Maternity Monday: Lace A-Line Dress

I had two weddings to attend while I was pregnant and I bought this dress to wear to both of them. My pregnant friend saw me in the dress and bought it herself as well. The neckline and the lace sleeves are very flattering, you can wear a regular bra with it, and it’s obviously a maternity dress but without screaming, “Hey look over here, I’m pregnant!!” When I bought the dress, it was at full price at $59.98, but it’s currently on sale for $29.97. With code FRIEND, you can get an extra 30% off, bringing it down to only $20.98. Even at full price, it looks way more expensive than it is. The lace doesn’t look cheap, and even the belt, which I had concerns about, looks nice and is inconspicuous. The dress is available in sizes S–XL. Motherhood Maternity Lace A-line Dress

Two plus-size options are at Amazon and JCPenney.

Building a maternity wardrobe for work? Check out our page with more suggestions along both classic and trendy/seasonal lines.

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Comments

  1. FTMinFL says:

    I’m here to be petty this morning. I was a pretty committed triathlete in a past life and have had a girl crush on Mirinda Carfrae (world champion pro triathlete) for years. She is married to a pro triathlete and has a 8 month old daughter. She posted on IG yesterday about being excited for her next race and someone commented, “I’m not trying to blow smoke, you’re a mother, your husband is a pro, so when do you fit it in? Please shed some light because you must be one incredibly determined human.” LIKE EVERY OTHER WORKING MOTHER WITH A WORKING SPOUSE!! I mean, really. Carfrae responded with, “two words: au pair”, which made me like her all the more.

    • Ugh, I’m with you. I was listening to a podcast recently which kept describing working moms as ‘paid moms’ and I had to turn it off. It sounded like they were rent-a-moms.

    • Ha! Love it. Gwen Jorgensen, too, though she has a SAH spouse. (I, too, would like a Patrick.) It occurs to me that a generation or two ago people assumed that women athletes would just retire after having kids (just as women left the workforce after having kids), but if you look at Paula Radcliffe, Jo Pavey, Mirinda Carfrae, Edna Kiplagat and the like, they’ve managed to be pretty successful. I notice, too, that all of those are non-American athletes…which makes me wonder about the current crop of younger, talented American women endurance athletes (Molly Huddle? Kaitlin Gregg? Jordan Hasay?) and the kind of support they’ll get in future.

      • LegalMomma says:

        Some of the USWNT (soccer) are mothers. Christy Rampone played for years after both her girls were born. Amy Rodriguez, Sydney Leroux, Julie Foudy was one of the first. A number of the women playing in the professional league are also mothers. Not a lot – and it is incredibly hard to come back, Leroux is still fighting to get back on the national team, but there are some.

        • True! Though IIRC the US women’s soccer team had to go through quite a long fight to get equal pay and better contract terms.

          • LegalMomma says:

            Oh they absolutely did – and are still fighting. Just wanted to throw out the example of some US pro athletes who continued to compete after becoming mothers!

      • FTMinFL says:

        I’ll add Kara Goucher and Lauren Fleshman to that list! But certainly lack of USATF support for female athletes is a struggle specific to US athletes. Triathlon sponsors make their money off of good will from age group athletes so they seem to be more kind to pros taking time off to start a family (e.g., Carfrae, Jorgensen, Rachel Joyce, Beth Mckenzie, Kim Schwabenbauer), but the key certainly seems to be to have a high profile among age groupers. If I recall correctly, I believe Nike dropped Goucher when she was pregnant and that’s why she got involved with Oiselle. Regardless, the point stands that pro athlete moms are working mothers with the same logistical challenges we all face, though they likely deal with more of an economic impact with the decision to get pregnant to begin with.

      • Kerri Walsh is a mother who managed to stay at the top of the beach volleyball game. Even played at the Olympics while pregnant (by a few weeks), IIRC.

    • “I’m not trying to blow smoke”??? WTF? It could have been a legitimate conversation-starting question without that phrase. I’m not even sure it was used correctly.

    • Everlong says:

      Kara Goucher is a huge inspiration – professional marathon mom!

    • Love her answer. Also, when I was reading the PyeongChang Olympics stats on the US athletes, there were 22 fathers and something like 2 mothers? I thought that was very interesting. You can do all sorts of speculating as to why that is the case, but I won’t do that here.

    • As a semi-related aside, Serena Williams must have thought it wasn’t enough to be GOAT and had to add surviving a terrible birth experience, then bouncing back to play at a professional level to her list of bona fides.

  2. I’ve been invited to head back to my undergrad to speak at graduation next weekend and I really could use a new dress. Any suggestions? It’s been 15 years since I’ve been back to campus and I’d love to make a good impression. the campus is in the northern north east, so think early spring weather.

  3. Hilton Head with toddlers? says:

    A relative has offered us their week at a Hilton Head condo. We would have to pay fees of about $700, so not free but much reduced. We have 2 under 3 and are within a 5 hour drive of the resort. The resort is on the intercoastal (so not beach side). We have taken the kids to the beach – but we had a whole house rental and could walk to the beach. Trying to think it through, I can’t figure out if staying in a condo will be easier or harder than a house. It also looks like we will have to drive to the beach. Has anyone here gone to HH with toddlers? Would you recommend it?

    • We are going to HH with our then-23 month old in June, so following!

    • Butter says:

      We had the best vacation ever there last fall with our little, who was just over a year and a half at the time, and we stayed in a condo. Condo was great – had a full kitchen, balcony, and two separate bedrooms, which was perfect. It was part of a resort that had direct access to the beach, but we also spent a lot of time at the pool. We had some beach days, and the water was very calm and warm – perfect for a toddler. My favorite time of day was at sunset when tidal pools form along the beach and it’s perfect for a toddler to explore freely. We also did lots of bike rides on the beach (highly highly recommend renting bikes – he rode in a seat on the back and we went all over the island, as the trails are very safe and easy).

      If you bike ride make sure to stop by Lawton Stables, which had an adorable petting zoo. We also did one of the dolphin watching small boat rides, and toddler loved that as well.

      All in all, I’d recommend!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I feel like there has been a weird, tangy (?) smell in our bedroom that is really bothering me. I washed all the sheets and included the comforter, duvet cover and quilt for good measure. That didn’t do it. We’ve only lived in this house six months so I’m wondering if it might be something residual? It’s been painted and the hardwood floors were redone, so I can’t imagine what it would be. (house built in 1903) It’s still too cold to air it out with an open window, though I did do that for a few sunny hours a week or so ago before we plunged back into snow. Any ideas?

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Our house is also old, and I think it just holds smells sometimes. I burn a match in our bedroom when needed, and that helps.

    • anne-on says:

      I’d place small bowls of vinegar and baking soda around the room (not mixed unless you want to recreate your elementary school science class experiments!). This may be a symptom of an old house, our 1800’s farmhouse sometimes smells tangy/musty/weird in the late winter when its been closed up with the heat on and I can’t air it out yet. The baking soda/vinegar absorb the smells, and candles help with immediate scenting/distraction if we have guests or its bothering me intensely.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would just open the window and air it out. Even 20 minutes a day for a week can make a difference. Opening the windows fully for a short period works better than opening them a small amount for a longer period. Try opening the door and the window in the room opposite to really let the air blow through. Unless it’s blowing snow or stormy, you won’t get snow inside.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Do you have forced air heat, and have you been changing the filters as often as you are supposed to? Sometimes smells get caught up in the air ducts.

