy. You don’t even have to go back as far as the 1600/1700s for that.
In short, the parents were doing what needed to be done (farming, washing clothes by hand, preparing food, etc) and the young kids existed.
Well yes but also Ye Olden Day Moms were allowed to send their children to school and parks and playgrounds and out with friends. I’m fine at not being a constant playmate in normal times but now it’s not so simple.
OP, and yes, this is what I’m getting at.
Virtually all the moms in the neighborhood were SAHMs, so all the kids would play together while the moms would hangout and chat/drink. Kids also went to preschool and then school, as well as various activities. So it was really nothing like the current situation where we’re all home 24/7 without friends or school or activities.
My parents were both raised by maids. Even so, they had siblings close in age and were sent outside with the other kids in the neighborhood until dark. Some of the stories my grandmothers tell that are “funny” are actually quite horrifying. Like, one of my parents and their siblings being ages 2,4,5 and almost drowning because they tried to use a container they found that someone had previously mixed concrete in as a boat to sail down a creek. They both have stories of childhood playmates who did not make it to adulthood (playing with shotguns, drownings, etc.)
This. Parents in the old days just accepted that some of their children might not survive.
Yup. Both my parents had friends who died in early childhood from VERY preventable accidents. And the things they did with us would 100% get you arrested or a VERY stern talking to these days (and not the leaving us in the car while running errands kind of stuff from the 80s), think letting older cousins (9 and 10-yr olds) supervise the younger ones (6-7yr olds) alone, for hours, at the Chesapeake sound while at the family vacation house, or running around in the barn at the working family farm around tools/haylofts/farm equipment. It was ok because ‘the sound doesn’t have waves’ and ‘we knew you wouldn’t touch the dangerous stuff’ ?!??!
Honestly, this makes me feel better about my only child who is CONSTANTLY begging us to play with him. My answer is usually a flat “No. I am working” DH is more soft-hearted and will normally play for 5-10 minutes. I’m happy to play on the weekend or when I have free time (aka never) but I’m firmly in the camp that it’s not a parent’s job to play with their kids.
Quite harsh for a child with no friends to play with.
If you “never” have time to play with your child for five days in a row (i.e. anytime except for weekends), and they have no one else to play with, I really think you need to reexamine your priorities. Maybe if your kid is 8 or older, it would be a different story.
My flat answer is no, Mama needs to work, but I break for 5-10 minutes every hour to play with my kid or get her started on an activity (food, movie, coloring, blocks, dolls, etc.). And we “play” in the evenings (thankfully things like “helping” cook and unloading the dishwasher count as play to her too, so there are some chores mixed with dinosaur roaring). DH tries to play too during the day. I think it’s unrealistic to expect a kid with no ability to play with other kids to not get to play with the adults that are home. Put some boundaries around play (e.g., I don’t play with Playdoh because I don’t like it, that’s a solo activity), but play.
CPA Lady says
I don’t play imaginatively with my 5 yo kid. I dislike it, I do it “wrong” and then she screams at me and starts crying. I have forced her to learn to play on her own. Finally two months into quarantine we’re at the point where she is capable of it and does it willingly from time to time.
Things we do frequently to spend time together:
Going on family walks
I let her help me with chores – she can sort laundry like a pro and is decent at washing a car. Also surprisingly good with the push broom on the driveway. She can make her own bed and clean her own room. She likes to help water the plants and the container garden.
I let her help me with cooking – she is actually learning to cook and use a knife to chop vegetables. I let her stir stuff on a hot burner. She did scrambled eggs yesterday. (I took over towards the end).
Occasionally do together:
nerf g u ns – the cat likes to join in too and chase the foam darts
hide and seek
color or paint together
puzzles – she thinks she can do puzzles with a ton of pieces but she cant and we both get frustrated, but she’s good at sorting out edge pieces
legos – I hate playing legos and try to avoid it, so this is an almost never
Never do together:
play pretend/dolls/my little ponies/etc
play doh – the devil’s putty. THE ACTUAL WORST. Smells good though
YES. You are not required to engage in pretend play with your child. There are so many other brain-building activities available.
Ms B says
With you on the Play Doh, but the Kinetic Sand has been a big hit with both The Kid and me. Actually soothing to play with for me and hours of fun for an extra tactile child.
I’m fine with playing more often with my only child under current circumstances, but it does get tiresome. When she was younger I used to flatly day no to almost all play requests because her other needs were so high as a baby/toddler. No, I won’t play with you when I’ve done nothing but feed you, clean up after you, calm you, do everything for you, for every waking minute for the past 6 hours. Take a 2 hour nap like the other babies/toddlers instead of this 30 minute bullsh*t. Then I might feel like playing with you.
Maybe her other needs were so high because you refused to play with her? I don’t mean to be snarky… but it just seems harsh to flat out refuse to play with your kid.
Clearly you have never parented a high-needs child. Parents don’t make them that way and playing with them won’t fix it.
It is not necessary for parents to play with their children 24/7. Of course you have to interact with a young child a lot, but it doesn’t have to be tea parties. You can read, narrate your activities, play board games, or do all sorts of things other than participate in imaginative play.
Agree- some kids self-amuse better than others.
But, in an effort to take Lily’s comment and find the good intent behind it. When my kid is being super needy, it helps to fill his bucket early. So carving out the 20 minutes to focus solely on his needs (and maybe even getting him to transition to something else) can set the tone for a better couple of hours. It takes serious effort sometimes and isn’t always possible, but it works.
I appreciate where your comment is coming from lily, but no. A high needs child starts the day early, ends it late, and never chills in between. Naps are short or don’t happen. Things like setting the child in the bouncy chair or playpen don’t happen without murder it’s screams. High needs children get attention all the time. You give them 120%, they want more. My baby/toddler got 30 minutes of focused playtime every day, more on weekends, which is really a lot with two working parents. And I’m just being honest that I would have filled more of the spontaneous play requests if she would have slept more or been able to sit by herself for 5 minutes. High needs children are exhausting. They come that way. You don’t make them. Even our nanny, who had nannied dozens of children over 40 years, commented on how little sleep/how much attention our little one needed. It has gotten so much better as child has grown.
*murderous screams when in a playpen or bouncy chair or any other thing that is not mom’s arms. Sorry. Autocorrect.
Understood, and you are correct that I don’t have any experience with high-need kids. It does sound exhausting and I’m sorry.
At what age did it get better (I have a high needs kiddo myself)?
It varies by child. I had a high-needs infant who mellowed out a lot when she learned to crawl. She never became a good napper, though, and is still relatively sensitive.
I was like this as a toddler and preschooler, according to my parents. I was a preemie and apparently a very calm baby who slept all the time for my first year. Then, when I turned 1, I decided to never nap again. I still hate naps. I was an only child and demanded attention all the time. I remember begging my parents to play with me when I was 3 or 4. They did, a lot, and it was never enough.
I think I mellowed some when I was school-aged. Or I became more independent and also had more outlets. I was in aftercare and spent a lot of time on the swing every afternoon. I was at a pretty rigorous private school, which kept me engaged. My dad was a minister at a large church, where I spent a lot of time both in structured activities and roaming the “campus” with the other ministers’ kids. I had other activities, like gymnastics or dance, when we didn’t have church, though I wasn’t particularly good at any of them. We lived in a neighborhood where it was safe to ride bikes or scooters around with the other kids. We also had a pool, so I could go swimming if I had extra energy–no telling how many underwater gymnastics shows my parents had to watch. Oh, and I went to an overnight camp for a month every summer starting around 7. Obviously, none of this is helpful for a younger child during a quarantine, but there’s hope for the future.
Anon at 1:53, it didn’t happen all at once, but I would say that we saw some relief in stages:
-when baby learned to crawl
-when baby learned to walk
-when sleeping through the night became much more consistent (around age 2; we did pretty hardcore sleep training at 6 months, but there was always something making sleep complicated, like a missed nap, teething, illness, travel, etc.)
-when sleeping through the night and not needing a nap was a reality (child completely dropped naps at age 2.5, but didn’t really stop melting down in the afternoons and stop acting like they needed the nap until around age 3.5)
-when my child could stay in her room until 6am and not wake me up before then (age 4ish)
-when child could consistently, independently play for 10-15 minutes at around age 4. I don’t think other parents really get what it means to go 4 YEARS without needing to give almost constant, constant, constant attention to your child. I STILL have feelings when I see parents out just having a picnic or eating at a cafe, and their baby is just . . . sitting there (or even sleeping!) and not fussing or screaming or needing to be held and bounced the entire time.
It keeps getting better. Of course there are new challenges with different phases, but the first year of a high-needs child is living h*ll.
I think we talked about this earlier, but trying to encourage different imaginative play (usually based on books or TV shows) has helped reduce my boredom because at least it’s not “Oh no Thomas, there is a crack in the track!” for 400th time. After reading a book about animals, I was told to be a mommy mountain goat while LO was a baby mountain goat climbing the “mountain” (pile of dirt). Luckily mommy mountain goat just had to stand there. Then in the “jungle” (trees) I was the mommy lion and he was the baby lion. I had to roar occasionally.