      Can you detect any one part of the room smelling more than the rest? Our closet is the place that gets the oddest smelling, probably because with the door closed there is no air circulation. Leaving the closet door open helps a bit, as does putting odor absorbers in the closet.

      Last, did you have an influx of stinkbugs or asian lady beetles when the weather warmed up? Our old house gets tons and tons of them, and then they crawl into places like inside the pleats in our blinds or right up along the molding of the floor and then die and smell terrible.

    • Plumbing? We had a bad smell in our current house (which was obviously plumbing, if you know what I mean) and learned our venting to the outdoor was not installed properly.

      It is just weird, though, because given the problem, it had to have obviously been an issue for the folks who lived here before us, but they never did anything about it. I don’t understand. We called the plumber after day 1. Okay, vent over. Sorry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for all of this! We do have forced air heat, and I think we’re up on the filters, but I should check. We used to have radiators so this is new to us. Trying all of the other tricks mentioned also. Thank you!

      • Anonymous says:

        Have your ducts cleaned (vacuumed out) by a professional if you didn’t have that done when you moved in.

  5. Does anyone know the logistics for how a kids birthday party at McDonalds goes? Do you pay to reserve space?

    • mascot says:

      I doubt you can reserve the PlayPlace, but they may be able to reserve tables. Aren’t McDonald’s franchised ? I’d google/call for McDonald’s parties in your town. They probably have packages you can buy.

    • I’m no help, but this makes me smile because I had birthday parties at McDonald’s as a kid (mid-80s) and didn’t know people still did.

      • Right? It is so out of my norm, but the subject came up and I realized my kid would completely lose his mind in excitement. He doesn’t know you can play at a McDonalds.

    • Jeffiner says:

      We didn’t have our party at McDonalds, but we picked up the food (15 Happy Meals) from there. We told them a week ahead of the order, then returned the morning of for a reminder. They had it all ready when we went to pick it up.

    • I worked at a corporate McD’s when I was in high school (and I just realized that it was 20yrs ago, wow!) but this is how it worked back then:
      *Talk to manager to book party date
      *Party came with choice of Happy Meal & drink, plus a cake (or I think you could bring your own).
      *I don’t think they would reserve space in the playplace, but the kids would have time to go in there and hang out.
      *McD’s would handle setup/cleanup of table.

      I worked a lot of those parties and they always seemed like a good deal for the parents and the kids.

      I think it would also depend on if your McD’s of choice is a franchise or corporate owned, cause franchise can have different rules.

  6. At what age did you give your kid a pillow?

    • 3

    • avocado says:

      Around 3.5 or so, after she’d been in a twin bed for quite a while.

    • Anonymous says:

      Age 2 but we started with the tiny crib pillows from Ikea. Now 3.5 and recently moved up to regular pillows.

    • mascot says:

      We started with a toddler pillow around 18 months. We also moved to a toddler bed around 20 months.

    • Our daycare let the kids use pillows when they started napping on cots in toddlers, so my daughter was 11 months. At home, we waited until about a year and a half. She’s two and a half now, and I would say it’s only been in the last few months that she’s really utilized it as a pillow more often than not.

    • Amelia Bedelia says:

      we started at 1 year old with a pillow (full-size, but flat) and a blanket. our 2 year old is still in a crib and uses both pretty well. We started older with our 3.5 year old — I think about 18 months — and she doesn’t use either really well at this point.

    • 2ish when he started using his toddler bed regularly. Prior to that he’d been cosleeping and frequently ending up wiggling up on to one of our pillows and drooling on it.

    • Toddler-sized pillow. We bought it a little before she turned two. She didn’t want it at first. Then all of a sudden around 27 months or so, she asked for it one night before bed (and by that I mean freaked out that she didn’t have a pillow in her crib), and has been using it ever since.

    • Butter says:

      Two, but he’d been using one of his stuffed bears as a pillow for months before that. It was a seamless transition when we put the toddler pillow in there, along with the 1,200 other items he insists on keeping in his crib.

    • Anonymous says:

      3 when he moved to a bed from a crib. He didn’t request it and still doesn’t use it much, but it’s nice if we’re sitting there reading or if one of us wants to lie down. He’s typically slept with his lovey blanket under his head.

      • Thanks! Looks like a trip to IKEA is in order. We were of the mind that she’ll ask when she’s ready, but it occurred to me this weekend that she’s been folding up her quilt under her head for a while and then complaining for us to “cover” her with the blanket that’s come undone.

  7. avocado says:

    My 11-year-old has been interested in dyeing her hair a crazy color for two or three years. She has asked to dye just the ends at the beginning of the summer, then cut the color out when school starts again. I think this is a reasonable plan. It may look silly, but it seems age-appropriate and the only thing the color will affect is summer vacation photos. It will be gone by the time we attend any formal events or big family gatherings in the fall, and in time for sports competitions (the season just ended and doesn’t start up again until October). And since she is 11, it’s not as if she’ll be interviewing for a job or doing a summer internship at a conservative company.

    Her dad is 100% opposed. He thinks all haircolor is trashy and that it’s the gateway to tattoos and piercings. (He doesn’t even like the fact that I have my hair colored to hide the grays.) I think we ought to let her have a little autonomy as long as she’s not doing anything that is permanent, is not age-appropriate, or might affect her school or job prospects. I also think his opposition is rather hypocritical because he’s got a visible tattoo. I can’t decide whether to let this slide and let him have his way, or to advocate for her wishes. What would you all do?

    • Your DH’s opinion on haircolor is ridiculous. Considering that 7-year-olds in my neighborhood are taking advantage of the crazy color trend, I think it’s a stretch that letting your daughter color her hair will lead to something more nefarious. Let the kid have fun; I’m of the opinion that kids need some autonomy over their appearance. Even if it ends up looking stupid, because that’s a lesson in itself.

      I have to ask, is your DH this controlling in general? I can understand having a preference over hairstyles and colors but something about the way he describes it (trashy) is really rubbing me the wrong way.

      • avocado says:

        Not controlling in general, but he has weird ideas about both men’s and women’s appearances. He is 100% opposed to haircolor, makeup, blow-drying, tattoos (except for his own), wrinkle creams, nail polish, Rogaine, etc. He thinks everyone should look “natural.” That doesn’t stop me from wearing makeup or nail polish or styling my hair, or from letting the kid do the same. Although I never did get that mommy tattoo I was considering.

        • Anonymous says:

          Then I think I’d demand therapy. Sorry bro. You don’t get to decide how our daughter looks s he can blow dry if she wants. She can wear nail polish. She can wear makeup. You get to have your weird judgmental controlling beliefs but you don’t get to impose your cray on our child.

          • Mama Llama says:

            +1 It’s one thing to have preferences and another to try to make others conform to your preferences.

      • mascot says:

        Agreed. Also, does he regret his tattoo? Maybe that is a separate conversation he can have with your daughter instead of making this into some slippery slope argument. I mean, did he start with hair color and progress to ink?

        • avocado says:

          Well, he has sort of admitted to regretting his tattoo. And that definitely didn’t start with hair color. Although he did have a very silly hairstyle around that time.

    • I think your plan sounds perfectly reasonable. Most of the girls I know in that age range have some sort of hair color going on. We let my 3 and 6 year old do hair chalk occasionally.

    • PinkKeyboard says:

      I’d let her do it so she doesn’t do something silly like dye her hair with koolaid at sleepaway camp. I knew umpteen girls who had parents who wouldn’t let them get their ears pierced who got them done with match sterilized needles and an apple at camp, along with a whole lot of dyed hair.

    • Marilla says:

      Your DH’s take seems a little overwrought. Summer seems like the perfect time for crazy colour. While I think it’s important for parents to be on the same page generally, sometimes it’s also really important for a kid to have one parent willing to advocate for them, especially when they’re old enough to articulate some fairly reasonable desire. And I think your instinct about letting her have a little autonomy is also correct. We did a lot of tiptoeing around my dad when we were kids/teens/early 20s (“just don’t tell Dad”/”don’t do this, it’ll upset Dad”) and I don’t think it was constructive for anyone.

      Would it work to use something semi permanent like Manic Panic which washes out within a couple of months anyway? It might not make a material difference (vs using real hair colour which gets cut out anyway) but might also be an easier sell.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn’t go to war with my husband over this because she’ll be fine if she can’t die her hair, but I would push back a lot about it. A- we don’t call people trash, ever. B- you do realize this is pretty minor right? She’s going to make choices we disagree with. Isn’t this exactly how we want her to handle it? By asking permission and figuring out a way to not be disruptive? C- I’m not comfortable with you just telling me no. We are a team with equal voices here.

      Actually, I might wave WW3 about this!

      • “we don’t call people trash” +1 to this

        My mom forbade eyeliner and mascara because she thought they looked “trashy”. Well obviously I did it, because once I was 16 and had a job and a car I could go buy my own. She never noticed, which just means she was opposed to poorly applied eyeliner. But it still bothers me that she labeled women as trashy based on their makeup.

    • It sounds like your husband regrets getting tattoo and that is the root of his opposition. Maybe what he needs to do is to find a way to talk about that with your daughter. I absolutely understand that. I have a small tattoo I got at 19 which I wish I’d skipped. It represented the kind of person I thought I wanted to be, not the kind of person I am.

      FWIW, I’m with you – playing with haircolor is a great (non-permanent) way to play with appearance and identity for kids. You (presumably) give her leeway with other aspects of her appearance (clothes, etc) and it hasn’t led to a tattoo or piercings yet.

    • Meg Murry says:

      If your daughter is anything like my friends and I were, refusing to let her do something reasonable like dye the ends at age 11 will result in her coming home from a sleepover with all-over dyed hair, or poorly done colored streaks by age 13. Or my sister and her friends who all went and got tattoos on their 18th birthday, some of which were very poorly thought out.

      I’d talk to your husband and let him know that you’d really prefer to let her get this out of her system with something that is easily changed and and temporary, and that you can help her do well – as opposed to her doing it herself with her friends and having it be a giant battle.

      Could you easy the way with something wash-out on the weekends for now? Hair chalk or hair mascara, etc?

      My only concern with letting her dye it for the summer is that if she swims a lot it may turn into a funky color. But better she learn that on just the ends than on her whole head.

      • avocado says:

        I do let her wear hair chalk and he can’t stand it. I’d rather she use real color because the chalk is pretty messy.

    • I would be really opposed too, but not for the reasons your husband articulates. Hair dye is super damaging and when your daughter has beautiful hair, why mess with it? If she’s like most women she will eventually be coloring her hair anyways (not crazy colors, granted). I dunno, I would just hate to potentially damage my kid’s hair. I doubt it would be damaged if she did it once but if she does it once she will likely want to do it multiple times again.

      Signed, missing my beautiful thick hair

      • Anonymous says:

        I dunno, I think this is a weird reason. Hair regrows. If she keeps dyeing it and wakes up one day in her 20s and realizes her hair is damaged from the dye she can just stop dyeing it and within a few months she’ll have a head full of healthy, undamaged hair. It’s not permanent like a tattoo.

    • It definitely sounds like your husband has some underlying regrets or concerns about his own tattoo and that he’s projecting onto the rest of the family – maybe you guys need to talk about that first? i’m with pretty much everyone else that this is about your daughter’s bodily autonomy and having her learn to make responsible choices – and hair color that gets cut out at the end of the summer, or some other temporary solution, seems like a responsible plan to me.

    • My stepdaughter has had color, from light to bold, all color colors (like blue, green, pink, purple, not just “blonde), off and on for about two years. She just turned 12. Sometimes it does not look great but….she doesn’t care, we don’t care. Her mom does it, so I don’t know anything about what she uses. It’s been colored in some more formal pictures but that’s fine with me too. She loves it and it’s made her more confident.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Based on what you’re telling us about your husband’s controlling approach about appearance, I think this is an essential time for you to make sure your daughter knows that the only person whose opinion about her looks really matters is HER, and that you’ve got her back as she figures out who she is and how she wants to present herself to the world.

      • Meg Murry says:

        +1 to this.

        I’d also add that you may want to let your husband know that in saying these things he is giving your daughter prime ammunition for teenage rebellion. Ticked off at dad and want to push his buttons? I know, I’ll dye my hair purple/get a piercing/get a tattoo, etc. If he reacts with more of an “eh, not my thing but you do you” attitude, she’ll probably get past this stage fairly harmlessly. But if he pushes hard, he may find her pushing back way harder.

        • avocado says:

          This is a very good point and is probably the argument I should use. Especially since they are already butting heads over all kinds of issues. He needs to change his “my way or the highway” approach or the teen years are going to be rough on everyone.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        (It occurs to me that my opinion on these things is probably pretty obvious given my username! Ha.)

    • A couple thoughts. How badly does your daughter want to do this? Is this a battle SHE is choosing to fight? I agree that this plan seems pretty harmless and that your husband is being ridiculous but if your daughter is just kind of toying with the idea and wouldn’t be too upset if it doesn’t happen, it might not be worth the fight with your husband.

      However, his overall views on appearances is out of touch with reality. This year it’s hair dye, but next year it will be make up, etc. I think it is worth exploring this with your husband and going to bat for your daughter a bit at some point (maybe now? you’ll have to figure that out).

      • Anonymous says:

        At some point, you advocate for your child. And at some point, the child needs to advocate for herself, esp. if she knows she has encountered opposition. It helps her learn how to have difficult conversations (and tells her that she has battles to fight and that you won’t be the person who fights for her all the time, esp. against another spouse).

        FWIW, I really wanted to study abroad. I kept at it and kept at it and tried to persuade and persuade and persuade. They never let me go (but now acknowledge if they knew how my life would turn out they’d have let me go and this was a mistake and that I did a good job trying to prove my case). I learned a lot from that and their later response has been so gratifying to hear.

        So maybe the better idea is to work on your husband. But tell your daughter do keep on as well. And have your husband be receptive to listening to your daughter (how will she manage the towel-ruining that died hair seems to generate? what color? All-over or just chunks?).

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have to attend a black tie optional wedding with my three month old baby. I’m nursing. Any suggestions for what to wear? I haven’t had good experiences with Rent the Runway but I don’t really want to buy a gown because my size is still changing and the dress is likely to get dirty (baby is a spitter). And what does the baby wear? A sundress is too casual, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      A sundress for you is too casual. A sundress for baby is fine! You don’t need a gown, a short cocktail dress is fine.