I also find building Duplos to be rather relaxing. The other thing I do is at least try to make it entertaining to myself, like when we play construction site I make the guys say things like, “OK Joe I’m just gonna dump these rocks and then do you want anything from Dunkies?” and have him drive to the cafe on the rug (one of those rugs with roads and buildings on it) and pick up pretend donuts and coffee for his buddy.
Thank you for this, I laughed aloud. Standing outside and roaring occasionally sounds like about the extent of my desire for imaginative play.
suburb curious says
Me again. Tell me your stories of moving from a city to a suburb, especially if you didn’t know anyone there already. How did you make friends? How long did it take for you to feel like it was your home?
We’re looking at moving deeper into the suburbs soon and I’m totally freaked out about it. We are busting out of our urban-area-one-ring-out-from-a-huge-city house and I still am dragging my feet, cause, ughhh.
I will say we moved from the huge city to the outer urban area when our son was born and made friends through our kids (mom’s groups, schools etc.). We still haven’t found any friends as close feeling or permanent feeling as our city friends, so we still make a decent effort to see them on occasion, but I suspect that is partially b/c we know we are in transition. Hopefully when we get in our forever home we will be more successful.
We moved after getting married for my husband’s job. It was rough. For the first two years we spent a lot of time going back to the city to visit family/friends, or having them come stay out ‘in the country’ with us (we have beach access and farms nearby, which was SUPER appealing in the summer). I can’t say we had more than 1-2 local friends at that point.
It took buying a house (we rented for 2-yrs first) and starting proper school to really grow our local ‘friend’ network (lots of mom/dad/neighbor/gym friends now). Daycare families were nice, but honestly with young kids and two working parents (which is why we’re in daycare) it was hard to form deeper friendships. Our pediatrician’s office had a lovely ‘new moms’ group, but the working moms kind of got dropped once our maternity leaves were over.
I did this pre-kids, which made it harder. We didn’t know anyone, and didn’t have kids as an excuse. A couple things:
– Take lots of walks around your neighborhood and make a point to wave to people or yell hi. If they stop to talk, make sure to get their names. (We picked our neighborhood in part because we saw lots of people walking around and saw signs of families like bikes or play equipment in the front yards.) Once you see people many times in a row, you have an opening to stop and talk to them. “I seem to see you a lot, do you live close by? We just moved in a few months ago.”
– Sounds quaint, but take a plate of cookies or bread over to each neighbor with a note on it that has your names and phone numbers. We got a text a YEAR LATER from one of our neighbors who was out of town and had an issue, and that turned into a friendship.
– Attend local events like town festivals or block parties or town egg hunts or farmers markets or whatnot. Be like an extrovert and introduce yourselves to the people sitting at your communal table.
With kids, it gets a lot easier. Daycare was the best because you knew the parents worked, so it was easy to leave a post-it in their cubby saying “My kid talks about your Jose every day. We’re heading to the pool this weekend, here’s my number if you want to meet us there!” But even at elementary school, I would have my kids get their friends’ parents’ numbers and then text the parents. “Hi, this is Anon, Izzy’s mom. Izzy and Sophie exchanged our numbers. Izzy wants to have Sophie over for lunch on Saturday, your whole family is welcome of course.”
But I think the biggest key was picking our neighborhood in the first place. We wanted a diverse, family-friendly neighborhood so looked for chairs in front yards, toys in the backyard, people out walking around, etc. That means we took several drives out to the suburbs we were targeting on various days to make sure we were getting a feel for what it would be like to live there. And this is a little of an unfair stereotype, but we looked at the cars in the neighborhood. Too many “rich” cars (because we assumed richer people have their kids in activities rather than playing in the street) or too many two-seaters, and we figured it wasn’t the right place for us. Unfair, I know, but it served to be a decent indicator of neighborhood based on what I now know of my town.
This is a fair point – we were choosing between a more expensive town and our town and what decided it for us was visiting both on a sunny Saturday. Expensive town had almost exclusively older families with teens. Less expensive town had all ages and lots of families with young kids out, people riding bikes, etc. Expensive town is great, but definitely attracted people buying their ‘forever’ home (not just a starter house) or with more $$, while our town is more diverse and has lots more young families starting out.
Not city to suburb but we moved cross-country for my husband’s job. The friends part has been the toughest part of this, especially now (not having another family to pair up with in quarantine, for example). My husband has some colleagues we see socially occasionally and we’re friendly with some of the other daycare families, but that’s about it. I don’t have anything resembling a girlfriend here, and we don’t have another family we’re close to. But I’m pretty introverted and even without local friends, I felt at home here pretty much immediately. We were able to buy a house here, we have great jobs and a great school for kiddo, we do a lot of fun activities for the kiddo and as a family, my parents are pretty close by and visit often, and we travel back to our old city annually to visit my BFF and her kids (who are like cousins to my kid). Of course the pandemic has put the kibosh on most of those things but hopefully life will get back to normal at some point…
I initially joined a meetup group and met a couple of friends that way. Yoga class helped with making “acquaintifriends” (you know, somewhere between acquaintance and friend – wouldn’t necessarily text just to complain about my day, but when we see each other we have stuff in common to talk about, we comment on each others’ fb posts, etc). Kids helps SO much – the other daycare moms and I text constantly (esp now), new moms group at the hospital and town moms group helped, too.
My two closest working mom friends though still live in the city and have been friends since we were all in our 20s and single. Those are the ones that I text like, can you believe this thing my kid just did or my boss is being a jerk, etc. I live about 40min outside the city, but pre-pandemic saw them in person at least a couple times a month. Which honestly is about the same as friends that live in my suburb!
Moved from DC to very close in suburb a year or two before first kid was born. Walking distance to metro but a long walk. It took us a while to admit it, but we hated it. Part of it was just the general DC area where it takes forever and a day to get anywhere – even driving it was much harder to see our friends in our old neighborhood, and it took forever to drive, walk, or bus around the burbs too. We liked our neighbors but before we had kids really had trouble meeting new friends in the area. There was much less we could walk to (we bought where did specifically because there were stores and restaurants we could walk to, but it was much more limited than the city proper of course) and t honestly felt very isolating. We later moved to a different part of the country where we are in a city but a more suburban type city, and feel waaaay less isolated because there is SO MUCH MORE we can walk to.
changing username for this says
Almost exact same story. I moved from a close-in VERY walkable DC suburb to one a bit further out and, honestly, I mostly hate it. I’m paying the prices of living near DC without any of the benefits and my place is still small.
It took about 2 years before I knew the neighbors, which really only happened because a new couple moved in next door and the wife was determined to create a community. Things that she did that worked:
-She knocked on the door before they put their offer in to meet the neighbors and was very friendly.
-She traded numbers when they had closed but before they moved in, so that I could reach out if a tree fell on the house or anything. Later on, after we’d chatted in person more, we already had eachothers’ numbers for quick texts like “hey, I forgot to you ask you, how was that new restaurant in the neighborhood t you said you were going to?” without it being weird to ask for numbers
-She got to know a lot of the neighbors and it felt natural to walk up and say hi if she was talking to other nearby neighbors, and then I’d meet them, too!
-We had a second kid and so we had a kid closer in age to the other young families. Becomes natural to chat with everyone if you’re all standing outside supervising kids.
I’ve gone out for drinks with some of them and stuff, and we’ve all had each other over once or twice. It’s nice, and they’re all lovely, but “friend” feels like a stretch. Honestly, I hate the burbs and I feel like I have a very superficial level of friendship with the neighbors because we’re the only couple who go into DC for dinner, get sitters and have date night, go on vacations without kids, both have full-time jobs, etc.
We did this, twice. First time from
Brooklyn to commutable suburbs when pregnant with our first. We picked the wrong suburb – snooty, driven by money and status and too many people our age had grown up there, while our families didn’t live close. Tough to make friends.
Then we relocated several states away where we had some loose family connections. Lived in a rental in the downtown core of our metropolitan area while we explored the close-in suburbs. This area is more diverse and a range of transplants and natives, lots of good public schools and young families. So we bought six months ago and have been so happy the second time around.
Some advice: Rent first. If you must buy, don’t stretch your budget to buy in the suburbs if you haven’t already rented there. You’ll be sick every month if you buy at the top of your budget AND don’t enjoy living there.
That last line is a point of contention between my husband and me at the moment. We live in a burb house he already owned when we got married, that was affordable on his salary alone when he made $30K less. Together, we make more than double what he made when he bought this house. I despise the burbs but it’s a great place for the season of life we are in now. However, I love having the money to hire a sitter, go to an expensive dinner in the city, take trips, buy clothes, redo things in the house, etc. He wants to get a large single-family home (we’ve admittedly outgrown this one) but the jump from row home to single-family home is SUBSTANTIAL in cost where we live. I can’t face being in the burbs AND not having the money to get out of them!