    • Marilla says:

      Baby wears pjs or whatever is comfy!! There’s no need to dress up a 3 month old. They are just cute and will likely be snoozing in their stroller or in a carrier half the time anyway. If you have a sundress or something for the baby, that’s totally fine (just bring a couple changes of clothes including a sleeper or two). The only exception is if you’re family/in pictures in which case there may be more of an expectation to wear a little Easter style dress (Carters always has a bunch for cheap).

      For yourself I think you get a lot of leeway to wear not a gown. I have some wrap-style dresses I would wear for those events – not as dressy as a gown but still formal enough, throw an eye catching necklace on top (as long as it’s one you’re ok with the baby pulling). The baby is the main accessory.

      • avocado says:

        +1 to all of this. I think I’d wear a nursing-friendly jersey dress in a solid color (to blend in with black tie more easily than a print) and a festive wrap.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      What about something like this? https://www.macys.com/shop/product/lauren-ralph-lauren-shirred-jersey-gown?ID=4734364& (I have this dress and it’s super easy to wear, and would work for nursing.) Similar: https://www.macys.com/shop/product/lauren-ralph-lauren-bell-sleeve-gown?ID=5395936&

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Can you get a fancy skirt and a special top? I’m thinking like big poofy mid-calf skirt and silky top that you can untuck to feed baby.

    • I would wear something in a pattern that is easy to pull down for nursing. I agree that you don’t need a gown for black tie but I think a long dress may be easier for these purposes than a shorter one because long can be less structured. I would look for something you can get on sale before doing RTR (I find it often works out to be cheaper). Agree that baby doesn’t have to be dressed up. If you do dress baby up, go for something soft and comfy and not one of those scratchy taffeta numbers because your kid is likely to be miserable all night.

    • I had to do this. I ended up getting a plain black dress from Last Call that was $30-ish and it worked just fine. I never would have worn something so casual/plain otherwise, but no one paid any attention, and now that I am back to my normal size I am really glad I didn’t spend more than that on the dress. Just give yourself enough time to shop – I was in a bit of a panic when the Last Call options I ordered online were not great and ended up running to the brick and mortar last minute.

    • I ordered a dress off ebay. I did wear a long dress which technically was a gown. I believe I searched for “surplice neckline gathered dress long” or something (note you must avoid faux surplice as that won’t help for nursing!). It has attractive wrap-dress-eque gathering around the waist. I bought my pre-preg size and prayed. Also, spanx.

      I also have a spitter. My technique for these situations is to use an Aden + Anais muslin swaddle as a giant napkin. I tuck in around the V-neck part of the dress/shirt and bra cup (unclipped nursing bra), pull b00b out, and then cradle baby to feed – so the swaddle is between him and the dress.

      The other method I’ve gone with is finding a secure private location and stripping down to feed. In that case you can wear whatever you want, too!

      Agreed baby can wear whatever. At 3mo when we went to a wedding he was asleep in a carrier basically the whole time and no one saw the cute outfit I dressed him in.

  9. Rainbow Hair says:

    I think I’m bringing my three year old to a memorial service. It’s styled a “celebration of life” and there won’t be a body there (which addresses some of the concerns my husband had — he has a still-scary memory of an open casket funeral when he was 5-ish).

    I want to bring my kid because it’s a service for my grandma, who was a very important part of my life, and who was getting to be an important part of my kid’s life too. Like we visited with her most weekends, my kid has grandma’s name as kid’s middle name, etc. Husband is concerned it’ll be upsetting and frightening for kiddo — it might be! — but I’m concerned about not giving her a chance to say goodbye. (The death was sudden: we visited on Saturday and left with plans for our next visit in a week, and on Sunday she went to bed and didn’t wake up.)

    The plan would be for my husband to be free to leave with Kiddo if they needed to, so he wouldn’t have to chase/calm her, etc., beyond what he was up for.

    Any thoughts or experiences to share? Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your kid is too young to understand what is going on and will not “get to say goodbye” at this occasion. You should not bring your child for many reasons, including your husband’s reasonable concerns, the fact that your rationale is simply wrong, and the potential disruption to others.

      • LegalMomma says:

        This was unnecessarily harsh. Please be kind! Moreover – Rainbow Hair’s rationale is not “simply wrong”. I have a 3 year old, and while she would not understand it the same way you or I would, she would still benefit from the closure.

        Rainbow Hair – I’m so sorry for you loss. I think it should be find to bring kiddo, especially since there isn’t an open casket (I’m an adult, and they still are difficult). I think a three year old will definitely be able to understand what is going on. I personally would frame it as – Grandma won’t be here with us anymore, but today is about a party for her to remember her. It is okay to be sad and miss Grandma – I miss Grandma a lot! But isn’t it fun to remember her – and then tell a story about when Grandma and kiddo did something special, Grandma did something funny, etc.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry! I don’t read this as harsh or unkind at all. A three year old doesn’t understand a funeral and will not be able to use that occasion to say good bye to great grand ma.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          Thank you. (I wasn’t sure if that first comment was actually mean or if I’m just raw, but I don’t think I’m “simply wrong.”) She instinctively (or maybe on guidance from my husband when I was locked in the bedroom right after I got the news?) went to a place of, “Mommy you are crying because you are a grownup, but I am a kid so I am just remembering Grammy and that is why I am not crying.”

          While I understand she won’t totally get it now, I think including her in an important family thing is, well, important. I also have memories of important people from whose funerals I was excluded (because of my age, because of the cost of getting there) and I am not bitter about it or anything, but I wish a different call had been made. The plan for my husband to be able to take her home (that is, I’ll have another ride lined up) is part of minimizing disruption.

      • Anonymous says:

        My kid is a lot younger than this, so I don’t really have an opinion about whether a three year old can understand and get closure, but I just want to say that all the “celebrations of life” I’ve been to were pretty casual and a baby or child would not be a disruption at all, especially if the parents are willing to remove the child if necessary. Make your decision based on what you think will be best for you and your kiddo, don’t worry about what other people think.

      • Amelia Bedelia says:

        having brought my kid to a funeral and had other kids there, I find that most people actually appreciate the breath of fresh air a child can bring.

        Also, toddlers understand more than we think they do.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          Oh, thank you for this perspective. There’s a side of the family that hasn’t met Kiddo, and seeing her might be a happy thing. Hm.

          Regarding what they understand, yeah. Kiddo is really verbal and I wonder, sometimes, if I give her too much credit for understanding because she can speak about things so well — because obviously you can talk about things without really understanding them. But on the other hand, there are many times she blows my mind with what she does understand, so…

        • shortperson says:

          my three year old is very curious about death and would absolutely understand a memorial service. i think you should bring her if you think she would benefit. and probably read some childrens stories about death as well. or, watch the lion king. that’s how mine got into the subject.

      • Anonymama says:

        My three year old definitely understood what was going on at his great-grandmother’s funeral, and it was a good start to talking about a lot of different important topics: sickness, death, getting old, different religious rituals (we are not religious and it was a church service), etc. He was not confused by the funeral at all. I don’t think he needed it for closure, but 100% his presence was appreciated by others there… having young kids around really emphasizes the circle of life, leaving a legacy, gone but not forgotten aspect of death, and gives people a reason to smile. ( I come from a pretty child-centered tradition, but I’ve never been to a funeral where children weren’t welcome).

    • Clementine says:

      My only note would be to not get freaked out if she starts to play ‘funeral’ or ask questions about when you are going to die or daddy is going to die.

      It’s how kids process but it can be kind of creepy and disconcerting.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Ah, thanks for this. She blindsided me with a conversation about how I am going to die a few months ago in the car — “then I won’t have any grownup!!” It came out of the blue and I think I handled it OK, but it’s a good point that I should probably prepare myself for more stuff like that.

      • Amelia Bedelia says:

        YES.
        my toddler informed me “I will miss you when you die. but I will like my next mother a lot.”

      • Yes to this. We had to explain death to kiddo and his friend when friend found a dead rabbit in the corner of the park, and then they were a little fixated on the idea for a while. So just be warned – even if kids are bright and curious and verbal and do understand the concept of death, they may still be fixated. That’s just how they process things…

        And Rainbow Hair, I’m so sorry for your loss. In your shoes I would probably bring kiddo with the backup escape plan you describe, especially if it’s more a wake-style gathering in celebration of your grandmother’s life than a full and solemn church service.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I thought it would go without saying, but I should know better on this site — if you could PLEASE be kind to me, as I’m still reeling from this — I would greatly appreciate it.

      • Anonymous says:

        No advice but I’m sorry for your loss Rainbow Hair. You are a wonderful part of this community.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rainbow Hair, I am very sorry for your loss. I will share that my 3 yo niece recently lost her great grandma (who she saw frequently and knew well). She went to a visit at the home (not a visitation but a time to condole and pray). Although my sister took some care to explain that they were going because great grandma had died etc. my niece did not understand at all. When they left the home, niece commented “We went to great grandma’s house but great grandma wasn’t there today.” I think it was fine that they took the 3 yo to visit and she wasn’t frightened or upset but she also had no understanding of what had happened so it wasn’t a chance to say goodbye for niece.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          Thanks for this perspective — it’s hard to know what a 3yo can really grasp. Possibly some of my really wanting to give her ‘closure’ is informed by… I really just don’t want my grandma to be gone yet… I really wish we got to say goodbye somehow (what would that even be?)… yeah, I’m still just really sad.

          • Anonymous says:

            I totally get that! Of course you are sad. Of course you want closure. But one of the sad parts is that your child is too young for that to happen.

    • Marilla says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss. No real advice – my daughter was much younger when we lost my mom, just under a year, so all our shiva visitors were probably more processed as “people are coming to play with me” than anything else – but lots of good wishes to you to figure out the best way to process this for your family.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Is this memorial going to be the kind of thing where she will be expected to sit quietly in a church or funeral home and listen to people talk, or would it be more of a wandering around and chatting with people like calling hours or an open house? Or a combo (traditional funeral service followed by lunch at the church fellowship hall)?

      At 3, I think taking her to a service and expecting her to be quiet isn’t very reasonable – but taking her to calling hours, etc is more reasonable. If it’s a combo, could your husband keep her outside or elsewhere (church nursery, etc) during the service and then bring her to join you at the open house part?

      Also, if the funeral is during nap time, etc that would be a big factor in whether this will go ok or be a total disaster.

      Hugs to you, I know this is a hard time. Which is another factor – will you be too distracted trying to keep yourself together so as not to scare your kid by crying at the funeral? Letting your husband handle her during the service would allow you to spend time processing it yourself with your relatives, instead of trying to keep a stiff upper lip for her.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Meg — those are good questions. I wouldn’t expect her to sit quietly for a church-service type thing (or for anything). My understanding is that it will be more to the casual end, conversational. I’m not involved in the planning and our religious backgrounds are different so I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I know other (slightly older) children are coming.

        This is maybe the only time I’ll say this, but I’m glad she’s dropped her nap — it means I don’t have to worry about the memorial running into nap time.

      • avocado says:

        So sorry for your loss. I agree that the type and timing of the event matter a lot. Your plan to have your husband take her home if needed will mitigate a lot of those concerns.

        Even if she doesn’t understand exactly what’s going on now, she will still remember the service for a while (even if she forgets it when she hits school age, as kids tend to do with many things that happen before age 3 or 4). She will probably be processing and re-processing what it means that Great-Grandma died for several months as her capacity to understand grows. At least that’s what happened with my kid when her great-grandfather died when she was around the same age. Months later, she would sometimes mention it, either out of the blue or when a book etc. reminded her of it. I don’t think she needs to attend the service as a chance to say goodbye the way an older kid might, but as long as her presence isn’t traumatic or stress-inducing for you or for her, it probably won’t hurt to have her attend and you may be able to use her memories of the service to help her think about the loss in the future.

    • I agree with the comments that your 3 year old probably won’t get closure from this. So I would suggest that you make your decision based on what will be most comforting to you. Is that having your husband and child there? I don’t think it will hurt anything to have her there, especially if hubby can leave with her if needed. I also think if you want her to have closure, you can accomplish that in other ways. She could say good bye to her house, or a picture, or go to the cemetery with you later or something.

      • AwayEmily says:

        YES I echo this. If you think her being there will be a comfort to you, then that’s a really great reason in favor of bringing her! I hope one of the things you take away from all these comments is that there is no wrong choice here. And don’t forget to take your own needs into consideration. You are a really great mom for thinking so hard about this at a time when you’re so sad. I’m very sorry for your loss.

    • I’m so very sorry for your loss. I think it’s fine to bring your child and I disagree that she is too young. A good family friend was excluded from a funeral at that age for the same reason and has a lot of issues with it and not being able to say good bye. Maybe she would have had different issues had she not been excluded, but I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to bring your daughter with the plan you have in place. I’ve also been to funerals with family kids present and they were fine. In fact, a lot of places will have a kids area set up if there are children attending, so maybe something to look into/coordinate?

      Also, fyi: there is an episode of Daniel Tiger about this, which may help (and an episode of Mister Rogers, which is great).

      • FWIW, In my family it is traditional to bring children of all ages to funerals. I can remember funerals at around 3 or 4 years old and while I’m not sure how I felt in the moment (i.e., whether I “understood” or was “saying goodbye”) those experiences were building blocks for learning about death later in life. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring my children to a funeral. In fact, some of the happiest most joyful moments at services are watching children play and laugh and live on.

        I’m very sorry for your loss.

        • +1 This is a family event and your daughter is part of the family. I remember being at services for a great uncle and a very young cousin said something that made everyone, including my great aunt, burst out laughing. You know your family best, but Redux is right that some of the sweetest moments at these types of services come from the presence of youth.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        AIMS, do you know the name/tagline of that episode of Daniel Tiger? That might be perfect for her. We use DT a lot to talk about feelings.

        • It’s called Daniel’s Fish Dies/Strawberry Seeds (Strawberry Seeds die too, but are then replanted). Season 3, episode 12 if you have Prime streaming.

        • LizzieB says:

          If AIMS and I are thinking of the same episode, it’s a newer one – episode 320. “Daniel’s Goldfish Dies / “Daniel’s Strawberry Seeds”.

      • Mrs. Jones says:

        3 is not too young. I don’t see why kiddo can’t attend, unless obviously she has some sort of meltdown in which case someone will just have to leave with her. I’m sorry for your loss.