I posted recently that I found a cottage in a very popular weekend destination that is <2 hours away, and the cost of the cottage is less than the difference between our current house and the houses he'd like us to buy, and I'd much prefer to invest in somewhere I can get away to than a bigger house here.
I did this about 18 months ago, and unfortunately it hasn’t worked out very well for me so far. I did it for my husband’s job (we were LDR before then) and my new job is awful and I have no friends, plus i’m further away from my family of origin, which has really upset me. I’m not sure if it’s my personality or I’m just past the age where people are eager to make friends, but I’m very isolated and have not adjusted at all. We may end up moving again because of this. I wish I had a more positive response, haha.
Toddler helmet rec says
Helmet recs for a toddler on a scooter? I ordered a micro mini thanks to the recommendation of this community, but they are out of helmets in size small.
My two kids (ages 1 and 3) have Bern skateboard helmets and they seem great. Magnet closures so they can buckle themselves in.
Ooh those sound good! My son only lets me buckle his helmet because his dad clipped him once a year ago. The Micro mini ones are so cute but didn’t fit on my kid’s big old pumpkin head. Ended up having to buy the ugliest one in the store (black and orange flames) and I’m still bitter about it.
We have a Giro and a Joovy. Both are good, but the Giro is a little smaller/sleeker. Helmets are something I am willing to spend money on, and with the amount my kids ride, cost per wear is amazing.
We got micro mini helmets from a 3rd party site, so you could try that.
Nutcase helmets are great.
+1 both kids like their nutcases and they also have a magnet so no pinching. I highly recommend a magnet, no matter the brand. We have two kids and four helmets because no one likes the clips (And because we love bikes and scooters and need backups)
We got a couple of Giros (with MIPS, which DH said was better based on his research). They are easily adjustable with the knob to tighten at the back, not the velcro pads of our childhood. Very pleased. Just solid colors but you can always add stickers.
Boston Legal Eagle says
What age were your kids when they could reliably put their clothes on themselves? My 4 year old (just turned 4 last month) knows how to dress and undress, and we do strongly encourage him to put on his PJs at night now, which he does although with a lotttt of dawdling before. In the morning, we just dress him ourselves while he watches TV because it’s faster and during daycare times, we need to get out the door. Should we be expecting him to dress himself all the time though?
Beth @ Parent Lightly says
I think mine were dressing themselves around 3. When they were that size, I just had to make it super easy (no buttons/snaps/zipper and only the right seasonal clothing within reach).
My son was not interested in dressing himself. Eventually we made it a rule that he had to get dressed before he could use the tablet in the morning, so the faster he did that the more screen time he had. I think we started that around age 4 but it may have been later. He doesn’t have great hand strength and was definitely not precocious in this area. For PJs/brush teeth, the faster he gets ready the more time he has for stories; we don’t do a set # of stories, just read for as long as time allows before our set bedtime. It kind of works. At this time of year you could also just let your kid sleep in his clothes, or a T shirt anyway, so there is less dressing to do in the morning.
My 4 year old dresses themselves.
My husband is in charge of mornings b/c of my job, so I don’t know what his secret sauce is for sure, but he is VERY big on routine, and the routine on school days is they wake up, go potty, come back to the bedroom and get dressed. No breakfast, no nothing until they have done those two things. He also dangles that the quicker they do these types of things the greater the possibility is there will be extra play time before they have to go, which I think helps.
Good luck! This all being said, up to you if this is really a thing that you want to make a thing out of. I mean, as long as he knows how, and it’s not like you will be doing this for him for forever….
4, when he started preK. I think it is an important skill and important to build a routine. He would go up and get dressed after breakfast (we picked out his clothes together the night before). If we were in a rush I’d help him, but in his room. Bedtime is a little trickier because he’s usually tired and purposely delaying so often I do help (or I do the “if you aren’t dressed in two minutes we won’t have time for a book” warning); if you want to work on a skill I would definitely concentrate on the morning when he’s fresh and not at bedtime. Now that we are all home with nowhere to go he picks out his clothes and dresses himself every day (but not first thing in the morning, usually whenever he wants to go outside).
My 5 year old refuses to dress or undress himself. He legit struggles with shirts that are on the small side (most of his shirts at this point, sigh ) but CAN do the rest for the most part. I’m irritated every day but we have pretty much chosen to pick our battles here. I just feel like Montessori parents across the world are judging me every day. At this rate 21 month old sibling is going to be dressing himself first.
My 4.5 year old can take most clothes on/off, but legit struggles with socks. That said, my 4.5 year old often chooses to be stubborn about getting dressed, so I usually just help her. It’s not a battle I choose to fight right now.
I think there are 2 different challenges–physical ability to put clothes on themselves, and executive function to get themselves dressed without a parent coaching, cajoling, or nagging them through it.
My 5 year old can physically dress himself and has been able to since he was an early 4 year old. But it’s slow-going compared to a parent doing it, and he doesn’t really have the executive function to lay out some clothes, say “get yourself dressed,” and expect him to be dressed 5 minutes later. He’ll be doing a headstand on his bed–in his pajamas–when you come back. So DH, who is in charge of the morning routine, just physically got him dressed because he had to be there anyways, and it was faster. That’s not doing him any favors though. (Our situation is also complicated by the fact that Kiddo has some sensory issues, and getting dressed is unpleasant and always has been.)
When I have to get Kiddo dressed, I stay with him to keep him on task. I’m trying to teach him how to break a big task (“get dressed”) into steps. I pretend to be silly and ask if we start with putting pants on before his pajamas are off, or if his shirt goes on the bottom, or if underwear goes on last, so that he has to teach me the right order. If we’re short on time, I bring him and his clothes into my room, and we have a race to get dressed the fastest. Or I set a timer for 3 minutes and see if we can beat the timer.
Also, are you guys actually getting your kids dressed during quarantine? Kiddo wears pajamas all day, 9/10 days. We change pajamas at night. Bonus–there’s less laundry. (See also–Kiddo gets 1-2 baths per week.)
My kiddo stays in PJs all day (new ones at night) unless they get dirty or she takes them off. As for baths, we have actually upped to every night (just only using soap every other or every 2 days like when she was getting “real” baths before) because it’s “off” time. My mommy loving barnacle will now let DH supervise (although I still have to do the soaping and shampooing because DH can’t physically bend over and alligator wrestle that long), so he now takes her up for bath (“real” bath or “fake” bath) every night, and I get either 30 minutes of peace or 20 minutes before I’m paged for scrubbing time. It is the longest I go not being touched and not hearing “Maaaaa!” all day and I savor it.
Age 2.5, with the caveat that I had a super early riser and the process could take 45 minutes while I dozed in kiddo’s room and that wouldn’t throw off the morning at all. But if you have a child that wakes up at 4am or 5am no matter what you do, I highly recommend setting the expectation that they dress themselves. Once they can do it themselves safely, set the expectation that they dress themselves before they come wake you up. You may have to make an investment in childproofing their room/furniture, but it is worth it.
I should add that I think rooms should always be childproofed. You just want to be really sure you have done a good job if you are encouraging a young child to open drawers and get themselves dressed at 5am with minimal supervision. We ended up removing some heavier furniture that I didn’t feel good about.
We started making my just-turned-3 kids dress themselves during quarentine, while we didn’t have the daycare time pressure. They are physically capable of doing it (unless wearing a shirt with buttons) but have a hard time focusing without a parent reminding them about the next steps, to stop poking their sibling, that it’s easier to out pants on if you look at what you’re doing, etc. We also set timers, so if they get their PJs on before the timer goes off they can have an extra story, etc.
It would be much faster to do it ourselves and it’s maddening at times watching them dawdle, but we figure it’s something they need to learn.
My 3 year old can dress himself, and has been doing so for about six months, but we were very persistent about teaching him and then having him do it himself. And, yes, he takes a looooong time to do it, but that was the trade off for us in order for him to do it himself.
I think your expectations should follow your own priorities, particularly at a young age. I mean, hopefully by kindergarten they will dress themselves, but at a younger age, I think they will do what we take the time to set them up to do. And honestly sometimes getting out the door on time is the priority.
My oldest, around 3. My middle was (is) fiercely independent and started insisting on doing it “her own self” at like, 20 months. She would throw a fit if we did it for her, so I only put stuff she could work in her drawers. She’s now a young 4 and can already tie her own shoes (she wanted tie shoes, I said no b/c I didn’t want to tie them, then she up and got her sister to teacher her so she could have the shoes) and get in and out of literally anything.
It has come in stages, but by now DD (3.5) does everything but removing her shirt. She just recently mastered turning her pants back the right way when they are turned inside out, something we worked on because that was causing problems when she would strip to use the bathroom…I think a lot of it is practice and example setting, which we tend to do when we get around to it, speaking of which maybe we’ll work on her shirt removal technique this weekend…Also, she still sleeps in her clothes, which are 90% leggings and tshirts, for the next day (pro tip I saw here when I was pregnant), so back in the olden days 2.5 months ago when daycare was a thing, we didn’t have clothing changes to contend with in the morning.
Daycare tuition says
The comments about going back to daycare the other day were very helpful. For those of you who are choosing not to send your kids back right away, will you pay tuition or unenroll?
We are trying to decide what to do for our 5 month old when our planned-on daycare reopens June 1. This would be her first time going, which adds to the weirdness of things like masked teachers and potential limits on cuddles. I have been able to handle WFH with her so far, especially since I don’t have to bill hours. I also dread the idea of pumping. So, overall, leaning towards not sending her quite yet. But then the question becomes, do we pay tuition to hold her spot until we feel more comfortable sending her, or just sacrifice the spot and figure it out down the line?
There are no limits on cuddles for 5 month old babies in day care. This is not part of any plan. Please don’t spread misinformation.
Yes, agreed. With the information as we know it, that would be worse than COVID (i.e. we know factually that a baby not getting cuddled leads to very detrimental development; as far as we know COVID doesn’t affect babies that I’m aware of, but not looking to get into that debate).
Yeah my daycare sent like a 7 page reopening plan and this was absolutely not part of it. It would be shocking to me if a daycare was limiting cuddles. I don’t really think a 5 month old who has never been to daycare will notice or care about masks – it will be their new normal. An older child who was used to teachers not wearing masks might be freaked out initially, but I think would adjust pretty quickly.
Haha. My kid’s camp is talking about social distance learning swimming. For beginners.
Day cares are going to look like Russian orphanages when we go back.
If you can swing it financially, I’d pay tuition for a bit until you see how things are going. You may feel differently about all of it in 4-6 weeks. Good daycare spots could be hard enough to find in the Before Times. I anticipate demand will increase because centers either have closed or are having to reduce enrollment. In my area, which is an early re-opened state, people are scrambling because so many summer camp options have decided not to operate. Obviously infant room spots are a little different, but I anticipate ripple effects across all childcare options.
You could ask about deferring. Our daycare starts kids in waves (Sept/March) and we are negotiating pulling our kids until September to see how things worked out. The initial conversation went well because the director was pretty sure she could have some other families start early (so we’d kind of switch with them).
Crazy Pandemic Decisions says
Has pandemic made anyone want to have MORE kids? We have three and have always been open to four (would be happy with family as is but hadn’t declared it complete). Home and working we’ve gotten to see them in action and they get along great but the older two especially are such a unit. I’m sure relationships will ebb and flow but I like the idea of a fourth so there’s not one being left out from whatever combinations emerge. Also we’ve gotten so tight as a family unit, it’s made me realize having a big family could be great? We are pretty happy staying in and hanging out with our kids most nights and more limited travel has been okay? DH it turns out has always been down for four. I’m nervous we are making crazy decisions during SIP. And about messing up a great dynamic. But yeah, might go for it anyways!
(I mean, not laughing at your doing it. You do you! That’s just factually my answer to if the pandemic has made me personally want more kids).
Nope! This is just you!!! Go for it!
Ditto. I have 3 and wanted 4, DH was firm at 3 max. He has not missed an opportunity to say “aren’t you glad we don’t ALSO have an infant right now?!” the last couple months.
Sort of? I’ve always been firmly one and done and this is the first time in my life I’ve had anything resembling regrets about that decision (DD is 2.5). My daughter is extroverted and it’s heartbreaking to see her not have any other kids to play with. It seems like most kids her age love being home, but she asks us literally every day when she can go back to school and cries when we say we don’t know. In addition, it sounds selfish but a very real part of why we stopped at one was to make things like travel and going to restaurants more manageable and that just feels dumb now, given that it will likely be years before we can do that stuff. That said, given that it would be 9 months at a minimum (and likely a year or more) before we could give her a sibling and things will hopefully (???) be somewhat better then (and it’s not like an infant would be a great playmate for a 3.5 year old anyway), I don’t think we’re going to change our family planning at this point. But if I had known this pandemic was coming, I would have had two close in age, absolutely.
ME TOO. exactly.
Yeah, I’ve been extra grateful that we accidentally ended up with twins lately, since they have a built-in playmate at home.
Pigpen's Mama says
I was kind of hoping for twins before the first ultrasound, because I was one and done pregnancy wise, but was so glad we didn’t have them when she was little because one baby was overwhelming! Now I really wouldn’t mind two short people in the house whenever I get roped into playing “Puppies, babies, and unicorns…”
I totally get this. It is not so much that I have been wanting more kids during this time, it’s more like this pandemic has caused me to evaluate how my past decisions regarding how many children we were going to have (absolutely one and done!) were obviously based on the expectation that the lives we were living would continue as expected. Now that those past lives have been upended, my reliance on and anticipation of all of those things feels so . . . dumb? . . . meaningless? . . . ?? I don’t know what the right word is, but I feel it big time.
Exactly. We chose to have one kid because it fit our lifestyle but our lifestyle has completely changed and we have no idea when we’ll get it back. Dumb is not the right word, since no one could have foreseen this situation, but I just feel so adrift since we planned for a life we no longer have and may never have again. I realize a lot of people are feeling that way, though, regardless of how many children they have.
I mean, we’ve been trying for #2 since prepandemic, but it has made it clear that my outgoing kiddo would definitely benefit from a playmate (and per the above, a playmate that is not the adults – I recognize it will be some time before an infant and my then 3YO can play together). Also rekindled my desire for 3, but if #2 is like #1 (i.e., a holy nonsleeping terror), I agree with DH we should be done at 2. So for now just asking him to keep an open mind to 3, and we’re continuing to try for #2 (which, again, is difficult when your first child doesn’t sleep).
I’ve been amazed at how much our six month old is a source of entertainment and fun for our almost six year old. They “play” together a fair bit already. More than I expected at least.
Have that kid!!! I have friends with four kids and they love it. (Two working parents, but both have less intense jobs).
I’ve always wanted a big family. Spending time at home has made me realize that I truly do value my family so much. Personally, we will expand by adopting from foster care and I think the pandemic will sadly mean more kids in need of that.
I mean, if you still want 4 during this crazy time, I think you really want 4!
That said I think there’s so much pressure for whatever number you settle at to be this perfect outcome that you always dreamed of and I hope especially with more women in the workplace there’s more talk about how that’s not always true. My coworker has 3 and was told me, ‘Yeah, I definitely wanted four, by [husband] didn’t and I wanted to get back to working full time, so we didn’t, but I still kind of wonder’ – and her kids are way older now! It was really refreshing to hear. It’s not like she doesn’t love her 3 kids and her career. They’re very happy. But acknowledging this is really important.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Yep, I think I’ll always wonder what if we had 3 – haven’t totally ruled it out but it’s a lot of work and I do want to continue working full time. Not that you can’t do this with multiple kids, but I know my limits and I don’t really enjoy the little kid life that much. Particularly not during a pandemic!
So true! Thank you for this. We think we’ll wonder more about the what if if we don’t go for it than if we do.
I think I would take a hit professionally from a fourth but I think that hit might have already happened when we went to three (looking ahead a few years)… this pandemic has also taught me that if I had to stay home a couple years or jump in and out of the workforce I’d be okay with it, which is not something I would have thought before being stuck at home with my kids!
Thanks for all the supportive comments! This group is the best.
You’re almost certainly an outlier here, but go for it! I like my children a lot – that’s why I have 2! they are crazy but it’s worth it! but 2 is enough for me.
I wish my 4.5 year old only child had a playmate right now, but having another child right now really won’t fix the problem. So, no, this pandemic is not making me want another child.
Nope! In my darkest moments, I have grumpily thought to myself “THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I ONLY WANTED ONE!” (I have 2)
I think it means you really want 4. We have and wanted 3 and not for one single second have either DH or I thought a fourth would be a good idea.
However, we have also said that we are happy to have a “pack.” They can all play together, or not. They are all 2 school years apart. There are nearly 3 years between my older two but they are 4 and 7 so they are closer in life stages than my 2 and 4 year old, who are 22 months apart. 4 and 7 play video games or watch movies together, play games, and spend HOURS with each other playing make believe in the yard. Toddler still needs constant supervision, naps, and isn’t quite potty trained.
Incredible you have 3 kids 2 years apart!! I am getting my butt kicked with pandemic and two kids two years apart. There’s no playmate when the baby (almost 1) is constantly getting into everything the preschooler (almost 3) is doing. HOw many more years do i have to wait for this age spacing to pay off??
Godspeed, Crazy Pandemic Decisions. Godspeed.
Made me laugh. Would make a great story at least!
We’re putting down a beloved pet today. 6 YO son was always close with pet but even more so since lock-down since he can’t see any of his friends. Any words of wisdom on this? We explained last night that fido was in the hospital, and was very sick. Today we want to try and go say goodbye (assuming they let us in because of Covid).