    • mascot says:

      I’m sorry for your loss. I agree with the previous posters that her presence at the service isn’t going to make or break her having closure. 3 is too young to understand what’s going on and you are probably going to have re-visit the loss of great-grandma several times over the next little while.
      I err on the side of not taking little kids to these things and have left my child with friends/family/school during the funerals for my grandparents. I needed some space to process my own grief without worrying about upsetting my child or worrying about whether my child was behaving properly. I also knew my several of great grandparents growing up and several of them passed when I was little. I was probably 5-6 when my great grandfather passed away suddenly and he’s the first loss I really remember. I remember going to his visitation (open casket) and I remember my mom’s grief being very confusing and upsetting to me (daddy, why is mommy so sad) even though I stayed someone during the actual service. And this was a very small southern town so the funeral was a big to-do with all the flowers and food and church ladies and support for the grieving family. TL:DR- do what is most comforting for you and your family. If that means having her there, then do so. But don’t feel like you have to bring her for her own closure- that’s not really an issue for a 3 year old.

    • It is your family so I think you can bring her. I’d be hesitant to bring a child to a memorial service where I wasn’t direct family because I wouldn’t know their wishes. At my brother’s memorial service, my nieces and nephews* and young cousin were present. Honestly, I was happy for the kiddos a reminder of the circle of life and all that jazz. It was actually very important to my mother that they be there.

      *not my brother’s kids – I would assume in any situation a child would go to their own parents’ memorial service!

    • Amelia Bedelia says:

      Oh Rainbow Hair. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I fully understand how devastating it is not to get those “extra” years with your grandmother knowing your child. Peace to your family.

      My oldest daughter attended a funeral (with a closed casket) when she was 3.5 for my grandmother. We did a lot to prepare her. We believe in Heaven, so perhaps this won’t fit your approach entirely, but maybe it is helpful.
      1. we didn’t discuss the “body” being here at all with spirit being gone. The casket was closed and we didn’t do gravesite, so we just said “grandma has gone to heaven.” We spent a LOT of time talking about that in the 3 days before the funeral and then for about 2 months after.
      2. we explained that people will be crying at the funeral because everyone loved grandma so much. We said she could cry or she could smile. every response was ok. we explained how happy we are that grandma gets to be with God, but how sad we are that we don’t get to *insert favorite thing* with grandma anymore.
      3. we wrote a special letter to grandma in heaven and delivered it to the funeral. I thought this was a good way to write her own goodbye and give her own “closure”
      4. we told her that everyone will want to hug her a lot and hug others. that we should be kind to people as they are sad, but she is also allowed to sit by herself and not talk to anyone if she wants.

      it was hard, but i’m glad my daughter was there. she still brings it up occasionally and sometimes asks if we can go back to the church where the funeral was held to “honor mema” again. At those points, I just tell her we can sit together and talk about grandma and that’s the best thing to do about people who die.

      also, whichever option you choose will be the right one. There’s no wrong answer here. handle it with love and understanding and your child will be just fine.

      • Meg Murry says:

        Along these lines, bringing your daughter to the funeral opens lots cans of worms about religion, Heaven, what happens after we die, etc. If you are in line with the spiritual beliefs that will be presented and/or that your family members will say to your daughter, this may not be a problem. But if your religious beliefs are in conflict with what may be said (and you aren’t up for the “well I know Grandma said Great-Grandma is in heaven with Jesus now, but actually Daddy and I believe …”), that may be another argument against taking her to the services.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          Oh HUH this is an interesting point — at the very least something to discuss with my husband before we commit to anything. (She was Christian and I’m Jewish and raising my daughter Jewish-ish.)

    • Anonymous says:

      My grandmother died when my daughter was 2.5 years old. They were close, she was my mom’s mom. My daughter did not attend the funeral service. The reason was that my mom was quite upset and I thought it would be confusing/upsetting for my daughter to see my mom so distraught. We did bring her to visit the grave site a number of times and we’ve talked about how that it’s a special place we can come to remember someone we loved. We bring flowers because flowers make people feel happy.

      Sorry you’re having to deal with this and some not nice comments. There’s an anon on a few posts today whose tone doesn’t match the usual supportive environment here. Don’t take that personally.

      Trust your instincts on how to deal with this. And even if you later think you should have made a different decision, don’t be hard on yourself. You are a great mom and you are doing the best you can in a difficult situation.

    • I am so sorry. I think there is no wrong answer and whatever you choose to do will be as good as it can be, in the circumstances. My grandmother died the day after I found out I was pregnant and hadn’t told anyone yet. It made her funeral even more difficult for me because I was mourning that I could never tell her about my first baby and that he wouldn’t get to meet someone who was so important to me. Hugs.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Oh I’m so sorry about the timing of that loss. Your story is a good reminder to me to be grateful for the good — that Kiddo really got to know her Grammy, and that Grammy really got to know her.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Thanks, all — you’ve given me good stuff to think about and to talk about with my husband, and probably with my kid too.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Just a quick vent: has anyone else given up trying to get a free pump through insurance and just paid OOP? I’m 38 weeks, my insurance has given me the runaround 3 times and I still don’t have one ordered. The PISA is on sale at Target this week with a $30 gift card, plus I think I can use our registry completion discount… I’m super frustrated because this process is ridiculous (and I know this isn’t a choice everyone could afford to make), but ready to stop sinking time in what feels like a losing battle.

    • Meg Murry says:

      FYI, if you have a medical HSA/FSA, you can use that money to buy a pump. Perhaps do that now and then keep trying to get the insurance pump so you have one at home and one to leave at work?

    • I didn’t have any issues either time, but is it possible that it would be easier after you give birth? I think my insurance requires a doctor’s “Rx” to get it before hand but you can just order it from one of their approved suppliers after. In that case, I wouldn’t worry about it much. But if you can afford it, by all means get one now and try for another after so you don’t have to commute with it. Or see if you can get reimbursed for it or at least have it go toward your deductible.

    • I found that nothing really happened with my pump orders before I delivered, but once I called after delivery, the pump was at my house within two days.

      If you want to stop the run around and know you have the pump before the baby is born, can you find out if there’s a reimbursement option?

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the reminders I don’t have to have this right away and I can wait until after I deliver. Unfortunately Aeroflow doesn’t work with my insurance and I tried Edgepark and McKesson (both of which theoretically work with my insurance), but both called back and said there was an issue and I needed to call my insurance. I called my insurance the first time and they said they’d work with McKesson, but when I called after contacting McKesson, they said I had to order through my insurer’s DME provider. I filled out the order form with the DME provider, including doctor signature and diagnostic code, and faxed it per instructions a week ago– I called DME provider today and they have no record of my order at all.

        So that’s where I ended up crabby, 38 weeks, and nearly in tears because something that seems like it should be SO simple is not. Thanks for the suggestions and rationality, I really do appreciate it :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you tried Aeroflow? They handled all communication with my insurance. I never saw a bill and got my pump super fast. Also I know some people use pumps immediately, but I didn’t use mine until I went back to work at 12 weeks.

      • +1 to Aeroflow. I think I just put my insurance and doctor info in the website and they took care of everything. Perhaps a 3rd party would make this easier?

      • AwayEmily says:

        I got mine from Byram health care (dot com), which was the same deal — you just put in your insurance, they tell you what you’re eligible for, and then they do all the work of getting it to you and getting the insurance stuff taken care of.