1. Is taking son to say goodbye the right thing to do?
2. Do you explain “putting down” to a 6 year old, or just leave it as, ‘fido got really sick and died?’
We did not take our 9year old when we put down our dog a few months ago. I’m glad we didn’t. It was really peaceful, but my husband and I needed that space to fall apart by ourselves and not worry about our kid’s feelings. Your vet may also have limits on who can come in anyways. I think ours is allowing maybe 2 people for end of life care. Our vet told us that kids that she sees are about 50/50 between being upset themselves or shrugging at the whole thing and immediately asking about getting another cat/dog.
I think you can say the dog was sick and died and the vet couldn’t help him get better. I’m so sorry. The anticipation and grief leading up to the appt was awful, but then there was peace. (Of course, I am tearing up as a write this)
This, right down to tearing up as I type.
Take your son to say goodbye, and absolutely at least one of you need to be with your dog at the end, but I would want to get my ugly-crying out away from the kids. I think euthanasia is a complicated concept for a 6 year old to understand, and it’s sufficient to say the dog was sick and the vet couldn’t help him get better, but did make sure that he was comfortable when he died.
I’m so sorry, tk. Losing a pet is always hard, but this is especially tough timing.
I am so very sorry. This is an especially rough time to lose a pet. Hugs.
I would go say goodbye if it is safe, but I would not explain the concept of putting an animal down. He is old enough to understand, but I don’t think it’s necessary to go into it and cause further trauma. I would explain that Fido got very sick and died. If he asks why Fido has to stay at the vet’s, it is because the vet can help Fido feel more comfortable.
To clarify, I would go say goodbye with your son but I would not take him to the actual event.
Agree, but then I would have DH and/or I go be with pet for the event as logistically possible.
I would not take your son to actually watch your pet be out to sleep. My husband and I did this together sans kids (back in the day when grandparents were allowed near their grandchildren…sigh…) And it was very hard. I think it would have been scary for my kid to see us fall apart like that. (Although, yes, I think kids need to understand that adults have emotions and all emotions are ok, I think 6 is a little young to see a full on cry-fest.) It also just let us process our emotions without having to worry about how it would affect a child.
When we put our cat to sleep earlier this year, we explained to our son that she was very sick and suffering, so the vet was going to give her some medicine to help her die since she could not talk and tell us when she needed pain medicine or something. Since we had it done at home, we asked him if he wanted to be in the home at the time or not. He did not want to be here, so he had a playdate at a friend’s house at that time. He was 7.5 at the time. He was not close to this cat but did get sad when we talked about it and a bit after. But it was definitely harder for us.
PS – the cat had cancer and was clearly very ill, so I don’t think the concept of euthanasia was as hard for him to grasp as it might have been if she hadn’t seemed sick.
We live in a fourplex where we pay $200/month in HOA dues that covers insurance and landscaping and exterior common repairs. The HOA manager owns 2 of the 4 units and never provides financials or bank statements or invoices. She came back a few days ago asking for $3000 for the last three years because she personally paid all this money and just now started to account for it. She had an excel document showing the costs but no invoices or bank statements for that time or before. The other owner is very wealthy and immediately responded that he would pay it. I said we would pay too but we need quarterly reporting going forward and that I’d be happy to do the books. I just feel so weird asking for this given that the second owner doesn’t care.
If any of you have been in a similar position, can you tell me if I’m crazy to request quarterly report on income and expenses, bank statements, and invoices over $250?
I would have said no way am I paying 3 Grand now because you decided to spend extra money without informing us for three years.
+a million. Your failure to plan does not constitute an emergency for me, nor does it magically give you retroactive permission for spending this money without consulting us. I’d want (demand) bank statements, invoices, etc. and would STRONGLY suggest that she no longer hold this position.
To clarify, she said she has all the invoices at home and can share the backup. Both her and the other owner have owned their three units for the last 13 years and they all rent their units. The other owner says she’s been excellent managing the finances and I want to be like how is she excellent when she provides a financial snapshot every 3 years?? I work in finance so maybe my expectatioms are too high but I’m glad someone else thinks this is absurd.
I’d demand all the proof, and an explanation on why she didn’t handle this promptly, and emphasize I would never be willing to pay like this again.
Thank you, so requesting quarterly financial snapshot along with bank statements and invoices is not absurd? I told her that I will prepare the report if she shares invoices with me. THe other owner said they dont care to see a quarterly report. Since the other owner doesn’t care, we are in the minority but I don’t think we’re asking for anything out of the ordinary of how good organizations should be run.
you are not being unreasonable at all. Also in finance but I used to get enraged at even the quality of the professional mgmt.’s company’s reporting.
Our HOA dues are $200 per year, and they still provide annual financial statements….
What state are you in and what do your HOA bylaws say about reporting and management? I’m with you, there’s no way I would want to pay the money to someone just because they claimed they fronted the money. You need to be having quarterly meetings at a minimum to discuss any major expenses and plan for future repairs. An annual statement might be sufficient if you understand what the money is going to. And if she has paid a bunch of money personally, it’s a sign that your dues and reserves are way too low.
this. i’d consult your bylaws to see what reporting is required and what approval mechanisms are in place for spending above threshold amounts.
if the bylaws do not address this, i’d ask to rewrite the bylaws to make sure there was greater clarity around these points.
FWIW, i am not in finance but would be appalled by this and would not agree to pay without first reviewing the invoices.
Thanks all, we’re in texas. and yes the bylaws do not seem to address this. Since the other three units have been owned by two people for the last 13 years, it’s tough to be the only one requesting anything be different (we bought 3 years ago). I agree though that if she does not agree to this, then my husbands an attorney and we’ll have to try a stricter approach.
If she wants the cash, she needs to produce invoices and reporting based on bank statements. I was the treasurer for a small self-run HOA and provided monthly reporting and all backup.
Maybe her other needs were so high because you refused to play with her? I don’t mean to be snarky… but it just seems harsh to flat out refuse to play with your kid.
Does anyone have a recipe recommendation for an easy birthday dessert/cake I can make my 2 year old? We’re having a small celebration next weekend with the grandparents,for which I’ll order a store cake. But I’m looking to make something simple for his actual birthday on Monday. Not sure I’ll have time to order groceries by Monday so need something that uses pantry ingredients (my pantry is pretty well stocked). Thanks.
I usually go Southern Living or smitten kitchen for my cake recipes and have yet to have a bad one. But pro tip, if you have a 6 inch cake pan, it holds roughly half the batter of a 9 inch cake pan. For our small family, I’m much more inclined to make cake if I know we won’t be eating it for days on end. So I take my usual recipe for 9 inch pans and halve them to make them in 6 inch pans (or sometimes quarter them, if I’m trying for one layer and it’s a two layer recipe).
I made a fun-fetti cake for my son’s birthday last year. I used this recipe, and it turned out really well-https://sugarspunrun.com/funfetti-cake-scratch/. I made a cream cheese frosting instead of the one in the recipe, and it was perfect.
No specific recommendations, but check out Sally’s Baking Addiction. She has some pretty simple cake recipes.
This has been our go-to chocolate sheet cake for several years, and it doesn’t use eggs or butter! https://www.instructables.com/id/The-BEST-chococlate-cake-ever…that-happens-to-be/ It’s a good canvas for whatever 2D art you want on the cake. We just made one in a round tin and decorated it to look like Earth, with sprinkle ‘clouds’.
My husband’s grandma was a baker (well, she made birthday cakes in a store of some kind in the poor rural south). She swears that boxed cake is the way to go if you plan to decorate, as it is very reliable and easy to double or triple.
My 2 y/o got ice cream cake from Carvel via the grocery store.
I know it’s impossible to predict the future, but our schools are starting to kind of sort of talk about plans for this coming school year. My daughter will be entering kindergarten. The school is still deciding whether kids will be required to wear masks.
I personally don’t think masks are appropriate for such a young age, especially where I live: it will be HOT in August, and the AC at school isn’t totally reliable.
Am genuinely curious: what are yours thoughts on masks at school? Masks for all? Masks for none? Is there an age you believe it would be appropriate?
I think it’s completely appropriate to require masks for all school-age children and it will make school a lot safer if everyone is wearing masks. At age 2-3 I feel iffier about it because I think they will be taken off so much they won’t do any good, but I would comply if daycare wanted us to have our 2 year old wear one.
OP here—I suppose I would feel this way if there was a way for everyone to get medical-grade masks. But we are all just strapping cloth masks over our faces, and those aren’t ideal to wear all day. I wore one out the other day in 95 degree weather. I only wore it for 30 minutes, but it started to feel suffocating. I can’t imagine a bunch of little kids wearing cloth masks for the entire duration of school.
(FWIW: I’m very pro-shelter in place/do what we need to do to keep everyone safe. Have been locked down for 9 weeks now. This is just something that genuinely worries me for the kiddos.)
This is all so hard.
Well hopefully your kid’s school building is not 95 degrees? That would be a problem with or without masks. I agree it’s not optimal but I think there is good evidence that everyone wearing even a cloth mask reduces transmission significantly, and I’m all for any measures that would make school safer and more likely to happen.
My school growing up was definitely 95 degrees in September and June. I didn’t even grow up in the south. I don’t know whether times had changed, but we just sweated a lot.
I think the emphasis on the masks is getting so much traction, in part, because it’s a very visible indicator of compliance (and virtue signaling for some I guess). We don’t see whether people are washing hands, staying home when sick, self-monitoring for symptoms, properly cleaning things, etc even though those steps are probably more important. Do I think that my school aged kid can wear a mask properly most of the day? No. I also don’t think masks are feasible for some sports. Am I willing to support a reasonable mask measure assuming it is part of a larger multi-faceted plan to actually keep kids safe at school? Sure, if the mask is the price of admission, I can handle that. I anticipate that the guidance will change multiple times between now and August anyways.
So my five year old (entering k in the fall) will happily wear a mask – she sometimes moves it to talk and such but better than nothing.
If this is any way makes school marginally safer (or even marginally more likely to have in person instruction) I’m all for it, sign us up, I will buy all the kindergartner masks! I don’t care if it’s just an illusion of safety.
Did decorated hers and likes it as a fashion statement, so that probably helps…
I don’t think kids will use masks properly. Most adults don’t. If you’re constantly adjusting it, moving it to talk, moving it to eat, touching it with dirty hands, etc. it’s almost worse than nothing. I can totally see kids trading masks and other outrageous shenanigans, too!
I’m in NYC and everyone over 2 has to wear masks when social distancing is not possible. Masks for all! Even if poorly used, I do not think they are worse than nothing. The main point of masks as I understand it is to keep people who are asymptomatic from spreading their own germs, not catching other people’s germs. So if they are preventing droplet spread 50% of the time, that is 50% less potential contagion. Please also remember this is not just about protecting kids, it is about protecting teachers, who may be at much higher risk.
I do feel like I’m living in a different world being here. A few weeks ago ambulances were going by our apartment constantly. It was just terrifying. So I’m all for doing whatever might make it possible for us to safely leave our homes again.
Yup, some airlines also require masks for everyone over 2. This is becoming our new normal, and I’m ok with it if it will help us get back to something resembling normal life.
I also will have a kindergartener this fall and fully expect there to be a mask requirement. I don’t think it’s unreasonable, particularly if it allows the school year to go on as scheduled. I do think 5-year-olds are capable of being taught good mask hygiene if you will. No, it won’t be perfect, but nothing about this scenario is going to happen without a hitch, so I’ve made my peace with that.
My 4 and 6 y/o wear their masks all the time. They are purple with unicorns and rainbows. Like, I’ll bring them on errands (to pick up curbside stuff where it’s popped in our trunk while we are in the car) and they volunteer to wear the masks the entire time.
If it will increase the liklihood of school being in person, i will personally hand sew masks for the entire grade. I already am gearing up to drive my kids to school- I have no idea how bussing will work.
“If it will increase the liklihood of school being in person, i will personally hand sew masks for the entire grade.” SERIOUSLY!
where do you find masks that fit 5 year olds? We have struck out so far
Not sure if you’ll see this. My mom actually made them for my kids, but there are tons available locally to me (in MA). Individual businesses are selling them. In my town alone the gourmet grocery has them as well as the tailor (who is closed but doing masks). I’ve seen 2 sizes of kid masks- little kid and big kid.
MA has a state wide mask rule now, so perhaps that’s why they are everywhere. I’m not sure if this link will work but there is a children’s consignment store called “buttons and bows” in Acton MA. Ill try to link but if that doesn’t work, join the Facebook group “buttons and bows insider group” and you can order a kids mask. They have awesome styles in a few sizes for kids.
And honestly, if you really strike out, let me know. I can send you some.
Daycare teachers during pandemic? says
Those of you who have hired a daycare teacher during the pandemic – how is that working out w/r/t the unemployment they are collecting? Do you pay them under the table and they’re just not going to report it? Are you paying them little enough that they can continue to collect?
Am considering doing this but don’t want to screw up anyone’s unemployment or break any laws ideally….Other option is to just hire a college kid who wasn’t previously employed, but it seems so silly when this woman that my kid knows and loves is just sitting around doing nothing bc daycare is closed.
What now? says
Help. I’m seriously considering quitting my job. I’m not sure what else to do, as they’ve called everyone back into the office (in an area with lots of cases where we have not reached peak transmission). There was little notice, no mask requirement, and no acknowledgment that schools and daycares remain closed.
I know a lot of places are laying people off, and they certainly aren’t required to allow people to work from home. So I get it, I do. I’m not angry; but I’m just completely demoralized. I want to do the right thing but I have no idea what that is right now.
Can you reach out to your manager and ask what safety precautions they are putting in place as a way to start the conversation? My office is targeting a June 1 opening with 25% occupancy, masks, one-way hallways, and a whole host of other rules. Fortunately, they are just looking for volunteers for the first phase, but I am sure that “fully open” is soon to come.
What now? says
They’re taking some precautions (extra cleaning, no work-related travel), but nothing like what you’ve listed here– it’s everyone back at once, no mask requirement etc.
We have child care at home temporarily, but it isn’t enough for a full day + commute unless I hire a second person. I guess I need to try to do that as I don’t know when daycare will reopen. It feels like the rug was just pulled out from under me without any advance notice. I guess this is what happens when you work in a male-dominated industry.
I would also reach out to management. I am assuming you are not in a state/county with stricter SIP rules. My husband has been told to assume he’ll be working from home through the remainder of the year. I think it’s harder when you’re not in an area where ALL of the businesses are telecommuting. But I think the reply above is correct. Ask what they’re going to do to mitigate exposure risk, whether they’ll consider telecommuting for people who have effectively been working from home—ie, the people responsible for getting the mail can’t work from home, but someone like an attorney likely could. Less bodies in the office keeps everyone safer, including those whose jobs can’t be done remotely.
What now? says
Thanks. I’m a lawyer so working from is easy, but they’ve specifically said lawyers are to return to the office now.
Staff have been required in person throughout, which has really impacted morale.
Before you reach out to management, gather a few of your co-workers to ask about it together and include them on the email/call. You asking by yourself is just being a troublesome employee; you asking along with at least 1 other co-worker is protected concerted activity. I don’t do Labor Law, but that is the one thing I remember from my Labor Law class.
Can you take the expanded pandemic child care FMLA leave?
What now? says
I’m pregnant, which complicates matters as I will need to take leave later this year and I don’t believe you can use FMLA twice. But I should chase this down and make sure.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Given that you’re pregnant, this puts you in the high risk category so they should allow you to continue WFH. I mean, they should anyway for everyone who can, but this gives you a medical reason at least. Can you get a doctor’s note?
I’d plead your case with your manager before quitting. I think it’s totally foolish to expect everyone to come back en masse. Ask to continue working for home, or a staggered schedule (some days in office, some days out, assuming you have a partner who can provide child care). I don’t think you should have to do this, BTW, but some employers are just remarkably clueless.
And if they say no, take pandemic FMLA before you quit.
Seriously. Push it as far as you can and then Make them fire you. Don’t quit. They would be so, so stupid to fire you in this situation.
Well, it’s happened. My boss has scheduled a big in-office meeting (including lunch) with someone who is supposed to fly in from out of state, the day after our state’s stay-home order expires. The guidance for the next phase of reopening has not yet been released, but if the state follows its draft plan the recommendation will be that professional services firms continue WFH to the extent possible after the stay-home order is lifted. According to the stay-home order now in effect, my employer should currently be directing everyone to WFH, but the office remains open and people must request to WFH on an individual basis. There has been no announcement regarding plans for social distancing, masks, cleaning, ventilation, etc. HR was involved in scheduling this meeting because the out-of-state participant is a new hire, so they are not just aware but complicit.
I had been waiting for the state’s updated guidance to be released and was planning to request an extension of my WFH status, but this is forcing my hand. What’s especially concerning is that the junior staff will feel pressured to come in as well. I am not sure how to approach this. I would like to quit, but my husband points out that we need my income especially now.
Ugh this is awful, I am so sorry. If I were you I’d try to band together with others to push back, citing the state’s draft guidance and the pressure/discomfort those in high risk groups (or who live with/care for high risk people) must feel. If your employer doesn’t budge, I’d consider reporting them to your state’s health or labor department.
I chatted with a senior colleague and we agreed each to speak up. Neither of us is on the list of teacher’s pets right now so we don’t have much to lose. Individually, boss has agreed to let me join the meeting by Zoom, but she made ominous noises about guidance for returning to the office that will be released in the next couple of weeks.
Anon for this one says
Ugh, I’m sorry, this is so frustrating! My situation sounds very similar to yours in that my employers handling of this situation had completely changed the way I feel about my job – and not in a good way. I’m thinking very seriously about quitting because I simply don’t know what else to do.
Solidarity. This whole situation has definitely changed my view of management right up to the most senior levels. It’s also making me less productive at work because worry about being forced to return to an unsafe environment is keeping me up at night and distracting me during the day. I think management’s approach is putting us at risk of losing several of our most valuable junior staff members, who all have small children and are currently taking partial leave.