    • So I’m not sure if my way is the “right” way, but do you know anyone else in your office who has gotten a pump recently? They should be able to direct you to whatever DME site your insurance prefers. Once I got the name of the company, I was able to just order online with my insurance information – they had to confirm with my doctor, but once I placed the order, it was <10 days. It was just obnoxious because I had to call insurance to find out who the DME provider should be, when that's information that should just be available on their website.

    • This must be insurance specific. Mine had a separate medical device company administer it and they were amazing. So easy to deal with.

      However, on other issues, I get you on just wanting to pay OOP or pay an incorrect bill just to be done with it. My husband will fight for hours and hours but sometimes to me my time and sanity is worth $150 (or whatever). In that case, I give you permission to pay for it and put it out of your mind and think about BABY!

      As a counterpoint I did need my pump immediately (day after I came home from the hospital) so I was glad I had it.

    • You could consider confirming whether they just won’t issue one before you deliver (maybe you have already done this). I was freaking out because I am A Planner, and I didn’t like not having it ready to go, but I called the day after I delivered and it was there in 24 hours or something insane.

    • Could you just buy a hand pump now (which is useful for all sorts of situations anyway) and try to get the other pump via your insurance after you deliver? I also was not comfortable with not having Everything Ready To Go, but I think I called like the day I delivered and it was ready the next day.

    • ElisaR says:

      i found getting my pump through insurance incredibly easy both times – and both times I ordered them after I had the baby (because I’m type Z or whatever the opposite of type A is). Both times I also rented a pump from the hospital (“hospital-grade” pump) because they are stronger than the ones you get from insurance…..I rented for 3 months the first time and 1 month the 2nd time.

    • lucy stone says:

      Also used Aeroflow. I ended up buying a second pump through Amazon.

      But consider why you are getting a PISA, when a Spectra would be cheaper, more sanitary, and more comfortable.

      • Anonymouse says:

        If you want to take the time, I used this link to find a whole bunch of DME companies:

        http://kellyboobbook.com/insurance-pump-lookup/

        and then called/emailed all of them – they each said my insurance covered different pumps (!) or had different upcharges for getting “better” pumps. I went with Milk Moms and just had to scan and email an Rx from my ob.

        But it definitely was a multi hour project, so if you’re on less of a budget I’d say go forth and buy what you want!

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I went through similar annoyances. Like, I tried to get the ball rolling before I delivered and they said no dice, then I called I want to say 10 days after she was born and they tried to tell me I was too late. I ended up getting the thing, but jeeze when exactly am I supposed to do this?!

    • Don’t give up on the insurance-covered pump yet. You likely won’t need it right away.

      I had a premie and needed to pump immediately (like 12 hours after giving birth), and I had to rent the hospital-grade pump because it stimulates supply better. Insurance wouldn’t give me a pump early, but they covered the rental and then sent the regular pump right after I gave birth.

  11. Ifiknew says:

    Any board game or puzzle presents for a 5 year old? My best friends daughter is turning 5 and I was told she really enjoys board games and puzzles.. preferably something I can order on Amazon! Many thanks.

    • My 4yo is in love with Guess Who. We also really like the big Melissa and Doug floor puzzles.

      • blueridge29 says:

        My 4 1/2 year old loves Candy Land, matching games (animals are a big hit), Chutes and Ladders, and we just started the board game Sorry. I think dominoes could be fun too because you can either play the game or just stack them.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      Jenga, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Uno, and the Connect Four where you launch the chips are all hits with our crowd.

    • Anonymous says:

      My First Bananagrams (like Scrabble but much easier and faster because everyone plays at the same time)

  12. All of the kid board games we have are collecting dust in our house. But my 5 year old LOVES playing Uno. He could play that for hours.

  13. Quebec questions says:

    Hi — we’re late in planning our summer vacation, but our plan is to visit Quebec in August for about a week (two adults, a college age teen and a preschooler).

    I’m wondering if it’s better to do just Quebec City and Montreal, or include Mont Tremblant for a few nights. Current plan is to fly into Montreal, drive to Quebec City first, then head back to Montreal, perhaps via Mont Tremblant. Or possibly just do one night in Montreal (BioDome is closed this summer).

    I’ve been to Montreal, but it was years ago, no one else has. I really want to see Quebec City, but open to the other locations.

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes to a night or two in Mont Tremblant. Adds a nice ‘wilderness’ element to a city vacation. The provincial park there has some nice hikes and you can rent canoes for a super ‘Canadian’ experience.

    • Marilla says:

      Montreal is amazing. I’m biased, because I grew up there, but there’s so much to explore. I would honestly prioritize it over Quebec City. So much to explore both for a college teen and for a little kid. BioDome is a shame to miss because it’s so fun, but the Botanical Garden is stunning, the Old Port is perfect in summer, the Plateau or the area around McGill would be a blast for your college-aged teen. I’m agnostic on Mont Tremblant.

  14. 10-year-olds says:

    What do they read these days?

    And what movies are cool with this set?

    The kid is mine — we are just in need of a book / DVD refresh for this summer. I feel like we have a ton of the “Who was” series of books (which are fantastic — Marie Curie, Napoleon, George Washington Carver, etc.). We may have 50. She has never been interested in Harry Potter (which I haven’t read) but is this about the age when they start reading them? What else is good?

    Also no interest in: Nancy Drew, American Girl books.

    • mascot says:

      I know this sounds obvious, but do you let her browse at the local bookstore or at your public library? The children’s librarian might have some ideas. I also like to reach back to things I read as a kid and/or look for the books that won the newbery medal or had some other children’s literary award.
      Maybe this list has some ideas http://thefamilytriponline.com/2018/04/09/chapter-book-series-for-kids/
      Or this one from NPR https://www.npr.org/2013/08/05/207315023/the-ultimate-backseat-bookshelf-100-must-reads-for-kids-9-14

    • No clue if the kids these days still read them, but I just loved The Babysitters’ Club books around that age.

      • avocado says:

        The Babysitters’ Club has been turned into a series of graphic novels. My daughter loves them.

        That reminds me that graphic novels are hugely popular with this age group. My daughter likes the
        Raina Telgemeier books (but I don’t like Drama because the main character seems to define herself entirely in terms of boys), Sunny Side Up, Roller Girl, the Amulet series, the Zita the Spacegirl Series, and a whole bunch of others.

    • avocado says:

      My kid’s friends started reading the Harry Potter books in second grade. I was surprised because I thought they’d be too scary, but my kid handled them just fine at that age.

      Besides biographies, what is your kid interested in? My sixth-grader is 11 and is on the border between middle grade and YA. There are a lot of great stand-alone books out there for middle grade readers. The series generally seemed to be less interesting, although my kid was into the Spy School series for a while in fourth grade. Mine also likes autobiographies of athletes in her favorite sport, although I tend to find those insipid. Since yours likes biographies, you could try the “young readers” versions of Hidden Figures, Notorious RBG, The Boys in the Boat, Chasing Space, etc. For fiction, my kid loves The Inquisitor’s Tale and The Thing About Jellyfish.

      The best way I’ve found to find new books is to go to Barnes and Noble and just let her pick up tons of books and read the first few pages to gauge her interest. The public library is even better, if you have a good one (ours is not).