This stinks, I’m so sorry. I do think people WILL remember this long term, and firms better prepare for that down the line.
I have been REALLY impressed with my firm’s handling of the response, how clearly they are laying out the guidelines they’re following and all the communications. One of our senior leaders also said on an all hands call something like ‘let me be clear, if you are high risk, or live with someone who is high risk, we do not want you coming back into an office’. That was amazing. They’re earned my loyalty with these moves for a good long time.
It’s puzzling why some employers do not understand this. Keep your employees safe and well informed, and you will have committed, productive workers with lower turnover. It’s not rocket science, but somehow it’s beyond the lawyer types who run my org.
This is ridiculous. I am currently drafting procedures for return to work and they include listing the (very restricted) number of people who can use any meeting room, sourcing PPE / cleaning supplies, providing guidance for kitchen use, continuation of no travel for office staff, limits on number of people in elevators + a bunch of other rules / procedures that we are still drafting. Also, it will initially be voluntary and pregnant women are specifically not permitted in the office, unless they deal with HR / their doctor to get a note (e.g. they REALLY want to).
Personally, I’d call in sick. Say you have a headache and cough and don’t want to risk anyone in case you’re contagious.
It’s not worth losing your job or exposing yourself.
Has anyone with a reopening daycare gotten info on how they’re handling room transitions? My kiddo was in a 0-2 room and turned 2 in January. She was supposed to move into the 2 year old room as soon as a spot opened up, likely in April/May. We haven’t gotten a reopening date, so this is all hypothetical for now, but I’m wondering if she will start in the 2 year old classroom whenever they go back or return to her current class and, if the latter, when/how they will transition her to the older room. Normally they do a gradual transition where the teacher and the kid go to the older classroom for increasingly long visits, but that kind of room mixing is prohibited according to the safety plans they circulated for a potential reopening. I’m in favor of her returning to school either way (she will be fine with younger kids and I’m sure she will also adjust fine to a new room even with a more abrupt transition) but just curious if anyone had info about how other schools are doing this.
Honestly no one here can help with this question. It’s completely individual to your day care.
Ours expressly said that all transitions are on hold initially.
I’m certain this will be different for every daycare, but for anecdata, our daycare opened up this week and my nearly-2 twins were put in the 2-3 class, but a child who turned 2 in March remained in the toddler class.
My oldest would be moving up to the official PreK class, but they have combined those classes for now so no real change.
I think it’s largely a numbers game to figure out how many kids you’ll have and the appropriate staffing.
I know some people are going to flame me here, either for asking the question or for the childcare arrangement itself, but whatever…
Pre-COVID, our childcare arrangement for our 3 yo was a nanny share hosted at our home. When COVID hit, the other family left town to stay closer to relatives in a more rural area, while the nanny continued to care for just our son. They had been paying our nanny their share, but now they’ve decided not to come back for the foreseeable future. Because it would be a huge strain for us financially to pay our nanny both families’ share, and because we didn’t want to cut her pay, we found another family (who we were distant acquaintances with before this, and who have been isolating and all that) to fill in.
Since now we and the other family are exposing ourselves to one another via our kids every day anyway, my husband floated the idea that maybe we could socialize with the other family in our respective homes outside of the nanny share hours. I’m unsure of 1) whether this would cause either family to be exposed to any more risk, and 2) even if the answer to 1) is no, whether it’s inappropriate in a time like this anyway to be socializing when most others can’t/aren’t. For what it’s worth, we are in a somewhat hard-hit area (not NYC) that is getting better but is still under a stay at home order. Anyone have thoughts?
Of course it’s fine.
No, it’s not OK. There is going to be less chance of transmission with just the two kids in close contact than if you bring both families together. Say, for instance, the dad in the other family is contagious on Friday. Other kid hasn’t caught the virus yet, so your child is not exposed on Friday if the nanny share is in your home. If the families get together Friday night, your whole family is exposed. If the dad develops symptoms over the weekend, the other family keeps their kid home on Monday and your family is never exposed.
I get that this could happen in theory, but from my understanding it almost never happens this way, right? I thought people were generally asymptomatic but contagious for a while before they start developing symptoms. So it seems like if anyone in the other family gets it, we won’t know about it until well after they all have been exposed. Happy to be wrong about this, that was just my working understanding of how the virus works.
Perhaps, but more time and more people exposed still increases your family’s total risk.
We did a nanny share with another daycare family during the daycare closure, but the difference for us was that all the parents were together at the same house. Even though it was irrational, I was uncomfortable with seeing them for pure socialization. I do think there’s an increase in risk, but I wouldn’t fault you for doing it. We will probably do the same with daycare families in the future.
I think that I am less risk averse than many on this board, but expanding your circle to include that family seems like a natural transition to me and totally fine.
I agree. Not that big a deal.
Agreed. To me, prolonged periods in the same enclosed space create the highest risk both for airborne and fomite transmission. I’d be comfortable meeting up outdoors in any case. If the kids are spending a bunch of time indoors with each other, you’re already in eachother’s germ circles. I don’t think you’re adding much risk with the adults also spending time together.
So we are not in a nanny share situation, but we have expanded our circle to include one other family. We have all been SIP for nine weeks. Both families only have one adult go out to go grocery shopping (masked up).
We get together once a week for dinner. One family brings takeout to the other’s backyard. We sit outside. The adults maintain social distancing. We’ve told the kids not to hug, hold hands, etc.
It has honestly been such a great mental break. And something to look forward to at the end of a crushingly long week.
Our compromise is letting the kids play together outside, while the adults still sit apart from each other. Kids get to interact, adults get some company, but we’re not sharing substantially more germs than during the nanny-share itself since the adults aren’t going inside and aren’t touching.
I wish we could do this but neither family has any real outdoor space that would make it possible. Although, we do live near a few large grassy spaces that few people go to, so maybe we could consider a picnic.
I would do this. It’s marginally more risk, but not much more. We’re all going to have to make decisions about how much risk we’re willing to accept in our lives, and what the costs of reducing those risks to zero are, and do our best to minimize the potential to spread it to others.
My 8 year old daughter wants to be a vegetarian. I don’t actually care, but my husband is the stay at home dad and meal preparer. He has no interest in prepping different meals for her and is adamant that she’s not allowed. I am sympathetic that it would be more work for him (and I work a ton, so it’s really all on him). He’s a heavy slow cooker user, which lends itself to roasts or meats. I have a 6 year old also, who is not adventurous, and a slow cooker pot of veggies and rice would be looked in with disdain. We also avoid soy. Any advice? Do I let her skip meat, and/or provide alternate protein? Husband is angry about the thought of messing with his meal routine, 8 year old want to keep all animals alive… pandemic makes everything more stressful. Sigh.
I think I’m more relaxed about nutrition than a lot of people here but I would be inclined to let her stop eating meat but not ask your DH to cook any differently, and just let her make meals out of the sides. I think a lot of kids lose interest in things quickly. If vegetarianism turns out to be a long term thing for her, once you’re out of quarantine and have more time you can shift to menus that incorporate more meat alternatives.
Good point. It is often simpler to let a kid try something out and probably lose interest than to fight with her over it.
As a vegetarian and a mom to a kid that would eat all carbs all the time if he could, I can tell you this is not a good idea. If your husband is relying on the main meat dish to provide protein in the meal, it’s unlikely that the sides are going to have enough protein to adequately meet the 8-year-old’s needs.
OP, I think if your kid is really serious about this, you should try to help her learn how to meal plan and cook (to the best of her ability) vegetarian dishes herself, but let her know that it might not be a complete transition until she is old enough to cook more on her own. So for instance, if dad is making tacos for dinner, it’s not a big deal at all to have a separate bowl with some black beans instead of ground beef. For burgers, buy some veggie burgers instead and grill those up; for pasta, use protein pasta and omit any meat. But if your planned dinner is, say, roasted chicken and a side of mashed potatoes and green beans, there’s not an easy veg substitute for the protein there, so she may need to just deal with that for the time being.
I mean, if the kid is anything like mine, she’ll lose interest in this in like a week, especially if her parents aren’t making it into a Big Deal. A week with not enough protein is not going to kill a kid. Even non-vegetarian kids often subsist on pasta and grilled cheese for a lot longer than that. And this is a uniquely stressful time when a lot of people are letting rules about screentime and healthy eating fly out of the window. If it appears to be something she’s serious about and wants to do long term, then I agree there needs to be more thought put into it, but I think she needs to be involved in and possibly even helping to make some simple meals like nut butter sandwiches.
Totally agree that a week of that type of diet is NBD. But it’s not sustainable for much longer than that. I decided to be a vegetarian around 11 or so and my parents didn’t do a great job of ensuring that I got sufficient nutrition – I did in fact eat a lot of grilled cheese and side dishes (rice and veggies and the like) for a long time. I was constantly exhausted for years because (as I now know) I was protein and iron deficient. As I mentioned in a thread a couple days ago, I didn’t have the best relationship with my parents, so diet was probably far down the list of battles they wanted to pick with me (and I’m sympathetic to that), but I do wish they would have been more mindful about the impact that poor nutrition had on me.
If your daughter were 10 or 12, I’d suggest starting by having her research vegetarian nutrition and recipes and come up with a plan to get good nutrition without adding to the burden on her dad. 8 is probably a little young for that, but you could talk through some of the issues with her.
FWIW, I love vegetarian food and used to cook a lot of it, serving poultry no more than twice a week and red meat never. Then I had a child who hates vegetarian staples such as beans, lentils, and mushrooms but loves chicken. The whole Ellyn Satter thing was a failure, so we now have chicken for dinner at least four times a week and I only get to cook beans and mushrooms for lunch. She teases me about how I must be looking forward to her leaving for college so I can make beans every day. If your kid is as strong-willed as mine, your husband may have no choice but to adapt his cooking or offer her an alternative.
+1 – this is a good idea. I also have an 8-yr old and I think it’s old enough to have her sit down with dad on the weekend and do some meal planning. Can she help cook a big portion of farro or quinoa on the weekend and use it for grain bowls for dinner? My kid hates cooked vegetables. So before I roast or cook brocolli/green beans/etc. I’ll save aside a portion of raw veggies for him. Raw veggies, plus grain, plus hard boiled egg or fried egg is a totally easy dinner I think that she can help assemble.
Smitten kitchen also has a LOT of vegetarian meals you can add in/take meat out of (black bean soup, bacon on top for carnivores, not for her, tacos with mushrooms/beans for her, chicken for everyone else, etc.).
We’re talking A LOT about planning meals, using up leftovers, etc. right now as we’ve had to make some swaps to favorite foods and adapt more, so I think it’s a good time to discuss it. Plus, with meat shortages/price increases, it’s not the worst idea to adopt more meatless dinners.
I don’t think being angry at an 8 year old for having a preference is a good look.
Agree, but right now he’s also expected to be the elementary teacher and I’m swamped and not helpful, so it’s all overwhelming. Anything more is too much.
We have been firmly in the mindset of we provide healthy food and their job is to eat it. We do not make alternative meals, and if you don’t eat, the next meal is whenever the next meal is. This just messes that mindset up. Definitely easy to skip meat on taco meat, or spaghetti and meatball night. But grilled fish, steamed rice, and broccoli night (it’s not all slow cooker action here)? A bit more of a pain.
Would she be willing to go pescatarian? If you eat fish regularly, that would make it easier.
Forgot to mention–I make strategic use of leftovers to make it easier to accommodate my kid’s preferences. If Tuesday’s dinner is something she likes and I know it will make one serving of leftovers, she eats the leftovers on Wednesday and I cook something her dad and I like.
I would see if you could get husband to buy in to a “meatless monday” etc. type meal 1-2x a week, and then just let her skip the meat the rest of the time and see if it’s a fad that sticks. I feel like making a big deal out of it is just going to increase the sticking in points on both sides. I say this as someone who decided at 10 to not eat meat of certain animals who I thought were cute, and to this day (recognizing that it’s not terribly logically consistent) I still don’t eat those meats and the rest of my family still does.
OP here—this is also my thought. I’m Just not ready to bring in meatless burgers and the like. I don’t pretend to be the nutrition police; we aim for balanced and generally healthy which includes (often) a meat protein. And I have a picky 6 year old that doesn’t need any more reasons to be picky (big sis didn’t eat it so I don’t want to!). Husband has a cooking system down and since I don’t help, I try not to mess with it.
I think I’ve read that Americans generally eat a ton of protein, it’s not like she’ll be deficient if she skips the meat at one meal (breakfast and lunch don’t typically have meat at home). There are still dairy and nut butters (for now!).
Our ped said that too much protein is generally more of a concern than not enough (apparently too much protein is linked to obesity, even if it’s consumed in healthy form). Does she eat dairy and eggs? Will she eat fish? Admittedly, my child is much younger (2) but she doesn’t eat meat because she doesn’t like it and DH and I have never really done anything special to accommodate her. We have fish once per week, which she usually eats, but otherwise her only sources of protein are dairy and eggs. She eats a ton of carbs and fruit. She is tall for age and seems smart (to this biased mom :)). I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Beth @ Parent Lightly says
I have an 8 year old too. In this situation, I think I would let her just not eat the meat for now. I might help her make some things ahead (a big container of black beans, cut up peppers, cut up tomatoes, hummus, guac) so she can supplement dinner easily. I think my kid could do this mostly on her own. I bet she gets enough protein from dairy and nut butter to be OK.
I would take her preference seriously. She may lose interest in a week, but if you make it into something her parents won’t allow, it’s likely to last longer, plus introduce control issues over food.
But I would make her participate in the solution. Have a family meeting. Talk about each person’s interests/concerns. Brainstorm solutions–DD helping with meal planning, making an alternative protein source on the weekends for meals that need a protein boost, buying some convenience vegetarian foods (doesn’t have to be veggie burgers), etc. See how it goes.
I understand that she may not “need” protein at every dinner, but I think there should be some protein she can eat offered at every dinner. It doesn’t have to be exciting or made specifically for that meal.
I’d also be careful about how you connect this to your 6 year old’s pickiness. If she’s not allowed to be a vegetarian because her brother is picky and “doesn’t need another excuse” not to eat something, that gives her brother a lot of power over the family’s decisions, and specifically over her eating. I also don’t see any harm in explaining to a 6 year old that 2 protein options are now available, and he is welcome to try either of them.
Seriously! you’d indulge a picky kid but not a kid who wants to avoid eating dead animals? You’re sending a terrible message (and likely a gendered one too).
More Sleep Would Be Nice says
IF you do decide to dabble in her interest…maybe try more vegetarian foods? My parents are from India, household cooking was nearly solely vegetarian growing up (Indian and non-Indian foods alike). Indian food could be something fun to explore, and lots of protein, tasty vegetarian options thanks to yogurt, daals and paneer.
Do you avoid soy due to allergies or preference? Is she OK with fish?
I’d let her skip the meat, compromise with at least one intentionally meatless dinners per week, and see how it goes for a month or two. The rest of the world eats much less meat than the US does, and if she eats beans, eggs, peanut butter and dairy products, I think she will be OK on protein in the short term (note, I am not a dietitian). 8 is old enough that you could encourage her to find vegetarian recipes to add to the meatless dinner rotation. If you find some that the whole family likes, it’s a win-win. We all may need to get more creative with meatless recipes soon anyway, if the processing plants keep having outbreaks!
Let it go says
I know I’m late on this, but thought I’d weigh in to agree with the posters who think she’s likely to get bored with this and also those who think too little protein is unlikely to be a problem. If you are concerned about protein in the context of this kid/her diet, one strategy for waiting this out, not getting into a big thing with her, and not creating a lot more work for your husband could be to keep a variety of easy protein sources available and make her responsible for picking and preparing one to consume when dinner has, for example, a piece of fish she won’t eat. I’m thinking stuff like: cheese in any format you want, cans of black beans, cans of refried beans, hard boiled eggs in the fridge, peanut butter (if she’ll get on board, she can just eat a spoonful and check the box). I’d not worry at all about this stuff making a cohesive meal with the other aspects of the meal; just getting her some protein units she can prepare herself with minimum fuss.
I’m commenting late, but really wanted to weigh in here. I am assuming your daughter is doing this for ethical and/or environmental reasons? If so, I think it sends a terrible message to her that you aren’t willing to work with her on this. If she feels strongly about not eating animals, you should not make her eat animals. I can’t believe this is even a question.
It’s not that hard. If you’re making pasta, use banza pasta (extra protein) instead of wheat pasta (at least for her). Greek yogurt has TONS of protein, if she eats two of those a day she’ll be set.
I know it makes people defensive, but being a vegetarian is objectively good for the planet and can be very healthy. Just because you don’t want to be a vegetarian doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be. What if she wanted to explore a religion or learn a new language? Wouldn’t you support that, as long as it was healthy (mentally or otherwise)? So what if it’s a phase?
As the parent of now-a-teen who did this at 4 (and has stuck with it for 10 years and counting), give her a cheese stick or hard boiled egg at dinner and make sure she takes a multi-vitamin. And then let it go. The last lesson I wanted my kid to learn was that her moral decisions about her own life and behavior did not deserve to be respected (although in fairness, we only had one kid, usually had meat 1-2x/week and split meal prep so it was not as much trouble to work around it).
Favorite Toddler Learning Tower? says
I’m in the market for a learning tower. Priorities are: (1) safe; (2) compact; and (3) looks nice.
I have the little partners one in a cherry finish – it checks the box on 1 and 3, but not 2. But my child is a climber, and this thing has taken every bit of her gymnastics and not budged. If your kid is both smaller (my 2.5YO is in girls size 6) and not as risk-taking, I think something more lightweight is probably fine. Friends have one that folds – not sure what brand.
Extra Petite just recommended one for small spaces.