    • avocado says:

      Okay, I have way too much to say on this topic. Movies: My kid loves Wonder Woman, everything Star Wars, musicals, and dramas where heroic characters and/or justice prevail (e.g., Apollo 13, Hidden Figures, The Post, Bridge of Spies, Loving, All the President’s Men). She also enjoyed Forrest Gump.

      I highly recommend the s i t e (trying to avoid mod) Common Sense Media for gauging the appropriateness of movies. I often disagree with their age ratings, but I find the detailed descriptions of the content very useful in determining which movies are a good fit for our family’s preferences regarding exposure to adult themes, language, violence, etc.

    • avocado says:

      Last one:

      HAMILTON

    • Roald Dahl? I know several ten year olds – some who read a lot and some who read very little – that enjoy his books. Also: Phantom Toolbooth is great at that age, and i really liked my Babysitter’s Club books when I was 10 but no idea if they seem dated now or maybe have been updated?
      I think at least the first HP book is fine at 10.

      For movies: my nieces were watching the new Jumanji movie and Wonder the last time I spend a weekend with them; also obsessed with the Beauty and the Beast movie with Emma Watson.

    • Meg Murry says:

      My 5th grader is a boy, but they had to read a science fiction book for school and now he’s really enjoying scifi and dystopian stories. They read Wrinkle in Time as a class, then he’s since read Ready Player One and The Giver.

      Does her school do Accelerated Reader? Even if not, there is a list here of the most popular books by grade level (click on “What Kids are Reading”) http://www.arbookfind.com/collections.aspx

      My son isn’t really interested in them, but Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries series are pretty popular with the 4th/5th grade set.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stuck in mod for links
        Is fantasy an option? I remember liking The Dark is Rising series. I wasn’t a Tolkien fan.
        Also, check out Newbery award winners from years past. There’s a lot of good kids literature out there and I am excited about re-discovering some favorites with my kid.

  15. Cleaning Preparation! says:

    Thanks in no small part to all of you wonderful internet friends, I have a person coming over tonight to give me an estimate on housecleaning! I am so excited, this feels like perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me. My husband was always very opposed but I can’t take it anymore and he agreed to try it.

    The person coming over to give me an estimate came highly recommended by a friend, so that’s huge. What other questions should I be asking? Anything else I should do to prepare?

    I am asking this mostly to help balance out my urge to just hug this person and give her a blank check to fix my life.

    • Anonymous says:

      Main points to ask about would be what is included in a regular service. Different cleaners may include slightly different things in their standard rate. You can ask about cost of add ons (e.g. changing sheets if not included). Seeing the rooms gives them a better idea of size/work so they can price accurately.

      Bathrooms and kitchens take the most time. Think about what areas you want cleaned. We have an additional full bathroom in the basement as well as a mini kitchen DH uses for coffee/snacks near his home office. We don’t have that bathroom/mini kitchen cleaned as they get minimal use so the extra cost is not worth it.

    • Marilla says:

      Congratulations!! Housecleaning is such a life/marriage/sanity-saver. I miss having regular housecleaning but I think I need to bring it back.. my husband yesterday announced he wants to outsource mowing our lawn because “it takes up a couple hours” every 3 weeks and “kills his Sunday”. I had such a hard time not rolling my eyes and asking if we could outsource laundry, too.

      Anyways – vent aside – I would suggest asking if they use their own cleaning checklist or if they’d like you to supply one; if they’ll do extra projects occasionally like cleaning the oven or windows or light fixtures once a year for extra pay; and if they’ll toss sheets in the laundry for you if they change them (if you want them to)/if they’ll always change bedsheets.

      Good luck.. there’s nothing like coming home to a clean house that someone else cleaned!

      • Cleaning Preparation! says:

        This is great. I would never have thought of whether they have their own checklist or if I need to provide one. Thank you! I guess I assumed they would just read my mind. :)

        The mowing lawn argument always cracks me up. At least lawn mowing is outside, so loud that it’s prohibitive to try to hear a baby monitor or otherwise multi-task with kid care, etc… There’s no peace and quiet involved when cleaning a bathroom.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Ask what tasks she includes in her estimate – expect that you may want to request that she change some of those. For instance, my house cleaner will spend forever cleaning every dot of glue or tomato sauce off our dining chairs, and I don’t care about that so I asked her to stop. But I do care about smudgy patio doors (inside and out) and she usually only cleans the inside, so I asked her to add the outsides.

      Also ask what supplies you’ll need to provide; some cleaners bring their own vacuum, cleaning products, dust rags, garbage bags, etc. Mine brings her own high-end cleaning solution and her own allergen-removing vacuum, so she charges more per hour than a service that doesn’t provide cleaning supplies.

      Also ask how she handles surface clutter. Some cleaners will pick up every item and dust under it, and some won’t for liability reasons. Mine will actually pick stuff up and move it to another location, which has been a good incentive to remove all surface clutter lest it is lost forever….

      And good luck! I hope this is great!

    • ElisaR says:

      Yay! This is one thing I’m pretty sure I can never go without now that I’ve started doing it. . . . .

      One thing we do that lowered our costs a little bit: Our cleaners come every 2 weeks and they alternate doing the 3rd floor or the basement. So once a month they each get done, but both are areas that we don’t use a ton so they don’t need to be done everytime….. it saves a bit.

      Also – some cleaners like to use their own vaccuum but I would advise against that – I have heard you can spread bedbugs and at very least dirt from wherever they cleaned before you…. have them use your own vaccuum.

      • Cleaning Preparation! says:

        That’s so gross and good to know. Thank you!

      • NewMomAnon says:

        My cleaner has a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and she either replaces it or washes it (I forget) between houses. But if she hadn’t volunteered that, I would have asked her to use ours…

    • Congrats! This may be something you only figure out with time but try to think of what’s important to you so you and cleaning person are on the same page. I think some cleaners focus on giving you a surface clean (think hotel style) while others will give you a deeper cleaning but won’t necessarily give you that “ah, it’s all perfect” feeling. Generally, try to figure out what you want them to focus on and ask what they expect you to do ahead of time.

  16. I need recommendations for a few little gift ideas for my friend’s children.

    I will be meeting her 5-month-old daughter for the first time this weekend and would like to bring a little something for her and 2-year-old brother. I’ll be flying in from out of town. The 2-year-old is an inquisitive little fella if that helps!

    • anonanon says:

      sticker books!

    • anonanon says:

      Sorry, I read this as 5 YEARS old. For the 5 month old – I would have liked an extra hat for summer – I kept one in the car, one in the stroller, etc. So it never hurt to have extras around. Otherwise, just books, always books. For the 2 year old, also books. If you don’t want to do that, I’m a big fan of consumables (like the sticker books I accidentally suggested) – so super large crayons meant for toddlers and a pack of construction paper would have been great.

      • Delta Dawn says:

        I agree with these suggestions– my two year old loves stickers, crayons, construction paper, etc. He would love a sticker book. There are usually little sticker activities in the Target dollar spot. They also often have those little window cling gels that my son loves to play with (until they get gross and I throw them away). For the five month old… a cute teether? A rattle or ball? Anything she can hold, shake, or chew.

    • At 5 months, we loved the oball. Skiphop bandana buddies were popular too, as well as a taggie (my daughter loves playing with tags). Can’t help with the older kid as we’re not there yet.

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